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.

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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:

Casting Pen Blanks Tutorial

First off, sorry this article is so late.  I got caught up in work related duties and didn’t have any time to write the article.

I start by using Alumilite, which is a 1:1.  I used 50g of each color, so when you pour 50g of A, you need to pour 50g of B.  This allows the reaction in the resin to properly set up.  I used twp colors: vibrant pink and silver.

I start by pouring 50g of the “A” side twice (one for each color).  Then, I introduce my Caster’s Choice mica powders and stir until the powder is stirred in and there appears to be no more visible powder.  I stir in both colors separately, then move on.  There is no correct amount of powder that you need to use.  If you like a more translucent appearance, put less powder in the resin.  If you want a more solid appearance, put more mica powder in the resin.

Once I stir in both mica powders, I introduce the “B” side of Alumilite resin and since I poured 50g of A, I poured 50g of B.  As soon as the “B” side is poured into the “A” side, the reaction starts.  Depending on the temperature of your shop, the resin will take longer or shorter to set up.

As I introduce the “B” side into the “A” side, I start to stir the resin.  You can under-stir, but you can’t over-stir, so consistently stirring is important.  I stir until the resin gets up to 90 degrees.  This is the temperature where you get good color separation.  If you pour before the 95 degree mark, you could get runny colors and your mixture won’t look as good as they could have.

After both colors got to 95 degrees, I poured the Alumilite into the molds and let the resin set up in the mold for 2 hours.  When I took the pen blanks out of the pressure pot, I removed the blanks from the molds and cleaned them up on the band saw.

I can’t wait to turn these and see what they look like on a pen kit!

If you have any questions, or comments, don’t hesitate to comment on the youtube video (in the “YouTube Videos” tab on this website), email me, or contact me any way you know how.

Thanks for checking out the article and video.  We’ll take to you later!


Turning My First Castings

I turned some of my first resin castings into pens that turned out when I didn’t think they were able to be turned.  The resin didn’t fill the tube in molds, so the tubes were exposed.  I did some research and found a shorter blank/body Wall Street II kit, so I took the blanks to the disc sander and sanded them down to the appropriate blank length.  I used the tube from the kit as a reference to get the cast blank the right size.

After getting the blanks to the correct size, I went ahead and mounted them to the mandrel on the lathe.  At this point I was able to turn both blanks.  I knew these blanks had some issues on the surface, so I frequently stopped to check my progress and make sure everything was still workable.

Turning Alumilite resin is a treat because I love how smoothly it comes off the blanks.  Additionally, I purchased an extra set of Wall Street II bushings, which allowed me to turn two blanks at once, so I was able to assemble two pens at the end instead of just one.

Once I turned the blanks down to the diameter if the bushings, I started to sand the blanks.  I dry sand with 220 grit, 400 grit, 1,000 grit, and 2,000 grit.  Normally after I dry sand I start wet sanding with Micro Mesh, but one of the blanks had a small void in it, so I filled the void with CA glue, and dry sanded that blank one more time to make sure the CA was flush with the blank.  It was after I dry sanded the blank with the void for the second time that i went ahead and wet sanded from 1,500 grit, up to 12,000 grit.  This gave the blanks a really nice shine.

I finished the banks after wet sanding with a coat of paste wax and HUT Ultra Gloss Polish.  I used two applications of polish and this really made the blanks look great!

Assembly of the pens went together just like any other Wall Street II kit.  I started by pressing the cap into the body of each pen.  When placing the cap, I made sure that the clip covered the defect on the blank that I mentioned earlier.  No one will see the defect, and it turned out to be a gorgeous pen.  I put the spring on the ink refill, put the refill into the nib of the pen, then threaded the transmission of each pen.  Once I threaded the transmission, I tested said transmission and had an awesome fit and action.  Finally. I pressed the body of each pen onto the nibs, and I had two completed Wall Street II grip pens!

This was an excellent way to use seemingly useless castings and turn them into something special.

Thanks for checking out and reading this article.  if you feel like my content is worthy, you can support me on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/crosscutcreations), or make a one time donation through PayPal.  If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to reach out to me!


My First Resin Casting Experience

Yesterday I posted a video documenting my first resin casting experience.  This was a new skill I wanted to learn and I have a plethora of resources.  As I went through my first cast, I realized this is something I really enjoy.  For my first cast, I used Alumalite clear.  This resin is a two part resin – Part A (resin) and Part B (hardener).  The ratio is 1:1 (A:B).  This makes it easy to remember and it’s also nice that it’s easy to turn.

I started by laying out my cups and marked them A or B depending on which part I was pouring.  I did a three color pour, which included Phoenix Orange, Midnight Purple, and Teal at the suggestion of Greg Bonier.  (Thanks, Greg!)  I was prepared to pour resin into a four blank mold with each cavity being 7/8″x7/8″x5.25″ blanks.  I also got a tube-in mold for Sierra type pens.  When I finished pouring the resin for the four blank mold, I had enough resin to pour into the tube-in molds.  Because I wasn’t prepared to use the tube-in molds, the extra resin started to set up and the cast wasn’t really pretty.  This turned out okay though, because the “ugly” portion turned off nicely and left an awesome finished blank.

After pouring the resin into the molds, I put the molds in the pressure pot for two hours at 50 psi.  I took the blanks out after two hours and realized I forgot the mold release, but this wasn’t the end of the world as the blanks popped out of the molds relatively easily.  I did have some additional issues with the tube-in castings, but I will detail that at another time.

I plan on doing another casting video at some point where I’ll detail the process I use in a future video in more detail.  I absolutely love casting, and now I need more resin.  Tim to go sell a few pens to be able to afford more resin!

If you have any questions, comments, or anything else, feel free to contact me!