Category Archives: 3D Printing

Post-trip Sketching and Planning

There’s something about travel that changes your perspective so much. When you get back from a trip, you can see more clearly things you’ve done that are unproductive. You may have seen a new way to deal with a problem during your travels.

American Way mag
photo of a Karass advert page from the in-flight magazine on the airplane

Especially when it comes to every day surroundings and routines, you can see what doesn’t work and what didn’t have a desired outcome.  You can see why you need to get away and look at a problem with that fresh perspective.

A few cases in point:

When I go on a trip, I usually carry cosmetics and stuff in a blue plastic Caboodles box (it looks like a tackle box or a tool box). Finally, that thing split down the back and once it was clamped shut, it was so hard to un-shut that I ripped all the skin off a knuckle trying to pry it open. Now that I don’t have the plastic box, I came up with a couple of alternative carrying cases to take on trips, and realized what a clunky liability that plastic case had been.

We have more that just a washer and dryer in our laundry room, we also have a rug shampooer, a big bulky canister vacuum cleaner, several mops, brooms, etc., and a collection of seasonal wreaths to hang on the front door. This room is not big enough to hold all that stuff plus ourselves when we need to wash clothes.  Skip realized (while I was gone) that we have a hall closet near the front door that we never consider using, because it is so crammed full of – I don’t even know what’s in there. Possibly old camping equipment from the seventies, hats that no one wears, who knows?  If we get rid of that stuff we haven’t seen in a decade or more, we would have more room for the useful stuff!

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do more sketching, and more art work in general. I want to get into Inkscape, a free vector drawing program, so we can use it to make projects in other media, like wood, plastic, laser engraving, and 3D printing. Does anyone have any experience in Inkscape,  who can offer some insight?

Meanwhile, I’m acclimating back to the local humidity and heat. Summertime all year round!

yoga sketching jennyskip
yoga sketching

 

Another 3-D Printer Pen

 

The last pen we built, using a couple of cylinders printed  with the Dremel 3D printer, was treated with red gilt. I did not sand the pen because in previous attempts, the plastic overheated and softened. This time I decided to wet sand the plastic cylinders using a range of micromesh pads. This produced a very smooth surface. My grandson wanted a pen with a gold color so I used an antique gold gilt. He seems to be happy with the appearance even though the gold is not shiny gold, but antique gold. I applied several coats of thin CA glue, to add extra protection for the gold finish. I did make another pen for his mother leaving the white surface with no added color.

So,  I am happy with the surface produced with wet sanding.  The next attempt I would like to make, is to use the 3D software to design more interesting surfaces.  This may have to wait, while I work on another fire ant pen.

 

3D pen craftsbyjennyskip
3D printed pen blanks

 

3D printed pen blanks craftsbyjennyskip.org
antique gold

Another 3-D Printer Pen, Following up on Some Viewer Suggestions

If you saw our previous YouTube/blog on my 3-D printer attempt to make a pen blank, you know it was a complete failure. I had hoped to be able to produce a conventional-sized pen blank and then turn this blank into a unique shape.  I had used a variety of tool types but with no success. I also found that trying sandpaper was not a good idea in that the friction heated up the plastic to the melting point.  Several viewers suggested printing up various other types of blanks, so  I decided to try printing a cylinder to match the required barrel size for a pen.

The pen kit I selected was a PSI Woodworking Products #PK-PENXX “Slimline – Pro” Gelwriter Click Pen.  I also used a #PK-PENXXBU 3 piece bushing set. The two barrels for this pen are each 2 1/32-inch long with an 8mm hole for the brass tube insertion.  The outside diameter of the bushings is about 10.7 mm.  This would set the turn down diameter for the ends of the pen barrels.

pen project craftsbyjennyskip.com
designing the project

Using the 123Design software supplied with the Dremel 3D printer, I designed a 10.7 mm diameter cylinder 2 1/32-inches long with a 8mm diameter hole. I exported this to the Drexel 3D printing software. Using the white filament, I printed one set of pen barrels.

3D pen craftsbyjennyskip.com
3D printed pen barrel in white filament

The 8mm holes appeared to be too tight to insert the brass tubes so I decided to take an 8mm drill bit and ream out the holes to the proper size, BAD IDEA!! The friction of the bit generated enough heat to reduce the barrels to a white plastic blob hanging off the drill pit. So I took a set of barrels and tried to press-fit the brass tubes. It worked!! And the fit was so tight that glue was not necessary.  Using two barrels with brass tubes inserted, I built up one of the “Slim-line Pro” pens. This was a test, so I made no attempt to apply a finish to the plastic. I would not recommend this otherwise.  The texture of the plastic barrels is not mirror-smooth and would be easily stained under normal use.

3D pen test craftsbyjennyskip.com
test pen complete

On to another pen build… taking two more barrels, I press-fitted a brass tube into each barrel. I then used the bushing set to mount the barrels on a pen turning mandrel and set the mandrel into the head stock and tail stock on my lathe.  Using Tulip Red Gilders Paste Wax, I applied two coats of wax, wiping off the excess and buffing after each coat.  Following this step, I applied nine applications of thin CA glue.  After this glue cured, I took Micro-mesh wet-sanding pads and sanded the CA finish from 600 to 12000 grit. I followed this up with a plastic polish.  The final pen build is satisfactory but the surface of the barrels has a slight ripple that can’t be covered over with thick CA glue.  In the future, I may try some different colored filaments.  I have also air brushed 3D builds with some success. An air-brushed design protected with CA glue might be a good option.  More on this later.

tulip red pen craftsbyjennyskip.com
red 3D printed pen project

Here’s the You Tube video of the process:

 

Making a Pen Blank with a 3D Printer

Skip, as a wood turner, stores a number of items that can be made into pens. He likes to keep a little stash of acrylic and wooden blanks of various colors and species, so that he can make a pen when the urge strikes. But, he also thinks up ideas for pen blanks that are anything but traditional: fire ants encased in acrylic, unsalted-in-the-shell peanuts, cigars from the Dominican Republic or Cuba, and other things.

Having been a recent recipient of a contest prize from Zac at NV Woodwerks, a package of Alumalite, an awesome pen blank material, Skip has been wondering what his next project might be.

Since getting the Dremel 3D printer, we’ve gotten it to print out a little stormtrooper action figure, a spaghetti measuring tool, buttons, earrings, a bow-shaped cookie cutter, a hockey puck with someone’s name on it in 3D lettering, and parts for a small sword. And we’ve also had our share of epic fails, too.

The Internet is packed with .stl files, which the printer needs to read to do a project.  Some of them that we’ve used didn’t pan out well. We made the cookie cutter using a Thingiverse Customizer. We’ve called upon our artistic family members to come up with some cool .stl files for us to try out. But we realize it is hard to just sit around and make things, when you’ve got a job and a family and grass to mow and laundry to fold, etc.

Was Skip’s first attempt at a 3D printed pen blank a success or a failure? Take a look….