I know a lot of people have been interested in the Safari clones, the Jinhao 599 series, and I thought I'd post some comments about the tuning process I've gone through with these pens. I picked up several of them out of curiosity and have been using them to practice my nib grinding and smoothing skills.
The first ones I picked up did not fare well. I got two of the blue demonstrators, and when doing an initial cleaning I reinserted the converters and pushed the nib/feed sleeve out of the section. Not sure if these are friction fit or tacked in there with a little bit of cement, but this is clearly a big issue when a normal push on a converter pops the whole nib/feed unit up and out.
I moved too quickly and assumed that the sleeve unit was round, and I cemented the sleeve back into the section. A couple of problems with this -- 1) the sleeve has ONE alignment position and 2) using cement to lock up a sleeve in a transparent section leads to some ugliness. Obviously, because the grip is formed, the sleeve has to line up EXACTLY with the top of the section or the nib alignment will be off. And, if I were to cement the sleeves in again, I'd use a very small amount of cement and try to keep it out of the inside of the section.
Having tossed the first two into the parts bin I bought three more and found myself going through a similar tuning process for each. First off, EVERY pen had a really bad nib with way too much ink flow. Not one of the five had a nib that was usable from the start. Fortunately the nibs/feeds are easy to pull out and work with, so I went through the following steps to get them working:
- Ground them down closer to fine
- Adjusted the tines
- Smoothed the inner edges of the tines (this was critical)
- Closed gaps on the tines to get the right alignment and pressure
- Corrected a few "inverted Grand Canyon" problems
Once these changes were made the flow was better, and I managed to turn all three of the pens into really good writers:
The next weirdness to correct was how the section screwed into the barrel. Each one of the pens seems to do this strange thing where right as it gets tight it turns slightly back to the loose position. It is almost like the body can't make the final 1/16 of a turn to cinch it down completely. To correct this I put a very thin layer of Shoo Goo on the threads to prevent movement. Clearly this is a silly solution because I'd have to repeat it every time I filled the pen, but for now it works. Maybe I'll try setting one up with a sac and then using the side window and a bent paperclip to fill it.
The last thing I did was to take 400 grit sandpaper (lightly) to the bottom of the cap. The plastic had a slight edge to it that I didn't like, so I smoothed it out, and because it is right on the edge you don't have to worry about scratches in the plastic.
I have some solid colored ones on the way, so we'll see if those have the same issues. Overall the pens are decent for the price, but only if you have some fairly solid nib tuning skills.
Edited by grahamtillotson, 27 April 2014 - 19:56.