Pen holder

Hi everyone,

Apologies if this subject has come up previously, I’ve researched, but can’t find exactly what I’m looking for.

So, I have a rather expensive pen (Montblanc) that was given to me as a gift and I would like to make a small box/holder for it using my X-Carve. I would like the recess to fit the contours of the pen, so that it is clearly designed/made for my specific pen, rather than a generic slot that could hold any shape of pen.

I’ve thought about ways of doing this and so far, come up with an SVG file that I created by finding an image of the exact pen online, removing the colour, expanding it and resizing to the exact dimensions of my pen (so that it fits snuggly within the wooden holder). This was the “easy” part.

What I would really like to do, is create deep/shallow points within the holder, for example, the part of the pen that’s held, is wider/fatter that the shaft of the pen. Is there a way I can do this using Easel?

Any help would be hugely appreciated.


Hi Rhys,
If I understand what you’re asking, you would like to have an indentation for your pen that follows its exact contours, essentially “subtracting” the shape of the pen from the wood.

If that’s what you would like to do, you cannot do that in Easel. Easel is what I like to consider “2 1/2D”. It’s not a true 3D application, as it can only set uniform cut depths to an area that it creates. You would need 3D CAD software to generate the profile shape, export the gcode and then you could use Easel to cut the 3D shape.

There are several free 3D CAD packages out there, but they have quite the learning curve, but will increase your abilities if you learn one. If you don’t want to go that route, if you have the profile of the pen, you might be able to find someone here that might be willing to generate the tool paths (gcode) for you.


Thank you so much for your reply, that makes perfect sense.

Which free CAD software would you recommend?


There are many 3D CAD packages out there, also look thru the forum, several are used, and you could ask questions of experienced users. I haven’t had the need for 3D yet.


I happen to also make pens and have an X-Carve (as well as a 3D printer). I’ve only made one fitted pen box so far, but here’s how I did it using Fusion 360 (available for “enthusiast” use for free). I will warn you that Fusion has quite a learning curve.

I traced the outline of the pen onto a piece of paper trying to stay as close as possible.
I then took a picture of the outline with a good ruler in the picture.
I imported that picture into Fusion and calibrated its size to the ruler.
I then created a sketch where I drew a midline the length of the pen, and traced the contour of the pen. Finally I traced the clip.
Because good pens are turned on the lathe I swept the outline into a spindle, then extruded the clip, now I had a fairly accurate 3D model of the pen itself. I expanded it out around 1mm in all directions so I’d have some wiggle room.
Then I drew and extruded a block around it keeping the pen centered in the block. I then subtracted the pen from the block using a combine operation. Finally I split the remaining block body by the original plane of the 2D sketch.
I now had models of the top and bottom form fitting pieces of the holder. I did play around with creating a lip around the perimeter of the box, but that’s optional. In my case I didn’t use a hinge, I just had the top overlap the bottom to make the lid.

The nice thing about Fusion is that once you’ve got the model like that you can save it as an STL file, slice it for 3D printing, then easily print it. You can also go into Fusion’s CAM workspace and design the toolpaths to mill that same design out of wood on the X-Carve which I also did. I don’t have any pictures of the actual 3D printed and wood carved pieces, I gave them both away and didn’t take pictures. I do have the design, but it’s for a different style pen.

I’m sure this sounds crazy complicated, but once you get familiar with your chosen CAD program (as long as it supports generating CAM gcode) it’s actually a reasonable beginner project - I did it about a month after I got my X-Carve though I had been 3D printing for a couple of years before that.

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Sorry deleted post as its not on topic.
Thanks for that.

Thanks Steve, thats exactly what I had already started to do. I tried your method, but found it to be slightly inaccurate, so I downloaded an image of the pen I own from Google, removed the colour in Photoshop, imported into Illustrator then modified the dimensions so they were exact. I’ve downloaded Fusion 360 and have started learning the basics so will try doing what you’ve done in the past with pen holders.

Thanks again for your help.


One trick when taking the photo of the traced object is to use a long focal length lens from as far away and square as possible - I’ll usually use my SLR and stand on a stepladder and shoot straight down. You want to take from enough distance that you aren’t getting parallax or lens edge distortion in the picture. You can often get away with a smartphone picture, but don’t try to get real close and fill the frame, take it from more of a distance.

That’s fine as long as the image you downloaded was taken square from above. You’ll just need to measure the actual pen and use that to calibrate the image.

If you really want to get fancy, once you’ve carved the pen box use flocking to finish the inside.

Yep, was thinking something along those lines. I definitely want it to be a unique piece, the pen is rather expensive so it deserves to be put away in something as equally special.

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