Rein van der Mast is one of the most experienced designers for metal 3D Printing. He has now spent over six years working on the world’s first fully functional 3D printed fountain pen. His Pjotr Pens are works of art and their very intricate design and construction pushes the limits of what is possible with metal 3D printing. We interviewed Rein about his journey in 3D printing so far and his 3D Printed fountain pens.
What is your background in 3D printing?
More than 20 years ago, in my studies in Industrial Design Engineering in Delft, at the CIM Centre I came across Rapid News. I was immediately captivated by the possibilities of 3D printing. I then implemented 3D CAD and rapid prototyping at some manufacturers. Familiar with AutoCAD, in ’95 I used Autodesk’s Mechanical Desktop. My prototypes were ‘materialized’ by Materialise in Leuven. Prints were fabricated with SLA. Copies were created using silicon moulds. The results reinsured me how 3D printing was capable of reducing both risks in product development and development time. I wrote for a couple of Dutch as well as international magazines about TCT: the time-compression technologies. At first however only a few people knew what 3D printing was and so I supplemented my passion with working on web services with huge databases. In 2007 I had a 3D printing design show with pieces created by Alexander Pelikan, Wouter Scheublin, Joris Laarman, Jeanne Kytannen and others. In 2008 I initiated Rapid Manufacturing & Mass Customization, a seminar whit key-notes of Terry Wohlers and Prof Frank Piller. In 2010 I started to develop my first 3D printed titanium fountain pen. The first one in the world! After this I was the Manager Design & Engineering of Additive Industries, supported its AddLab and focused on Design for AM as well as what I call the Design for AM Paradigm. It relates to the significant interactions between design, support structures, printer settings, post processing and so on.
Tell us about the pen?
In 2013 I developed the world’s first 3D printed metal fountain pen. This pen is a continuation of that. The pen nib is 3D printed in titanium. The rest of the pen has a 3D Printed lattice structure which can only be made with Additive Manufacturing. These kinds of lattice structures are just the kinds of weight saving and strong structures that show you the weight and strength advantages of 3D Printing. The design is very intricate but more importantly it also works well as a fountain pen. The pen itself is a limited edition of a 100 pieces and is on sale for € 2.490 at La Couronne du Compte.
What was difficult about it?
The the part that fits in your hand was especially difficult to make out of one piece. There are only a few mm between all the parts, the screw and the nib. The tolerances were all very tight. Due to these tight tolerances this was a difficult part to plan and design correctly.
The pen skin case was also difficult to translate into to 3D printing. The box itself is 3D printed in SLS in PA 12. The mold for the pen inside the box is silicone, based on a SLA 3D print. There was a lot of experimentation in getting this right and all in all it took me 3 years to get the first pen right. The second was shorter.
How is the pen 3D printed?
The titanium metal 3D printed parts were done on a ProX 300 at the AddFab in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. They were titanium Ti grade 5 ELI.
The pen case is polyamide made on an EOS machine by Shapeways.
The inner cap is made with SLA, also by Shapeways.
How did you finish it?
The titanium DMLS parts required shot peening and a little polishing. The pen case only required paint.
What software did you use?
I mainly used Rhino, Grasshopper (with Intralattice for the pen case), Materialise Magics and Phenix Manufacturing (to influence how the layers in titanium are scanned).