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Montblanc Rollerball Refill Alternatives

refill rollerball le grande

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32 replies to this topic

#1 brucelee

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 16:06

Hello Everyone,

 

first post for me....been trolling and know this is a topic that has been discussed before...but wanted to dust off and see if any new developments/learnings are out there to share..

 

just purchased a le grande rollerball...love the pen and love the rollerballs (more practical for daily work use than my le grand fp).....but don't love the lifespan of the rollerball refills....looking for alternatives...

 

seen refilling the MB cartridge hacks....i'm more inclined to using a G2 refill (decent writer, much better lifespan, more color choices), but have not found a good way to make it fit into the le grande.....

 

any recent hacks/innovations in this sphere?

 

PS:   i've seen the reverse hack online, trying to use a MB rollerball cartridge in a G2....dont understand this, since this is essentially a value play and the MB rollerball does not provide as much value as the G2 cartridges....

 

Bruce



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#2 macball

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 16:50

I am not sure what you mean by "seen refilling the MB cartridge hacks". If you mean refilling the MB cartridge with MB ink by popping the top off and adding FP ink, and you haven't tried it, you really should, even if you also want to try to retrofit cartridges from other suppliers. It is very easy to do and you would be surprised how much it extends the life and reliability of any MB cartridge. After dealing with newly purchased MB RB cartridges with variable and very short lifespans compared to ones I have refilled myself I suspect that the MB cartridges you purchase at a premium price have partially evaporated between the time of manufacture and purchase. The uniqueness of the MB product, colour choices, and the premium price likely means that most refills have sat for many months at the retailer before falling into your hands compared to refills for less expensive and more common pens. All you need is a pair of needle nose pliers, a bottle of ink, and an eyedropper from the dollar store. If you consider the volume of the RB cartridge and the fact a lot of the volume is taken up by the sponge, the cartridge does not contain a lot of ink anyway. Refilling is simple and economical. I would consider changing the colour and ink manufacturer a "hack", not refilling.



#3 I like mango cheesecake

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 18:11

I tried that hack before and totally hacked up the butt end of the refill as I couldn't get it off. I ended up ruining the cartridge beyond repair. Ymmv

#4 brucelee

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 18:37

I am not sure what you mean by "seen refilling the MB cartridge hacks". If you mean refilling the MB cartridge with MB ink by popping the top off and adding FP ink, and you haven't tried it, you really should, even if you also want to try to retrofit cartridges from other suppliers. It is very easy to do and you would be surprised how much it extends the life and reliability of any MB cartridge. After dealing with newly purchased MB RB cartridges with variable and very short lifespans compared to ones I have refilled myself I suspect that the MB cartridges you purchase at a premium price have partially evaporated between the time of manufacture and purchase. The uniqueness of the MB product, colour choices, and the premium price likely means that most refills have sat for many months at the retailer before falling into your hands compared to refills for less expensive and more common pens. All you need is a pair of needle nose pliers, a bottle of ink, and an eyedropper from the dollar store. If you consider the volume of the RB cartridge and the fact a lot of the volume is taken up by the sponge, the cartridge does not contain a lot of ink anyway. Refilling is simple and economical. I would consider changing the colour and ink manufacturer a "hack", not refilling.

Macball - thanks for the reply and the vote of confidence in refilling the MB cartridge....i have MB ink for my fountain pen....read in posts that fountain pen ink may not be ideal to use for rollerball refill....any issues from your experience?

 

Bruce



#5 macball

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 16:14

That is an interesting comment regarding the difficulty getting the plastic top off. Because the method has worked so well for me, I don't have a lot of experience getting the plastic top off! I have been using the same medium rollerball refill for years!! At one time I stockpiled MB refills because they didn't last very long. Most of these are the older style with a solid metal top. I still think they can be refilled from the breather hole near the nib using the syringe/tubing method I use for refilling the MB highlighter refills but I haven't tried that yet. There is no sign that the refill that I have been using for years is wearing out.
 
In response to the post reporting problems getting the top off I took the top off of a couple of new refills. I agree that the first time the removal is more difficult. I also found that using the right size pliers makes a difference. At first I used the small pair at the top of the image which you might think would be more appropriate for the task. But this pair did dig into the plastic. The larger pair with the yellow handles is a size more typical of standard household pliers. The depression in the top of the refill is pretty deep so these larger pliers make a better fit. I rocked the pliers back and forth a bit and then pulled straight back. Each of three refills popped right off. 
 
I have been using standard MB FP ink as shown in the image. I was also under the impression that RB ink, like the paste found in ballpoint refills, was a different formulation from FP ink. I would have predicted that it might dribble out of the breather hole, blob on the paper, have a different density of writing, or dry out faster. None of that happened. I haven't used my RB for a couple of weeks and I just wrote Rollerball Refills on the notepad and it worked perfectly first time with no skipping or hesitation. Perhaps RB ink is different from FP ink but FP ink works perfectly well for me. I have no experience using inks from other manufacturers that may have different properties.
 


#6 brucelee

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 19:04

Macball,

 

thank you for taking the time to address the specific questions (and taking a photo of your tools!).  appreciate it....will be giving this a try with full confidence!

 

Bruce



#7 Albinoni

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 23:38

Is it possible to put in any ink or must it just be Montblanc

#8 macball

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 03:52

Is it possible to put in any ink or must it just be Montblanc

 

I don't think it has to be Montblanc ink, its just the one that I happen to use. Different inks have different properties so some inks might be better, and others worse. I would be very interested to hear about the experiences of other users. However, more than one posting here warns that different inks might interact and suggests that the refill be cleaned, just as you would thoroughly clean a fountain pen before switching inks. This involves removing the sponge from the refill barrel with tweezers after popping off the plastic cap. The sponge is completely rinsed to remove all residual ink and dried. The microfibre feed inside leading to the rollerball point is also rinsed clean and dried. The sponge is then reinserted into the barrel, making sure that the microfibre feed is inserted back into the sponge, and loaded with the new ink. That is a bit more work compared to just topping up a refill with MB ink. Regardless of how or what you refill the rollerball cartridge with it is better than chucking it in the garbage. 



#9 Albinoni

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 09:04

Ok say for example I have a Le Grand black rollerball refill, and I decide to refill it. Would this mean I refill it with Montblanc Mystery Black ink.

#10 macball

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 20:24

Ok say for example I have a Le Grand black rollerball refill, and I decide to refill it. Would this mean I refill it with Montblanc Mystery Black ink.

 

Yes. Or, if you have a LeGrand blue rollerball refill, refill it with Montblanc Royal Blue ink. Those are the ones I have experience with. I would be interested to know what happens if the cartridge was topped up with the Permanent series (without cleaning the sponge of residual ink). Or, other inks for that matter. The point is that you run the risk of an interaction between inks. Unlike a fountain pen, where detrimental ink interactions causes a lot of problems, if you refill the MB rollerball cartridge with an incompatible ink... then throw it away. That is what was going to happen to it before it was refilled anyway. What is to lose?



#11 UltimatePenPolish

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 23:30

Hello Everyone,

 

first post for me....been trolling and know this is a topic that has been discussed before...but wanted to dust off and see if any new developments/learnings are out there to share..

 

just purchased a le grande rollerball...love the pen and love the rollerballs (more practical for daily work use than my le grand fp).....but don't love the lifespan of the rollerball refills....looking for alternatives...

 

seen refilling the MB cartridge hacks....i'm more inclined to using a G2 refill (decent writer, much better lifespan, more color choices), but have not found a good way to make it fit into the le grande.....

 

any recent hacks/innovations in this sphere?

 

PS:   i've seen the reverse hack online, trying to use a MB rollerball cartridge in a G2....dont understand this, since this is essentially a value play and the MB rollerball does not provide as much value as the G2 cartridges....

 

Bruce

 

Just fill the rollerball refill up with fountain pen ink. there are videos on this topic on YouTube


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#12 suhao

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 00:01

I have gone a different direction and have used a 3D printer to print adaptors that allows me to use Parker ballpoint refills which also comes in gel ink to fit my LeGrand.

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Edited by suhao, 23 March 2015 - 00:06.


#13 Inked

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 03:58

 

I have been using standard MB FP ink as shown in the image. I was also under the impression that RB ink, like the paste found in ballpoint refills, was a different formulation from FP ink. I would have predicted that it might dribble out of the breather hole, blob on the paper, have a different density of writing, or dry out faster. None of that happened. I haven't used my RB for a couple of weeks and I just wrote Rollerball Refills on the notepad and it worked perfectly first time with no skipping or hesitation. Perhaps RB ink is different from FP ink but FP ink works perfectly well for me. I have no experience using inks from other manufacturers that may have different properties.
 

 

 

I have a Grayson Tighe rollerball that uses a Schmidt 8127.

I followed your instruction and it was as easy as pie.

 

I refilled it with MB permanent blue and it works great.

Much better blue than the original.

 

Now if only my 162 would run out of ink so I can try it on that.

 

Thanks for the tip!

 

Inked



#14 Pen Nut

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 14:51

I have gone a different direction and have used a 3D printer to print adaptors that allows me to use Parker ballpoint refills which also comes in gel ink to fit my LeGrand.

 

Now that is a great idea.......well done for making this adaptor. I may contact you at a later date to gather some info and have a go at one if thats ok.


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#15 uemuraw

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 18:44

Refill rollerball.jpg

 

I've been using fountain pen ink in my Montblanc rollerball refill cartridge for several months now.

• I use a pen knife to pop the blind cap off.

• I use a blunt-tipped syringe to drip ink into the sponge in the refill.

• Often, when I replace the blind cap, ink seeps out at the joint between the threads and the metal tip.

• I just wipe that off and drive on.

 

This has worked well for months with Noodler's Blue American Eel. I had some skipping at first, but after a while, the writing is more consistent, and more brilliant, than the ink that comes with the refills.

 

On my latest top-off, I tried Noodler's Ottoman Azure. A favorite blue of mine. Poor results. Maybe a problem with the formulation?

• Blobby writing that hasn't worked itself out

• The leaky behavior has continued for a couple days now

• The flow has been intermittent – sometimes drooly and sometimes skippy.

 

I'll just work through this ink and try another soon. 

 

 

 

 

 


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#16 DrScott

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 20:12

The latest versions of the MB rollerball refills are crimped at the plastic end to make it impossible to pull out the cap and refill it.  You have to look for refills from two or three years ago if you want to have a chance at refilling with fountain pen ink.



#17 macball

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 14:09

There has to be a breather hole someplace or the ink wouldn't flow out the rollerball. In this case it is at the black plastic threaded area. I haven't done this myself because I have the ones with the more easily removable plastic cap at the end (regardless of vintage, the first removal requires a bit more work. You need to slowly rock the plastic cap back and forth with medium sized pliers while pulling it out. The wrong sized pliers will chew up the plastic. Crimped or not, the cap can be removed). I have been wanting to try the alternative filling method but I always top up my refills so they haven't been empty in years. However, I do use this method when refilling the highlighter refills (instructions posted on this forum). Take a 2" length of plastic tubing (obtained at every big box hardware store and most smaller ones; Tygon is one of the brand names) and push it over the metal sleeve. Put a 1ml tuberculin syringe on the other end filled with complementary ink and alternately suck air out of the refill and inject ink into it. When no more air can be removed the refill is full. Dry excess ink off the end and allow for it to sit for awhile so that the internal sponge can saturate with ink. 



#18 RobertCho

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:36

I have gone a different direction and have used a 3D printer to print adaptors that allows me to use Parker ballpoint refills which also comes in gel ink to fit my LeGrand.

 

Suhao, can you kindly share the drawing or sketch with dimension of your adaptor set? I would like to try. Thanks in advance.



#19 Studio97

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Posted 28 March 2016 - 02:16

I have used regular MB black fountain pen ink to refill my RB cartridges. I usually toss the cartridge after refilling it two times. Still saves money.I ordered blunt tip syringe kits from a pen retailer to easily refill the cartridge. Then I just rinse out the blunt tip needle and syringe well

Edited by Studio97, 28 March 2016 - 02:19.


#20 Luxury-Emblem

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 07:37

Dear All,

How many drops are recommended in refill via syringe/tubing method?


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