Making Twisted Sharpies

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Workshop
Making Twisted Sharpies

One of the most heart warming things I see with makers on the Internet is how those with YouTube shows collaborate with each other, offer each other encouragement and advice in video comments, appear on each other’s channels, and generally give each other a lot of love and support. It’s also inspiring to see how YouTubers riff off of each other’s projects and create follow-up projects based on an improvement or a variation on a design. Such is the case with the twisted metal Sharpie, which seems to be becoming all the rage in maker circles these days.

It all began with a video on Giaco Whatever. After getting a lathe and wanting to try out an easy project on it, Giaco decided to try making an aluminum-barrel Sharpie pen. As he points out, there are aluminum marker pens out there, but none are the actual Sharpie brand. So Giaco decided to make his own and transfer the innards of a commercial Sharpie into it.

YouTube player

That video got Greg Porter, of Greg’s Garage, thinking. The pen was cool and all, but like all pens, it has the annoying tendency to roll away when you place it on a work surface. How about if the barrel was twisted? It would look dang cool and it would stay put. Greg began the project but then realized an important omission. He didn’t have a lathe to turn the cold rolled solid steel hex material on to finish the barrel of his pen. So, like any self-respecting crazy person, he got a plane and flew all of the way to New York City to visit the shop of grand maker mensch, Jimmy DiResta. Jimmy helped Greg finish the project.

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The pen proved to be a big hit, so Greg turned to another popular maker, Tom of TomsToolRoom. A number of well-known makers, such as DiResta and Izzy Swan, have turned to Tom for production work. In this video, Tom shows the making of a batch of Greg’s Sharpie Twist pens.

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If you have a lathe, you can make one of these yourself. If you want to just buy one, Greg is now offering them on his website for $25. Since you can replace the innards when the pen finally dries out, you’ll have this handsome little shop tool for a lifetime.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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