Turn a Dennis Rollerball Pen!

Dennis Rollerball Pen

This week my plan was to turn a Dennis rollerball pen. This was a new kit for me that I purchased from Turner’s Warehouse. Overall, it was different, but a fun kit to turn, nonetheless. It isn’t my first choice for a personal pen, but it does have a lot of good things going for it. My biggest complaint with the kit is that it isn’t postable, meaning it can’t be screwed onto the end of the body of the pen, but that is a personal preference. The kit itself is a good, solid kit.

There was no recap article about last week’s live stream as it was a Q&A session and I thought it might be a bit difficult to recap that, but we did have some good conversation. Thank you to all that hung out and participated in last week’s live stream. I will definitely have to do that again in the future.

Last Week’s Project: This week’s live stream got started a bit late because of some technical issues, but I worked through them and was able to have a successful live stream. I started by showing off a couple resin pours I did in the past couple weeks and reminded the audience that my 1K giveaway was still going on. I turned a chaos blank from Bob at RJBWoodTurner and dressed put it on a tiny giant. If you comment on that video, you’ll be eligible to win the pen (as long as you live in the US).

This Week: This week, my computer decided to start updating right before the live stream, so I needed to use a work around and it ended up working out. I decided to turn a Dennis rollerball pen on last night’s live stream. This was a kit that I had never turned before, so it was fun to turn and put together a new (to me) pen kit. The Dennis is similar to a junior, but the cap doesn’t get turned as it is machined instead. It’s similar to a junior since it does use the bushings from the body of the Junior. I turned the blank between centers and the blank I used was an off cut of a Classic Castings blank called Solar Flare from Classic Nib. I turned the blank at +/- 4,000 RPMs with the Negative Rake Scraper from T Shadow & Co.

To turn a Dennis rollerball pen, I finished the turning portion then moved onto sanding. I finished getting the blank down to the bushings with 120 grit sandpaper. Once the blank was flush with the bushings, I dry sanded with Abranet from 120-400 grits. When I sand, I sand around 400-500 RPMs with the lathe in reverse. After each grit, I turn the lathe off and sand the circular scratches out and make a horizontal scratch pattern. This makes for a flawless pen with no scratches as I progress through the grits of sandpaper.

As I finish dry sanding ends, I transition to wet sanding with Micro Mesh. Micro Mesh is a wet sanding system that goes from 1,500 grit – 12,000 grit across nine pads. I also adjust my lathe to run in the forward orientation and turn up the RPMs to somewhere in the 1,200-1,400 range. This seems to work well for me. When I Micro Mesh, I spend the most time on the first few pads as it takes the most scratches out the blank. The last few pads polish more than take out scratches.

To finish the lathe portion of the pen, I keep my lathe settings the same as when I Micro Mesh and use the Novus system to take out any remaining scratches and polish the blank. I use Novus 3, 2, and 1 as they are a heavy scratch remover, light scratch remover, and polish.

Upon finishing the Novus regiment, I took the blank off the lathe and was able to assemble the pen. Assembling the Dennis was super easy as if only required two presses. I pressed in the cap to the body of the pen, and on the other side, I pressed in the section. I loaded up the ink, and the pen was completely assembled. It was a simple kit to put together. Putting the kit together reminded me of a Zen in the sense that it was two easy presses and the pen was assembled. It was fun to turn a Dennis rollerball pen and I can’t wait to turn the next one!

Here is a picture of the final result of the live stream:

This Dennis was turned during a live stream on 8.18.2020.

Supporting The Channel: A huge shout out goes to my top tier patrons, Mark and Angi! If you are interested in becoming a patron at any level, you can simply click the link here: Become a Patron!

You can also support the Cross Cut Creations shop in other ways. Participating in live streams and commenting on videos are a great FREE way to support what I do. If a monthly subscription to Patreon isn’t for you, that’s not an issue. There is a donate button on the right hand side of this website if a one time donation is a better option. Another way to support what I do is to buy something from my online store, also found on this website here: http://cross-cut-creations.com/

Finally, a last way to support what I do without spending anything extra is to use my Amazon affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link (found in the description of YouTube videos AND under the Tools I Use tab on this website), anything you purchase using that link will give me a small commission and add NOTHING to your total. All you pay for is the items you put in your cart and purchase. You don’t even have to buy the tool that you click on.

Thank you to all those who interacted during the live stream. I appreciate all of you and appreciate everyone who watches the replay as well. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll get back to you. If you want to check out the replay of the live stream, you can watch it below:

Resin Comparison Video | Turning Four Different Materials

In today’s video, I turn four Wall Street II pens. I show the preparation, turning and assembly of each of the four pens. While it is important to show these steps in creating the pens, I wanted to focus on comparing different materials today. I compared three resins and a bonus material. In this video I turn one of the resins and the bonus material for the very first time! I compared the materials on a completely subjective scale and used qualitative data instead of quantitative data, so while there is no hard data, I do tell you about my experience with each blank in the video.

The first material I want to talk about is acrylic acetate. These blanks are available at a number of woodworking stores and are easily accessible.

The second material I mention is Alumilite. I cast the blank for the pen and this turned more easily than the acrylic acetate. This is the resin that I cast in a pressure pot. This affords me the ability to make my pens and creations even more of my own.

The third material I talk about in the video is polyester resin. The blank was cast and sent to me by John Pierce. This blank finished the best, but in my opinion, it smelled the worst. I have talked to people who say that casting polyester resin smells awful, so while I noticed the smell while cutting and turning, I can only imagine what it smells like when casting the blanks.

The fourth material I used (bonus material!) was corian. The corian is just like the counter tops you see in homes! This was an interesting turn because for the majority of the time I worked with it, it was a treat to work with. It polished nicely and I can’t wait to work with corian again!

In general, I highly recommend wearing a respirator for working with any of these materials. When it comes to general turning practices with these blanks, use the standard turning rules for pens and you’ll have a greater chance of having a successful turn. Use fast speeds, sharp tools, and light cuts.  If you follow these three practices, you reduce the chance of blowing apart a blank. if you use slow speeds, dull tools, and heavy cuts, a lot could go wrong real fast.

Thanks for reading this article. There is more detail in the video under the “YouTube Videos” tab. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will respond.

-Robert