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Dry Ink Flow

dry ink flow feeder nib

39 replies to this topic

#21 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:16

Most plastics are no problem to soak or ultrasound, at least in my experience. But you want to be extremely careful with delicate pen materials like casein, or metallic colored celluloid. I would try to avoid contact of those materials with liquids. I also worry that soaking of hard rubber pen parts can cause spotting or browning of the barrel or cap and that soaking levers and other metal parts can promote corrosion. The best thing to do is to remove the pen barrel and cap and just soak/ultrasound the nib and feed separately.

soak in what?


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#22 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:25

Hi, Reading through your original posting, it's possible that the nib and feed are setup just right, some combinations will work better than others as you would expect.  I don't know the nibs that you use but I have looked at the images of them.

 One issue that you might have not considered is the ink converter, as this is a problem that is so common with writers on the FPN, and many different answers are given.

  I have many pens that use the so called 'International' converters, and it's likely that your pens do too.

 The problem with them is that the ink will flow for a few lines of wriitng then will dry up.

 It's been noticed that the ink stays in the top half of the converter leaving the lower half empty, causing the flow to slow and then stop.

 Of course, turning the piston on the converter to push more ink down to the feed will cure this, but it shouldn't be necessary.

 In some converters there is a small ball bearing to 'jiggle' the air up to the top of the converter, but it can also fall to the bottom and block the ink flow too, if the design is poor.

 The cause of this issue is thought to be surface tension of the ink in a narrow space, and the plastic used for the converters, in my experience, is polythene, i.e. oil and water tend to repel.

   One idea that I have used, and seems to work for me, is to add to your ink, a very small amount of detergent.

 I do this by filling a small (1 inch diam ) cap from any plastic bottle, with water, add one drop of dish washing up detergent.  I would say 1/4 inch deep water in the 1 inch diameter cap.

 Mix it up for a few seconds. Take a small screwdriver or wooden toothpick and transfer one or 2 drops into your ink converter.

   You might say it would change the ink colour, but really it's difficult to see any changes for the worse.

 I would guess this dilutes the ink by under 1 percent, but cures the flow issue.

 In my case this works well, it costs nothing to try.

   At worst, you might find it makes no difference, but I do.

 In my photo, notice how the ink is flowing in the converter, and not trapped up one end, usually the top end.

 I did describe this 'dodge' recently in the LAMY forum, but I don't think it even got a comment, surprising, considering how many complaints I have read about this over many years of reading and my pen and ink experiences.

 

  Hope this makes sense and helps.

This is done on purpose.  Long, full cartridges make a long fluid column sit on the feed.  The longer the column the harder the job is, for the feed (holding the ink back).  the four trapped drops of ink can be easily released by gently flicking on the cartridge (or converter).  You could look at it as a reservoir.  When you run out of ink, out there in the wild, you still have four drops up your sleeve...about half a page to a full page of writing.

 

One day, I will write about this on my website... in the meantime, have a look and see what you can find... on detergent and ink, for example


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#23 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:32

Hi ac12,  Yes I have looked at these various options several times, and a small spring shaped part, made from copper wire wound around a suitable drill, does work well, aside from the minor problem of it getting in the way of the piston.

  I'm convinced this problem is a combination of several factors, the plastic, the narrow inside diameter, and the water based inks.

 But the tweak I have described works so well in my Vista,  where I got used to twisting the control to push the ink into the feed, but that's not how it should work of course.

 I have noticed that with use, plenty of cleaning (with detergent and warm water) the surface tension issue does go away to some extent. 

  Someone mentioned a while back that glass converters don't have this issue, which makes sense.

   Another way around this is to keep the converter full of ink, no problem then, but again not the answer.

 I can tilt my Vista at the slightest angle away from the horizontal, and the ink just flows to the lowest point.

 (International cartridges don't seem to behave like this though, ....odd.)

In my days, the converters were not made by Lamy.  ...it is quite possible that the clear section is made from different plastics, thus expressing different surface reactive behaviour.  I would recommend not to use detergent.  Some plastics absorb it.  The feed does not like it, definitely.

 

Visit my website and have a read under the chapter about ink and the feed.


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#24 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:37

Nowadays I degrease every new Lamy converter along with section/feed/feed-tongue*/nib before first inking. (Lamy common feed is 2-part molding)

IMHO these plastic parts either come coated with mold release oils &/or assembled by somebody with greasy fingers.

oops!  that's bad, very bad.  In my blog I talk about surface treatment of the feed, which makes it absolutely hydrophilic.  same with the nib.  What you describe sounds like sabotage.


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#25 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:40

 

ac12, I have thought about purchasing a tine glass, mineral, or ceramic bead to drop in a converter. One with a string hole, and maybe a non-spherical shape (cube, tetrahedra, fluted). Have not done this yet, as I'm not having any trouble with my converters or cartridges that I refill. But, it has been in the back of my mind. You can get these beads at stores that sell beading supplies, gem and mineral stores, or on-line.  If you use a coil of spring, just made sure it is stainless and not a plated non-stainless spring.

a bead sound like a good idea, however, this should not be necessary.  a gently flick should do the trick


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#26 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:45

Hi you all.

There's an issue that I've been thinking on over and over.

Ink is supposed to flow from a sealed environment.

Cartridges or converters, they all are tight to the feeder.

While emptying, a vacuum forms inside, that somehow "holds" the ink from flowing freely.

Let alone the "bubble" that holds the ink on top of the converter.

In fact, when this happens, I separate the cartridge/converter from the feeder and instantly I hear a very light noise like air been freed.

Right after, pens write great, until the next jam.

I know some feeders (or all?) have a breathing hole that somehow is designed to send air back to the converter. I don't know how well these perform, and if their functionality depends on quality of maker, age or anything else.

Comments welcome.

Thank you.

You accurately describe one of the functions of the feed.  namely, to control the flow of ink, which is done through allowing at a certain time a certain amount of air into the reservoir.  May I invite you to visit my website again?  Cleck here:  The Feed's Function.


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#27 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:52

@ Mike 59:  I have tried this technique with liquid soap and it works, I have used it to increase ink flow with flexible nibs, to prevent ink skips or railroading.  More than the perfect ratio mentioned though, and you might get ink feathering.

 

@ the italianguy:  I could not agree with you more, feeds in my humble opinion are perhaps more important than nibs.  To speak in car terms, feeds are the pen's engine, and nibs are just the chassis, obviously the converter is the reservoir :), The thing is that most of the times, feeds get neglected over nibs.  You appreciate the importance of a feed when you try to convert a fountain pen to write with a flexible manner.  Then, there is a need for more ink supply which regular plastic feeds cannot usually supply, that is why most flexible pens tend to have ebonite feeds which are capable of better ink flow. 

 

@ Pen Engineer, we thank you for your dedicated work, congrats, we appreciate your input.  I was wondering if you could let us know how can we get the Schmidt feeds in retail.    May I kindly disagree with you, though, on the matter of ink channels number.  Last time I checked, my Lamy Safari's feed has 2 ink channels, that is probably why a Lamy Safari does not dry as easily and can write even if left unused for some time, contrary to some Safari imitation pens which dry our pretty quickly.  Plus my Pilot 78G takes a lot of time to dry out if left unused too, I attribute this to the fact that its feed ink channel's depth is twice that of feeds of other inexpensive fountain pens.  So number and depth of ink channels and generally the anatomy of the feed does matter a lot.

 

@ Cellmartrix.  I agree with you about the importance of thoroughly cleaning the feeds and other pen components.

 

@ AC12 and graystranger.  My experience is that if the feed's capacity is right for the ink demands of the pen, and you have perfect fit of the components, then you do not need anything in the converter to break the ink surface tension. like small coils or beads mentioned above.  In my personal mind, these may only help when ink has somewhat dried on the feed, and by shaking the coil in the converter and thus the whole pen, the ink is disturbed and reaches the nib tip easier again.  In my personal opinion, especially with flexible pens, doing what @ Mike 59 suggested with the drop of a dishwasher diluted solution added to the ink.is much more useful.

 

Once again, the proximity and fit of the feed and the nib components is of utmost importance, but this has already been stated adequately.  Therefore, it is preferable to change the whole nib unit (nib, feed and nib housing) in a pen if you want to upgrade its nib performance than simply change out the nib only.

I have no idea if Schmidt sells retail.  Here is the kink to their website Schmidt Technologies

 

We have no disagreement on the number of channels.   :)   Two is better, some have even three. :rolleyes:


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#28 Mike 59

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:54

Hi, Regarding the addition of a very small (<1%) of detergent to the ink, this was really just to try the idea out, I don't doubt it would change the ink's colour at least, but it does overcome the need to push the ink down with the converter's plunger.

 I think the real answer is in the material that the converters or cartridges are made of, as I have one old Parker Penman cartridge, which does not show the same surface tension problem at all, and it does seem to be made of a different material to the current Quink cartridges. I would say it's a harder, more shiney surface, not like the polythene versions from many manufacturers currently.

 I seem to remember reading about a converter made from glass, which had no problems at all regarding surface tension of the ink, and that is a very good solution, at a much higher price though.

 The Parker 51 design gets over all these issues with the tube leading all the way up to above the ink level, so that air can replace the ink as it's used up, and keeping the air pressure equal to that outside the pen.


Edited by Mike 59, 31 August 2016 - 08:57.


#29 cellmatrix

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 16:05

soak in what?

 

agua



#30 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 11:09

 

agua

va bene....pheeeoooo! some people soak them in detergent!

 

luke warm... about 60 degree Celsius helps


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#31 cellmatrix

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 13:30

 I believe 37 degrees is lukewarm whereas 60 degrees Celsius is scalding. At any rate, I prefer room temp since I don't have a water bath and can't maintain a constant temperature.



#32 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 07:53

 I believe 37 degrees is lukewarm whereas 60 degrees Celsius is scalding. At any rate, I prefer room temp since I don't have a water bath and can't maintain a constant temperature.

you are absolutely correct.... don't know what went on in my head


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#33 cellmatrix

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 15:26

you are absolutely correct.... don't know what went on in my head

 

no problem, I figured it was a typo



#34 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:48

no problem, I figured it was a typo


I wish it was.

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#35 sidthecat

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 20:36

I've solved some of my dry-writer problems by switching to a wetter ink, as oxymoronic as that sounds.

#36 theitalianguy

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 14:16

Hi everyone!

I like to buy old pens and put them back to work.

That usually involves new feed, new nib, sometimes a complete front unit, and new converter.

I rarely keep the sac since for me they never fill completely and you can't check the ink level before you run completely out of it.

I stay away from pistons since I don't know how to repair them.

This is more challenging than having "brand" pens where all the components are designed to work together flawlessly (although you will be surprised if I tell you stories...),

So, when doing the kind of things I do, it's a lottery to get a nib well coupled to a feeder, or to have the tines well aligned, or with enough separation, let alone all the problems with the converters. In some "peter pan" pens I buy a converter doesn't even fit so short cartridges have to be used instead.

Beyond the fun to solve all these problems, but not to drive myself nuts, and of course with the purpose of enjoying my back-to-life creatures, I've been focusing on the ink fluidity. I've found that, in most cases, a "wet" ink overcomes few flaws caused by not-perfect match between parts, and at the end makes things kind of more simple.

Since none of the inks is wet enough, I asked a chemist how to dilute, and the answer was with alcohol, same as we use for wounds. I've started with a couple of drops p/half full bottle, but I think that I can still push to 3 or 4. This is really trial and error, but it's just another way to get what we all want, an enjoyable ride with our little tools.

 

Last, I would like just to bring here that I've the most enjoyable writing ever with eyedropper pens.

I have 2 Stipulas, Passport and Paparazzi. Regardless the ink I feed them with, these little monsters start writing the moment I put the nib on the paper, and they never stop delivering a consistent, wet and endless fun.

I'm so tempted to try modern pens from India since most of them have eyedropper fill.

Have a great weekend everyone!



#37 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 13:38

Hi everyone!

I like to buy old pens and put them back to work.

That usually involves new feed, new nib, sometimes a complete front unit, and new converter.

I rarely keep the sac since for me they never fill completely and you can't check the ink level before you run completely out of it.

I stay away from pistons since I don't know how to repair them.

This is more challenging than having "brand" pens where all the components are designed to work together flawlessly (although you will be surprised if I tell you stories...),

So, when doing the kind of things I do, it's a lottery to get a nib well coupled to a feeder, or to have the tines well aligned, or with enough separation, let alone all the problems with the converters. In some "peter pan" pens I buy a converter doesn't even fit so short cartridges have to be used instead.

Beyond the fun to solve all these problems, but not to drive myself nuts, and of course with the purpose of enjoying my back-to-life creatures, I've been focusing on the ink fluidity. I've found that, in most cases, a "wet" ink overcomes few flaws caused by not-perfect match between parts, and at the end makes things kind of more simple.

Since none of the inks is wet enough, I asked a chemist how to dilute, and the answer was with alcohol, same as we use for wounds. I've started with a couple of drops p/half full bottle, but I think that I can still push to 3 or 4. This is really trial and error, but it's just another way to get what we all want, an enjoyable ride with our little tools.

 

Last, I would like just to bring here that I've the most enjoyable writing ever with eyedropper pens.

I have 2 Stipulas, Passport and Paparazzi. Regardless the ink I feed them with, these little monsters start writing the moment I put the nib on the paper, and they never stop delivering a consistent, wet and endless fun.

I'm so tempted to try modern pens from India since most of them have eyedropper fill.

Have a great weekend everyone!

sounds like fun ;)

 

I guess, alcohol would do the trick, but probably only for a short time, since it evaporates quickly.  Plastics used for converters or cartridges are alcohol permeable.  A bit more water would do the same, or may I suggest the same amount of drops but poly ethylene glycol.  Let me know how you go, thanks B)

 

ciao


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#38 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 21:56

I think your chemist is wrong....water is what is used by those who dilute their inks to get different tones and make it flow easier.

Alcohol is reputed to be bad for pens.

 

Glycerine was a few years ago offered as a cure all for making ink 'wetter'. There has been some feed back against that....but check it out....that is where your 3-4 drops would come in.

Detergent is only for those with out a pharmacist shop....or too cheap to spend a couple bucks for a life time supply in a small bottle.

I believe glycerine is better than detergent.

 

A small spring in the converter seems the best from all those with converter problems. If it gets in the way of the piston, one can always fill with a needle syringe.

I have basically Piston pens, and so don't have any problems.

 

I can not understand having any problem with a lever/sac pen if the sac is relatively new. Once they were good for 30-40 years or more....but there have been cheap ones sold from China, that don't last long. Latex rubber is better than silicon.

White is a rubber pen sac company that got resurrected, if it's still around, that makes rubber sacs....don't see how they could make money but they were making sac's a couple of years ago.

 

When a sac is on it's last legs it gets mushy, don't fill well and is porous. I can see it being a bit dry then...and then only.

 

Much of the problem seems the writing angle on the couch.  There are pen slopes, a pen box with all one needs that opens up to give a slanted writing platform.  So a fountain pen don't have to be used on a flat desk.

It would be less of an angle than propping a block of paper up with the knees.

 

Clerks use to stand up for 12 hours a day at a sloped writing desk, so slope is not a problem when it is not too much...and the pen is held too low...ink don't flow uphill.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 05 October 2016 - 22:00.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#39 Frank66

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 18:10


Glycerine was a few years ago offered as a cure all for making ink 'wetter'. There has been some feed back against that....but check it out....that is where your 3-4 drops would come in.

Detergent is only for those with out a pharmacist shop....or too cheap to spend a couple bucks for a life time supply in a small bottle.

I believe glycerine is better than detergent.

 

 

Bo Bo Olson, thanks for the tip about Glycerine, I just tried it with Pelikan 4001 ink and the nib writes so much more smoothly. 

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#40 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 12:47

 

Bo Bo Olson, thanks for the tip about Glycerine, I just tried it with Pelikan 4001 ink and the nib writes so much more smoothly. 

- Frank66

When I mixed ink I put poly ethylene glycol in it and it improved the starting and writing.  

 

don't know much about sacks. Ingeneering wise I would say they are the best solution.... the glycol may even help the sack to last longer (educated guess)


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