Here is another take on a TWSBI 580 Diamond FP with a Fine nib. The reviews at fpn did make me finally buy a TWSBI, just for the fun of dis-assembly and maintenance.
In case there are any problems with pictures you can go to the below link on my blog.
Why did I get one ?
Well, just to disassemble the pen and have all the fun. Plus, I get a clear demonstrator and a nice-looking wrench.
What on earth is a TWSBI? (For the uninitiated like me, I doubt there are any left
TWSBI (called Twiz-Bee) refers to “San Wen Tong”, i.e when TWS is spelled backwards and it means ‘Hall of Three Cultures’ according to their website. BI at the end refers to “writing instruments”. And the company, Ta Shin Precision manufactured everything from toy lego parts to high-end writing instruments (as an OEM) for several luxury brands (American & Japanese) for well over 40 years. So that’s plastic, metal & precision, precisely what’s required to make and sell a lovely writing instrument, under your own brand name. Which luxury brands? They don’t tell it due to privacy agreements. I have reasonable doubt from various reviews that one of them is Levenger. Also, TWSBI Nibs are said to be sourced from JoWo, Germany (same as for Faber-Castell Design Pens).
That’s probably one of the great aspects of marketing the pen. For the lack of any other word, let’s call it ‘Apple’ packaging inside a brown cardboard box.
There is an instruction sheet on disassembly of the pen, highlighting the pen parts.
Below the white pen-holding shelf, you will find the 7mm TWSBI wrench and a small bottle of silicone grease fitted into slots.
With a screw fit cap and relatively technical construction right from the nib unit to the end cap, this pen endorses practical utility rather than art (with which you will probably associate a Pelikan or a Visconti or an MB with). The entire pen along with the cap is made to disassemble, clean and reassemble. With a 13 cm length and comfortable grip diameter of 1cm, it can be used unposted with ease. The polygonal planes (Diamond-cut) shape of the barrel (almost a decagonal cross-section) prevents the pen from slipping and makes it quite photogenic for posing too
. Cap has a circular cross section though. Embossed on the tail (steel bracket) band of the cap is TWSBI on one side and Diamond & 580 & TAIWAN on the other.
Posting gives it a space shuttle
like appearance and the posted thing is altogether heavy and way too long.
The finial carries the TWSBI trademarked logo on a red background. Clip has a smooth modern design with a diamond cut and quite springy to use.
Nib has an industrial sword like look, and the unit is easy detachable and can be unscrewed from the grip section. Embossed is a brief arabesque along the tines with TWSBI logo, name and nib size mentioned at the tail-end. The metal cross section does amplify the industrial design of the pen.
Along with the Custom 823
I am making a comparison with custom 823 only for its size. The nib and construction are very different for these two pens. And a pilot custom 823 is a heavier pen with a really big nib.
For this phase, rather than from the manual, you can have a look at a 580 disassembly video. I like the one with gouletpens or srebrown. However, do check the warranty terms, if you are not very sure of fixing it yourself. Make sure you flush the pen completely before doing it . By rotating the piston end-cap counter-clockwise, the piston seal is lowered to a hinged stop inside the barrel. The wrench then can be fitted just below the piston-end-cap (below the metal band), which is unscrewed in a clockwise direction from the piston-top.
The piston mechanism has five different parts as you can see in the picture, though it’s might not be necessary to remove the rubber piston seal from the piston rod. The nib unit can be easily removed by first unscrewing the grip section from the barrel and then the nib unit can be removed. Since, nib is friction fit, you may remove the nib and feed from the unit, in case there is some heavy cleaning required (in case of a bad flow, sometimes the feed is coated with grease which restricts ink-flow). However, if your flow is good, I don’t think there is anything broke to fix in the first place .
Rest, reassembly might be an initial frustration and it took me a while to learn to fit the piston parts properly.Initially, I was left with the piston seal and rod inside (while everything else was outside!), while I tried to reassemble the pen for the first time. Tried many different things with tweezers, ear-buds and finally could remove it by using the piston parts only. My guess is that a little bit of experiment is required to get used to this.
Make sure you apply an adequate amount of silicone grease to the sides of the rubber piston seal (you may ignore the bottom surface) at the end of the piston-rod, so that it glides smoothly along the barrel. I did that in the second reassembly attempt, because the piston seal seemed to have too much of friction, after the first reassembly.
Inking & Writing
Inking is easy piston filling and writing is kind of ‘ok’ smooth (not butter), with a rather wet flow. Initially, the ink feathered a little, on a moderate quality paper, but later on it adjusted well once the excess ink was used up.
Along with my own biases*
Diamond 580 Feature - Rating (of 10)*
Length - 10
Capped ~ 14 cm
Posted ~ 18 cm
Unposted ~ 13 cm
Nib Leverage ~ 2.0 cm
- Unposted length is comfortable for long sessions
Weight - 10
28 g (~ 14g body + 14 g cap)
- Balancing is good
Design - 9
Silver Steely Accent
- Non-slip diamond (polygonal cross-section) design of barrel
- Clip is quite innovative
- Ease of disassembly & cleaning
- Reassembly needs piston seal to be lubricated well else it won’t move
Filling System - 9
- Ink capacity can be adjusted to be > 2.1 ml
- Some play with the piston parts and end cap is required to get used to it
Nib - 7
Balancing Length ~ 2.0 cm
- Small Nib compared to the overall volume of the pen
- Wet Flow
- ‘Ok’ for smoothness
Economic Value - 6
- Retails in India at ~ INR 5500 ($90) and $ 50 in the US
- Available at $70 (usually shipping would be around $20-25 if ordered from TWSBI site)
- Should be priced at $50 in India too
- A bit steep for a steel nib, when you can get a Pilot CH92 for a little more
Accessories - 10
- Elegant Packaging – Let’s call it ‘Apple’ packaging for the lack of any other word (iPhones/iPods come in a similar packaging)
- 7mm steel TWSBI branded wrench
- 1 small bottle of silicone grease for lubricating piston (seal)
- Overall a nice set
Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
Edited by soniknitr, 08 November 2014 - 19:02.