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Turned pen, but loose top. Advice?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 909 days ago 1205 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elizabeth

797 posts in 1775 days


909 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question pen loose turning

I turned a pen as a gift for a coworker, and I was going to give it to him this week, but this morning I discovered (when final-checking the ink to make sure it worked) that the top is loose. It’s a slimline kit, the twisty sort, and all the other ones I’ve ever made have the top half holding firmly to the middle twisting tube, so it’s clear how far you can twist it to open and close it, and the grain stays lined up. But this one…when I went to close it, the top half of the pen was slipping against the inner workings, and I was easily able to turn it too far…then when I went to open it again, it was still slipping and took a bit of effort to open.

I can’t give a gift like that. And I can’t glue the pieces together or the ink can never be refilled. Advice?

This is the pen, though it won’t show the problem of course:

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/61317


10 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3738 posts in 2294 days


#1 posted 909 days ago

Elizabeth—This is just a WAG, but the brass tube in the turned blank is probably a bit distorted.

I had this problem with one of the Freedom Pens I turned … I think I did it when using a hand drill with the barrel trimmer before I turned the blank (which is why I now use the barrel trimmer in the drill press with the drilling jig I made).

I can’t offer a solution other than to salvage the kit components and start over. It may be possible to insert a thin shim into the barrel,

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

797 posts in 1775 days


#2 posted 909 days ago

I played with it a bit more while he was out running an errand and it turned more easily…I had to deliberately keep turning it after the tip was in/out to make it move. I wonder if it was just stiff from not having been used in the month or so since I made it. I may have to pull out some of my other pens and see if they have similar motion…maybe this is normal…?

View CottonWire's profile

CottonWire

16 posts in 1747 days


#3 posted 909 days ago

Morning Elizabeth,

I used to have that problem because I made the top piece a little longer than the insert because the slimline kits make good platforms for all kinds of designs. So, I was experimenting with pens that didn’t use the center band which meant I had to play with the lengths of both the barrels.

One other note is that I never use a barrel trimmer anymore. It’s just easier for me to trim the ends true with the lathe. Also, depending on the pen, I usually use the tiniest drop of CA on the tops just before I final-press them into place.

‘Nuff rambling – good luck!

Ransom

-- "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in frames of silver." Mohawk Valley - Oregon

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

797 posts in 1775 days


#4 posted 909 days ago

Hi Ransom – a question on your use of CA glue. Do you actually glue the top halves of the pen onto the center twisting mechanism? (If so, how do you change the ink?) Or does the glue dry before you assemble them, making the fit just that bit tighter?

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

797 posts in 1775 days


#5 posted 908 days ago

Well, I fiddled with the pen a bit more at lunch and it was working perfectly fine. I think maybe the mechanism was just a bit stiff from never having really been opened and shut at all. I gave the gift this afternoon and it was very well received. Thanks everyone for reading and for your comments!

View D_Allen's profile

D_Allen

495 posts in 1415 days


#6 posted 906 days ago

Some observations from a beginner, or perhaps a step up from a beginner.
I had one pen that was so sloppy on the twist mechanism that I gave up on trying to fix it.
Today I gave one to my brother-in-law that was as you described, too loose fitting when turned.
I think it has to do with the fact that the tolerances for the parts are getting too far in opposite extremes.
Basically, what holds the upper tube to the twist mechanism is that small protrusion on the chrome barrel. If the upper tube is at the extreme tolerance for ID, meaning that it is at the max allowable ID size, and the small protrusion perhaps was not pressed as far as it could have been, you have a problem. There really isn’t much that can be done short of replacing the twist mechanism or the upper tube. I recently bought a pack of 10 twist mechanisms for about $6.50 and have used 2 of them so far. Getting the old one out is possible with no damage to the blank…if done right. Replacing the upper tube blank is a much more destructive process.

-- Website is finally up and running....www.woodandwrite.com

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3738 posts in 2294 days


#7 posted 906 days ago

I was working on some pens last night, and had one that exhibited this same problem (top barrel too loose on the motor mechanism).

I ‘fixed’ it by dabbing by some thin CA on a toothpick and (quickly) spreading it inside the barrel. I found something else to do for awhile, then re-assembled it and voila … the CA formed enough of a skin inside the barrel that I got a nice snug fit.

Not sure if it will last, but it got me over the hump.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View D_Allen's profile

D_Allen

495 posts in 1415 days


#8 posted 904 days ago

Something else to keep in mind when doing twist pens. I notice that the twist mechanisms often have grease on the outside of the unit. I suppose it is left over from the manufacturing process. It does no good on the outside and can add to the problem mentioned above. I wipe them off with a clean paper towel before use.

-- Website is finally up and running....www.woodandwrite.com

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

797 posts in 1775 days


#9 posted 902 days ago

Thanks Gerry and D_Allen – both very good ideas and I will give them a try next time I am assembling a pen.

View moke's profile

moke

476 posts in 1407 days


#10 posted 902 days ago

Elizabeth,
This could attributed to several issues, some your fault, some not. Anyone that has made any amount of pens, have had this happen….I have done everything wrong you can imagine. Including this.

I am assumng that this is a Slimline. The fix is just as TheDane said….I would add one small addition though. You might “rough up” the piece that goes in the end….not the part that is shown, the part that goes inside the tube. Just clamp it in a wooden jaw vise and use a small rough file….not a lot though. Actually instead of using CA, if you have any Lock-Tite…the bue top kind that makes a permanent bond, I have had better luck with it. I always seem to get some squeeze out from the ca and end up using a debonder and polishing it..this just wipes off and seems to hold as well. I have never had to redo a fix yet after I roughed it up.

The replacement of the refill takes place in the lower section, the whole upper tube assembly just needs to be pulled off.
Mike

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