I have a friend that is obsessed with something called a “space pen.” It’s a pen that uses a special pressurized ink cartridge originally designed to write in zero-G. The pen gives a very consistent line and has become a bit of a fetish item in a number of online communities, with people paying anywhere from $20 – $80 per pen.
My friend has asked me on a few occasions if I could make him a wooden space pen, but there aren’t any commercial kits available. The cartridge itself is quite a bit shorter than a standard cartridge and doesn’t fit any kind of twist or push mechanism that I was able to find.
This past weekend, I picked up a classic pen kit (PKPAR-RCGP) from woodturningz.com and decided to give it a try. With a few modifications it worked just fine.
I had to cut down the pen tube to allow for the size difference in refill cartridges, which was no big deal. The space pen also has a slightly fatter tip, so I had to remove a bit of metal inside the tip of the pen casing so that the refill poked out far enough to look right. Since the spring that comes with the kit is too large, I also added a small rubber washer at the back of the refill housing to insure that the refill didn’t wobble when it was being used.
The wood is a simple rosewood. The pen is a nice size for sticking in a pocket when it’s closed. When you ope it up it makes a nice full sized pen. Overall I am pretty pleased and I will be looking for a few way to perfect this in the long term.