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Cloudy Ig Residue In Piston Filler

iron gall cleanup

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72 replies to this topic

#1 majolo

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Posted 01 May 2016 - 19:14

I just finished a fill of KWZ IG Mandarin ink in a TWSBI Eco piston filler, and when I went to flush it the piston was extremely sticky moving forward in the barrel... and then when I tried to draw water up, the piston rod popped out of the piston head. :doh: I finally somehow managed to get it reattached and had to use a needlenose pliers to pull the piston out with great difficulty. I've read the usual threads on iron gall maintenance precautions like this, and I've always been careful to not mix them with other inks and flush carefully, with a cycle of dilute vinegar between distilled water flushes.

 

So I got the piston assembly out and pulled the nib and feed for good measure and let the body soak in a 10% vinegar bath overnight. Now it looks like this:

fpn_1462129735__p5010014.png

A gentle cotton swabbing does nothing to remove the cloudiness, and when I try to re-insert the (well-lubricated) piston, it won't go past the edge of the cloudy area--it feels like there's a ridge of residue blocking it. Anyone ever seen anything like this? Is this body salvageable?



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#2 amberleadavis

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 00:19

Do a quick cleaning with vinegar. I think you will see an improvement.

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#3 majolo

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 00:38

Do a quick cleaning with vinegar. I think you will see an improvement.

 

Pure vinegar? The picture above is after a night soaking in dilute vinegar.



#4 amberleadavis

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 00:45

Ouch.

 

I'll send a message to Konrad.  I believe he is on his honeymoon, so we will probably  not hear back from him quickly, but hopefully, he will have some ideas.


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#5 majolo

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 03:43

Update: After letting the body dry and looking at it with a loupe, I think it seems to be scratching in fact, and the roughed up plastic just has too much friction for the piston to slide. So I'm inclined to think the barrel's toast.

 

I'm open to some user error here (at the very least I should have known better than to force the piston when it was sticking). I don't think the cotton swab would have made the scratches on its own though. Wondering if maybe there were some precipitates around the edge of the piston that then scuffed the walls when I forced the piston forward?

 

At least this is a pen I can afford to replace, and the clear model did just come out... :)



#6 sciumbasci

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 08:12

Barrel is not toast, unless you want to replace it for estetic purposes, it'll still do it's job properly.
Just go about and grease the piston assembly.

Also, depending on how thick is the barrel's plastic, you could try to polish it. Wrist watches polish "poly watch" made miracles on the front lights of old cars of clients. And with no power tools to be used! I suppose that, for 3€, it is worth to attempt

#7 majolo

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 14:38

No, I've greased the piston assembly and it's still not going in without force (and then I doubt I'd get it out).



#8 sciumbasci

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 18:40

The barrel, too? Can the piston head slide freely inside it?


Edited by sciumbasci, 02 May 2016 - 19:17.


#9 Cyber6

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 18:44

If we are assuming some kind of reaction to the Ink, not sure if evidence will support that.

 

The line is very well defined.. so is not like there was a slow degradation of the plastic over time.  As ink level goes down you should see a higher level of blurriness on the plastic closer to the nib.  The opposite seems to be true.  At the specific line (where the piston must have stood) you have the strongest blurriness and as you go closer to the nib .. it looks to be getting clearer.   

What ink was on this pen before the IG ?   I've been using IG inks for years on several TWSBI's (not ECO)... not sure if it is the same plastic thou.

 

 

C. 


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#10 amberleadavis

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 19:46

Majolo, is it now your opinion that the barrel is scratched and that's what is causing the clouding?


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#11 majolo

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 21:20

If we are assuming some kind of reaction to the Ink, not sure if evidence will support that.

 

The line is very well defined.. so is not like there was a slow degradation of the plastic over time.  As ink level goes down you should see a higher level of blurriness on the plastic closer to the nib.  The opposite seems to be true.  At the specific line (where the piston must have stood) you have the strongest blurriness and as you go closer to the nib .. it looks to be getting clearer.   

What ink was on this pen before the IG ?   I've been using IG inks for years on several TWSBI's (not ECO)... not sure if it is the same plastic thou.

 

 

C. 

 

The ink before this was Blackstone Sydney Harbour Blue. I'm sure I flushed it several times, but perhaps there were traces of it? Or is it possible an ink can react with/absorb into the piston (not sure what material that is).

 

Majolo, is it now your opinion that the barrel is scratched and that's what is causing the clouding?

 

Yes, through a loupe it's clear there's scratching, and as Cyber6 says, the location of the damage is only where the piston runs. Also I remember the plastic looking clear before I decided to flush it. I think that first hard push of the piston caused the scratching by grinding something into the walls, but what I don't know is what physical stuff was in there to do the scratching. Precipitated particles of iron oxide around the edges of the piston maybe? Or products of some reaction with traces of the previous ink?

 

I know I have read some warnings about oxidation of IG inks happening inside pens, and I guess in a piston filler there's more volume for air... Does anyone know what particle size you get from precipitates?

 

I know it was my mistake to push that piston so hard when it was sticking. On the other hand I don't know how you'd deal with an eco with the piston frozen in the back position. Is there a way to get that knob off without moving the piston?



#12 amberleadavis

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 21:24

Well, scratches aren't going to just come out with another ink.  Now we have some different issues.  I would not expect large particles from IG mandarin.  That really does seem like a lot scratching. I think it may be time to send it to TWSBI to get their opinion.  


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#13 Fuzzy_Bear

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 13:48

My 2 cents. It sounds like there was a reaction between the IG ink, the air and the piston. Send it to TWSBI and they can probably tell you for sure.

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#14 kwzi

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 07:55

I would like to apologize for late answer. 

 

@majolo - after you bought Eco, did you take apart the pen and put fresh portion of grease on the piston (before fist use)?

 

I might have a theory that the grease put on piston during assembly of pen in factory is different than that used in case of 540/580 and the one provided with pens. And the interaction of grease used in assembly with ink causes the problem. 

 

Some silicon greases are made by mixing significant amount of fumed silica or similar compounds as viscosity modifier and silicon oil - this is one of simple ways to make good quality silicon grease of moderate viscosity and good lubricating properties. But there might be a problem if silicon oil would be extracted from the grease - than what would be left behind is fumed silica - silicon oxide. Silicone oxide is pretty abrasive and is hard enough that it could scratch the inside of the barrel. This is something I encounter from time to time in my laboratory work and can be quite a problem in case of glass-glass joints. I have also saw that rod of full glass mechanical stirrer that was placed in PTFE fitting became "cloudy" after some time, and this was most probably caused by highly viscous silicon grease that was put in the fitting to provide better seal. 

 

Why I do not think this is any interaction between ink and plastic? Well I have an Eco in front of me that I filled with IG Green #3 in October, I put new portion of ink in February. I just moved the piston and it is perfectly clean and transparent where the piston moved. Also on @majolo picture the only place which is cloudy is where piston was moving - the section and bottom of barrel are perfectly clean. 

 

Why in my Eco there is no problem? Well I have seen/heard about some issues that if piston in TWSBI was not greased than after some time it had tendency to got stuck - so the first thing I am doing after buying one of TWSBI pens is taking the mechanism apart and putting grease on the mechanism and on piston. 

 

What could be the solution in this case?

Washing the pen throughly in ultrasonic bath with detergents. If that doesn't help than putting a bit of silicon oil to the barrel and start scrubbing it gently with something that has a rubber tip or some soft wood (like from long matches), this way you could gently remove any residue from the inside of pen and "polish" it a bit. 

 

What can be done to confirm this theory? I think I will buy two more new pens :D I will use the same ink in one pen that was just taken from the box and one that was taken apart and greased before first use. 

 

I would like to apologize for any problems that could be caused by inks made by me and I will try to help resolve all the problems as fast as possible.

 

About other theories:

 

TWSBI pens are made from polycarbonate there is nothing in the ink that could react with it or similar plastics. 

 

It is impossible that iron oxide would be formed in the ink. No air, IG component, plastic could lead to that. Also the scratches than would be red-brown. 

 

Other iron compounds that are present in the ink or could be present in it are easily soluble in water. 

 

Insoluble complexes that are formed on paper would be deeply colored - and also they are way to soft to scratch plastic.

 

Best regards

Konrad


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#15 majolo

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 14:42

Konrad, thanks for your reply. I definitely agree that there was no problem from the ink interacting directly with the plastic for the reasons you mention, and I think the idea that there was an issue with the silicon grease possibly forming/releasing silicon oxide seems likely.

 

To answer your question: When I first bought this Eco in November 2015, I did disassemble it and apply the included grease to the piston as the pictorial instructions with the pen showed. I have had the piston assembly out at least once since then between inks to clean the front section where the piston travel stops, and also to deal with the piston being seated too far back. I think I re-greased the piston when I put it back but it's possible I forgot at least once. It's also possible I might have used a different brand of silicon grease (I have the one sold by Goulet in my supply box).

 

I don't have an ultrasonic cleaner at present. As soon as I receive my clear Eco I will have bought three, so I plan to simply have 3 nib units (I have EF, F and stub) with two functioning bodies I can swap them between. For my usage the missing body won't make much practical difference.

 

Actually if it would help you test the theory I'd be happy to send you the scratched body, but after the soaking it had I suppose anything you could test on it would be long gone.

 

Thanks again, and I hope my original post didn't sound too accusatory--I was just kind of freaking out when it happened.

 

Edit: to make sure I understand, is the idea that this is something that could happen spontaneously with (some) silicon greases, or would it be some interaction with ink?


Edited by majolo, 04 May 2016 - 16:38.


#16 kwzi

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 20:39

Edit: to make sure I understand, is the idea that this is something that could happen spontaneously with (some) silicon greases, or would it be some interaction with ink?

 

This is something which should not happen with silicon grease, yet in some cases some silicon greases might tend to separate on its constituents - but this is very long process (because of the viscosity) and should not have any effect in less than 10-20 years. 

This was probably the interaction between one particular kind of silicon grease and type of ink that speed up the process. Will the same problem will happen with the same problem with this ink or grease and another grease or ink? Possible but not likely. 


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#17 algabone

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 22:04

Hi,

 

Did you find any solution for this issue? I had exactly the same problem with my Eco, but using KWZ IG Turqoise. I know for sure that I did not grease the piston before the first use, so it can't be related to silicon.

However, in my situation the problem could be other: I think I used another ink before using IG Turqoise and I didn't flush the pen before changing the ink. More than that, it is possible that the first ink was a difficult one: Diamine Sargasso Sea (I heard it might be difficult to clean it). So in my case it is very possible to be my fault.

I simply can't remember if I did use another ink or not  before IG. I tried more pens in that day and I can't remember what I did with which pen.

For me it doesn't seem the barrel is scratched. It looks more like it has some hard residues on it, impossible to clean or, at least, very difficult to remove.

I tried to:

- grease the piston;

- to clean the barrel with distilled water, dish washing soap and an ultrasonic bath;

- to clean the barrel with a cleaning solution based on ammonia and an ultrasonic bath.

 

Nothing helped. Again, I don't feel the barrel being scratchy, it looks more like a rough surface for me.

 

Still using the KWZ IG Turqoise, I like it a lot and it is my main ink for the moment.  Actually I ordered 2 more bottles. But I will not use it in the next Eco pens (yes, I ordered two more) until I will not figure exactly what happened with this one.

I refill the current Eco with a syringe, by removing the nib and the feed. This is not big problem for me. What I don't like is the opaque and dirty look the barrel has... Other that that, I have no problem with the flow or any other issues and the ink looks great. And smell great too. Or at least I like the smell a lot:)

 

Gabriel



#18 amberleadavis

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 02:05

Gabriel, what other inks do you have in your collection?  DSS is a stainer, I have never had the IG Turquoise stain.  DSS will come right out after a few uses of an ink that is a good cleaner.


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#19 LuckyKate

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 20:14

Hey everyone! I have a Franklin Christoph Italian Ice (the bottle green stuff) with a metal section that I'm using as an eyedropper. I filled it once when I first got it with Franklin Christoph Spanish Blue, rinsed it out briefly with tap water and then refilled it with KVZ IG turquoise. I've refilled the pen with a syringe twice in the last month, without washing it out, just opening the pen up, smearing more Goulet's silicon grease onto the threads (also put some silicon on the threads that screw the nib into the section, but only the first time I filled it up. The pen has had the IG turquoise in it for about a month. It works great, flows smoothly with my SIG nib and I love the color.

After reading this thread I washed out the pen just to see what the barrel looked like. It looks fine. No discoloration, nothing. I've got it soaking in vinegar and distilled water, since the pen is unfilled, and mostly to wash off the silicon grease from the threads before applying more. I plan to put more IG turquoise in it since I really enjoyed this pen and ink combo.

Questions to experts: I was planning on just keeping this pen filled with the same IG ink for months on end like my other pens and not worrying about it (maybe washing out every couple months.) Should I be doing more? Also if I want to put a non iron gall ink in the pen is it okay to do so without rinsing with vinegar? Thanks!

#20 amberleadavis

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 03:35

Just be sure that you clean the pen - completely - when switching types of ink.


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