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How Durable Is Acrylic?

acrylic durable

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12 replies to this topic

#1 joshua.andrews59

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 07:29

This past year I have delved into the blackhole of fountain pens and cannot get out! I like it though. Anyways, I primarily have stuck to Aluminum bodied pens for their heft and durability.

 

I really want to make the jump and buy let's say an Edison or Franklin Christoph FP which are made of Acrylic (Resin). Unable to go to a local pen shop to try one out I rely on reviews.

 

So my main concern is if Acrylic pens will break if there is so much as a slight mishandle or temperature change.

 

Thank you for your time and look forward for your responses! Be easy on me I am still learning more about FP's.

 


VICTRIX FORTUNA SAPIENTIA


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#2 Tweel

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 08:14

Acrylic isn't fragile.  A drop onto a hard floor might break it, especially if the pen has heavy hardware attached, but for the most part you'd be okay.


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#3 JeanManuel

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 08:46

Hi!
In ~20 years I've had only one acryl pen crack: a Sheaffer balance 2 (1990s). It was in a backpack and I leaned on it. It's a small crack.

My vintage cellulose pens shattered easily when they fell. In my experience modern plastic pens have held better. Especially plastic schoolpens are expected to endure the cruelty of the young, and will most likely have better durability than most high-end pen.

I think my Pelikan M205 fell a few times, but it's so light that nothing much happened.

The real problem is not breaking, I think. It's scratches.
Aluminum body is OK. Doesn't feel as nice. Metals are cold and slippery. I had one metal grip: never again.

Hope it helps. Cheers, JM

Edited by JeanManuel, 28 December 2014 - 08:47.

Everything is impermanent.

#4 Tresconik

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 09:18

Acrylic is quite strong.. I think ABS plastic is a type of acrylic? It's what the Safari's are made of, and they're quite durable. I have a cheap Indian acrylic pen which I've dropped multiple times to test it's durability. No cracks yet.



#5 takkun

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:33

Actually, ABS is a bit different than acrylic/Lucite/Plexiglas (all the same material!), and that's an entirely different material than polycarbonate (Lexan, or if you're Lamy, Makrolon). They're all very strong, but with different properties. Acrylic has a long history in pens, and popular with hobby pen makers since it's easy to turn on a lathe. 

 

Richard Binder  has an article on the different types of plastics in the context of pen manufacture. Interesting stuff. 

 

I've got a small handful of acrylic pens, from cheap Chinese Heros to Montblanc, and they seem durable--the quality of the machining, I think, is the key indicator of durability in the pen body.


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#6 Drone

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 14:15

Generally, "Acrylic" pens are robust, but there are different types of acrylic materials - and how the pen is made is very important.

Richard Binder's article on pen plastics referred to in Post #5 by user "takkun" in this thread is an excellent starting reference.

A good example of a pen made of acrylic that is notorious for cracking is the Sheaffer's Balance-II fountain pen referred to by "JeanManuel" in Post #3 in this thread.

The Balance-II pens were available in "compression molded" acrylic material, which is made of various colored flakes of acrylic. These pens were/are beautiful, but the material was prone to cracking. This was due to two factors; one, the compression molded material is more prone to cracking due to the way the material is made, and second, the acrylic (especially the caps) were quite thin.

 

The colored Balance-II's are famous for cracks in the cap-lips. Compression-fit metal cap-bands are added, not only for esthetic purposes, but to strengthen the cap material against cracking. In the case of the colored Balance-II pens, even the added cap-bands were not enough to prevent the rather thin cap material from cracking over time.

There is an exception to the Balance-II cracking problem however. The Balance-II came in a version (Model 873) made of all black acrylic (not compression molded flake material) with a single wider cap-band which is (arguably) stronger than the two thinner cap-bands seen on most of the colored acrylic versions. The all black acrylic material is stronger than the compression molded flake material used in the colored versions..

I have seen enough colored-flake Sheaffer's Balance-II's with cracked caps to avoid them. But I do own a black Balance-II 873 with the wide single cap band, and it has held up well over time.

So the lessons here are:

1. Know your pen materials and their trade-offs (again, start with Binder's "plastics" reference).

2. Know how your pen is made. Is the acrylic material (especially in the cap) thin or thick "enough"? (See Item-3 below.)

3. Learn about the pen you are thinking of acquiring before buying one. This is why I always recommend reading reviews and posts about the pen you want. I know, it takes some time to do the research, but pre-purchase knowledge goes a long way towards avoiding ownership disappointment.

 

Regards, David



#7 joshua.andrews59

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 22:26

Hi!
In ~20 years I've had only one acryl pen crack: a Sheaffer balance 2 (1990s). It was in a backpack and I leaned on it. It's a small crack.

My vintage cellulose pens shattered easily when they fell. In my experience modern plastic pens have held better. Especially plastic schoolpens are expected to endure the cruelty of the young, and will most likely have better durability than most high-end pen.

I think my Pelikan M205 fell a few times, but it's so light that nothing much happened.

The real problem is not breaking, I think. It's scratches.
Aluminum body is OK. Doesn't feel as nice. Metals are cold and slippery. I had one metal grip: never again.

Hope it helps. Cheers, JM

JeanManuel, 

 

   Thank you for your input! I felt comfortable enough with the information you and other users have given and have purchased my first Acrylic pen: Edison Collier! I'm still waiting for it, but confident enough that I will love it. Have a wonderful new year!


VICTRIX FORTUNA SAPIENTIA


#8 joshua.andrews59

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 22:29

Generally, "Acrylic" pens are robust, but there are different types of acrylic materials - and how the pen is made is very important.

Richard Binder's article on pen plastics referred to in Post #5 by user "takkun" in this thread is an excellent starting reference.

A good example of a pen made of acrylic that is notorious for cracking is the Sheaffer's Balance-II fountain pen referred to by "JeanManuel" in Post #3 in this thread.

The Balance-II pens were available in "compression molded" acrylic material, which is made of various colored flakes of acrylic. These pens were/are beautiful, but the material was prone to cracking. This was due to two factors; one, the compression molded material is more prone to cracking due to the way the material is made, and second, the acrylic (especially the caps) were quite thin.

 

The colored Balance-II's are famous for cracks in the cap-lips. Compression-fit metal cap-bands are added, not only for esthetic purposes, but to strengthen the cap material against cracking. In the case of the colored Balance-II pens, even the added cap-bands were not enough to prevent the rather thin cap material from cracking over time.

There is an exception to the Balance-II cracking problem however. The Balance-II came in a version (Model 873) made of all black acrylic (not compression molded flake material) with a single wider cap-band which is (arguably) stronger than the two thinner cap-bands seen on most of the colored acrylic versions. The all black acrylic material is stronger than the compression molded flake material used in the colored versions..

I have seen enough colored-flake Sheaffer's Balance-II's with cracked caps to avoid them. But I do own a black Balance-II 873 with the wide single cap band, and it has held up well over time.

So the lessons here are:

1. Know your pen materials and their trade-offs (again, start with Binder's "plastics" reference).

2. Know how your pen is made. Is the acrylic material (especially in the cap) thin or thick "enough"? (See Item-3 below.)

3. Learn about the pen you are thinking of acquiring before buying one. This is why I always recommend reading reviews and posts about the pen you want. I know, it takes some time to do the research, but pre-purchase knowledge goes a long way towards avoiding ownership disappointment.

 

Regards, David

David,

 

   Thank you so much for your advice when it comes to buying acrylic pens my friend. With this knowledge I felt comfortable enough to make my first acrylic pen purchase which is an Edison Collier Blue Steel. Can't wait to use it! Thank you once again and have a happy new year!


VICTRIX FORTUNA SAPIENTIA


#9 Drone

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 23:53

David,

 

   Thank you so much for your advice when it comes to buying acrylic pens my friend. With this knowledge I felt comfortable enough to make my first acrylic pen purchase which is an Edison Collier Blue Steel. Can't wait to use it! Thank you once again and have a happy new year!

 

Edison Pens are a good choice - congratulations.

 

However, I hope you are aware of the fact that the Edison Collier model pens do not post. If being able to post the cap to the barrel is important to you, then you may be able to act quickly and choose another model that does post. If posting doesn't matter to you, then I am sure you wil enjoy your new pen.

 

Best of Luck, David



#10 joshua.andrews59

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 00:04

 

Edison Pens are a good choice - congratulations.

 

However, I hope you are aware of the fact that the Edison Collier model pens do not post. If being able to post the cap to the barrel is important to you, then you may be able to act quickly and choose another model that does post. If posting doesn't matter to you, then I am sure you wil enjoy your new pen.

 

Best of Luck, David

Thank you David for the quick feedback. Yes I am aware of that, but don't mind it. Posting isn't my preference I feel the back weight hinders my writing. Have a great day!

 

        -Joshua C. Andrews


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#11 Hadders

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:02

Should be just fine for normal use!



#12 erpe

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 05:04

Lost of info already, just my 2p. I collect 70's schoolpens and almost all of them are acrylic or some sort of plastic. They never break. In fact, I had to 'punish' a ballpoint once for not writing properly and it was even quite hard to break it on purpose  ;)

That said, they will show traces of use after a while, obviously more so than metal bodies, but if you don't store or carry them with keys or in your toolbox, it should be quite ok. Pens of Edison class are to be transported in a pouch or case anyway.

(I have an Edison Collier in flight at the moment, takes a while to jump the ocean)


Edited by erpe, 06 January 2015 - 05:04.


#13 JeanManuel

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 07:20

 In fact, I had to 'punish' a ballpoint once for not writing properly

:D After vinyl and latex, it was high time for some acryl spanking!  :bunny01:


Everything is impermanent.





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