Sunday, September 7, 2014

In-house cast Polyester Resin pens

The market is flooded with pen blanks made from Acrylic, Polyester and a few more synthetic materials. I am always pursuing innovative ways to differentiate the pens I am offering. Casting my own pen blanks was something I had in mind for a long time. Finally, after much trial and error, I am able to make polyester resin (PR) blanks that I can offer to the fountain pen fans.

Casting PR may seem easy, based on numerous videos posted online. However, there are a few challenges you come across. First, and most critical, is the issue of bubbles in your material. Second, is the mold itself and making sure that you get a cast released from the mold. Third, making sure you are doing something different than many others who are casting the blanks.

The bubbles issue needs most attention. I have had many blanks wasted because of this issue. There are two ways to address this, one is to use pressure casting and the other to de-vac the material before casting. I chose to de-vac the material before casting, which means I use a vacuum chamber to remove all the bubbles while the material is still unset. So far, this has proven quite effective.

Mold release was another challenge. The use of PVC pipes did not prove to be as affective. Use of paper tubes instead worked great and there is no need to release the cast, you simply machine the paper out.

To make blanks that are different from the rest, I developed my own method of pouring the material into the mold. This is the USP and something I would not like to discuss right now.

Here are a few pictures of the pens:

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