With Great Power comes Great Responsibility

Or in other words, just because you CAN do something, does not necessarily make it a good idea!

So after getting as far as I could (be bothered) in a day setting up to have another go with the Pen Wizard, I wanted to try it, and a new carbide cutter out.

I decided to try acrylic again, which although will work, the inherent patten in which may result in a too-busy-a finish, but “I have the power”

First job is to do all the required steps in making a pen, including getting it up to a respectable finish.  It can be done, but is a lot harder to finish with all the grooves cut.  If I was filing the grooves, that’d be a different matter.

Pen Body

So from the original acrylic (seen on the right), I’ve cut, milled, drilled and mounted the blank on the lathe, then turned it round, then finished it with the acrylic finishing pads.

From there, it is off to the Pen Wizard.


The Wizard is set up in this case with the guilloche attachment in place, as well as the depth guide.  A laser bit chosen that is allowed to just be exposed through the guide, then the whole thing height-adjusted to just match the start and end points of the pen, and the stops set. The depth guide takes over once the cutter is at full (set) depth, and then rides up over the pen producing a consistent-depth cut (and in the case of a laser point, a consistent width as well).

With 12 of the possible 24 passes done (using the index wheel between passes), the engraving was completed.  The pen body was returned to the lathe for a final sand, then assembled.

I think the result would be nicer in a plain wood, especially with an infill, but still, the ease of the unit made this a very simple, controllable, repeatable job.

Guilloche Pen

Rather interesting techniques so far – looking forward to trying out other designs.


Nipped up to Carbatec to pick up a new Dremel so I could use it with the Pen Wizard. Been wanting one for ages, but needed a good excuse to go with the original brand of rotary tools, rather than some after-market ones I’ve had / have (GMC / Triton)  The Dremel threads straight into the Pen Wizard, and that is all the motivation I needed in the end.

I picked up the 400 Series (Digital), which came with a number of fittings and accessories, including a flex drive.  As I’ve said in the past, tools should not be cute, but the miniature versions of common tools (cut off wheels etc) invokes the “aren’t they cute” before you realise what you’ve said.  The digital allows you to preset the desired speed before switching on.

I didn’t buy any additional cutters etc, but I’ll need to, to get some of the fine cutters needed for pens.

The Pen Wizard still gives me the feeling that it needs looking after – it can definitely do the job, but not if you are rough with it.  With the Dremel screwed straight into it, I found it was a little light in balance – the Dremel making it a bit top-heavy.

Taking off the guilloche attachment, I cut a series of mild helices, then engaged the reverse gear and cut them again, producing a light knurled pattern.  The cutter was completely wrong for the job, but the ease of achieving the result was obvious.

Like any tool, it will take some time to become proficient, but once the basics are worked out (setup, cutters, getting the pen blank evenly turned), it will be very straightforward to get decent results.

I am particularly interested in seeing the results from using acrylic – again, the main thing that will affect the result is accurate, even turning.

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