Feb 21, 20192353 views

Looking at a better way of filling a fountain pen.

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So I’m new to the hobby. Had a cartridge fountain pen way back in middle school that made a mess all the time. I have two actual decent pens now Right Choice Painting Company with bock Nibs Fine & Extra Fine. When it came to filling I did the dip the whole nib into the ink and use the plunger to draw ink up into the pen. This make a mess at least to me even though I kept the ink off me and everything else I didn’t want it on.  My question is, I’m thinking of getting a hypodermic needle with a blunt tip draw the ink from the well with that then inject it into the converter tipped up finally popping the nib onto the end. Obviously this would mean I would initially have to wait for the ink to be drawn into the nib at first use but good things come to those who wait.  Thoughts on this?
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jwknife
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For a piston pen, pineider filler works great. For a cartridge, the syringe is quite neat. My question is, how many times can you remove and attach a cartridge before the tolerance of the seal breaks down?
BaAx
That's a good question, I'm not far enough into this hobby to even come close to understanding this being a problem.
That's what I do most of the time...
April 4, 2019, 1013 AM PST 1) I fill the cartridge with the syringe 2) place the cartridge on the pen 3) twist the cartridge nob until you can see ink coming out of the pen section onto the feed 4) back it off just a bit, i.e., suck the ink back in just a little bit 5) remove the cartridge and refill it with the syringe 6) replace the cartridge onto the pen 7) replace the pen barrel You know have a fully loaded pen - ink from stem-to-stern without the mess
Teajaymac
You NOW have a fully loaded cartridge!
I keep a couple syringes in my desk drawer for exactly this purpose. It's a good, clean way of filling all but piston pens.
So, get an eyedropper filler!
This works just fine, other people will talk about the snorkel but I don't see it better then a long blunt tip needle syringe. The snorkel has no means of cleaning itself like a syringe. The "pen filler" from pineider is a nice luxury however.
PaulX
Of course the Snorkel has a cleaning method..by ejecting all the ink, then ingesting lots of water..a couple of times..then eject water and refill with ink.
tedken
Sure, I wasn't specific enough my apologies. I'm trying to point out that a long blunt tip needle syringe will have more cleaning water capacity built in for a tenth of the price and will work on all converters. While the snorkel will require a separate reservoir for pushing the cleaning water through (I don't own one so I'm thinking just under running water won't push the water out and I could be wrong but I know the force wouldn't be nearly as high). The snorkel will cost considerably more and be less versatile (not as good at cleaning out an empty converter like the pain in the butt pilot con 70 if you don't have a syringe) and will not work for every single converter out there while the syringe method will. Not saying that you would be wrong to buy the Pineider snorkel by any means but I belive the question was what was the best method to clean or fill pens (the response email doesn't show the original question) and for me in my life the syringe is king but that may be different for others. The one pro I see is you don't have to worry about over filling your converter like you can with a syringe. Hope this made sense kinda rushed through it and hope it helps people make a good decision.
Pineider makes a snorkel that attaches to the front of the converter. It makes it much easier to fill the converter directly without making a mess.
I went to my vet and got a needle and use it to refill. Works great. Good luck
I got a blunt tip small easy glide syringe from Jetpens.com for cheap along with all the other stuff I order from them. And I LOVE using it to refill converters and cartridges! The syringe is super easy to rinse out and let dry. I use it to flush out cartridges too! No mess no fuss! I like that if I only draw up the ink I need there is no risk of ink bottle contamination. If you are concerned about volume, insert the converter, twist until a drop comes out, reverse it a turn, pull it out and refill! If you want more advice and to learn from lots of other users come over to the Facebook groups: Fountain Pen Network and Goulet Nation. We talk everything fountain pens, they are great reads.
Take a look at the Pineider travel inkwell. It is around $25, but works well to keep at work or when going to college. Just have a couple of tissues on hand to wipe the nib and section off should a small dribble be present. It holds ten ml, the equivalent of about fifteen short cartridges. It's a money saver over time if using a converter. While you can refill a cartridge, you can't refill one and carry it as a spare. When the seal is initially broken, it's going to leak after that. Some try using hot glue to seal it, but that is way more fiddly than using a converter.
I have used a syringe to fill pens this way when I had a sample vial of ink and didn't have enough of the ink left to permit me to put the nib in and draw it up that way. However, I normally just fill right from the bottle and then wipe the nib off afterwards. It's faster and less fiddly, plus I don't then have a syringe to clean out. I also tend to use pens that store more ink than a converter does, so I don't need to refill them as often. I have several piston-filler pens that I use and I also have a Gate City New Postal and a Belmont - both of which hold a lot of ink. Unfortunately, I don't think any of the Gate City models are currently available, but Brian Gray's Edison Pen Co. offers several different filler systems that allow for a lot of ink to be stored. For instance, they can do a bulb-filler, and that's what my New Postal uses too. If you want to try something that holds a bit more ink than a cartridge-converter pen, you might try a TWSBI ECO. They're a pretty decent inexpensive piston-filler pen. I've seen some problems with the long-term durability of some of the TWSBI models, but the ECO is a good, inexpensive piston-filler. Just don't expect to be able to hand it down to your descendants. :-) The Noodler's Konrad is also an option for an inexpensive piston-filler. I think it's more repairable and can potentially last a lot longer than a TWSBI too. However, Noodler's pens sometimes require a bit of adjustment to get them working really well, and you're kind of expected to be willing to experiment with them. To be honest though, I feel that all pens require some tweaking before they work well. It's the rare pen that comes well-adjusted and working perfectly out of the box. (Unless you buy it from a dealer that checks each pen and makes sure it writes well before selling it.)
I have two Sheaffer PFM pens, that have used for nearly fifty years! I wrote three books in longhand with these pens. I recently had them both totally refurbished by an expert for $50 each, and they work perfectly like they did in the early 60s. The “snorkel” system that Sheaffer developed in those days is perfect for refilling, even at the bottom of the bottle. I also have a set of three Platinum 3776 pens in different colors for the corresponding ink colors used with cartridges, and they always assure me of an instant start with their special sealing feature. My writing life is good!
I picked up two TiLiner pens as well. I love the all copper. I have two methods for filling converters as well as cleaned out cartridges. The blunt needle that you can pick up on Amazon or through GPC (Goulet) is good. They're also great for cleaning out converters, cartridges and piston fillers. I also use mini pipettes (from Amazon - 0.2 ml capacity) which are just a bit wider than the syringe needle but work well for converters. Easy to clean or throw away after they're stained. Once the converter or cartridge is filled, reassemble then simply dip the tip (to the top of the feed) into the ink so it starts wicking; wipe after you get a good flow.
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That type of injector is available (I got a bunch of 'em on Amazon for less than $10). Best part is you can clean and reuse them.
Another option is to use those "unicorn bottles" that vape juice comes in. You can buy new ones online. Don't get a big one though, get the 10ml ones. Makes it ease to carry some ink with you instead of having to take the bottle. It just depends if you want people thinking you are a druggie (blunt needles) or a vaper.
HatefulMC
Great suggestion. If you come across clear ones in 10ml pls send link. Doubt if they exist though.
And remember to shake your bottle of ink before you fill your pen. The needle is the best way, not messy if you're paying attention. Dip the nib and feed into the ink after reassembling the pen and it will prime the feed, no waiting. Wipe with a tissue. Don't overfill. Use empty cartridges or the converter, but generally, converters are a waste of time and money. They don't hold as much ink as the cartridge, especially those damned Pilot converters. The worst. Until you get to the big Con 70 that is, that comes with their larger pens.
DocRadar
Do not shake. A few GENTLE turns upside down is plenty. Shaking produced foamy ink because inks contain surfactants.
Hey, seems I'm not alone. I also wasn't fascinated with the idea of dipping my pen in the bottle. I did exactly what you're planning to do, I have some blunt tip needles laying around the house from my e-liquid mixing and I used a syringe and the needle to fill the cartridge it came with, didn't even bother with converters. It's very easy and mess-free. Initially I was going to buy some converters, but seems filling cartridge is easier, cleaner and that way I have more ink in the pen, since no space is wasted on the converter mechanism. PS, get 14, 16, or 18 ga, I wouldn't go higher or lower than these.
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I don’t understand the problem. Why not fill the pen in the normal way and not make a mess? Do you live on a trawler?
Braxfield
There are many factors that affect smooth filling the “normal” way:
  • Easy to stain your fingers
  • It is difficult to maximize the ink capacity
  • Shape of ink bottle makes it difficult at low levels
  • Length of nib and section
  • Some pens do not have any way to see ink level
  • Our hands develop tremors as we age
In addition you know exactly how much you are filling:
  • You may have OCD, in that case I suggest a pipette. 
  • Some day there will be ink expensive enough for you to worry about controlling the amount. 
  • You may want to dilute an ink, and control it accurately

I see blue fingertips as a feature, not a bug.
JosephCreitz
Normally I agree, except for that day when I was playing with brown ink and met some folks for coffee. Imagine the stares.
Using a blunt-tipped syringe / needle is an absolutely fine idea, and highly recommended. I do this all the time. I've come up with a couple of ways to make it a less fiddly process:
  1. I ensure the end of the syringe tip is at the bottom of the converter when I start filling, and slowly withdraw it as the converter begins to fill with ink. This way, no trapped air in the converter, and you can virtually fill it right to the top. If it's completely full, inserting it into the feed will force a small amount of ink into the feed right from the get go, which helps prime it. (Note: this technique requires that your pens are of a quality where tolerances are excellent - in other words, a good seal is made when inserting the converter).
  2. If you leave a small amount of air at the top of the converter, when you insert it into the feed unit, it won't prime the feed (as you've noted). You can then twist the converter plunger a little until the feed is primed - this avoids having to wait for the ink to make it's way via physics (capillary action).
Cheers!
i started doing this a year ago and its a much cleaner process, and like some others who posted, i can use to refill disposable cartridges which often hold more.
I use a blunt syringe (I sanded off the point myself). It comes apart, so it's easy to clean and dry out. The plunger pulls out and the needle twists off. Each piece can be run under the tap. It is easy to fill a pen, even from a sample or from a nearly empty bottle. You can flood the feed (use the converter or squeeze a cartridge to force ink through the feed until it starts writing), then top off the converter/cartridge.
I started doing this last year. It is a complete game changer. I can’t go back to plunging my pens in the ink unless I have to, like for my vacuum fillers.
AgentOrangePeel
For my vacuum fillers, I unscrew the nib units and use either an eye dropper or a blunt-tipped syringe. I will admit however, that this totally negates the vacuum filler tech itself. There's still much to love about a Pilot Custom 823 however. Cheers!
I do this. I've used a blunt syringe that came with an ink kit for refilling printer cartridges, I've also used small pipettes (medical, basically a one-piece plastic 'eye dropper'). Since disposable ink cartridges hold more ink I've re-filled them with the same method.
If you have a TWSBI 580 you can use the special ink well they make. You take the nib unit off and fill from the special adapter on the inkwell.  I have heard that works with some cartridge/converter pens as well but I haven't tried it.
I do this and you don’t necessarily need to use a syringe; a pipette works if you have a little patience, and they are even easier to clean out.
Here's one against Pineider snorkel. That's working crap. Doesn't work with many of the lens it says it should. I bought one, and after seeing that it didn't work on most pens or converters, I just dorn use it. A syringe needle in many cases would so the same and you have the syringe backup for used cartridges. If you find it a mess to fill, why not buy cartridges? Dipping the pen is the best way if you want your pen working directly and a bit of cloth close by would help against spill. On the go a pen filler like Pineider or Visconti might work. Still, the way you are trying to get away from. My last tip is trying to search for videos on how to fill and see if there may be a trick to it? If not, buy a pumice stone. Great to clean your hands from ink. Nothing beats it. Good luck and hope some of what I wrote may help.
If you're gonna do that, you may as well get the largest cartridge that will fit the pen for it and get maximum ink
Zeired
Cartridges offer a very limited range of ink and are wasteful. They can, however, be cleaned and refilled with a syringe, offering better capacity than most converters.
This is my preferred way to fill fountain pens that use a converter. Clean, simple and you can fill the converter as full as you want.