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Noodler's Large Piston Fill Rollerball


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29 replies to this topic

#1 mcg1355

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:31

Fit and finish:
My first thought when opening the box for this pen was that it looked like what I would call a working pen. It doesn't have a mirror quality super polished finish on any of the surfaces, but at the same time there are no blemishes or manufacturing marks that I can find anywhere. Essentially it looks really nice, however, I am not going to worry at all about scratches or signs of wear showing up through use.

All of the parts fit together perfectly and nothing is loose or wobbly feeling. The piston movement is buttery smooth which was a pleasant surprise after some problems encountered with my noodler's flex pens. The cap threads are snug and secure feeling; I would have no concerns of it coming uncapped in my pocket or bag. The clip is different from other noodler's pens. It is flatter, shorter, has a faster taper, more springy (softer with more movement), and features a nice round ball at the end making it much easier to clip in your pocket without catches and snags. Also, noodlers ink is imprinted in smaller letters making the clip look cleaner. The attachment ring for the clip makes a nice silver accent to balance out the silver ring on the piston nob. Finally, the cap band has noodlers ink stamped on it as well. A small detail that adds to the overall package. (ugh, this seems like a wordy review, but it gets better, look down there's smileys, see it must get better)

On the barrel the grip has a nice large diameter (approx. 0.4in or 10.1mm) which is close to the largest diameter of the barrel (0.475in or 12.0mm). I found this makes the pen vary comfortable to hold in my larger hands as my middle and first finger rest on the grip and my thumb rests on the barrel above the cap threads. The clear ink window is a vary nice feature found just up the barrel from the cap threads. On the black model the window has a vary slight yellow tinge to it caused by the black resin. I have heard that the burgundy colored version has a perfectly clear ink window. I have also experienced this on the noodler's piston fill fountain pens, my black one has yellowed windows while my grey one is perfectly clear. The ink window on this pen is covered up when capped making it so you have to uncap the pen to check the level. Not much of a problem but it could be an inconvenience for some. When the cap is posted on the barrel there is a vary gratifying click feeling much like the buttons that Audi is known for putting in their cars. I think this is from the cap "clicking" onto the silver ring on the piston nob. It is vary clear when the cap is posted and it is not coming off, a nice feeling after crushing one of my noodler's fountain pen caps with my desk chair after it slipped off in use :bonk: :doh:.

Disassembly and cleaning:
I found this pen extremely easy to maintain having changed inks 5 times in the few days that I have had it with absolutely no issues. The piston is removed by fully extending it and then you keep turning the piston nob. This will cause the piston to spin in the barrel which can be seen in the ink window. Note: if the piston is not spinning you will get a clicking sound, this is the piston rod being extended out of its threads and then dropping back in as you unscrew the piston nob. I was concerned this may cause damage and found a simple solution. If you look in the ink window you can see the end of the feed sticking up into the barrel, simply unscrew the feed part way or remove it completely. Once the feed is out of the way the piston will spin freely in my experience. Once the feed is unscrewed and the piston is removed you can simply wash the piston and run water through the barrel. To clean the tip pull it out the end of the feed and the pull the wick out of the tip. Wash the wick WHILE THE INK IS STILL WET to avoid any staining problems. With the smallest solid stream you can get with your faucet (or ink syringe etc.) fill the hole in the back of the tip with water and the write with it on a paper towel, continue this process until it is just clear water coming out in the paper towel. Finally, rinse off the feed inside and out then let the whole pen dry.

Reassembly is vary easy as well. Slide the wick into the tip and then the tip into the feed. The feed is screwed into the barrel until you can just see it appearing in the ink window. Apply 100% silicone grease to the piston and piston mechanism. When I first disassembled this pen I found a vary generous amount of silicone grease on the piston threads which was probably the reason for the buttery smooth piston movement, so I continued this liberal application of silicone and still have a buttery smooth piston :P if it aint' broke don't fix it. Of course I didn't quite follow that logic and did the piston restoration with an o-ring that Nathan showed in his video here. What can I say, I like to tinker with my pens ;). Anyway the restoration is vary easy to perform if you feel like doing it or if you are a normal person and have to do it once your piston fails :lol:.

Use and performance:
I have found that this pen writes surprisingly well, don't get me wrong it ain't no fountain pen, but it actually is rather pleasant to use. The line is finer than my Kaweco fine and my namiki falcon soft fine. I can't compare it to a Japanese fine as I won't own one until the postman is kind enough to bring me Mr. Binder's delivery sometime this week, but if there are people that would like a comparison I could do some writing samples once my nib arrives. Performance wise this pen writes smoother than any ceramic or non-ceramic rollerball that I have tried. It may be the noodler's ink that I have been using or I may have gotten lucky and received a good tip with my pen. I also purchased the tip replacement pack containing 4 new rollerball tips with their wicks but have not yet needed any of them. The flow is perfect. I have been unable to make the pen skip and trust me I have tried... vary vary hard... alright I admit it, the paper tore and I scribbled on my wooden desk with heart of darkness and it is still staring up at me while I write this because I have tried everything and it won't come off :gaah:! Back to the flow, it won't skip (check) but it also doesn't feather or bleed on the crappiest paper I can find with all the inks I tried with the exception of noodler's Blue Nose Bear but that is to be expected (c'mon have you read the Blue Nose Bear thread, what did you expect). Bottom line it writes amazingly well for a rollerball and if you get one and it doesn't, keep replacing the tip until it does. They are vary cheep and you won't be sorry.

Dimensions: for those number minded people out there
Weight: 15g or 0.53oz (thank you going out to goulet pens, I don't have a scale anywhere near that sensitive)
Capped: 4.973in or 126.3mm (precision measuring I can handle, weighing not so much)
Uncapped: 4.732in or 120.2mm (I'm sure metric would be better in cm but it's late so you're stuck with mm)
Posted: 5.469in or 138.9mm (personally I can only use it posted, but I have jumbo hands)
Grip distance from tip (start, stop): 0.630in, 1.217in or 16.0mm, 30.9mm (now I've just taken this too far, or you could think of it as a substitute for nib size :hmm1:)
I think that hits the highlights for the numbers. If your number craving is still not satisfied head over to Goulet Pens to get even more, it's the least I could do after stealing their weights. No affiliation blah blah blah and so on.

Comparative pictures: for those visually minded people out there
From left to right. Noodler's large rollerball, Noodler's flex pen, Kaweco sport, Lamy safari, Namiki falcon, Pilot vanishing point or capless. There is also a Rhodia number 16 dot pad in a pad holder and the grid in the background is two lines to an inch for a sense of scale.
All pens capped.
_MG_1511.jpg

All pens uncapped and posted. (see how it lines up perfect with the vp? yeah, I think that's why I like the size)
_MG_1513.jpg

And finally a writing sample to cap this review off. Get it, cap the review, like a pen, awe screw it here's the pic.
SCAN0059.jpg
see the mark between namiki and flacon ^ I sneezed :embarrassed_smile: that is why I use waterproof inks, allergy season is coming

Anything you want to know or I didn't cover just ask and I'll do my best.

Thanks for reading,
Nick

Edited by mcg1355, 08 August 2011 - 07:27.


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#2 watch_art

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:43

Great review!! Thanks!

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#3 xuan87

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 20:10

Do you notice the pen running out of ink after writing about a page full of words? i had the first generation noodler's rollerball and i found that the wick couldn't provide ink faster than i write. initially when the wick is full of ink, the pen wrote really smoothly ( i had a friend comment on the pen!) but after 15 mins or less of intensive writing, i found that the pen stops writing, probably because the wick couldn't provide enough ink to the tip. after leaving it aside overnight, i found that the pen started writing again.

i had hoped that Nathan would change the wick for the 2nd generation but he didn't so i guess i will skip on this pen. Otherwise, a great review!
Please check out my blogshop for fountain pens and inks at http://inkoholicanonymous.blogspot.com/ Reviews of my pens can be found there too!

#4 mcg1355

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 20:36

Do you notice the pen running out of ink after writing about a page full of words? i had the first generation noodler's rollerball and i found that the wick couldn't provide ink faster than i write. initially when the wick is full of ink, the pen wrote really smoothly ( i had a friend comment on the pen!) but after 15 mins or less of intensive writing, i found that the pen stops writing, probably because the wick couldn't provide enough ink to the tip. after leaving it aside overnight, i found that the pen started writing again.

i had hoped that Nathan would change the wick for the 2nd generation but he didn't so i guess i will skip on this pen. Otherwise, a great review!

I haven't experienced anything like what you described. I actually wrote an entire fill of noodler's whalemans sepia (one of the dryest inks I have) out in one sitting, it was a long sitting. I was mostly drawing and sketching with fast scribbling for shading and what not. There was a little writing done here and there as well. When it ran out of ink I quickly washed feed and wick with water before anything dried out. I then filled it with a new ink and it kept going perfectly fine.

Nathan actually did change the design. While the wick and tip are the same the feed is about twice as long as the feed in the original rollerball. This causes the entire wick to be inside the feed rather than the end sticking out. The size change also caused the air channel holes drilled perpendicular to the feed to be located in a different location in relation to the wick and tip. I would think these design changes are to solve problems that the fist pen may have had. I don't know if it is to fix the dripping or running dry but I have not been able to reproduce either with this large pen. I don't own the first rollerball but know about the size changes in the feed from Nathan's videos about this pen.

-Nick

#5 testrider

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 05:10

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Edited by testrider, 10 August 2011 - 05:10.


#6 mcg1355

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 05:39

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Yep. It works exactly like a piston fill fountain pen. Stick it in the ink up to the grip, suck up the ink with the piston and then wipe off the excess ink.

-Nick

#7 Altairx

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 05:51

I recently purchased a fountain pen on ebay it's a WALITY brand. I will post pictures of it tomorrow. I think its the exact same pen with some slight difference in the clip design and the ink window. other than that its the same pen. Probably same manufacturer.

#8 testrider

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 17:32

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Yep. It works exactly like a piston fill fountain pen. Stick it in the ink up to the grip, suck up the ink with the piston and then wipe off the excess ink.

-Nick


Thanks. I wonder if it works by removing the piston, the rod, then put an O-ring on the cap where the piston rod goes to, and fill it with ink, just like those converted pens?

-mike-

#9 mcg1355

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 17:56

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Yep. It works exactly like a piston fill fountain pen. Stick it in the ink up to the grip, suck up the ink with the piston and then wipe off the excess ink.

-Nick


Thanks. I wonder if it works by removing the piston, the rod, then put an O-ring on the cap where the piston rod goes to, and fill it with ink, just like those converted pens?

-mike-

That might be able to work except there is a small hole in the top of the piston nob that acts as a pressure release for the area above the piston when extending or retracting the piston. You could probably epoxy the hole vary easily and put an o-ring on the threads. Then you could use the entire barrel like an eyedropper fill pen.

-Nick

#10 testrider

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 18:06

Thanks Nick,
I see what you are saying (I ordered the pen yesterday so I haven't seen it yet).
I may give that a try :-)

-mike-

#11 cmeisenzahl

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 14:27

Great review and pics!

#12 greencobra

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 14:56

I was just looking at these at the Goulet site, look like nice rollers and I'm interested so I'm glad you did this review and I found it. A lot of useful information, nice job.
JELL-O, IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!

#13 testrider

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 03:39

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Yep. It works exactly like a piston fill fountain pen. Stick it in the ink up to the grip, suck up the ink with the piston and then wipe off the excess ink.

-Nick


Hi Nick,
Ordered the pen after reading your review and received it today. I like it after filling it with Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher.

When filling the ink, does the ink got sucked in through the tip only? I filled it by dipping it past the barrel where the feed was screwed into. I now wonder if this is necessary because it's messier.

Thanks.
-mike-

Edited by testrider, 14 August 2011 - 03:39.


#14 mcg1355

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 18:33

Great review and pics!

Thank you :vbg: It's my first pen review ever so I'm glad people like it!

I was just looking at these at the Goulet site, look like nice rollers and I'm interested so I'm glad you did this review and I found it. A lot of useful information, nice job.

Thanks! Mine hasn't skipped a beat since I got it so I would say it is a vary nice little pen.

Do you refill this pen like a fountain pen? Just dip the tip into the ink bottle and suck the ink into the pen?

Yep. It works exactly like a piston fill fountain pen. Stick it in the ink up to the grip, suck up the ink with the piston and then wipe off the excess ink.

-Nick


Hi Nick,
Ordered the pen after reading your review and received it today. I like it after filling it with Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher.

When filling the ink, does the ink got sucked in through the tip only? I filled it by dipping it past the barrel where the feed was screwed into. I now wonder if this is necessary because it's messier.

Thanks.
-mike-

Mike,
Glad my review helped and that you like your pen :thumbup:. Unfortunately you do have to dip the pen all the way up to the grip to fill it. I tried it with just the tip and all I got was air. There are two small holes about half way up the feed, one on each side, where I believe the ink fills through. I'm guessing that this also acts as the air channel once the pen is filled. Otherwise a vacuum would form and the flow would stop.

I have found that after filling just swishing the tip of the pen (up to the grip just like filling) around in a clean glass of water got rid of most of the ink. Then all it takes is a quick wipe with a paper towel to get rid of the water. For me this is much faster than trying to wipe off all the ink. Since there isn't a normal nib and feed to suck up the water like a fountain pen would the ink is unaffected by this.

-Nick

#15 testrider

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 18:41

Hi Nick,

I like your 'trick' and it worked fine for me. For some reasons, I found that my Noodler rollerball wrote really dry and scratchy. So I pull out the tip and cut the felt lengthwise and now it's a lot better.

I tried to remove the piston to clean it up but I wasn't sure how from your review.Do I move the piston towards the tip, by turning the barrel end counter-clockwise and when the piston bottoms against the feed, I just kept turning it until it pops out? Then pull the whole thing out of the end of the barrel?

Tbanks.
-mike-

Edited by testrider, 04 September 2011 - 18:42.


#16 watch_art

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 18:51

Yep! That's how you pull it apart. Very simple and clever design.

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#17 mcg1355

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 18:55

Hi Nick,

I like your 'trick' and it worked fine for me. For some reasons, I found that my Noodler rollerball wrote really dry and scratchy. So I pull out the tip and cut the felt lengthwise and now it's a lot better.

I tried to remove the piston to clean it up but I wasn't sure how from your review.Do I move the piston towards the tip, by turning the barrel end counter-clockwise and when the piston bottoms against the feed, I just kept turning it until it pops out? Then pull the whole thing out of the end of the barrel?

Tbanks.
-mike-

Mike -

Yeah you got it right, essentially you screw the piston all the way down until it bottoms out and then keep turning. As you do this you should be able to see the piston spinning inside the ink view window, however, I have had a few times where it didn't spin but I was still able to keep unscrewing with no damage or harm done.

Glad to hear my trick worked out for you and that you got your pen working how you want it to!

-Nick

#18 testrider

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 22:12

Thanks again, Nick and watch_art, I appreciate it.

When you reinstall/screw in the feed, how far is it supposed to go in or it doesn't really matter?
Thanks.
-mike

#19 PatientType

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 22:33

I've seen a lot of posts people have made saying, "I don't 'get' paying hundreds of dollars for a fountain pen." Well, I DO get fountain pens and I've spend that much many, many times over.

Fountain pens, however, are for a number of tangible and less tangible reasons a special breed of cat. They bring with them a zen that somehow relates to the elemental nature of liquid ink flowing over a feed and through a nib, their antiquity (having been in use for 150 years), and the variety of nibs with which one may accent written expression.

A refillable roller ball? I can buy a pack of four roller balls for $5 on sale at Staples in a variety of colors. Some roller balls write richly and well. But, to me they're just a pen. If I have need for a roller ball pen I'd pay the two bucks to buy one, I'd use it, and I'd toss it when it was empty. (Or, more likely, I'd use a free ball point that I picked up at a convention or somewhere.) I'd not pay $5 more - let alone $50 - for a German-made, gold trimmed, refillable roller ball pen.

I know that is somewhat illogical - given that I'd pay $300 or more for a Pelikan fountain pen but I wouldn't pay $15 for a refillable Pelikan roller ball. There can be beauty and nuances in any instrument. But, there it is...

#20 watch_art

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 22:36

Don't know as I've not handled one before. Are you talking about the piston mechanism or the writing end of the pen?

If the piston, you can screw the piston rod into the knob all the way, and then re install it back into the pen and screw it down and BANG! You're good to go.

Cheers!

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