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Filling Pilot Vanishing Point


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22 replies to this topic

#1 bwidjaja

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 17:24

I have been using the Pilot VP for some time now and like how smooth the nib is. However, one of the biggest gripe for me is the fact that I cannot seem to fill the ink all the way in the converter. The small window that is visible in the nib unit never shows ink.

Anybody has suggestion on this or it's just how VP is?

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#2 Tyr

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 17:44

You can turn the converter upside down and turn the knob until all of the air is forced out, and then put it back into the ink and fill it the rest of the way to get some more ink into it. I prefer refilling cartridges with a syringe though, they hold quite a bit more ink, and are less messy than trying to deal with that small capacity converter.

#3 bwidjaja

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 17:55

Hi Tyr, thanks for the information. I am not quite sure I understand the procedure you mention. What I normally do is "flushing" the nib unit a few times while dipped in the ink so as to remove as much air from the converted. This has worked fine with other pens like Lamy or Nakaya. But not Pilot VP.

Refilling cartridge sounds interesting. What kind of syringe and have you experienced any leaking issue from refilling a cartridge?

#4 professionaldilettante

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 18:24

I would use the con-20 converter if you haven't tried. It's much more efficient than the con-50 piston converter.
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#5 ravantra

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 18:41

Hi Tyr, thanks for the information. I am not quite sure I understand the procedure you mention. What I normally do is "flushing" the nib unit a few times while dipped in the ink so as to remove as much air from the converted. This has worked fine with other pens like Lamy or Nakaya. But not Pilot VP.

Refilling cartridge sounds interesting. What kind of syringe and have you experienced any leaking issue from refilling a cartridge?


See this video by the Goulets on using a syringe. I prefer to refill cartridges for my VP, I get a little more ink than a converter.



Hope this helps.
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#6 Inka

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 19:06

I use old carts and just syringe-fill them too.
What was described above also works, that is if I can describe it any better to your understanding, e.g. filling the twist converter with nib-in-the-ink and then holding the nib-@ 12 o'clock position turning the knob to expell any air, then reinsert the nib into ink and twist again for a complete fill.
I hope that helps.

The three things I don't like about the twist converter are...
1) Hard to see ink level due to the fact there's hardly any visible area with the converter installed.
2) The idea of the plastic knob being depressed when clicking the nib-to-open/ closed is a little unsettling, while the metal cartridge cover is rock-solid.
3) The twist converter holds less ink than does a cartridge, thus needs to be refilled or topped off more frequently than does using an old cartridge.

The squeeze converters are indeed easy to use, don't require occasional lubrication as do the twist-plunger types, and may also hold a tiny bit more ink than the twist-types, they're a little easier to see that there's ink inside the translucent bladder although you still can't see the actual ink level as easily as you can when using a cart and pulling off the metal cover.
For reasons mentioned I still prefer to use the old cart' & syringe-fill method to using any of the converters, also find myself cleaning/ flushing my Capless/ VP pen whenever I refill it with ink and that aids in good/ consistent flow.
Regular flushing helps too, since the nib still gets exposed to some [air] even in the retracted position and inks tend to dry in the nib/ feed slots, especially since I tend to use highly saturated inks that will dry and clog if not flushed more regularly.
I like using Noodler's original recipe #41 Brown in my 'Mustard' colored Pilot Capless/ VP but find that if the pen goes unused for more than a day the highly saturated nature of this and other inks does tend to dry out and stop flowing, needs a little persuasion with a damp paper towel or tissue across the nib-slot to get it flowing again when that happens.

Edited by Inka, 05 April 2012 - 19:09.

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#7 CharityV

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 19:32

I second the refilling cartridges technique. I think the squeeze converters are a nice idea, but they don't seem to be reliable. I have two VPs (one for me, one for my husband) and both have tried using the squeeze converter. Both times it works great for awhile, and then suddenly there is an issue and it leaks all over the inside of the pen, and from then on it won't hold ink without leaking. I've never had that problem with just refilling cartridges.

The twist converter, as others have mentioned, holds so little ink as to be useless. The VP is the only pen I own where I actually prefer cartridge use.

#8 professionaldilettante

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 19:42

I second the refilling cartridges technique. I think the squeeze converters are a nice idea, but they don't seem to be reliable. I have two VPs (one for me, one for my husband) and both have tried using the squeeze converter. Both times it works great for awhile, and then suddenly there is an issue and it leaks all over the inside of the pen, and from then on it won't hold ink without leaking. I've never had that problem with just refilling cartridges.

The twist converter, as others have mentioned, holds so little ink as to be useless. The VP is the only pen I own where I actually prefer cartridge use.

Never had one leak on me, but they do take a bit more force to seat normally, but once, they are seated, they are solid. Less involved than a syringe, as I can just squeeze and wipe, then reinsert nib unit, while on the run. I don't need a place to sit down and refill.
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#9 ThirdeYe

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 19:46

This might be a silly question, but are you submerging the nib all the way up to the steel part of the nib section that the nib goes into? I remember when I first got my Vanishing Point, I wasn't submerging the nib far enough to draw up a lot of ink. Just a thought. I know that the CON-50 converters do not hold a lot of ink, so it could just be the nature of the beast. I've lately turned to filling cartridges instead.
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#10 Inka

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 19:50

...squeeze converters are a nice idea, but they don't seem to be reliable. I have two VPs (one for me, one for my husband) and both have tried using the squeeze converter. Both times it works great for awhile, and then suddenly there is an issue and it leaks all over the inside of the pen...

Thank you for the information, as I've used squeeze converters and found them to just be so-so as I couldn't really see the ink level, had no idea they'd leak!

I've been using the same blank cartridge that came with my December 2000 Japanese 'Mustard' pen I'd received as a gift @ 3 years ago, and have refilled the same cartridge at least 100+ times {never kept count, been at least that many times} and never once had a single leak.
In fact I still have the extra full carts for it in their original sealed packages, I keep one with me for a time that may come where I don't have access to bottled ink & blunt-needle syringe...
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It's hard to argue with that type of success, my converters go unused to this day.
“I view my fountain pens & inks as an artist might view their brushes and paints.
They flow across paper as a brush to canvas, transforming my thoughts into words and my words into art.
There is nothing else like it; the art of writing and the painting of words!”

~Inka~ [Scott]; 5 October, 2009

#11 Inka

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 20:00

This might be a silly question, but are you submerging the nib all the way up to the steel part of the nib section that the nib goes into? I remember when I first got my Vanishing Point, I wasn't submerging the nib far enough to draw up a lot of ink. Just a thought. I know that the CON-50 converters do not hold a lot of ink, so it could just be the nature of the beast. I've lately turned to filling cartridges instead.

That's a good point, and if you look closely at the underside of the feed you'll see a square hole, and that's where ink gets pulled into the converter...
Posted Image


If you don't have the nib/ feed submersed covering that hole then ink cannot get pulled into the converter no matter how hard you try.
I think the CON-50s hold @ .7ml of ink but it's been awhile since I'd actually measured, whereas I think the carts hold more like 1.1ml, not a big difference but enough to get you through the day a bit better.
“I view my fountain pens & inks as an artist might view their brushes and paints.
They flow across paper as a brush to canvas, transforming my thoughts into words and my words into art.
There is nothing else like it; the art of writing and the painting of words!”

~Inka~ [Scott]; 5 October, 2009

#12 pajaro

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 21:05

I have three nib and converter units for my VP. I also have found caps for the nibs to enable me to fill all three units and put the spares in my laptop bag. Two units have the CON-50 and one has the CON-20. All work fine and have for a while now. I have a whole box of Pilot cartridges for this pen, but I would have to be mightily desparate before I would bother with them.

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#13 Think-Ink

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 21:27

This might be a silly question, but are you submerging the nib all the way up to the steel part of the nib section that the nib goes into? I remember when I first got my Vanishing Point, I wasn't submerging the nib far enough to draw up a lot of ink. Just a thought. I know that the CON-50 converters do not hold a lot of ink, so it could just be the nature of the beast. I've lately turned to filling cartridges instead.

That's a good point, and if you look closely at the underside of the feed you'll see a square hole, and that's where ink gets pulled into the converter...
Posted Image


If you don't have the nib/ feed submersed covering that hole then ink cannot get pulled into the converter no matter how hard you try.
I think the CON-50s hold @ .7ml of ink but it's been awhile since I'd actually measured, whereas I think the carts hold more like 1.1ml, not a big difference but enough to get you through the day a bit better.

Actually, if you think about it, a 1.1ml cart holds a little more than 50% more ink than the 0.7ml converter... so it's a pretty substantial difference!
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#14 bwidjaja

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 22:15

Ravantra, thanks for the link
Pajaro, can you tell me where you get the cap from?

#15 Tyr

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:05

Never had a problem refilling cartridges, and I have been refilling the same one with the VP since I got the pen. I purchased the refilling syringes from Gouletpens.com (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer), but any blunt tipped syringe would work, like those that are made for refilling printer ink cartridges. You can also just use a regular syringe and cut the tip off to make it blunt, or even use it as is if you are careful.

As for the converter, Inka explained it better than I did, but you basically fill the converter like usual, then remove it from the ink, turn it so the nib is pointing straight up in the air and then twist it as if you were emptying it in order to get the air out. Twist it slowly, and when you see drops of ink being forced out, put it back into the ink and fill it the rest of the way up. This should get you a bit more ink inside the converter.

#16 Dave P

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 17:16

When I purchased my Decimo from JetPens (about a month ago), the CON-50 converter contained a small sliding metal tube inside the ink well, flanged to stop where the cylinder tapers to fit the nib housing. I have since purchased additional nibs with same converter, and none of them have this little tube.

Through speaking with Brian Goulet, this is an improved version of the CON-50. It may be that JetPens is getting the latest batch of updated converters.

I mention this because I've noticed that I get a more complete fill with the converter containing the little tube; ink flow seems as good if not better. Tube must be preventing air gaps, but seems to add benefit to filling as well.

Still love the Decimo; great writer.

PS - also wondering from where the nib cap came; would love to take the spare nibs with me filled.

#17 CatBookMom

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 17:35

About the nib caps - We had to give our cat some liquid meds post dental work, and I tossed the empty syringes into my catch-all drawer. I found that the covers that the vet put on the end of the pre-filled syringes (no needle) fit my spare nib units quite well, but I don't know how well they'd stand up to air pressure changes on a plane.

#18 CatBookMom

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 17:38

Slightly off the OP's topic, my 1990s Vanishing Point doesn't seem to close off well enough to keep the nib from drying out. This should stay ready to write for a day or two, right? Does anyone have any suggestions?

#19 Tyr

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 17:36

Are you using the original squeeze converter with your older Vanishing Point? According to richardspens.com (no affiliation, etc.), if you use the piston converter the mechanism won't work quite right and can cause the nib to dry out (at the bottom of the Vanishing Point page).

#20 missnibs

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 21:26

I would use the con-20 converter if you haven't tried. It's much more efficient than the con-50 piston converter.


Now I just got myself a Vanishing Point Decimo ànd a CON-20 converter and... the CON-20 doesn't fit. It's too wide and slightly oval-shaped. Is this a faulty converter or did I make a classic rookie mistake in thinking that the Decimo wouldn't be all that different from the 'regular' VP? *sigh*

Edited by missnibs, 08 April 2012 - 21:31.







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