Alrighty, just sat down to do a quick comparison of the three modern flex pens with a G nib. The Ackerman pump pen, my Noodler's hack, and the Desiderata. All have well-behaved Diamine inks in them: Graphite, Indigo, and Wild Strawberry. And I just noticed that I still misspelled "consistent" at the bottom. Damn it all. At any rate, they are all fairly comparable in terms of line range, because they're all the same nib.
- The model I used has a removable reservoir/cartridge, so it's easy to fill to the max with a syringe or dropper.
- Sizable ink capacity for this type (an older model sent to me by Linda. The Gen 8 Junior I have, you can just forget about).
- Not limited to just fountain pen inks. If it flows, it goes.
- The nib and feed are stuck in the metal collar they're seated in (for the pen I used above.) So when this nib wears out or gets clogged, the pen is just done.
- It's too wet a writer. Uses up more ink than it should, and you have to pump often to keep it going after flexing depletes all that ink from the nib.
- It's a miracle if you get a pen on time, or at all.
- Quality on these pens is really inconsistent.
- If you have large hands or long fingers, the pen is pretty slim, so it's uncomfortable for sustained use.
Noodler's Hack Pros:
- Sizable ink capacity.
- Easy to fill by using the plunger converter (or with a syringe if you have ink samples!)
- Largest grip of the three pens, so it's comfortable for my fellow long-fingered persons.
- Easiest to take apart for cleaning and maintenance.
- Inexpensive to modify compared to buying a Desiderata.
- You need to tinker/modify/heat-set the nib and feed. So it's not ready to use out of box for flexing.
- Even after my tinkering, the feed doesn't quite keep up all the with heavy flexing. Moderate flexing, it works just fine.
- Touchy with wet inks. They will often blob or run right out of the pen while you write.
Some "if" factors:
- You might be able to use dip inks and other wet mediums (like thinned acrylic or gouache), due to the ease of cleaning, so long as it is regularly maintained. Untested as of yet.
- You can likely use it as an eyedropper with the G nib, though I'm not sure if/how it would affect flow. Untested as of yet.
Desiderata Mercury Pros:
- Most attractive of the three pens!
- Easy to fill by squeezing the sac filler or using a syringe in the case of ink samples or for maxing the sac's capacity (just don't poke the sac!)
- The feed provides the most consistent flow, even with the flex maxed out.
- Fairly easy to take apart and clean, the nib and feed are just more tightly in the section than the Noodler's hack. Might take some patience and a rubber gripper.
- Comfortable to hold, the grip is just slightly smaller than the Noodler's Ahab.
Some "if" factors:
- The Daedalus versions are more affordable than the wooden Mercury, but still more expensive than Noodler's Ahabs or standard Konrads. Ebonite and acrylic versions are comparable in price.
- You might be able to turn the Daedalus into an eyedropper. I'm pretty sure you can, but not sure how such a capacity would affect flow.
- Most expensive option. (But definitely worth it, as it's handmade and you get excellent customer service.)
- You can't turn the wooden pen into an eyedropper.
- Fountain pen inks only.
- It can take some time to find the correct placement of nib and feed within the section. I'd only count this as a con because they seat very firmly, and it's not convenient to pull them out and fiddle with it until you get it right. The Noodler's hacked feed and nib are much easier to pull out and replace.
Whew! What a list. I will say I was reaching for the cons on the Desiderata. They seem pretty minor to me, when you consider other factors. Like, do you really need to turn it into an eyedropper? Do you need to use dip inks, when waterproof fountain pen inks are available? So yea, reaching there. But I thought it worth to note, as the Ackerman can readily take other mediums, and the Noodler's is a maybe on that front.
So overall, my impressions are:
Ackerman: I can't recommend these pens. They're cheap for a reason--poor quality control, and worse customer service. You might get a pen that works in a timely fashion, or you might not get one at all and have to get a refund. It's not worth the gamble or frustration. Get a pack of dip nibs and a pen body instead.
Noodler's hack: Perfect for the artist or tinkerer. Both of which I am, so I might be a bit biased. But I'd say it's a good middle-of-the-road option weighing expense against ability to flex. You have to work for it a bit more, but you save money.
Desiderata: Perfect for the writer who doesn't like to tinker much, designed to work out of the box. While the most expensive, it also works the most consistently.
Edited by TeaHive, 10 January 2015 - 20:12.