Custom machined pens
Custom machined pens
Beautiful pens created from your custom design in brass, stainless or titanium.
Beautiful pens created from your custom design in brass, stainless or titanium. Read more
About this project
Design a beautiful, high-quality pen online using my easy-to-use web widget, and I’ll build your pen. Join the maker revolution. I like making things. It's fun. I'd like to share that with other people. In order to do this, I need folks willing to jump into the fray! Please support my project. I think you will be happy with the result.
If pens aren't your thing, It seems like most folks know a pen enthusiast. I would really appreciate it if you pass this project along to them.
What your support will allow me to do:
Funds raised will allow me to invest in some equipment which will make the process more productive. In particular, an automated tool changer for the milling machine will be a big help. Beyond that, acquiring a CNC lathe could allow me to explore more efficient ways to move forward.
More than anything, knowing there's genuine interest will spur me along.
Some of the pluses:
Heirloom quality item
Unique, personal design
Create a design easily and enjoy having someone else build it for you
Made in USA
The Fun of Designing
When I was a child we had a box of seashells that came out on rainy days, and I've always found organic fluted and spiraling shapes compelling.
I didn't think much about it but recently someone pointed out to me that there is a body of work around the power of shapes.
Many folks are intimidated at the prospect of 'being creative'. You are safe to explore creating a design in the privacy of your own home using my user-friendly online widget. Try it – it’s fun! Don’t worry about breaking anything! Draw outside the lines. Listen to your inner artist.
Creating a pen:
1. Choose your pledge. At this step you are selecting the metal from which the pen is made.
2. Create or select a design. At bellisi.me you can access the design widget to create designs and browse designs that others have created and shared. Anyone can create and share multiple designs.
3. Once funding is met and the project closes, information will be collected via Kickstarter survey system in order to complete the fulfillment. If you've selected a pledge which includes an engraved box, you can provide the inscription at that time. You will also be able to indicate which design to use.
Quick overview of design widget:
I haven't sourced boxes yet but they will be something like this:
Here's a sample of laser engraving on a lighter colored wood:
The hardware manufacturer is Schmidt® Technology
Rollerball or fountain tip in gold or silver:
Available in Fine, Medium and Bold. Rollerball takes Schmidt 888 and compatibles.
There are four options when starting a design.
Two start from 5/8" stock for a more substantial pen, such as might be kept on a desk and for more formal usage. The larger stock gives you more material to sculpt. Within this type you can choose to have a threaded post for the cap to screw onto, or not. For this option you can choose 6, 9, 12 or 15 flutes.
The two other choices are more like a pen you might carry in your pocket, having a clip and starting from 1/2 inch stock. This gives you less to sculpt with, and will result in a lighter pen. For this option you can choose 9, 12 or 15 flutes.
Example of a pen starting from 1/2" stock with clip attached by stylus (such as for use with a tablet device) and with a threaded post for securing the cap when in use:
Example of a pen design which allows the cap to be posted (non threaded:
And here's one with a threaded post:
Some titanium examples:
The cap screws are triple start threads. There is an O-ring seal where the cap meets the barrel.
Cap is 2.3" in length
Barrel is 3.3" in length
For brass pen with clip, starting diameter of 1/2", the initial blank weight is 3.42 ounces, 97 grams.
For brass pen without clip, starting diameter of 5/8", the initial blank weight is 6.67 ounces, 189 grams.
For stainless pen with clip, starting diameter of 1/2", the initial blank weight is 3.21 ounces, 91 grams.
For stainless pen without clip, starting diameter of 5/8", the initial blank weight is 6.28 ounces, 178 grams.
For titanium pen with clip, starting diameter of 1/2", the initial blank weight is 1.9 ounces, 54 grams.
For titanium pen without clip, starting diameter of 5/8", the initial blank weight is 3.7 ounces, 105 grams (estimated).
Final weight depends on how much metal is removed to complete the design.
Due to the varying profiles of individual designs there will be variations in surface finish and there are tool marks. Personally, I think of it as a machine finish and most people seem to find it pleasing. I've tried tumble polishing but that removes detail from the flute edges and still does not remove the tool marks. Similar with hand buffing.
In my opinion, the best results I've had are with electropolishing on stainless. It still has tool marks but it's more reflective.
I sent a sample titanium pen for electropolishing. It did not change the appearance much, but the surface has a nicer feel.
Apparently brass can also be electropolished but I have not yet tried this.
I have not tried bead blasting but the samples I was shown left a satin-like finish which I didn't care for.
Of course, if you're a 'maker' type, you could post process these in any way you like, and I'd love to see what folks come up with.
Brass, light polishing (tool marks vary on the amount of rotation):
Electropolished titanium pen:
Thanks for reading this far!
If you wish to create your own designs you will need access to a Java-enabled browser.
You can check your browser at this link:
or go to bellisi.me and test drive the design widget before pledging.
With increasing security concerns around java applets it can be daunting to get the latest version installed and get past the security warnings. We'd rather you checked this first before finding out after pledging that you aren't able to access the design widget.
Some combinations of Apple OS versions and Chrome will not support java, but Safari does.
If you would like to use any of the existing designs, or designs created and shared by others (anyone can create and share designs) then this won't be an issue for you.
Risks and challenges
I'm confident in the process and the software I have used it to make the samples shown on this page using my own equipment. However, producing a substantial number is daunting. Nonetheless I'm up for the challenge.
From users designs I can generate programs to run on automated equipment. The bottleneck currently would be the throughput on my equipment. That said, extra machines could be added and others with machining capacity could be engaged if the response would warrant it.
The making of the blanks could be outsourced so I could focus on the final machining. Outsourcing problems could incur delays. Balancing that, I do have a system in place for machining blanks.
I feel kickstarter is the right place to launch this so as to connect with folks willing to participate in the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (35 days)