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Do any of the pen makers here have experience using carbon fiber in a made from scratch pen?

 

I recently purchased a pen made from a kit with a carbon fiber tube and cap, which is really beautiful, but it is a bit heavier than I prefer.

 

Thanks, Grayling

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paultyler_82

I have experience in using CF to make other things from scratch. Are you asking if it's possible to make a pen from just CF parts?

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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I have experience in using CF to make other things from scratch. Are you asking if it's possible to make a pen from just CF parts?

 

Yes, the standard items, i.e. cap, barrel and section. If that's not possible, then with less metal than a kit uses or a substitute material that would reduce the weight of the pen.

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Bruce Markwardt

You could always sleeve the cap and barrel with the material of your choice. Like many do with wood bodied pens.

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Depending on the method used by whoever made your carbon-fiber kit pen, it might be possible to remove the metal fittings and replace them with custom-made matching parts made from (for example) ebonite or a resin-based material.

 

The weight of the brass tubes inside the barrel and cap segments is minor compared with the weight of the castings in the kit.

 

That's something I'd be willing to undertake if you want to go that route.

Duncan Suss

 

Website: Fruit Of The Lathe

Facebook: FruitOfTheLathe

 

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paultyler_82

Well, the brass fittings and tubes in a kit pen are going to be a big part of the weight. The CF blanks I've seen for sale are CF tube encased in resin. CF fabric itself is an extremely light material, finished weight of structural CF is dependant upon the resin component of the CF. Unlike these blanks, in car and motorcycle CF, such as body panels, we try to lay up and cure the fabric with the least resin possible, enough to give the composite rigidity, while relying on the CF fabric for strength and stability. Too much resin leads to extra weight, an undesirable thing when the point is to drop curb weight.

For pens, the problem areas are at the threading and at the closed end of barrel and cap. You are going to need other materials, I just can't see a way around that. As for doing the CF for pens the way I did it for cars, I just don't see many turners wanting to add that headache of a process to their penmaking. Honestly, for a pen, the blanks out there are fine, as is the concept of laminating CF onto a barrel.

Edited by paultyler_82

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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especially considering the possibility of using CF for the section as well that I dont see highly likely is a possibility... you will probably end up with something like Ebonite probably but thats how far my intuition goes unless you can find a way to cast the CF into the nib collar (assuming your working with JoWo, Boch and Scmidt collared sections) but in the end I still think you will be needing metallic threads for overall integrity

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I still think you will be needing metallic threads for overall integrity

 

I disagree.

 

There are many materials that can be threaded successfully. You mentioned ebonite, others include but are not limited to: alumilite, poly-resin, acrylic acetate ...

Duncan Suss

 

Website: Fruit Of The Lathe

Facebook: FruitOfTheLathe

 

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I disagree.

 

There are many materials that can be threaded successfully. You mentioned ebonite, others include but are not limited to: alumilite, poly-resin, acrylic acetate ...

if going for the pure CF route then thats where the metallic threads come in... I'm not sure if CF (on its bare form) can handle chasing very well considering the inside part of the barrel may not be coated enough with the resin (be that epoxy or similar types)...

Edited by Algester
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if going for the pure CF route then thats where the metallic threads come in... I'm not sure if CF (on its bare form) can handle chasing very well considering the inside part of the barrel may not be coated enough with the resin (be that epoxy or similar types)...

 

It's not necessary to make the threaded inserts from metal.

Duncan Suss

 

Website: Fruit Of The Lathe

Facebook: FruitOfTheLathe

 

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It's not necessary to make the threaded inserts from metal.

so just something substantial huh I guess Ebonite could work... but either way I do not have access to CF nor do I have the equipment to experiment...

 

A carbon fiber pen lined with ebonite... it should'nt be that heavy then I suppose?

Edited by Algester
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paultyler_82

especially considering the possibility of using CF for the section as well that I dont see highly likely is a possibility... you will probably end up with something like Ebonite probably but thats how far my intuition goes unless you can find a way to cast the CF into the nib collar (assuming your working with JoWo, Boch and Scmidt collared sections) but in the end I still think you will be needing metallic threads for overall integrity

Correct, there is no way to thread CF. Let me walk you and everyone else through the process so the headaches of building a from-scratch, near complete CF pen become clear.

For simplification sake, I'm going to detail a streamlined shape, using CF fabric tube.

Step 1 - select your diameter, keeping in mind that your ID and OD are going to be only the thickness of CF in difference, a few mm. If you need more thickness, you will have to use multiple ply of tubes, concentric with each other.

Step 2 - Build your molds. You will need to build inner and outer negative molds that will hold your fabric to shape while you apply the epoxy and while the epoxy cures. In this case, only an inner mold made of shaped dowels of proper diameter would work fine. Your molds need to be coated in a glossy gelcoat and need to have a layer of mold release wax applied before lay up.

Step 3 - Cut and shape your tubes. You will need a special set of shears, like Kevlar, Nomex, and Technor, this stuff does not cut right with standard shears. For a streamlined shape, i would cut to length, then cut triangles in the top that would allow you to gather the top into a dome.

Step 4 - Molding and epoxy. Once my molds (the dowels) are waxed with mold release, I would place the fabric on the molds and brush a layer of epoxy onto them. Next, I would apply peel ply or release film to the outside followed by an absorbant cloth layer called the breather/bleeder. The whole bit gets stuffed in a vac bag and vacuum is applied while the part cures.

Step 5 - Finishing and polishing. You'll need to take the cloth and film off, de-mold the part and polish it. To finish, you'll need to bond a secondary piece of material, as needed, in order to have something for your threading. Proper CF will NOT have enough epoxy surface to take a thread, and your tap or die will only splinter the core of graphite fibers.

 

There are ways of prebonding metal or plastic fittings into your CF at the time of molding, however this necessitates more than one ply and adds complexity to the steps I've given here. If this sounds like a major pain in the rear to you, you're a sane person and now understand why true* lightweight CF pens don't exist. If this doesn't sound like a pain... it will after you've tried to make your first CF part.

 

(* I'm not meaning to say that the CF pens out there aren't real CF, that isn't the case, that is real CF fabric in there. What I am saying is that all current CF pens are made from CF encapsulated in a thick polymer layer or are laminated onto a substrate material like metal. None of them are made with the autoclave or vacuum low epoxy methods that are used to make lightweight high strength application parts such as car, aerospace and motorcycle parts. In their defense... those mass produced aftermarket CF car hoods and trunks are not made to performance standards either. Many of those are very resin-heavy and offer little weight savings over the steel they are replacing. They are, as are the current pens, made for looks, which, in a pen, is fine for me.)

Edited by paultyler_82

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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paultyler_82

I didn't mention the section in my post, but due to the fact that CF, as I detailed it being made, has little dimensional volume, the section would have to be made as two parts. You would have to make the inner sleeve that holds the nib unit (feed, nib and jowo/bock/schneider style carrier.) Then you would have to make your outer grip. These two would be set concentric and epoxied together, being hollow inside or filled with foam, nomex honeycomb, tyvek shreds, etc. Your section base, threaded outside to screw into the barrel and inside to let the nib unit screw into it, would have to be made from plastic or ebonite and then bonded to the CF upper section.

Alternatively, you could make a pseudo-section grip like on the TWSBI 530/540/580 out of one piece of CF.

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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paultyler_82

If I was asked to make a pure (as pure as you could get, anyway) CF pen, you would not like my price quote.

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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Correct, there is no way to thread CF. Let me walk you and everyone else through the process so the headaches of building a from-scratch, near complete CF pen become clear.

For simplification sake, I'm going to detail a streamlined shape, using CF fabric tube.

Step 1 - select your diameter, keeping in mind that your ID and OD are going to be only the thickness of CF in difference, a few mm. If you need more thickness, you will have to use multiple ply of tubes, concentric with each other.

Step 2 - Build your molds. You will need to build inner and outer negative molds that will hold your fabric to shape while you apply the epoxy and while the epoxy cures. In this case, only an inner mold made of shaped dowels of proper diameter would work fine. Your molds need to be coated in a glossy gelcoat and need to have a layer of mold release wax applied before lay up.

Step 3 - Cut and shape your tubes. You will need a special set of shears, like Kevlar, Nomex, and Technor, this stuff does not cut right with standard shears. For a streamlined shape, i would cut to length, then cut triangles in the top that would allow you to gather the top into a dome.

Step 4 - Molding and epoxy. Once my molds (the dowels) are waxed with mold release, I would place the fabric on the molds and brush a layer of epoxy onto them. Next, I would apply peel ply or release film to the outside followed by an absorbant cloth layer called the breather/bleeder. The whole bit gets stuffed in a vac bag and vacuum is applied while the part cures.

Step 5 - Finishing and polishing. You'll need to take the cloth and film off, de-mold the part and polish it. To finish, you'll need to bond a secondary piece of material, as needed, in order to have something for your threading. Proper CF will NOT have enough epoxy surface to take a thread, and your tap or die will only splinter the core of graphite fibers.

 

There are ways of prebonding metal or plastic fittings into your CF at the time of molding, however this necessitates more than one ply and adds complexity to the steps I've given here. If this sounds like a major pain in the rear to you, you're a sane person and now understand why true* lightweight CF pens don't exist. If this doesn't sound like a pain... it will after you've tried to make your first CF part.

 

(* I'm not meaning to say that the CF pens out there aren't real CF, that isn't the case, that is real CF fabric in there. What I am saying is that all current CF pens are made from CF encapsulated in a thick polymer layer or are laminated onto a substrate material like metal. None of them are made with the autoclave or vacuum low epoxy methods that are used to make lightweight high strength application parts such as car, aerospace and motorcycle parts. In their defense... those mass produced aftermarket CF car hoods and trunks are not made to performance standards either. Many of those are very resin-heavy and offer little weight savings over the steel they are replacing. They are, as are the current pens, made for looks, which, in a pen, is fine for me.)

 

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you could build a pen from another material and attach the carbon fiber tubes over the cap and barrel. While this would not give a pure carbon fiber pen, it would give the appearance I'm looking for with a much reduced weight from your typical metal kit pen. It also sounds like the cost would be much reduced versus a pure carbon fiber or mostly carbon fiber pen. Does that sound right?

 

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my original post.

 

- Grayling

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paultyler_82

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you could build a pen from another material and attach the carbon fiber tubes over the cap and barrel. While this would not give a pure carbon fiber pen, it would give the appearance I'm looking for with a much reduced weight from your typical metal kit pen. It also sounds like the cost would be much reduced versus a pure carbon fiber or mostly carbon fiber pen. Does that sound right?

 

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my original post.

 

- Grayling

That is correct, that is called laminating and it's one of the ways that current production CF fountain pens are made. It's much more practical and economical. If you had to have a 'pure' CF pen, I would have to quote $1200 or more. Edited by paultyler_82

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you could build a pen from another material and attach the carbon fiber tubes over the cap and barrel. While this would not give a pure carbon fiber pen, it would give the appearance I'm looking for with a much reduced weight from your typical metal kit pen. It also sounds like the cost would be much reduced versus a pure carbon fiber or mostly carbon fiber pen. Does that sound right?

 

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my original post.

 

- Grayling

 

or you can make a hybrid of sorts and use 2 materials 1 being CF for the major sections (basic barrel and probably a section the section I would advise to be laminated with CF if you so wish to have a CF section) and 2 another material probably ebonite for lining and furniture? you can also use metal trims if you wish

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Why can't one mold the tubes with extra resin at the places where threading would be needed? That way it would all be integral and threading would be easy and effective - not digging into the CF fabric.

 

Just a thought.

 

Cheers,

Rich

Classic Guilloché ------------ www.argentblue.com ------------Damascus Steel

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Why can't one mold the tubes with extra resin at the places where threading would be needed? That way it would all be integral and threading would be easy and effective - not digging into the CF fabric.

 

Just a thought.

 

Cheers,

Rich

 

because of how resined CF cures (thermo reactive resin is mostly the case of curing CF molds) there's is no way you can make extra resin for threading before curing the CF without probably destroying the resin part this is integral knowledge if you deal with CF as your main material like fishing rods or bikes... however you can probably make a resin insert and piece it together with epoxy or similar strength adhesive once the CF resin cures

 

COMPLETELY OUT OF TOPIC

Let's make this thread a reality people... and probably we can send 1 CF pen to Brian Goulet to commemorate the discontinued Nighthawk

and this thread is relevant to my interest since I have ideas of making a CF pen in the near future... however I do know that sealing the CF needs epoxy... how can you make a matte finished epoxy... without destroying the looks of the CF

Edited by Algester
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