When we think of synthetics, we think of plastic. In pen making, we incorporate a lot of plastic type material that make beautiful pens. The most common material is acrylic, but we can also make pen blanks from polyester resin (PR), Lucite, Corian, and even carbon fiber. Acrylics and PR can be made into virtually any color or design. Resin is also used to stabilize some wood blanks that have flaws, voids, or are soft woods that need to be hardened. Let's look at some various materials.
This is the most popular type of plastic for pens. It is made by a number of manufacturers and comes in nearly any color or combination of colors you can imagine. Acrylic acetates typically are opaque in appearance, can have swirls or ribbons of different colors, or can even be a solid color. The camo blanks I use for the Bullet Cartridge pens are an example of acrylic acetate material.
This is an acrylic mixture that emulates the rich contrasting shades of real pearl. When turned for a pen, this material almost looks holographic. This material comes in several single colors as well as combinations with black and gold. I have used this material for most of the Patrizio pens, but they could be used on any style of slimline or trimline pen.
Polyester Resin (PR)
You've probably seen objects made from polyester resin. You can buy kits of this material at craft supply stores. Like most resins, it comes in two parts: the resin and a hardener. While most PR will be clear when cured, you can add opaque tints of many colors to it and even mix several colors together to create swirl patterns. PR is also used to make blanks that contain other non-plastic material. I have several suppliers that make unique pen blanks using PR that are gorgeous when turned. You have to see them to believe them.
These custom designed blanks are hand cast with unusual and vibrant metallic color patterns. I like using these on the larger pens to get the full effect of the translucent quality of these blanks. These blanks come in over 80 color combinations with names like Marinara Sauce, Northern Lights, Parrot Bay, and Pomegranate Martini.
Trustone blanks are made by a unique process of pulverizing semi-precious stones into a powder, then combining them with other natural pigments and resins. The resulting blank contains more than 85% stone, and when turned will actually look like pure stone, such as veined marble or granite. These blanks are more expensive so I normally use them on higher end pens like the Majestic, Art Deco, or Cambridge pens, but can be made into any size pen.