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  • Bolt Action Pen

    Mentioned in another thread that i had a few projects on my workbench that required me to slap my lathe back together. This wasnt technically one of them, but i had the lathe back together, had 6 feet of 1/2" round 304 from another project, and damnit all if i wasnt really bloody tired of having pens break in my pocket.


    Turned out pretty nice if i do say so myself. Last time i worked with 304 was a complete nightmare, this time I didnt have any issued with it. Mustve had a bad bar or something last time, it work hardened if you so much as looked at it funny. This time though, no trouble at all, even drilling a 2.5" depth .22" hole went well, though took a while. Doing that made me realize just why tool post mounted drill chucks are a thing! Not quite finished with this one yet, i need to make a pocket clip and cut in some form of grip, as well as re-make the ink pusher barrel thingy. Pocket clip is going to be a basic bent sheet metal part, nothing fancy, ditto with the grip. I was thinking some v grooves, just something to give a little more grippiness. The pusher technically works as-is, but the construction is different from what it should be

    Fun build, though the planning was a bit of a bear. Fusion 360 and I arent the best of friends. As far as the plans go, while these are all mine i will admit i did pull inspiration from Jer's Workshops build of a similar style pen:
    http://jerswoodshop.com/my-homemade-bolt-action-pen/

    Ill be happy to share my plans as well, soon as i figure out where i screwed up... Despite everything matching the prints near exactly, and the mechanism itself working perfectly in the prints, the actual pen wont push the ink far enough forward by about 1/4". Need to figure out where i screwed up on that. Using it a bit, i do also wish i had a .22" reamer on hand that i couldve used on the barrel, the pusher movement is a little rough on the drilled surface

  • #2
    Nice looking pen!
    Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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    • #3
      Very nice work. I gave away a half dozen as Christmas presents last year, and while mine were functional I do not think they are as pretty as yours. I did mine completely on the lathe with hand written plans and notes. I do CAD everyday as part of my injection mold business. It was a pleasant change to do it all "old school."

      I am sure you are aware, but 304 absolutely abhors dull cutters and dull drill bits. Even bits and cutters that are "pretty sharp" may harden 304 pretty quickly. I did mine only using bits from my box from Precision twist drill, and even their grind was a bit of a problem. When I started taking bits to the grinder results improved several hundred percent. I think I drilled a dozen bodies all together. The first three on the factory grinds before chowder occurred, and then all the rest and still going on my 3 facet regrind. The tip was drilled with a carbide drill bit from Precise bits. Once I found the right feed and feel that went really quickly. It was just a touch shorter than I would have liked.

      Anyway, I very heartily commend your results. Nice job.

      ***********
      I have to add a correction. I milled the bolt slot on one of the mills. Did only one manually, then just CNC milled the rest of the bolt slots. You don't get to see a picture of mine. Yours is prettier. LOL.
      Last edited by Bob La Londe; 08-30-2018, 06:14 PM.
      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bob La Londe View Post
        Very nice work. I gave away a half dozen as Christmas presents last year, and while mine were functional I do not think they are as pretty as yours. I did mine completely on the lathe with hand written plans and notes. I do CAD everyday as part of my injection mold business. It was a pleasant change to do it all "old school."

        I am sure you are aware, but 304 absolutely abhors dull cutters and dull drill bits. Even bits and cutters that are "pretty sharp" may harden 304 pretty quickly. I did mine only using bits from my box from Precision twist drill, and even their grind was a bit of a problem. When I started taking bits to the grinder results improved several hundred percent. I think I drilled a dozen bodies all together. The first three on the factory grinds before chowder occurred, and then all the rest and still going on my 3 facet regrind. The tip was drilled with a carbide drill bit from Precise bits. Once I found the right feed and feel that went really quickly. It was just a touch shorter than I would have liked.

        Anyway, I very heartily commend your results. Nice job.

        ***********
        I have to add a correction. I milled the bolt slot on one of the mills. Did only one manually, then just CNC milled the rest of the bolt slots. You don't get to see a picture of mine. Yours is prettier. LOL.
        Oh, believe me, i found that one out pretty bloody fast! My first project with 304 i didnt think i started off with 'dull' bits or tools, used a few times sure, but still plenty sharp i thought. They were not. The other thing i found out doing this one is that 304 does like a heavy feed, im used to giving just enough pressure to let the tool cut and not trying to force things, drilling and milling this stuff it seemed like the harder i pushed it the better results. Gentle pressure and slow speeds on the drill, even a sharp one, chatter city. Giving it the beans at a moderate rpm? Like butter. Takes some getting used too, thats for sure, be making a few more of these just to get the practice in. Its fun when it works.

        Doubt mine is prettier though, the photos just make it look better. Really it just looks like a length of 3/8 stainless rod with an okay surface finish. Vertical shear bit leaves a beautiful cut, though i shouldve slowed the feed down a bit, you can feel some well defined ridges. Makes for an okay grip though, so im gonna call that an accidental success. Now if only the inside looked as okay as the outside, actions a little rough cause of the bore being, well, crappy. Notes for the next one i guess, sharper drill, clear chips more, plenty of actual cutting oil instead of wd-40 and hope, and a .22 reamer to finish things off

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        • #5
          https://www.dropbox.com/s/1s7jlvuyhn...%20v4.pdf?dl=0

          The blueprints, for anybody interested. Not perfect by any means, but they do have all the critical dimensions and hopefully is enough to go off of. Only thing not modeled is the little thumb nib, its pretty much a 1/4 disc on a 1/8 shaft anyway and by the time i got to that i never wanted to touch Fusion 360 again. Securing the thumb nib to the ink pusher thingymajigger can be done either by tapping the pusher hole to 4-40 and threading the shaft of the nib, or by leaving the shaft on the nib straight, feeding that into a reamed 1/8 hole in the pusher, and putting a set screw in the end of the pusher to lock everything in the place. Between the 2 i like the second more, and the pusher has room for a 6-32 grub screw.

          Let me know if theres anything i missed on the plans, or anything i can clear up. All thats needed is about 8 inches of 1/2" or thereabouts material (really only 3/8, but i used 1/2 so i could turn down the outside diameter to get that 3/8) and a zebra F series ink refill and spring. Ill have to get back to you on a belt clip, but all that im planning on using is some 22 gauge stainless sheet and a few 2-56 button head cap screws

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          • #6
            Figured out the issue with my prints! Somewhere between measuring the parts and the CAD, i modeled the inck cartridge 1/4" longer than it was. Easy fix, shorten the upper barrels hole by 1/4", take the same 1/4" off the solid end. Ill have an updated print up before long for anybody who wants it

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            • #7
              Be careful with that thing if you take a plane trip. I think the TSA may not be happy to allow you on board with a bolt action .22!
              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
              USA Maryland 21030

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              • #8
                https://www.dropbox.com/s/4yv51veysu...%20v5.pdf?dl=0

                Update sheet with the fixed dimensions, just shortened the barrel by the needed 1/4". I think that was all that it needed... Ill find out one way or another when i go to make the next one!

                Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                Be careful with that thing if you take a plane trip. I think the TSA may not be happy to allow you on board with a bolt action .22!
                Gave me a pretty good chuckle with that one, cheers!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Very nice, and thanks for sharing your plans. I'd like to make myself a copy once I get through my massive shop re-org and I can reach my lathe again. Other than the fact that you had it around, was there any reason to use 304? I know 304 can sometimes be dodgy to machine and 303 machines so much more predictably and nicely. Just curious if there was some reason I not obvious to me for the 304.

                  Also, was it designed around any particular ink refill?

                  Thanks again for sharing. Nice work.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alanganes View Post
                    Very nice, and thanks for sharing your plans. I'd like to make myself a copy once I get through my massive shop re-org and I can reach my lathe again. Other than the fact that you had it around, was there any reason to use 304? I know 304 can sometimes be dodgy to machine and 303 machines so much more predictably and nicely. Just curious if there was some reason I not obvious to me for the 304.

                    Also, was it designed around any particular ink refill?

                    Thanks again for sharing. Nice work.
                    I strongly recommend it, it was a surprisingly fun project. Nothing too fancy about it, just basic drilling, turning and threading, but sometimes basic is fun, takes a lot of stress out of things, plus you have one hell of a conversation piece. Surprised my boss with this one, he couldnt believe i made it or how well the 2 parts fit together. I didnt have the heart to point out the fit of the parts was nothing special, i just made sure to leave a somewhat rough finish that disguised the seam

                    No particular reason for my material selection other than i had a seperate project come up that requires stainless that day, and the closest metal supplier to me only carries 304. Lemme tell you, i DID NOT want to use 304 for anything after the last time i tried machining it and lost 3 drill bits, 2 end mills, a dovetail cutter and a reamer to it, but i figured this time around why not? No real design concern behind it, at least not to me. Dont believe the tolerances or movement on any of the parts is enough to worry about galling, corrosion is my only worry. Cant see why 303 wouldnt work, personally id love to get some 416 and try that. Precision machined and hardened stainless steel pen? Pointless, but fun bragging rights. Could probably do this just fine in brass or even aluminium at the cost of some durability.

                    These were designed around Zebra F series refills, my personal favorite type of pen. Theyre cheap and pretty readily available. You could probably tweak the plans to work with other brands of ink refills, but i wont be much help there. Plans are easy to tweak though, none of the dimensions are overly critical and construction is deceptively simple

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                    • #11
                      Good choice on the Zebra F refill, that's what I would have used myself. It's my go-to favorite pen as well.

                      I figured the material choice was just what was at hand. I think I have some bits of 303 stock around here, I'll likely go with that as it machines really nicely.

                      I don't think this is at all pointless, really. I have the same issue as the guy in the video you linked, I'm kept breaking pens that I keep in my pockets. So I tend to not carry one around with me and then I get all crabby because I don't have a pen when I want one. So a solid pocket-rugged pen has practical value and on top of it you get to say you made it yourself.


                      Thanks for the info.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post
                        https://www.dropbox.com/s/4yv51veysu...%20v5.pdf?dl=0

                        Update sheet with the fixed dimensions, just shortened the barrel by the needed 1/4". I think that was all that it needed... Ill find out one way or another when i go to make the next one!

                        Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                        Be careful with that thing if you take a plane trip. I think the TSA may not be happy to allow you on board with a bolt action .22!
                        Gave me a pretty good chuckle with that one, cheers!

                        Its only half a joke. TSA has had mixed reactions to "tactical" pens. Some have been allowed on, and others have been confiscated. I don't know if anybody has been arrested.
                        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Bob La Londe;1193125]Its only half a joke. TSA has had mixed reactions to "tactical" pens. Some have been allowed on, and others have been confiscated. I don't know if anybody has been arrested.[/QUOT
                          My experience with the TSA is that they will confiscate dangerous but not illegal items AND they will do a quick interview. In my case it was pepper spray in my laptop bag. You explain that it was not intentional and they put your name etc into some database somewhere. That's all. Then they let you go on your merry way.

                          I don't know if it's related, but we were tagged for "random search" many times after that. It was notable since we were flying once a month, and knew what to look for in the boarding pass so we knew when we were going to be pulled aside for a more thorough screening. 6 times in a year could be random, but ....
                          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                          Location: SF East Bay.

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