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Twsbi Mini Cracking


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#1 K. Cakes

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:33

I received my TWSBI Mini, ordered direct from TWSBI about two weeks ago. I haven't used it much because the nib was unbearably scratchy out of the box. I sent TWSBI an e-mail about exchanging the nib, and they told me I'd have to send it to California for repair. I decided to try smoothing the nib out myself so I didn't have to pay for shipping an item I had just purchased. The good part is it worked! The nib is now useable, though not what I'd call butter smooth. The bad news is that as I was filling it I noticed cracking around the threads used to post the cap. So far only two. Obviously I've only had it for a short time and have barely used it so I doubt its due to my error. Has anyone else experienced this?

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Edited by K. Cakes, 11 December 2012 - 18:57.

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#2 XiaoMG

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:57

Sigh...I was afraid of this. I will have to keep a close eye on mine. If it cracks, I think I'll be done with TWSBI.
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#3 Pen2009

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:56

Another cracking with TWSBIs? :yikes: I hope this does not follow the same path the 540 had to go through with its own cracking issues.
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#4 K. Cakes

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 18:59

To update, I sent TWSBI an e-mail and they are sending me a replacement which is fantastic. But I do hope this isn't going to be a continuous problem!
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

#5 Joshua J.

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:19

Do they only have access to one type of plastic?
With all the millions upon millions of plastic snap on caps that have been in use for decades it seems really strange that this is still happening.
Maybe it's the plastics industry equivalent of making a cure for the common cold.

#6 EKE

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:25

Yep- Same thing happened to me yesterday, but I kind of caused it myself by turning the wrench the wrong way when removing the knob for cleaning. I got the same crack in the same place. This is a big problem for them, and one that they will need to solve in the next-generation pens.

I did email TWISBI, and they very quickly agreed to send me a replacement barrel, no questions asked. Nice service from them, but it also suggests that they know that there is a design flaw. :blink:
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#7 Sleepy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:35

I really think they should fix this before churning out more models.

#8 wastelanded

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:36

Could all this cracking be from over-tightening when re-assembling the pen? Just wond'ring.
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#9 EKE

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:39

Could all this cracking be from over-tightening when re-assembling the pen? Just wond'ring.


Very possible, IMO. That's essentially what I did when I turned the wrench clockwise when trying to remove the piston.
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#10 wastelanded

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:43

I'd like to know how many TWSBIs that have never been disassembled have cracked? As Joshua said, of all the plastics in all the world...
"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809

#11 EKE

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:47

Having carefully compared by Mini to my 540, I can say that I think that the Mini is particularly prone to this cracking, because the back end of the barrel is threaded to receive the posted cap. This makes the wall thickness at the threads very thin, at exactly the place where thickness is needed to resist the stress of screwing in and tightening the piston housing into the barrel.
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#12 RuffRydas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:07

This is absolutely horrible news... I love my TWSBI 540 but have already had the plastic part of the cap snap off its metal base... I was hoping the cracking issues was isolated to the Diamond variants (530/540) but looks like I might have to hold back on my VAC700/Mini purchases and observe if this is a common problem...

Edited by RuffRydas, 12 December 2012 - 02:08.


#13 imahawki

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:22

My Diamond 540 clear has never been disassembled, never even took the wrench out of the box. This week I noticed cracks forming where the barrel meets the piston knob. I emailed, they sent me a new body, fine. But I have two other 540s. I certainly hope they don't all crack with limited use and no disassembly by me.

#14 myn

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:47

I am very glad I waited and did not rush to purchase the TWSBI mini. Because of all the cracking issues I've put my TWSBI 540 into storage. $50.00 isn't chump change to a lot of people and to have a product last only two weeks out of the box is not a good sign for TWSBI or future purchasers.
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#15 K. Cakes

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:15

Could all this cracking be from over-tightening when re-assembling the pen? Just wond'ring.


They seem pretty delicate, so that's definitely possible, but in my case I have yet to take it apart. I bought it, flushed it, inked it, rinsed it and let it sit a while, then re-inked it to try and smooth out the nib. I also haven't tightened the cap very much because if you tighten it all the way it doesn't line up with the nib, so that can't be the reason either. I suppose I could be twisting the piston knob too far if that's possible. Its a shame you have to be so delicate with these pens though, I bought it to carry around with me but that doesn't seem like a possibility.
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#16 mhphoto

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:21

Jeez, what are they using, the same plastic Platinum makes to use the Preppy?

#17 XiaoMG

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:02

Jeez, what are they using, the same plastic Platinum makes to use the Preppy?

If I recall, they are supposed to be using polycarbonate, which ought to be quite durable. That's one reason the cracking is such a frustrating issue for me...I was attracted to the prospect of a very durable pen, and it turned out to be one of my most fragile.
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#18 Joshua J.

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:47

This is absolutely horrible news... I love my TWSBI 540 but have already had the plastic part of the cap snap off its metal base... I was hoping the cracking issues was isolated to the Diamond variants (530/540) but looks like I might have to hold back on my VAC700/Mini purchases and observe if this is a common problem...



I wouldn't worry about the Vac 700 so much (I was going to say that this shouldn't be an issue with the Vac 700 because it has metal bands on both ends of the barrel, but then I see the Mini also has metal at the end. Still). Unless someone else has or has seen complaints about that model, it looks like the Vac and Micarta are probably their sturdiest/best designed products.

Edited by Joshua J., 12 December 2012 - 05:52.


#19 Chi Town

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:07

I don't see anyone giving TWSBI any Posted Image for Great customer service ! No affiliation with this company, and yes I have 4 units and I'm hoping I don't have the problems experienced here. But this company does appear to me, to stand right up, when there is a problem and jumps in to take care of it. And in record time! I could name a company who has had one of my F/P's since Early August and I have yet to see it back and I will challenge you that I will still get a bill for it's repair!Posted Image

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#20 XiaoMG

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:26

I don't see anyone giving TWSBI any Posted Image for Great customer service ! No affiliation with this company, and yes I have 4 units and I'm hoping I don't have the problems experienced here. But this company does appear to me, to stand right up, when there is a problem and jumps in to take care of it. And in record time! I could name a company who has had one of my F/P's since Early August and I have yet to see it back and I will challenge you that I will still get a bill for it's repair!Posted Image

I'll agree when the replacement parts prove to be more durable than the ones that needed replacing.
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#21 anaximander

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:58

My 540 has developed cracks in the section and I've never disassembled the pen.

#22 Miadhawk

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:28

A part of feed of my TWSBI snapped off, its the part that screws onto the barrel, rendering my 540 useless. :glare:
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#23 Tweel

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:37

I don't have a TWSBI, but I sure see a lot of posts about them cracking. I wonder whether it could be injection stress created when they form the plastic, rather than the plastic itself.

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#24 rday2

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:44

Hi. I bought a Hero 901 fountain pen and was told that an international cartridge would fit and for some reason, I can't get them to. I've had fountain pens before and when you insert the cartridge, it is punctured by a little tip in the nib portion of the pen. I purchased the Hero cartridges #0028. Can anyone help me and give me some guidance on how to insert the cartridges and make them work. Thank you

#25 Jared C

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:48

I've had just as much trouble with TSWBI as anyone, had a 530 barrel crack ~1" from the top, told phillip, he replaced it in 2 days (barrel, piston, everything but the cap). shortly thereafter, cap sheared off right above the metal, told phillip, sent me a free 540 cap (now i have a complete 540 for free). Bought a vac700, which dries up after about 20 characters of writing, then i have to shake the devil out of it to get it to write again, told phillip, getting a new next-gen nib unit for free...

TWSBI may be having teething issues, but it's customer service is amazing. most of the time, when I would email Phillip, he'd not even ask questions, just "what's your address?" They're releasing some really well designed products for way less money than anyone else, and I'm definitely going to keep supporting them.

Maybe they do just have crappy plastics suppliers who are on hard times, haha. Whatever it is though, I have no doubt that it'll be taken care of.

#26 myn

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 13:25

I'm sure the customer service is wonderful, as many have attested to but it's kind of like closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out. This shouldn't be a customer service issue, it should be a production one in that they use the proper material from the start.

They've got a great pen that writes beautifully, looks great and feels good in the hand but if it's going to break all the time none of that matters.
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#27 blackcat99

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 13:31

ooh lucky I saw this post as was about to order a mini -think I will hold off

#28 AndyLa

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 13:47

I'm sure the customer service is wonderful, as many have attested to but it's kind of like closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out. This shouldn't be a customer service issue, it should be a production one in that they use the proper material from the start.

They've got a great pen that writes beautifully, looks great and feels good in the hand but if it's going to break all the time none of that matters.


+1. What happens when the parts run out down the line on these specific models? I got rid of my two 540's and was very interested in the mini, but with reservation. I think this confirmed I will not be getting one anytime soon.

#29 Laura N

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 13:55

...TWSBI may be having teething issues, but it's customer service is amazing. most of the time, when I would email Phillip, he'd not even ask questions, just "what's your address?" They're releasing some really well designed products for way less money than anyone else, and I'm definitely going to keep supporting them. ...



I'm sure the customer service is wonderful, as many have attested to but it's kind of like closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out. This shouldn't be a customer service issue, it should be a production one in that they use the proper material from the start.

They've got a great pen that writes beautifully, looks great and feels good in the hand but if it's going to break all the time none of that matters.


I somehow agree with both of these points. There is no bigger TWSBI fan than I, and I love my three 540s, but there does seem to be an issue with those, and that is concerning. At some point, people are going to lose confidence, despite their fantastic customer service.

ooh lucky I saw this post as was about to order a mini -think I will hold off


I think this is the real problem, and I hope Philip will address this. On the other hand, this is one report of a spontaneously cracked Mini, and one report of a Mini cracked due to user error. It's not yet clear if these are just isolated incidents or part of a pattern. But it's not good to have this hanging out there as they release new products.

#30 leod

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 15:44

that doesn't look promising, these pens just came out.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing