A desire to make pens with a unique look has led me to making up my own resin blanks. This is an easy way to use all sorts of materials to give you that one- of- a- kind pen. I am using the slim line kit as the basis in this article.
Moulds are a "pain" so I chose to have disposable one's using recycled cardboard. Packaging is a great source for this as there is a never ending supply. Smooth faced cardboard, as in old post cards, will come away from the resin cleanly, but it is not important as the mould is sacrificed anyway.
The mould " former" can be made from an old broomstick, about 22-25mm in diameter.
Cut cardboard material to the length of the " former " (about 160mm ) The width will need to be cut at about one and a half times the circumference of the " former ".
Roll the cardboard around the " former" keeping it tight and smooth as you go. Some cardboards have a "grain" and they roll best in that direction, if this is so, do it that way as it gives the best results.
When rolled, tape the mould along the entire overlap using any kind of sticky tape. A moisture proof one is probably the best as it will keep the resin from leaking through. You now have your mould.
You now need to make the mandrels for the brass tubes on which to build your pen blank. The rod needs to be long enough to have the two tubes mounted, plus about 50mm or so, allowing it to be mounted into the base etc.(about170mm) The base should be the same diameter as the "former" with the correct sized hole to fit the rod drilled center at one end and a center point put into the other end.
I use first aid tape to secure the tubes onto the mandrel . Wrap it around the rod twice at the base and then slip the brass tube down onto the tape. It will partly fit over the tape , thereby sealing the end of the tube so that the resin will not be able to leak in.
At the top of the tube, again use about two wraps of tape around the rod, this time wrapping it over the top 1mm of the brass tube to seal out the resin.
Slide on the top tube going partly down over the tape to seal the end, then bind up the top by again wrapping over the top 1mm of the tube. By wrapping a layer of tape over the remaining rod you will make it easy to remove any resin that may get onto it.
Now you can create your own design/material blank using anything at all. One thing to bear in mind is thickness, as the blank will have to be tapered into the nib etc, and you need to avoid cutting into the materials under the resin. There is no limit to what can be done, this is the fun of the whole project.!!!.
When finished with the blank fit the mould over the base and tape it up, keeping the mandrel rod at the top centred in the mould. Use quite a few wraps to make sure the mold and base are secured to each other firmly.
I have had very good results with clear casting resin. Temperature is a big factor with it, and you need to "play" a little to get it right.
Make up a stand to put the moulds in so that they are upright and steady when you pour in the resin. Put in a little extra to allow for sag and shrinkage. Due to the high outside temperature I need to put a cooling fan behind the poured moulds to reduce some of the heat generated during the curing process.
Generally after 12 hours the castings are ready to be worked on. Peel off the mould as best you can, and clean up the top of the rod by scraping away the tape that was wrapped there.
Mount the blank in the lathe by fixing the end of the rod in a Jacob's chuck and engaging the live center into the base center that you provided. You can now turn off all the remaining mould material and bring the blank down to round.
Using a very narrow parting-off tool and a measure you will be able to separate the two parts of the blank. By cutting through to the tape you are able to get the two pieces to slide off the mandrel. Now with your blanks finished, it is just a matter of turning up the desired shape and style to have that unique pen.!!!!!!!!