This is my first blog post associated with penmanufactory.com (work in progress, hope to be able to take orders soon).
If you're coming over from Economy Pens, welcome!
penmanufactory.com is my garage startup where the goal is to allow anyone to design a writing instrument and then manufacture it for them on CNC equipment. Below is a video my neighbor produced for me (my performance is slightly embarrassing, but oh well.)
In the video a wood twist pen is being cut. Originally I was working from pen kits but found them too confining. Also for the time being we have moved away from wood and have been cutting mainly stainless steel and brass. Also will likely do anodized aluminum and some plastics.
Through a mutual friend I was able to connect with Alex Witte of aforementioned Economy Pens blog, and Alex was able to answer many if not all of my questions about what pen enthusiasts are really looking for. I also had many questions on what hardware was available, desirable, etc.
After those discussions, I've decided to attempt to make some fountain pens with caps, the cap and the barrel being closed on one end. For me, this adds more sculptural space to work in, and eliminates the need to acquire hardware to close the ends. Here are some renderings (via Blender) of a few designs I generated just to get a taste of what these designs might be:
I have about 10 sets of Schmidt broad nib fountain pen hardware sets so the plan is to build these (using snap on caps) . Building these will allow us to test and refine our processes, and get feedback as to how much interest there is (I hope).
After building those the next step will be to build pens with threaded caps.
I think this basic style of pen and cap will support a variety of fountain pen hardware and rolling ball refill sizes. The Schmidt hardware i have is about .350" in diameter, so when starting from 5/8" (.625) stock, that leaves approximately .1375" of depth to play with in the design. By having closed ends, those can go down to zero at the tip which I think makes for more interesting possibilities.
Roller ball refills seem to be about .25" diameter which gives about .1875" (3/16) to sculpt.
Of course, we could start with 3/4" (.750) stock if there were demand for it.
Here's a pic of a pen cut from stainless using a Zen Magnetic Rollerball kit:
Thanks for reading this far. Please don't hesitate to provide me with any feedback (comments or email) you have, it's extremely useful to me.