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Eye Dropper Pens


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#1 jetsam

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 11:43

Can a bit of silicone grease and an O ring convert any fountain pen with a screw on barrel to eyedropper pens? Don't they all have screw on barrels?

#2 Sasha Royale

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:57

Seems to me that the barrel would have to be water-tight, so the presence of vent holes would be bad.

To be truthful, I am afraid of eyedropper pens.  I will be following along to learn what others write.

 

I can understand that  an eyedropper pen is an economic way to manufacture a fountain pen, and ink

capacity is much greater.  Are there other reasons ?



#3 jar

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 13:14

It also needs to be made of something that will not stain or dissolve or rust or ...


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#4 jetsam

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 13:15

I'm the novice here, but I think ink capacity might be the reason.
However, I'm beginning to understand why it's a good idea to stick to those made specifically for that purpose. It's just that I've been recently reading about faulty ink converters.

Edited by jetsam, 17 May 2013 - 13:22.


#5 CAG_1787

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 13:21

Much larger ink capacity, simpler production, easier disassembly.

 

Downsides being greater capacity for leaks, greater likelihood of burping ink, possible degradation of the pen itself.


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#6 jordanjay29

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 13:54

Just please don't try to convert a Lamy Safari/Al-Star.



#7 Elizabeth in NJ

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 16:45

I'm the novice here, but I think ink capacity might be the reason.
However, I'm beginning to understand why it's a good idea to stick to those made specifically for that purpose.

 

Well, you should also consider ones that may not have been specifically designed for that but that many people have successfully converted.

 

(Then again, those pens may have been intended to be convertable from the get-go, but for various reasons, the manufacturers want to keep it as an off-label option)


Edited by Elizabeth in NJ, 17 May 2013 - 16:47.


#8 brewerjeff

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 17:31

I've used a few "standard" pens as eyedroppers.  First I test it with water that has enough ink in it to give some color.  If successful, then full strength ink..



#9 soum

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 18:06

Seems to me that the barrel would have to be water-tight, so the presence of vent holes would be bad.
To be truthful, I am afraid of eyedropper pens.  I will be following along to learn what others write.
 
I can understand that  an eyedropper pen is an economic way to manufacture a fountain pen, and ink
capacity is much greater.  Are there other reasons ?


Economics, yes. Ease of manufacture, yes. I've watched the master pen makers at Guider and Ratnam turn whole pens singlehanded in a few hours on some basic machinery that are more than half a century old.

I also believe the weather in tropical countries such as India helped eyedroppers thrive. This is the sort of weather where rubber sacs would liquefy sooner.

#10 mhguda

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 18:08

A number of old Sheaffer school pens for which I could no longer find cartridges locally have convinced me to my first conversions. The one thing to keep in mind is to have NO metal in or on the barrel where it will be in prolonged contact with the ink. And yes, I tried it with water first. When no leaks developed after a few days, I went for ink. I've also converterd a Plumix, where the flow from the cartridge was unsatisfactory. I use that pen to play with randomly mixed inks, right in the barrel.

One downside of eyedropper-filleds, a ton of the same ink in the same pen tends to get me bored long before the ink runs out. What I like about converters is how easy it is to put in a different ink. With the Plumix I get the best of both, in that when I get bored with what's in the barrel, I add another color. There are, of course, many possible downsides to this... but so far, so good.


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#11 recluse

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 18:51

"Conversion" seems a bit of a stretch, when usually applied to fountain pens. It's as if when I'm using a cartridge I would say that I've made a conversion to a cartridge mode and so force. Almost all mentions of "conversion" simply mean using as an eyedropper since applying the silicon grease to threads barely qualifies as "conversion".

 

Can a pen be used as an eyedropper? Besides the obvious requirement of air-tightness there's also a subtler point of material: people warn that if there are metal parts inside it's not good for the eyedropper mode due possible corrosion issues. For me, there's also the requirement to be able to write the pen dry without discomfort and without paying the special attention to the last drops of ink. And this is where I start to doubt that making a good eyedropper is any cheaper. 

 

A pen to be used as an eyedropper must have a good feed which, in particular, should hold an excessive flow when the pen is almost empty. I might be in minority here, but for me burping due to air expansion in the barrel or for any other reason is totally unacceptable. This is common for inexpensive eyedroppers and therefore I regard them as bad pens - they do not operate properly under the default condition.

 

The rule of thumb seems to be simple. If a single dip yields a page worth writing, the feed has sufficiently good capacity and will  withstand the stress related to low ink level. It can be further checked with water. For example, Preppies are in this category and Waterman's Kulturs cause no problems, I would expect Pilot's 78G and alike to perform well. On the contrary, with Noodler's Ahabs I had no success. There were some other successes and failures.

 

The bottom line. Using a pen as eyedropper imposes more requirements than is often articulated and among inexpensive pens there are not so many good potential eyedroppers.