Coffee most think of a refreshing drink with a little kick or of a morning necessity. Some people can’t even operate properly without it. Some like there coffee hot, some like it cold. No matter how you drink your coffee most people have never thought of being able to write with the fragrant bean. Well You can, in a sense. Or at least you can now. Making a pen from coffee beans starts with stabilizing the beans in a impregnating resin. This once cured will resin in this case Cactus Juice . It is a simple process though takes time. You first place the beans into the Cactus Juice inside a vacuum chamber. You then pull a vacuum on the beans until the air inside the beans has been replaced with the resin. After the air has been replaced with resin you then bake the beans to harden the resin.
After stabilization of the beans I could move on to casting the blanks for the pen. I was going to use a silicon mold to cast the blanks. These molds make casting resin pen blanks much easier. With no guess work on the size of the blanks and also make for a consistent amount of epoxy to be used. No guess work for the amount you will need to fill the mold. Though this amount will change some due to whatever you are casting in the epoxy.
With the molds filled and capped I placed the mold in the pressure tank and left the blanks to harden under around 55psi of pressure to remove the air bubbles. This ensures a solid casting with few to no voids caused by trapped air in the blank. Once the blanks were completely hard I took them out of the pressure chamber and then removed the blanks from the silicon mold.
To prepare the blank for tuning I used the miter saw to cut the blank to size. Remember to always cut the blank slightly larger than the barrel of the pen. I then used the 4 jaw chuck and drilled a 10 mm hole into the center of the blank. The size of the hole you will need to drill into the blank will vary depending on what pen hardware you are using. After installing the pen barrel and gluing it into place. I then used the Pen Barrel Trimmer to flatten the ends of the barrel and blank before placing them pen mandrel.
Using the correct busing for the pen hardware I began turning the pen to shape. This process is quite easy as long as you take your time. Do not rush!! If you try to take cuts that are to aggressive they can and often do shatter the epoxy this can not only ruin the blank it can also make finishing the slightly damaged blank much more difficult as there will be small pieces missing and will need to be filled back in. Make light cuts the full length of the blank is best to get a consistent finish on the blank. While you may shape the blank any way you would like keep in mind that it will need to be comfortable in the hand to be a well functioning pen. (TIP: Make sure to keep your cutting tools as sharp as possible. If you are using a carbide tool then make sure the edge showing is a sharp tool edge. This will give you the best cut results as well as decrease the amount of chipping and tear out.
Once I had the pen barrel shaped I rough sanded the barrel starting with 220 grit sand paper and moved up to 400 grit before applying around 8 coats of Starbond Adhesives CA for the finish. I then wet sanded the finish starting with 600 grit and progressively moved up in grit until finishing with 12000 grit. This gives the finish a very smooth look and once polished will have a high gloss.
To polish the pen barrel I used some EEE-Ultra Shine Turners Wax. Apply the was by hand with the lathe off and then with the lathe speed on low work the wax across the entire pen blank. Then increase the speed of the lathe and apply a bit more pressure to the pen. This will cause a little bit of heat that is needed to polish the pen barrel. Make sure while doing this process not to get to aggressive and apply to much pressure or to hold in one spot on the pen. This can cause the finish to be burned or damaged due to the excess heat and friction. Once the finish is polished whip away any excess with a clean cloth or paper towel.
You can now assemble the pen. This process will differ depending on the style hardware you are using. The only tool needed to to his is a pen press. With each pen hardware kit will come an instructional packed if you do not know the sequence to assemble the pen hardware you are using refer to the instructions and follow them. Some kits require you to place parts at a certain depth within the pen barrel or at certain pressures.
As I stated before I do not like completing one pen at a time. There is simply to much set up required to only turn one pen. So I went ahead and completed the red twist pen as well.
To assemble the twist pen is a pretty simple process that is close to the same no matter the twist pen maker. At least for most slimline and thin-line pen hardware kits. To assemble use the pen press and first press the tip into the end of the pen barrel you would like to have at that position in the pen. Do not over press as this could damage the pen barrel. Once the tip is inserted into place next is the transmission. This is the cylindrical part usually having a small brass tip and indention on one end of the transmission. The small indention is used as a guide for how far to press the transmission into the barrel of the lower section of the pen. The brass end of the transmission will go into the same barrel as the tip of the pen on the opposite end of the barrel from the tip. Press the transmission into place using light pressure ( only enough to move the transmission into place). While pressing the transmission into place also use your free hand to ensure the transmission does not twist or try to go into the barrel at a angle. With the transmission in place insert the pen cartridge and screw it into the back of the transmission. At this point test the transmission by turning it and checking to see if the pen cartridge protrudes from the tip of the pen at the correct amount. Make adjustments to the transmission at this point if needed. Now the center collar can be slid onto the back of the transmission followed by the upper pen barrel. Now place the pocket clip on to the butt-cap of the pen and before pressing the butt-cap into place on the upper pen barrel, make sure you position the pocket clip where you would like it on the pen. Now press the butt-cap into place with light pressure ensuring not to over press the butt cap as it could damage the pen.
Making a pen out of coffee beans is not something I had ever thought about doing before but with the pens completed I really do like the look of them. They are very unique and no two of them could ever be the exact same.
I hope you enjoyed this article If you would like to watch how I made these pens you can check out the video at the top of this page.
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