So, I heard from Russ at Widget Works, and he and I talked for quite a while. I was very impressed with their customer service and their commitment to making their product work for me. In the end, it seems that the collet of the Ridgid and the tube of the pen are just too tight in tolerance. Russ agreed that taking a small amount off the tube might work, and committed to working with me to find a solution or to refund my money. Somewhere I have some optical abrasive pads for polishing the ends of fiber optics, with grits ranging in the micron to tens of microns, so I figured I’d pull those out and try to slowly reduce the diameter of the tube until it fits. 5 mil should come off pretty quickly, and I can always jump up to something like 1000 grit if needed.
This was also a concern of Russ’, as he verified that the counterweight is meant to provide a small amount of restoring force to the pen in a vertical orientation. He suggested that replacing the weight with a piece of soft foam might accomplish the same thing in the Maslow’s vertical orientation. I think that failing that, a spring from a ballpoint pen could probably be adapted.
As it is, I plan to give the CNC pen another try once I can find some time to shave it down a little. I am cautiously optimistic at this point. Unfortunately, I probably won’t have time to play with it for the next week or two (and then the new ring kits will be coming out and I’ll be on to getting that set up when I have time… etc etc.). I’ll let you all know when I do.