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Pen turning speeds (Read 459 times)
 
Anthony maida
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Pen turning speeds
Sep 9th, 2017 at 2:31pm
 
Hello
        What are good lathe speeds for pen turning?
        How slow and how fast? Thanks Anthony
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Arlin Eastman
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #1 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 3:36pm
 
Anthony

I have and teach the vets to turn pens as fast as they feel comfortable in doing or me as fast as the machine will almost go.
Most of the time if a small mini lathe could go 4000rpm I will turn it at 2800 to 3400 rpm and only sand at 600 to 800 rpm at the fastest.

Also when I turn the pens I only go to a nail width from the bushing and send to the right thickness.

I can not wait to see what you make.  Thumbs Up
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Anthony maida
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #2 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 5:32pm
 
Thanks Arlin
                     I have turned pens before,I have  a nova 1624
                     and I would like to get a small lathe with
                     variable speed, because my nova does not.
                     I don,t want to spend a lot of money,I just
                     want to do only pens on it.I see Harbor freight
                     has a cheap mini,I,have heard good and bad on
                     it. Also Grizzly has one for about two hundred.
                                                                        Thanks again Anthony
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Ed Weber
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #3 - Sep 10th, 2017 at 9:25am
 
If you already have a lathe capable of turning pens (just not Electronic Variable speed) you could always upgrade it.
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Steve Kniffen
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #4 - Sep 10th, 2017 at 4:34pm
 
I turn pens on my midi or on my Jet 1642.  Both have variable speeds and I typically turn at 2500-3000.  Both lathes will go faster, that's just where I've gotten comfortable. 
Steve
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Ed Weber
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #5 - Sep 10th, 2017 at 4:56pm
 
Steve Kniffen wrote on Sep 10th, 2017 at 4:34pm:
that's just where I've gotten comfortable. 


That's the correct speed.
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Tom Coghill
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #6 - Sep 11th, 2017 at 10:55am
 
Turn fast, making thin gentle cuts.

Sand slow and in the end stop the lathe and sand with the grain by hand.
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Glenn Matthies
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #7 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 6:23am
 
Generally you want to increase your lathe speed because the diameter of what you are turning is small.  Turn your speed up until you are comfortable with it.  Although I have a digital read out on my Jet 1642, I rarely set it to a specific value regardless what I am turning.  Set your lathe to a comfortable speed.  If it feels like you are not at the right speed, change it to something in your comfort zone.  Sanding, however, should be done slower to minimize heat buildup and cracking.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #8 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 8:25am
 
Glenn Matthies wrote on Sep 12th, 2017 at 6:23am:
Generally you want to increase your lathe speed because the diameter of what you are turning is small.  Turn your speed up until you are comfortable with it.  Although I have a digital read out on my Jet 1642, I rarely set it to a specific value regardless what I am turning.  Set your lathe to a comfortable speed.  If it feels like you are not at the right speed, change it to something in your comfort zone.  Sanding, however, should be done slower to minimize heat buildup and cracking.


EXACTLY!  Thumbs Up

No matter what you're turning, RPM's are a "guide only".
There are basic (physics based) rules as Glenn mentioned but considering that every one and every piece of wood is different, it's impossible to have "carved in stone" set rules for speed.
You need to strike a balance between comfort, control and efficiency that works for you.
In the end, it's ultimately the look of the final product. I don't think by looking at one of my pieces you can tell what speed it was turned at.
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Tom Coghill
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #9 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 10:51am
 
Attached below is what Ed is talking about.  In this example it gives a range (the grey area) that this person felt was acceptable speeds based on maximum outside diameter.

As you see, pens are well below the lowest range of this chart, so seldom can one turn a pen too fast for the materials.

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE for SOUND WOOD.  You should (again, like Ed has already stated) use this as a guide, not a rule.  If your wood blank has cracks, it will FLY APART CAUSING HARM  Smiley Smiley Smiley if it is turned too fast.

PS - not all cracks are visible

I hope this helps to answer your question and to help pass along good information to others. Thumbs Up
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Anthony maida
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #10 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 8:16pm
 
Thanks everyone for the info.For sanding what is the slowest
speed you can go? 500? or a little faster 800 -1000?
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Glenn Matthies
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #11 - Sep 13th, 2017 at 9:54am
 
Anthony maida wrote on Sep 12th, 2017 at 8:16pm:
Thanks everyone for the info.For sanding what is the slowest
speed you can go? 500? or a little faster 800 -1000?


When I had my Delta (w/Reeves Drive), 500 rpm was the slowest it would go so I that's what I sanded at.  Now with the Jet, I probably dial it down a bit more. I would say 300-400 rpm would be my guess for a pen. (haven't turned one in a while, YMMV)  A light touch with the sandpaper will also help.  Fresh sandpaper is more efficient and requires less pressure to work.  Using fresh sandpaper with light pressure is as important as RPMs, IMO.
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Anthony maida
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #12 - Sep 23rd, 2017 at 10:37pm
 
Hello Again 
                 I,am looking at two lathes now the grizzly
                  10x18 variable and pennstate variable.
                The grizzly has 650-3600 and pennstate 500-3800rpm The question I have is the grizzly has three ranges
a roughing speed, a midrange speed, and a finishing speed.
650-1450 , 1250- 2800 , 1600-3800rpm  The pennstate has
similar.would the low range be ok on pens?Is 1450rpm fast enough for finishing?Penstates,s is 2000rpm.Thanks Anthony
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Ed Weber
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #13 - Sep 24th, 2017 at 10:38am
 
IMO,  if all else is equal, the fact that the PSI lathe has a lower minimum speed would be a factor. At 650 rpm on the Grizzly, you'd be hard pressed to do any sanding on the lathe.

While others will differ, it is certainly possible to "finish" a pen at 1450 rpm's.
(there are more ways to finish a pen than friction polish)
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Anthony maida
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Re: Pen turning speeds
Reply #14 - Sep 24th, 2017 at 11:10am
 
Thanks Ed   I have  a nova 1624 its lowest speed is 214 for big out of round stuff,360,and 684.i just finished a acrylic pen and
sanded on 684 with no problem.Is there a reason for not doing it on 684?would 360 be better?Thanks Anthony
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