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Twsbi Demonstrator Diamond 530 Med & Fine


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#1 SamCapote

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 14:39

I got two of the 1.5 version pens (one Fine/one Medium) and consider them a good to excellent value. I wanted to post some constructive feedback since this is a first version, and I think there are some useful things to consider.

Overall, the TWSBI is in a league of its own at that price level. There is a strong "Geek" factor being able to take everything apart, and having it all built into the ergonomic plastic shell box. Supplying the (out of the way) wrench and silicone grease was a superb contribution. It conveys to the buyer: "This is my pen, I can work on it myself, and tweak things my way." As Dizzy's review pointed out it was a real joy to see how you artistically packed all the pieces in the plastic box, and how everything could be disassembled. I adore the jewel emblem, and laser name etching of the quality, polished cap ring.

While this pen screams "You can customize & fix it yourself..." the first issue is not having replacement parts available. Every major pen brand has replacement parts, so I consider this a must fix issue. The seals have been reported and shown to leak, and even if the new 1.5 design improves that, eventually seals will wear out. Being able to upgrade the nib and feed with a simple screw in like Pelikan Souveran (or even Lamy's pull off nibs) would make this much more user controllable/customizeable. I would really like the capability of interchanging the nib and feed especially because of the second problem I found below.

I was surprised to see that the Medium (but not the Fine) skipped, despite the tines being well aligned. Even with slit adjustment the Medium still has inadequate flow for my tastes. I tried Waterman Purple, Sheaffer Skrip Blue, and MontBlanc Royal Blue. It got better by carefully separating the tines, & a touch of smoothing, but that is not easy to do safely for most entry level users. If you mess up the tines, without the replacement parts, it becomes a wasted $40. This flow issue did not occur with the Fine nib, which led me to speculate the feed diameter was too small. Indeed, I was recently talking to a a knowledgeable expert who took this pen apart to review it, and he said the type of feed and its internal diameter inherently has a lower flow rate. I'm only repeating what was said, as I don't know enough about how to evalutate the feed diameter myself, but can see an objective flow problem next to other pens I have. This has been mentioned by other people, so it is worth noting. My best solution was to use a highly lubricated type of ink like the Noodler's Eel, or Sailor Carbon Nano, but adequate flow with fast writing (with Medium) is still a slight problem for my tastes.

One thing I would like to see is the cap not being so hard to tighten down fully, as it is easy to slide the pocket clip sideways with the force required. I would prefer the clip be a solid one piece, rather than folded over metal which invariably will catch on fabric/fibers and pull threads. It has too much side to side movement slop of the bottom of the pocket clip.

This pen is way too short to use unposted for me, and I do not like how hard it is to securely post the cap, and how short the distance before it grips. It's posted position makes it too back heavy with the weight of the cap's metal parts for my hand. Of course if you try to adjust the clip during posting with any twisting, you will eject ink, which happened to me. Perhaps the filling end cap could be shorter/smaller diameter, and add threads to the outside of the main barrel, so the cap slides over the filling knob, and thread-attaches to the barrel instead? I have a Taccia Snowy Dreams that gives that secure posted screw cap attachment that you know will not fall off or move, nor would it interfere with the filling mechanism. Taccia made sure the ending of the posted cap threads puts the pocket clip in line with the nib. I'm also reminded of Smeden's Dollar Pen as another possible solution which has the screw off back protective filling piston cover, so if you post it, the filling threads are out of play.

I think with some minor improvements, interchangeable and better flowing/quality nibs & replacement seal parts, this could end up being one of the very best pens I could imagine owning.

My rating overall: 7/10
Value for price: 9/10

Edited by SamCapote, 28 October 2010 - 14:47.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

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#2 John Cullen

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 16:15

I ordered an extra nib with my first pen because I was not sure whether I wanted a fine or a medium. TWSBI had no problem filling the order, and so I imagine if you wrote them you could buy a small stash of extra parts.

If I remember, the extra nib was under $15....say 12 or 14? In fact, once I decided which one I preferred the other one became a smoothing experiment. So actually, if the TWSBI nib goes bad you can get an easy to install replacement for very little. And when they sent the extra nib it was in its section with the feed attached! So it was a screw out and screw in deal. I do not know if that is the norm for them, but that is what I got. Even a new nib and feed without the entire section would still be a good deal at $14, IMO.

Parts for pens are sometimes available from the larger companies, but those that are available are often over priced. Try getting an extra feed from Waterman or a simple Phileas nib. Sometimes parts are not even available because models have changed. I can't remember which model it was but a year or so ago I wrote Waterman and they said they had no replacement parts for the pen I was asking about, and it was not a vintage pen.

Imagine trying to get an extra part from Omas!

But if the parts concern you, write TWSBI and get some extra ones to have on hand. I would imagine they would sell them to you. J

#3 SamCapote

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 16:54

I ordered an extra nib with my first pen because I was not sure whether I wanted a fine or a medium. TWSBI had no problem filling the order, and so I imagine if you wrote them you could buy a small stash of extra parts.

If I remember, the extra nib was under $15....say 12 or 14? In fact, once I decided which one I preferred the other one became a smoothing experiment. So actually, if the TWSBI nib goes bad you can get an easy to install replacement for very little. And when they sent the extra nib it was in its section with the feed attached! So it was a screw out and screw in deal. I do not know if that is the norm for them, but that is what I got. Even a new nib and feed without the entire section would still be a good deal at $14, IMO.

Parts for pens are sometimes available from the larger companies, but those that are available are often over priced. Try getting an extra feed from Waterman or a simple Phileas nib. Sometimes parts are not even available because models have changed. I can't remember which model it was but a year or so ago I wrote Waterman and they said they had no replacement parts for the pen I was asking about, and it was not a vintage pen.

Imagine trying to get an extra part from Omas!

But if the parts concern you, write TWSBI and get some extra ones to have on hand. I would imagine they would sell them to you. J


I will contact them. Also, for those wishing more customization of the nib, there is an excellent Youtube video here, that was linked on their blog.

http://www.youtube.com/v/EtbpSC1TvQM
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#4 Northwoods

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 17:35

I would prefer the clip be a solid one piece, rather than folded over metal which invariably will catch on fabric/fibers and pull threads. It has too much side to side movement slop of the bottom of the pocket clip.


How old are your pens? The clip on mine (two weeks old) is solid.

edit: upon closer examination with a loupe, it's isn't quite, bit it looks designed so as to not catch on anything, and I've not had it catch yet...

Edited by Northwoods, 28 October 2010 - 17:37.


#5 Lloyd

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 17:56

According to speedy, these pens are meant to be user serviced. When a user has an issue, he contacts customer service. CS sends the user the requisite part(s) and instructions for replacement. This, in fact, is how the piston seal "recall" was handled.

Regarding flow: many TWSBI's had too much silicone grease (mine did). In this case, it is recommended to clean the feed/nib with kerosene (I used naphtha) followed by soapy water followed by clear water. (If any kerosene remains, your medium will write like a double broad).
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#6 SamCapote

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 22:09

According to speedy, these pens are meant to be user serviced. When a user has an issue, he contacts customer service. CS sends the user the requisite part(s) and instructions for replacement. This, in fact, is how the piston seal "recall" was handled.

Regarding flow: many TWSBI's had too much silicone grease (mine did). In this case, it is recommended to clean the feed/nib with kerosene (I used naphtha) followed by soapy water followed by clear water. (If any kerosene remains, your medium will write like a double broad).


Kerosene? I don't have any. Naptha? What is that? You soaked the whole feed , barrel, and sucked up naptha to dissolve the grease without ruining the rubber seal? Hmmm...so you had a problem with flow also that needed this cleaning? Wonder if there is something more commonly available that won't disolve my fingers or stink up the house like I think kerosene does? Wonder if lighter fluid or Goo Gone would work?

I guess my point about wanting parts is because this pen (vs. all the other pens, including Lamy/Dollar Pen, etc) so effectively screams "Self-Service," but no sources of parts are seen or mentioned anywhere. I got mine from the EBay site, Perhaps if Speedy sees this he can have some of the more common parts on standby?

Northwoods, yeah there is a hole and thin open slots on the underside of the clip that can easily catch on threads and fabric, such as the inside folded lip sewn edge of shirt pockets. It's a minor point, but I'm a perfectionist. They are obviously free to ignore constructive feedback, but feedback is how products get improved.

Those of us who like to use the pen posted, there is too much weight in the cap making it seriously imbalanced--which could be solved by having it move farther down before the cap grips, or use of threads...in addition to protecting the filling know from turning. Well I mentioned these things originally.

Edited by SamCapote, 28 October 2010 - 22:12.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#7 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 22:54

This pen is way too short to use unposted for me....


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#8 watch_art

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 23:30

Kerosene or Naptha. Naptha is the same as camper stove fuel. Coleman sells it as white gas. Lighter fluid works the same I'm sure. Don't know about goo gone. This can all be had at a Walmart for cheap. Flush it with the chemical, then the soapy water flush to get that mess out. Take it apart and clean it really good if you want to be SURE the chemicals are out. It's easy.

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#9 dizzypen

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 23:38

Skipping?

I only experienced that the first fill. I simply scrubbed the nib and feed with soap and water and flushed it with an Ammonia / Water mix. I haven't had a skip since not even with super dry inks like R&K Scaboisa.

I think a good scrubbing will fix your problem.

Replacement parts?

You actually can get replacement parts. You just have to email Speedy or TWSBI and they will send them to you. Extra nibs are available. You just have to ask for them. It would be nice to have them available through he Ebay store or some place else.
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#10 Lloyd

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 00:38

Zippo lighter fluid is naphtha.
Mine posts nicely. I place the cap's weight on the webbing of my hand* making it very comfortable.

*I'm am NOT an amphibian.

Edited by Lloyd, 29 October 2010 - 00:39.

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#11 saintsimon

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:27

...
*I'm am NOT an amphibian.

Sure? Your environment consists of liquid ink, mainly.

#12 watch_art

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:49

Perhaps the filling end cap could be shorter/smaller diameter, and add threads to the outside of the main barrel, so the cap slides over the filling knob, and thread-attaches to the barrel instead? I have a Taccia Snowy Dreams that gives that secure posted screw cap attachment that you know will not fall off or move, nor would it interfere with the filling mechanism. Taccia made sure the ending of the posted cap threads puts the pocket clip in line with the nib. I'm also reminded of Smeden's Dollar Pen as another possible solution which has the screw off back protective filling piston cover, so if you post it, the filling threads are out of play.



Meh, I think no. I posted a video showing how I adjusted the piston on mine, and that helped fix the loose filler knob problem. When you take it apart and put it back together, leave a gap between the screw and the inside of the filler knob so that they don't touch when you tighten it down. That way you can tighten the knob down enough so that when unposting the pen, it won't unscrew the knob and squirt ink out.

go to minute one thirty to see what i mean.


Edited by watch_art, 29 October 2010 - 01:51.

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#13 Basset

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:54

Can anyone post a writing sample showing the difference between the fine and medium nibs?

FWIW, I have zero interest in a pen that's going to require me to clean out gunk that should have been cleaned out before it shipped, and no interest in dealing with kerosene or any other flammable liquids to clean a pen. But that's just me.

Edited by Basset, 29 October 2010 - 01:54.


#14 SamCapote

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 02:01

This pen is way too short to use unposted for me....


You must have hands like my avatar!


If you mean that I have a man's hand, that's true. :thumbup:

Skipping?

I only experienced that the first fill. I simply scrubbed the nib and feed with soap and water and flushed it with an Ammonia / Water mix. I haven't had a skip since not even with super dry inks like R&K Scaboisa.

I think a good scrubbing will fix your problem.

Replacement parts?

You actually can get replacement parts. You just have to email Speedy or TWSBI and they will send them to you. Extra nibs are available. You just have to ask for them. It would be nice to have them available through he Ebay store or some place else.


Good to know, and I have sent Speedy a note. With the separating of the tines and using Sailor Nano Black, and writing a bit slower I can get it working. The hardest part is my signature, which after all these years, I can only do parts of it with fast movements--it's a muscle memory thing, and this Medium won't deliver the goods. I have other pens. I still leave it with my other points as constructive feedback, since I have not had to do that with other pens....not even the Dillon Dollar/Noodler pen. I think Twizby should hear that.

Zippo lighter fluid is naphtha.



Excellent news on zippo working.

Mine posts nicely. I place the cap's weight on the webbing of my hand* making it very comfortable.

*I'm am NOT an amphibian.


Do I detect racism against us lizard-people? We are coming for you. :ph34r: :drool:

I don't have a gram scale handy, but cap with its metal is clearly heavier than the rest of the pen, and it posts a grand total of 1/2 inch from the back. The posted pen feels like it want to fall out of the back of my slimy webbing. I catch it before it tilts back with my projectile tongue, which is just like snapping up flies.
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#15 Robert Alan

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 04:28

Can anyone post a writing sample showing the difference between the fine and medium nibs?

FWIW, I have zero interest in a pen that's going to require me to clean out gunk that should have been cleaned out before it shipped, and no interest in dealing with kerosene or any other flammable liquids to clean a pen. But that's just me.


What you say, makes a lot of sense! These pens should work properly w/o cleaning and adjustment.

However, I must say that my TWSBI Diamond 530 1.5 version with medium nib wrote well, with excellent flow, right out of the really cool box. I used Waterman Florida Blue. My problem is that there is way too much ink sneaking past the piston and getting behind it. I've had to dismantle my pen several times to clean ink out from behind the piston. I've never had to do that with any of my Pelikans (demonstrator-type M200 pens).

BTW, although naptha is very useful for cleaning all sorts of stuff, including cellophane tape glue off scissors and my Swiss Army knife blades, it's incredibly dangerous to breathe and care must be taken to use it in a well-ventillated area. Also, it's not a good idea to get it on your skin because it can enter your body that way. So, everyone, please use naptha with great care.

Frankly, I prefer a much safer, easy-going approach to cleaning: water and time, or very mild cleaners like Speedball Pen Cleaner (I've mentioned this in another post--sorry for the repeat).

Another note: the TWSBI directions show using their silicone lubricant on the piston knob threads. No where do they show putting their lubricant on the piston itself. Are you guys sure it should also be used on the piston? I have used a different type of thick, vegetable-based silicone lubricant sold at dive shops. I use very little, and only when absolutely necessary.

Robert

Edited by Robert Alan, 29 October 2010 - 04:29.

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#16 inkpenguin

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 05:59

Can anyone post a writing sample showing the difference between the fine and medium nibs?

FWIW, I have zero interest in a pen that's going to require me to clean out gunk that should have been cleaned out before it shipped, and no interest in dealing with kerosene or any other flammable liquids to clean a pen. But that's just me.

Another note: the TWSBI directions show using their silicone lubricant on the piston knob threads. No where do they show putting their lubricant on the piston itself. Are you guys sure it should also be used on the piston? I have used a different type of thick, vegetable-based silicone lubricant sold at dive shops. I use very little, and only when absolutely necessary.

Robert


I just went the their blog site last night and I did see that their latest version of the instructions (graphics) do show that you need to put the silicone grease on the sides of the piston that comes into contact with the inner barrel.

#17 cubic archon

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 15:04

Interesting reading. I received an M nib TWSBI this week, and I've also had problems with poor flow (which was helped by some tine separation, but I *hate* doing that, I have bad experiences of messing with nibs) and mild skipping. I disassembled the nib/feed and washed it with lighter fluid, soapy water then clean water as described on page 1, dried it, put it back together and... it was exactly the same. Not severe skipping, but often enough to get on my nerves while I am writing. I also find that it's quite unforgiving about nib angle. I'm not using any unusual ink here, just Waterman Black.

I've just emailed info@twsbi.com about getting hold of an F nib - it sounds like the design may suit it better.

#18 Lsarios

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 16:56

I have posted my problems with this pen several times and I will not repeat here, but I also had the Medium nib and I was using Montblanc Royal Blue. Mine would skip but it would also stop writting all together! I have sent it back so that it can be looked at. I hope that I will get a pen returned that works as it is meant to! :bonk:
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#19 watch_art

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 21:25

If I offered to look at and *try* to repair all of these nibs for free, would anybody send them to me? I'd be glad to help and I have no problem spreading tines or doing other little things (whatever it may need) to get them writing smoothly. Maybe save some time away from your pens by keeping them in the US and hey, free, so... But I'd be glad to help anybody out with their pens if they wanted to take me up on the offer.

Some of these might even suffer from baby bottom like a B Schmidt nib my wife has in her Levenger Truewriter. Some time on abrasives helped it out, that might even be the problem here with some of these M nibs.

Edited by watch_art, 29 October 2010 - 21:28.

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#20 TWRDO

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 21:34

I have posted my problems with this pen several times and I will not repeat here, but I also had the Medium nib and I was using Montblanc Royal Blue. Mine would skip but it would also stop writting all together! I have sent it back so that it can be looked at. I hope that I will get a pen returned that works as it is meant to! :bonk:


If Royal Blue is like the other MB inks I've tried, it's a fairly dry ink. It seems that the TWSBI doesn't care much for dry inks, so if it doesn't come back and work to your liking I'd give a different ink a try before you give up on the pen. My TWBI loves Aurora Black, PR Invincible Black, and Diamine Syrah, and the Noodler's and other PR inks I've tried have been OK too.

The problem seems to be something related to getting the ink into the feed, at least with some inks. Once it's to the nib, everything's fine, at least until you use up all the ink in the feed. Then you have to shake more down, or do a rain dance or something like that to refill the feed. Does anyone more knowledgeable about these things have any suggestions on how to remedy that? The hack-a-feed trick helped a bit with my TWSBI, but hasn't totally solved the problem.

watch_art makes a good point with the baby-bottom comment. I have a Retro 51 with a Schmidt M nib that had a really bad skipping/hard-starting habit because of a (big?) baby bottom. A few minute work with a polishing film took care of it.

Edited by TWRDO, 29 October 2010 - 21:36.

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