Thought I'll post my fix after a month of researching to get it work as well as other stuff that would help.
Pilot Preppy is a frankenpen where you take the varsity feed and nib and transplant them into the Platinum Preppy (which writes like a marker for me at times). This is not an original idea (Kudos here: http://www.fountainp...o-pilot-preppy/)
From the threads here, it seems to combine the smoothness of varsity and place them into a more easy to refill and prettier looking preppy body.
Platinum Preppy is made of polycarbonate plastic which means it is not as brittle as acrylics, however, not as scratch resistant.
Removing Preppy's collector/feed
You can use a screw on hook (used for walls) to screw into the feed and pull it out. Most of the time, it should work, but if it doesn't, you can use a drill. Alternatively, you wear down the ink tube at the other side with a drill/screw then push it out. Lubricating using some oil is nice but makes clean up annoying.
Remove Varsity's feed
I never really got the feed to come out with the nib so I ended up pulling out the nib first, so I ended up pulling the nib out first then taking a cloth/gauze then using a pair of pliers to grip perpendicularly to the feed and used another hand + a thumb to slowly ease it out.
Silicone grease or O ring
Many opinions on this, but my observation is silicone grease should be enough most of the time, assuming you put a thick enough layer. O rings may or many not help with the ink flow. I have tried an internal O ring using a square rubber gasket but due to the internal faceted nature of the pen, ink tends to flow past the the gasket and leak out. The external O ring should hold off or leak real slow.
Other solutions I know of but tried and gave up were:
- Beeswax to coat the threads and made it tighter a seal, but prone to introduce stress onto the barrel (which cracks under stress).
- Plumbing tape makes seal tighter but annoying to remove and prone to introduce stress onto the barrel (which cracks under stress).
- Silicone sealant kinda gets worn off real quick
For me, I use both, with the O ring as added insurance as well as preventing me from overtightening as well as creates friction to prevent the barrel from unscrewing. I use Nitrile rubber O rings, I heard fluoroelastomers work but they are real expensive. Do not use silicone o rings if you intend to use silicone grease. The integrity of the silicone o ring will be compromised. Silicone grease helps to condition the nitrile o rings somewhat.
Limit eyedropper volume
Use wax to fill up a portion of the barrel. Melting wax and dripping them into the end of the barrel works best, but if you're real lazy, put and squeeze beeswax into the end of the barrel, then immerse the end of the barrel inside boiling water and wait for a bit, then leave it to cool outside at room temperature. (Polycarbonate melts at 155C and beeswax melts at ~62C so no issues). I heard the wax helps with burping but I am not sure.
I use an acetone-free nail polish remover, acetone clouds the barrel, and put some on a piece of paper towel and rubbing the labels off.
Ink flow issues
- Varsity feed takes time to get saturated with ink so do not be sad if it doesn't work, 2 hours of standing seems to work.
- I have always tried to use carts with this frankenpen, but usually end up not working real well. Initially, I thought it was a steel ball, after cutting off the back end of the cart, removing the ball, then welding back, I somewhat fixed the ink flow but bubbles get stuck in the cartridge tube/nipple and makes you tap the barrel/cart to remove the bubble to work.
Threads here complained of ink flow issues even with eyedropper conversion.
After researching for some time and comparing the varsity barrel design, my conclusion is air exchange. But the weird thing is, if there is no air bubbles, the cart usually works except for once or twice.
First thing first, do not attempt to fill barrel to maximum capacity to remove ALL bubbles in the barrel (I don't know how some people do it, but I saw someone able to fill the whole preppy with ink that you can't see any bubbles. It somehow screws up the ink delivery.
In regards to air exchange, notice that the preppy uses a cart tube while a varsity is a wide opening past feed (I don't have a picture so I am using peninkcillin photo here.)
Experimenting with eyedropper fill, I kept having hard starts, whether there's evaporation inside the cap/barrel or not. One post in the link showed methods of getting it to work. But I found a definite solution:
Take a screw and remove the nipple of the section to the cart using a screwdriver. Increase the size of the screw slowly. A drill works well here but I don't have one. Work your way until there's a hole about 5-6mm in diameter.
After that the pen works like a charm! Be careful not to crack the section in the process though.
Ink leaking from the collector
Usually happens when you drop the pen or there's air pressure/temperature differences. I usually flick the pen in the direction of the barrel to flow back in. Not sure if there's a better solution.
Making a proper feed for the Varsity nib (still figuring out)
Here is an interesting idea I got. Why not make a proper feed for the pen, cleaning the feed is real annoying if you want to change ink? I saw people making feeds using ebonite rods (science classes have them).
Thinking I have a few ideas but lack the machines to do it.
- Use a ebonite rod and cut a feed out.
- Cut Preppy's nib plastic to fit the varsity
- Make a feed using any plastic then coat it with polyurethane, works like an ebonite feed (using silicone and beeswax seemed too soft to be used as feeds, I'm not sure about coating though.) This idea came from a scientific paper published previously in my industry where they built customised fountain pens to print DNA.
- Dismantle the varsity feed, remove the wick, fill in with polyurethane/beeswax then cut a line down for capillary action. (I am leaning towards this so if anyone can reliably take the feed apart and put it back, let me know).
Well, that's all I have for now.
Why so much trouble? Because:
- It is fun to have a pen completely hacked for yourself =D Even better if you can smooth nibs to your liking.
- Pilot Prera is expensive, this setup is about $10? (And no, I want a Pilot, Nemosine is too big for me. Other demonstrators including the Nemosine require shipping which increases cost)
- Parts are all modular, easily replaced.
- The nib looks better than Platinum Preppy/Lamy Safari/Pilot Prera nibs =D
- Assuming I am still using the varsity feed, probably any particulate ink works because the feed won't clog =D But changing ink is a pain to rinse, but it is a workhorse pen so for now changing ink is rare.
Feel free to add more input =)
Edited by Tenkai, 17 May 2014 - 23:31.