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Thread: Drill bits for pen blanks

  1. #1
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    Question Drill bits for pen blanks

    After finally getting a drill chuck for the lathe (and getting it to work properly!) I decided to try drilling some pen blanks. I got a 7mm bit from PSI and find it to make the holes somewhat over sized. The CA glue I had been using just can't hold the tubes in the blanks I drilled. Is this a common issue?

  2. #2
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    Check the bit with a mic and see if it is undersized. That can happen. Not real common. Get some 5 or 15 minute epoxy and use that instead of CA to glue the tube. I have never had a tube fail since I started using epoxy several years ago. Make sure you sand (rough up) the tube before glueing it in.

    Lots of videos on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...in+a+pen+blank.
    "We the People ......"

  3. #3
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    I've had several drill bits from Penn State that ended up drilling holes that were too big for the tube. (Had it happen once with a bit from Arizona Silhouette, too.) In one case, the holes were ridiculously oversized, and of course it was for one of Penn State's most expensive kits. It was at that point I vowed to not buy any more of their products. Paul's suggestion for epoxy is a good one, but I'd also find a better source for a new 7mm drill bit (some of the real pen turners here will have suggestions) and toss the one from Penn State.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  4. #4
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    That's why I always drill a trial hole in a piece of scrap wood & try the brass tube for fit.

    HTH

    Col
    A tidy workshop is the sign of a sick mind.

    www.bouvardbush.com

  5. #5
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    +1 on epoxy for gluing in the tubes...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  6. #6
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    You're having some wobbling from not centering your starter hole. If you are using a jobber bit, it will happen every time. The longer the hole...and Slims have a long tube, the more deviation you'll find. If you get way into pens, get a hole starter bit...Little Machine shop and other places have sets for cheap! Only way to get a straight shot every time. After that, a brad point bit is your friend. With an even bore, no need for epoxy, thick CA is made for just that purpose.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  7. #7
    Hi,
    The most reliable drills for my penmaking since the 80,s has been the DeWALT EXTREME 2 the 7mm version is HSS-G 7mm DIN 338 DT5050 originally developed for drilling Stainless Steel made in the good old USA. It was discontinued for a while for Slimlines I have drilled up to 800 blanks per drill, because they have a true mini drill point cant sharpen them, do the maths just how cheap can you get, the dont track for me no breakouts I never change my drill press speed fairly fast and be careful the drill is sharp on the flutes and deserves respect, available in many sizes.

    In respect to even the most expensive drills I have ever used I take in Calipers or a Micrometer and measure all drills for critical use place them in baggies marked with the rael size usually drill a fraction under and use my real old Hercus Metal Lathe and various cutters to finish sizes. Works for me.
    Have success Peter.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col Smith View Post
    That's why I always drill a trial hole in a piece of scrap wood & try the brass tube for fit.

    HTH

    Col
    Me too... I want a nice snug fit when I insert the tube...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  9. #9
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    Hitchins, Kentucky (Northeastern part of the state.)
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    Picked up some epoxy today and ordered a starter set from Little Machine Shop. Next, I'll be looking at drill bits. I'm off tomorrow so I hope to be able to get some time in the shop. Thank you for the responses!

  10. #10
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    Like Jim mentioned brad point bits are your friend. Since I have changed all my pen bits to brad point I haven't had a problem. Above all crank your bit in slow. I use 5 minute epoxy on all my pen kits, toothpick and pill holder kits. I also use dental sheet wax to plug the ends to keep the glue out of the tubes.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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