Here are some excerpts of some of the things done in the shop: (Videos are in Flash format)

Pen barrel Guilloché - The machine in the video is one of two Neuweiler and Engelsberger, German made, Straight Line Engines. They are called "engines" because they have moving parts, not because of any motor - which they do not have. These machines were made specifically for the purposes of engraving long wavy lines on either flat or curved surfaces. The work-holding device (called a pencil chuck or dome chuck) you can see holds the blank pen barrel. A hand crank on the side of the machine raises and lowers the whole work-holding carriage against a stationary engraving bit. Thumb pressure is all that holds the engraving bit against the barrel. After each cut is made the barrel is rotated a specific amount and the pattern is shifted up or down a specific amount according to the design of the pattern and another cut is made. In this case there are 96 vertical wavy cuts around the barrel. This barrel is being made for the Metalwrite/Conway Stewart RR1 Limited Edition fountain and rollerball pen.

The videos will not start automatically - move your mouse over the video frame to see the Play controls.

Pen Clip Guilloché - Another Straight Line Engine has been set up to accomplish the guilloché on the RR1 clip. As you can see the process is much different but the machine accomplishes the same thing in engraving wavy lines on a surface.

Cutting out a pen clip - The Deckel GK21 pantograph is the machine being used to cut clips out of a 1.6mm sheet of Argentium (sterling silver). The is hand-guided while the spindle turns at about 20,000 RPM. The tracing stylus is hand-guided around a brass template that in this case is two times the size of the end product. When the clip is cut it is finished with a fine file and 400 grit emery paper and then glued down to a block ready for the straight line guilloché machine.

Picture of a set of eight clips and heat colored stoppers ready to be packed up and sent to Conway Stewart for final assembly into RR1 Limited Edition pens.

A closeup of a few stoppers

Clip bending employs a couple of really nice and compact Schmidt presses that have been set up to precisely apply bends to the silver clips. The material under the press die is 90 durometer polyurethane which is used as a stiff impression medium that does not mar the silver finish. The clips are made of Argentium - selected because it hardens to a level higher than ordinary sterling. The clips are heat hardened in an oven at 580º for 45 minutes. A slight bit of yellow oxidation forms which is easily polished off. After bending, the final decorative filing occurs on the sides of the clip and and detailed finish filing is accomplished at this point as well. The clip presents a high mirror polish all the way around and it is also removable so the pen can be displayed as a desk pen without a clip. The limited edition number is placed on the back (underside) of the clip.