Wow, this is the first Update (shame on me!)
However, on the positive side ...we've been toiling away in the background ...and so this Update is going to be a beast :-P
Although we have an excellent vendor for doing the black Cerakote coating ...we really want to try and do it in-house (for a number of reasons... one of which is, hopefully, being able to get your Rewards out faster).
Now, truthfully... we've never done anything like this before (but, hey, before we made pens ...we had never made pens before :-D).
So, for the most of last week, I had Nathan trialing the Cerakote process (we had to import the coating, spray-gun, etc. from the USA).
Long story short:
From what I can tell we have a few little "tweaks" and things to test - but we've pretty much nailed it. Actually, let me re-phrase that, Nathan has pretty much nailed it (credit where credit is due!).
Firstly, all the pens have already been machined and we have started the tumbling process:
Once the Cerakote coating is sprayed on ...it then gets "baked" (but I think they call it curing).
Before the curing of the parts the coating can easily come off. It's the curing of this ceramic-like coating that really hardens it.
We have to hold the parts on pieces of wire so they don't touch each other or anything else while they get cured.
We quickly discovered we needed a way to hold these bits of wire in the oven - and so I made these aluminium plates with 6.5mm deep holes (143 holes in each plate!):
We wanted to get up and running fairly quickly...
And so last Monday I spent the day making a "quick and dirty" ventilated spray-booth for Nathan.
It is made from aluminium and core-flute (kind of a plastic-like cardboard). It is lit inside with a 5-metre strip of LEDs ...and works fairly well:
Here is a shot of some pens we were trailing the coating (they are just out of the curing process):
We have the coating smooth and hard. The last thing we are working on now is the consistency around the barrel of the pen (we're pretty much there ...but kind of like to get it perfect if we can).
And I think that is about it.
I hope this helps make up for my lack of contact with you since the project ended!
To impossibly high standards,