Pen and Pencil Holders
The CNC machines can be used as basic plotters. The idea is straightforward, but for something so simple, it is surprising how annoying the process can be.
A pen does not fit in a router collet, and wiring or taping the pen to the Z axis does not provide enough support.
These units were put together to remedy this.
The first ones are made of copper fittings and pipe, and are designed to use plotter pins.
Plotter pens are going the way of printer ink ribbons, but are still available at some print suppliers, and of course on EBay
A box of mismatched remnants was picked up here for pennies on the dollar from a local supplier who was glad to move on the odd inventory.
The middle and right holders were made from copper 3/8 inch male adapters. A male adapter is shown in the upper right of the photo.
An old router bit and Dremel bit were soldered to the ends of the couplers. Screws were tapped into the right coupler so it could hold smaller pens.
Larger pens friction fit in the adapter.
Plotter pen holders.
For appearance, the male adapters were filed-ground-sanded while being turned by a drill to remove the threads.
The unit on the left is made of a 1/2 inch copper cap and a coupler, which are butt joint soldered. A section of 1/2 inch pipe slides inside the coupler, and a spring adds tension.
A slot is drilled into the sliding section of pipe that matches a screw in the side of the pipe cap.
This screw prevents the pipe from falling out when the axis is raised.
The spring loaded holder is the most forgiving to use, but the others are simpler to make.
The images on the right are of a pencil holder made of a 1-3/4 x 1-1/2 x 3/4 inch block of wood that is drilled as shown.
One hole is at an angle so the pencil's point will align with the center of the router's collet.
The shaft that inserts into the collet is a piece of 1/4 inch stock that is cut from a bolt or rod.
After the holes for the screws, pencil, and rod are drilled, the unit is cut in half.
The #8 machine screws clamp the unit together, and hold the pencil and shaft in place.
Wooden pen holder.
Another option is made by cutting the pen holding leg off of an inexpensive compass.
The stump is filed to fit in the router's collet.Now when trial runs are done, a pen or pencil can be put in the router's collet in place of a bit. These holders help to keep simple jobs simple.
Pencil holder cut from compass.
The image on the left below is a model that used the CNC machine as a plotter. A pen was placed in the router's collet, and the print was drawn on foam board.
Model plotted with CNC machine.
The model was then cut and assembled.
This process helped in the visualization of the gazebo/conservatory before the actual structure was built.