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(image from CNC CookBook by Bob Wharfield) There seem to be two basic schools of thought to machine and control integration: 1) Build the iron and choose a control (Doosan, Samsung, Ganesh, DMG Mori). Most manufacturers design and build the machine (often referred to as the "iron") and then partner... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2018 at The Tuff Writer
After selling our beloved Haas lathe late last year, we were quickly on the hunt for a replacement. Since many of our bits and pieces (i.e. pens, swivels, etc.) are turned parts a lathe is essential for the shop. As of the end of the year we had narrowed our... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2018 at The Tuff Writer
With the sale of our beloved Haas ST-20SSY, it is now time to start shopping for a new lathe. Ideally, considering the fact that our pens are long, slim turned parts with deep holes, we should be looking for a Swiss machine, and we are but.. before we get there... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at The Tuff Writer
As a young and growing business, we've heavily investing in infrastructure here at Tuff Writer HQ. This means building out the shop, purchasing machines, support equipment and the such. In fact, we're up to three (all Haas) CNC machines right now. We're got two mills and one lathe (which is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2017 at The Tuff Writer
Holy shit, has is been a year already? Seriously!?! For those of you who don't know, after 16 years of working at the Maricopa County Superior Court as a Database and Applications Manager, last April I quit my full time gig to work full time at Tuff Writer. Now, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2017 at The Tuff Writer
Since I've gone full-time at Tuff Writer things have not slowed down. The entire "I'll have more time" illusion has been thoroughly shattered by now. The hours are long, the pay is slim (although admittedly that's because I decided to buy a s#!t load more shop equipment including an additional... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
Ok... so, things have been progressing. In case anyone is interested, here's the scoop: A few months ago I finally quit my gov't job of 16 years to work full time at Tuff Writer. While I've been making and selling pens for over 8 years now, it was until now... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
Wow... yeah, titanium. Back when I used to design parts but farm out all of the machining I was often frustrated by the (what I perceived to be ridiculously high) quotes I would get back. Even accounting for material cost it was still just expensive to get parts made out... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
I haven't been posting to the blog as much as I'd like but it sure as hell isn't because things are slow. If anything, we're actually taking things up to a new level this year. The HAAS VF-2SS has proven to be a wonderful toy. I'm spending as much time... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
My understanding of manufacturing has grown considerably during my time running Tuff Writer. Our pens have evolved from just a twinkle in my eye to an actual product and continued to evolve as our knowledge of design and manufacturing processes has matured. The funny thing is that the more we... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
After months of evaluating various CAM packages (seriously, months... I'm not joking) it looks like we've finally settled on HSMXpress for the shop. Originally I had my heart set on MasterCAM X9 but was willing to consider SolidCAM. Neither of those panned out (I'll explain why in a moment) but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
If you've been following Tuff Writer for a bit you probably know that the Mini-Click is our third Kickstarter project. By every account, it is also the largest and most successful project we've done to date with 495+ backers and well over 650 pens. While it's exciting to keep growing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2016 at The Tuff Writer
We're gearing up for another Kickstarter project here at Tuff Writer HQ. This means putting in a some work thinking about design issues, prototyping and building a shinny new, fresh Kickstarter page. It also means recording a new video! Last time we flew our friend Mike Rigg out from Colorado... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
As we've been grown our manufacturing capabilities over the past few years at Tuff Writer we've started spending more and more on infrastructure. Originally, this meant buying a few shelves to turn the dining room into a "warehouse" or purchasing a few new tools for parts assembly. Recently, this turned... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
A few weeks ago my friend and former instructor Randy texted me up and mentioned that he wanted to go to Sedona for his birthday. He wanted to go wheeling and asked if we wanted to come with. Now... mind you, this man has blown off every single wheeling trip... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
I just got done reading this article about the death of the current Land Rover Defender: Now... mind you, I've never owned a Defender and wasn't planning on it but am still saddened by the loss. Let me explain: Those of you into 4Wheeling or Jeeps might be aware... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
We've been working awfully hard at Tuff Writer these past few weeks. Despite all the hours, we're actually still behind. The trip to Lake Havasu City to meet up with Fellhoelter on our "top secret project" didn't help with our pen backlog, but it did get us closer to launching... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
The first pens we made as Tuff Writer were the Frontline Series pen. We still make this model. It's a capped pen which has a screw on cap to protect the cartridge when the pen is stored. Over time, we updated to ACME threads, we've added an o-ring to prevent... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
For those of you that don't know, I'm a huge HAAS Automation fan-boy (hell, if you don't know this you must not know me at all). Now, I'm not under some illusion that HAAS makes the best CNC machines or something silly like that. I understand that they are the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
I get this question more often than you think. Not as often as I used to when we first started Tuff Writer as people have come to accept that a tactical pen will come with a tactical price, but every once in a while someone still asks me why they... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
Made it back from the LA Pen Show yesterday. The in-laws came out with us and got to see up close and personal what the pen biz looks like. It's not exactly glamorous but it was a decent bit of fun and we sold a few pens (and more than... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
So first let me please apologize for not having posted to the blog recently. It's been a rough end of the year for Tuff Writer, Peachy, and me personally. I finally had surgery to fix my right wrist. This turned out to be much more involved than I originally though... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at The Tuff Writer
A few weeks ago Mark called and said that his parents were going to be in town and he wanted to do a Crown King run. That sounded like a reasonable plan so I reached out to the usual suspects and got the band back together. Mark, acting like a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at The Tuff Writer
The plan for this year's Veteran's Day was for the Tuff Writer crew to go 4Wheeling. Peachy, Joe and myself we in. Chris was somehow convinced that he had class (he didn't and was proven wrong when he showed up for class only to realize that school was closed and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at The Tuff Writer
We spent the better part of yesterday prepping the shop for additional work (electrical wiring is going to get started this week) and cleaning for the spray foam insulation. While the shop was drying from the power wash we moved into the garage and installed hood louvers on Isaac's Jeep... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at The Tuff Writer