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Old Unused Fountain Won't Flow Ink Anymore

vanishing point capless dried

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Aitch

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:02

Howdy folks!

 

So I (finally!) found my beloved Pilot Vanishing Point (after about 5 years!) which got me rather excited... and then very disappointed as it seems to have dried up    permanently and won't write anymore!

 

I'm using standard Pilot ink cartridges and have tried everything to get the ink to flow again, but to no avail.

 

Is this a common problem VP? Is there a way to get it writing again? Would appreciate some tips and tricks please!

 

 

 



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#2 OldGriz

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:09

This is a problem with most pens that are allowed to let the ink dry in the pen..

It just needs a good soaking and flushing and/or ultrasonic cleaning to clear out all the old dried ink....

Most likely more than a few cycles of soaking and flushing...


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#3 Indy_Pen_Dance

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:17

I don't think the problem is because your pen is a VP, but it is a problem with most pens that have ink dried up in them for years like that.  (Even if I accidentally forget to empty mine for a few months this can be an issue).  If you have an ultrasonic cleaner, remove the nib unit (if you know how) and the nib so that you can clean them this way.  If you aren't comfortable with taking the pen apart, then soak it in water rotating with J.B.'s pen flush until you get all of the clogs dissolved and ready to go.  I haven't had a VP come in yet that was "permanently" without ink flow.  Just have patience and persistence - you'll get there.

 

Good luck getting the flow going again!



#4 Kelly G

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:24

One thing I have found handy with my VP's is to floss the nib after a thorough cleaning.  Use a 1 inch (or so) square of .002" brass shim stock (available in bulk at most any auto parts store);  slip a corner of the square into the breather hole on the nib and gently pull the shim through the nib slit and out the end.  If there is dried ink clogging up the nib slit, a few flosses should clear out the impediment.  This along with the soaking recommended above should solve your problem.

 

Good luck with your pen.


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#5 Aitch

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:38

Lightening fast advice, much appreciated guys!

 

What is the correct process for soaking and flushing?

- do I use just normal tap water or distilled water?

- do I soak it overnight or just an hour or two?

- do I soak it a bowl on its side or stand it up on its nib?

- do I flush by just blowing through one end?

- do I blow gently or with force?

 

I don't have an ultra-sonic cleaner - is it worth getting one?

 

Thanks for your help folks!



#6 Sasha Royale

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 22:56

:eureka:

You haven't tried TIME.

 

It's just dried ink !  When ink dries, pigment solids are left behind.  In sufficient quantity, the residue forms a cement-like material that blocks the flow channels.  FIVE YEARS is a long time.  (2,628,000 minutes). You can't expect to desolve five years in a few minutes.  Give it one hour -- five minutes work times twelve.

 

Remove the barrel from the section.  Remove the cartridge from the section.  Drop the section/nib assembly into a cup or mug, and add five ounces of room-temp tap water.  (five minutes) Leave it there for eight hours.  You will see the dried ink start to color the water. 

 

After eight hours, rinse the section/nib assembly under a running room-temp tap for four minutes.  Drop the section/nib assembly into clean room-temp water, again for eight hours. (five minues)

 

Do this ten more times (total 55 minutes) or until there is no longer ink from the pen coloring the soak water.

 

Blow out any remaining water. and dry the nib.  Install a new ink cartridge.  Stand the pen nib-down to let the ink fill the flow mechanism.  Works 99% of the time.

 

A tablespoon of household ammonia might speed the desolving of crusty ink.  Be patient.  The dried ink has a FIVE-YEAR headstart. 

 

Simple, huh ?  Soak and rinse and leaving the pen unattended.  (You already know how to do that.)

 

:P

 

Fellow members love their Pilot VP's.  I hope yours comes back healthy.


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#7 ac12

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 18:17

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Lightening fast advice, much appreciated guys!

 

What is the correct process for soaking and flushing?

- do I use just normal tap water or distilled water?

- do I soak it overnight or just an hour or two?

- do I soak it a bowl on its side or stand it up on its nib?

- do I flush by just blowing through one end?

- do I blow gently or with force?

 

I don't have an ultra-sonic cleaner - is it worth getting one?

 

Thanks for your help folks!

 

re ultrasonic cleaner (USC)

IMHO if only for ONE pen, NO it is not worth it.  Unless that pen is valuable to you.

A household USC will cost about $35 (search eBay), the commercial stuff will be over $100.  So it is actually pretty inexpensive, compared to the price of many pens.  CAUTION, you want an ULTRAsonic cleaner, not a sonic cleaner.

 

I have one that I use for my model train hobby (it is labeled denture cleaner :D ), which I also use it to clean pens.  And boy does it do a number on blowing out old dry ink.  It is fun to watch the cloud of ink come boiling out of the feed.  But it is not a miracle worker.  If you have a lot of dry ink (which some used pens that I bought have), it can take MANY cycles of cleaning to get all the ink out.

 

By cleaning cycles I mean

- 1 to 2 min in the USC

- flush to clean out the softened ink

- repeat as necessary

 

A couple cautions on USC.

#1 - If your nib is gold PLATED, there is a remote chance that the USC can remove the gold plating.  I had this happen to me with an old pen, probably cheap plating.  This becomes a problem when you do MANY cycles thru the USC to clean a really dirty pen.

 

#2 - A USC will heat the water as it runs.  So you have to replace the water every few cycles to avoid using HOT water on the pen.  I want my water at near room temp, if it is warm I replace the water.

 

As for water, I use filtered water for cleaning my pens.  Tap water filtered thru a Britta filter.

 

I am not familiar with a VP pen, so I can't tell you how to clean it specifically.  It is different enough from my pens that I would listen to someone familiar with it.

 

But generically, I would do a similar cycle; soak for an hour or two, then rinse/flush any loosened/softened ink, then repeat the soak.  If the soak water gets inky, dump and replace with clean water.  Keep doing this for 2 days.  Or as Sasha said, keep doing it until the pen flushes clean. 

If it is really blocked with ink you may not be able to flush water thru the pen.  In that case, just rinse both sides of the pen to try to rinse out the softened ink then soak again.

If you use ammonia (1 part ammonia to 10 parts water), at the end make sure you do a GOOD rinse/flush after the soaking to get rid of the ammonia.

 

I flush my pens using a bulb syringe (infant dept at Target).  It lets me force a LOT more water thru the feed than using the converter.  I do not know if you can use a bulb syringe on a VP.


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#8 Ron Z

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 19:18

An ultrasonic is also very great for cleaning the :yikes: :sick:   out of a metal/mesh watch band. 


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#9 Mike 59

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 08:36

Hi Aitch, I've found that normal tap water plus dish washing up detergent is usually enough.

I have a glass jar only used for this, add one drop of dish washing up detergent.

Add water until glass is 2/3rds full.

 Put the pen in the solution, minus the cartridge, and leave overnight.

 Next day change the water, and repeat, and it could take several repeats of that treatment, but it does normally get through, in time.   Continue until no more ink seems to be colouring the water, then dry the nib unit out by folding up a paper towel and standing the nib up on it for half an hour or so.

  Refit cartridge and test.   I use this method with all of my pens, about every second or third ink refill, as a routine.

  In your case five years of drying will take some clearing, but I can't see why it wouldn't soak out, given several days of treatment.


Edited by Mike 59, 08 August 2013 - 08:40.


#10 graystranger

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 20:45

You can use a bulb syringe on a Pilot Vanishing point, I clean mine out with one every year or so unless it starts acting up.  Open the pen, take the cartridge (or converter) out, the end of the bulb syringe should fit it very well.  Just flush out with water, pen flush, or water with a little ammonia.

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#11 graystranger

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 20:40

Please let us know if you get this pen cleaned out and working again.  If you give up I'll be glad to buy the nib assembly from you to work on myself.  You can get a new assembly for $62.

 

I'm sure with soaking and use of a little ammonia and a drop of dishwasher detergent the ink will soften up enough to alow flushing out.  The bulb syringe works great.  I have a Sheaffer Lifetime pen that had sat for some 15 or more years since its last use.  I soaked it and soaked it in water and it would only write a line or two before stopping.  A friend told me about adding a little ammonia to the water.  After a soak I flushed the water through the pen using a regular syringe with a concoction of various tubing to fit to the pen.  I was amazed at the black flakes that flushed out of the pen.  Then it wrote flawlessly ever after.  The ink in the pen was from Sheaffer cartridges left in the pen since the last time it was used.


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#12 jar

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 21:38

Remember it didn't get like this overnight.  Patience is your friend.  If at first it doesn't succeed ... well great, didn't think it would.

 

Patience. Soak, flush, repeat.


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#13 colrehogan

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 00:15

A co-worker of mine brought in her pen which she had not used since the mid 70's (?) and I pulled it apart and placed the pieces into a beaker with water and watched the blue ink come out for at least a week. I left the beaker on my desk at work and let it set. I replaced the water on occasion until it was clear. I bought her some cartridges from Goulet and was able to get it working again for her.
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