10 days since my last update? Not bad for me!
It’s been a constructive 10 days though. I’ve put up some lighting in the shed above the bench and I’ve 3D printed an adjustable camera stand to give me a consistent viewing angle for doing videos.
Making the Sierra style pen blanks
I’m putting a couple of Sierra style pens together, and have gone back to something I played with around this time last year – putting images into pens.
Last year it was about making pens for the new year with ‘2020’ logo’s in them and some lucky Chinese coins. Looking at how 2020 has worked out I didn’t miss out on much with not getting those done!
I decided this time to start off with a couple of blanks with pictures of Mini’s in them. I knew that somewhere I had pictures of my last Mini ‘Raven’ that I wanted to use but I was having trouble finding them. Being impatient I took a couple of pictures of a model I have of a classic rally Mini, then found the pictures I’d been looking for. Ideally I wanted to laser print them, but my laser printer at the moment is another story, so standard printing it is, for the moment.
For some time I’ve also been working on 3D printing some pen blank moulds which all work as a set – more on that separately soon, as I’m going to offer the print files on the site.
Each pen tube is a different size; so firstly you have to measure the length and circumference, then print the images sized to fit and cut out.
Next you apply glue to the back to adhere it to the tube. Not too much, you don’t want it seeping at the sides, but not so little that it won’t stick.
The tube has been primed with white primer. Doing this gives you crisper colours than leaving the tube as plain brass.
Now carefully align the picture on the tube – it has to be perfectly straight.
Wrap the picture around the tube, making sure there’s no air bubbles.
If you got your picture size right there should be just the slightest of overlap where the top meets the bottom.
Repeat for all your pictures.
My mould set gives you silicone endcaps – a cone slides into the tube ends to stop resin from seeping inside and needing extra work before assembly. It also reduces the need to trim the blanks as they’re the perfect size.
Now press the tubes into the moulds. The moulds are designed to leave enough space around to give you a thick enough blank to use while keeping resin usage as low as possible.
For this project I’m using Glasscast resin.
I’ve decanted some into the little bottles you get with hair dye – I really like them as they hold enough for several small projects but give you fine control on how much resin you are pouring.
Resin mixed and poured into the mould.
I pour slowly with the mould at an angle lengthways to prevent air bubbles. Tapping the mould when full helps dislodge any that may have got in, then heat across the top pops any on the surface.
…and the final result removed from the mould.
I’ll give them around a week to completely cure before turning. When making the silicone mould, the master has the pen type built into the design – so these blanks come out with “Sierra” on the side to make sure there’s no mix up when a number of blanks of different types are stored together.