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Eyedropper Converstion: Any Way To Counter Heat Expansion?

eyedropper conversion ink

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28 replies to this topic

#1 KingRoach

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 13:24

Hello forum,

 

when converting a fountain pen to an eyedropper fill  pen, one of the most common problems is that the heat of your own hand expands the air bubble that forms inside the barrel as you use more and more ink.

 

 

Has there been found any means to counter this prblem other than refilling/topping-up your ink reservoir when you've only used a little bit?

 

It kind of makes it counter the point and the aesthetic to refill your pen every little while without watching that large amount of ink dwindling and sloshing around. The air bubble is part of the aesthetic if you ask me. I want air bubbles. Large ones too.

 

How do you counter the heat?



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#2 jar

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 13:31

Certainly.

 

Keep the pen empty.

 

Keep the pen full.

 

Wear insulating gloves when using the pen.

 

Wear insulating gloves and stay in a temperature controlled environment when using the pen.


Edited by jar, 08 February 2017 - 13:54.

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#3 KingRoach

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 13:38

Use the pen in the fridge.



#4 Komboloi

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 14:02

Not all pens have this problem.  But for the ones that do, you can't fight physics.  One thing that might help is to hold the pen in your closed hand for a few minutes, nib up so the air bubble that is expanded by the heat comes up to full temperature before it gets behind the ink.  Theoretically, the expanded air should be forced out the nib, rather than forcing ink out the nib.

 

Or you could just resign yourself to the inevitable burp (it's not that big a deal) and not use your half-full eye droppers on important documents.



#5 eharriett

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 14:17

Switch pens. 

 

I just changed over from my Charlie pen to a Sheaffer School pen because of that same problem.  Have not had an issue yet.



#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 14:22

Buy a modern Lever pen...beating that problem in a Conklin from Mark Twain's time, or a Shaeffer since 1912.

A 1940-60 Esterbrook is the way to go; pretty, holds enough ink...as much as a piston pen....quick and clean to load. Very pretty. :D

 

Unless you live in the tropics...with an English flag; I doubt if your hand heat + local heat will cause much burping. You just have to fill it up more often so it stays fuller.

There was a very good reason to spend more money on a Lever pen than the normal ED pen when it came in in 1912, besides the ease of loading....the rubber sack pens didn't burp.


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,

 

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#7 KingRoach

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 14:50

The only eye-dropper I have is a pen I got new for 59p. The nipple on the cartridge broke so it can only really be used as an eye dropper. Yes I can buy another one for another 59p, but that is such a waste of good p's and a lot of fun. I wouldn't otherwise eyedropper a cartridge/converter pen unless I really have to, but I agree that it is fun to look at.

 

Now, aside from the fiscal/practical aspect of having or not having eye-droppers, I'm hoping this question posed here, specifically about countering the effect of air expanding and the pen burping, could in the long term be useful to all members and viewers.

 

I was thinking of the possibility of any heat isolating materials. It is interesting that the sheaffer school pen did not blurb, I now these pens to be very reliable in the sense that their feed controls the ink so well they are always ready and yet never spill, nor dry. Maybe the barrel material conducts heats to a much lesser degree? Any info about their material?

 

Oh and yes I am in Britain but my hands did indeed burp this pen, which, cheap as it is, I actually enjoy.



#8 KingRoach

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 14:56

I'll give an example: a lab measuring cylinder that I have at home which I use for photo-developing chemicals does not conduct heat very well. I need to heat the chemicals, and so I put the cylinder in a bath of hot water. The chemicals hardly reach anywhere near the desired temp (which is a mere 40c). Putting the same chemicals in the same hot water bath, only using a regular plastic bottle (water bottle, cola bottle), or the specific "accordion" plastic bottle that we use to store these chemicals, allows them to heat up much, much quicker. Might even very easily overheat them.

 

The type of plastic or the materials of the container has the biggest role in conducting heat.

 

If the material is known, or say another type of material with a similar quality is found in transparent film type, then it can probably be used to permanently solve this type of problem.

 

Brainstorming.



#9 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 15:11

Cost?

 

Indian pens are so old fashioned Ebonite pretty.

The reason they survived to now, is the rubber used in lever pens didn't last near the 40 years in India and SEA as it lasted in temperate areas.

 

The Indian pen makers got to go over to a Waterman Lever box and what ever lever works best...and a size 25 rubber sack.

You can still load on Sunday and shoot all week.....write all week.


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.

 

 

 


#10 mhguda

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 17:25

I think heating the barrel a little with your hand before writing is a routine that can easily be incorporated into a writing routine and it works pretty reliably - the strategy is ensuring that the air pocket behind the ink does not see large temperature swings.


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#11 Jamesbeat

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 17:28

I never understood the fascination with using C/C pens as eyedropper fillers.
I mean, I know the pen will hold more ink, but is that really all that important, especially as it's more hassle to fill an eyedropper.
I know I'd rather fill a converter four or five times than fill an eyedropper once, and if I'm going to be away from an ink bottle for an extended period, I'll use cartridges.

Maybe I'm weird, but history agrees with me.
All of the filling methods that exist were invented because the eyedropper system is so bad.

Eyedropper pens burp, there is a greater chance of leaking, and it can be messy to fill them.

Once the lever filler was invented, nobody carried on making eyedropper fillers for much longer, because there was no market for them.

Now don't get me wrong, I love vintage eyedropper fillers for their beauty and history, but I'll never try to kid myself that they are in any way practical.

Convert a modern pen to an eyedropper filler and you don't even have the beauty or history, you just have ink sloshing around in a plastic pen that burps and threatens to leak in your pocket.

In summary, yes, there is a solution to your problem.
It was invented over a century ago - the self filling fountain pen.

Edited by Jamesbeat, 08 February 2017 - 17:31.


#12 zaddick

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 17:50

Eyedropper pens are still made. Some have an ink shutout system which helps as you can regulate ink flow.

I recall someone stuffiness the barrel with cotton and then saturating that with ink, sort of like hoe highlighters work. I have never tried it, but that person seemed to have good initial results. Sounds like more trouble than it is worth to me.

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#13 rwilsonedn

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 18:36

I never understood the fascination with using C/C pens as eyedropper fillers.
I mean, I know the pen will hold more ink, but is that really all that important, especially as it's more hassle to fill an eyedropper.
I know I'd rather fill a converter four or five times than fill an eyedropper once, and if I'm going to be away from an ink bottle for an extended period, I'll use cartridges.

Maybe I'm weird, but history agrees with me.
All of the filling methods that exist were invented because the eyedropper system is so bad.

Eyedropper pens burp, there is a greater chance of leaking, and it can be messy to fill them.

Once the lever filler was invented, nobody carried on making eyedropper fillers for much longer, because there was no market for them.

Now don't get me wrong, I love vintage eyedropper fillers for their beauty and history, but I'll never try to kid myself that they are in any way practical.

Convert a modern pen to an eyedropper filler and you don't even have the beauty or history, you just have ink sloshing around in a plastic pen that burps and threatens to leak in your pocket.

In summary, yes, there is a solution to your problem.
It was invented over a century ago - the self filling fountain pen.

 

Well, no, you are welcome to your preference, but neither history nor current fact supports it. There are modern eyedropper-filling pens, some quite high-end, and many of them still in production. Some people prefer them for their consistent flow characteristics, simplicity, and reliability, or just for their elegance. The idea that they have a greater chance of leaking or that they necessarily burp is simply untrue. I have cheap piston-fillers much more problematic than even cheap injection-molded eyedropper pens.

To address the OP's question, most pens with modern feeds will not have a burping problem unless they are nearly empty and you subject them to significant heating. A modern feed with ink-collecting channels is capable of absorbing the extra ink flow caused by the expanding air. If this is not the case (for instance if your feed is very simple, or if you are taking the pen from a below-freezing car into a warm office) then the simple precaution of holding the pen nib-up while the barrel warms usually prevents problems. It's when you want to whip out a cold pen and start writing with it immediately that there are issues.

For these situations, there are still solutions. One is to keep the pen over half-full. For most pens this solves the problem, and still gives you all the ED's advantages, but with a little less capacity. Another is to put some sort of object in the barrel to reduce the volume, so there is never more air in the barrel than the feed can compensate for. Another is to replace the feed with a modern one. For instance, the feeds from Sheaffer NoNonsense pens exactly fit many Indian EDs. Once again, this solves the problem completely for most pens.

ED pens have many virtues, but perhaps less BP-like convenience than a cartridge pen. There are good reasons why they remain in production.

ron



#14 mhguda

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 19:19

One reason for me to convert Sheaffer C/C pens to eyedropper-filled was that I could not find either the cartridges or the converter for the pens locally - they have a proprietary size so could not use the standard international which is relatively easy to find - and shipping costs for cartridges from say Amazon to here are just ridiculous... so converting the pens to work as EDs was a perfect solution for me.


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#15 KingRoach

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 19:42

Thanks all for your replies.

 

You may have missed my personal opinion which is that I would never convert a pen without reason, and that this particular one had its nipple broken so it could literally accept nothing else.

 

The feed is definitely simple. It is in fact a knock-off of the Pilot Petit 1 feed system, with the wick in the middle, so I doubt there are any such escape channels to hold the runaway inks.

 

I totally feel you with the Sheaffer pen, it just sucks. I have a Parker Frontier coming my way very soon and it's just occurred to me it may come with neither cartridge nor converter, and I have neither. That may be a candidate for a temporary ED measure (I'm more likely to just dip it for now though) while a converter follows by post, since its barrel seems to be green plastic.

 

I will try heating then pen with my hand, with the nib pointing upwards first to see if that could yield any positive results, even though I know it is also not a practical solution long-term. I personally do like the idea of filling the barrel with an object or creating a stop to shrink the overall capacity, maybe reducing it to "piston" level capacity.

 

Will let you know if I get anything good.



#16 Komboloi

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 23:55

I don't generally have much use for an eyedropper pen.  But I get why the simplicity is appealing.  And when I have a converter whose surface tension denies ink to the feed, I sometimes feel like ripping it out and throwing it in the shredder.  I'd rather have an occasional burp than deal with intermittent flow.  A burp of ink isn't the end of the world for 95% of things I'm writing.  For that other 5% I don't have to use an eyedroppered pen.

 

I do like my eyedroppered demonstrator Kaweco Sport Classic.  It's fun to see the ink sloshing around, and it doesn't burp.  Not yet anyway.

 

If you want to play a fun game of burp-roulette, shake your ink bottle vigorously right before filling the pen.  You can try to guess how many lines of writing it will take before the air comes out of solution and burps ink onto the page.  After a paragraph or so, the suspense is a killer; you KNOW that blob is coming.



#17 eharriett

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 02:03

Buy a modern Lever pen...beating that problem in a Conklin from Mark Twain's time, or a Shaeffer since 1912.

A 1940-60 Esterbrook is the way to go; pretty, holds enough ink...as much as a piston pen....quick and clean to load. Very pretty. :D

 

Unless you live in the tropics...with an English flag; I doubt if your hand heat + local heat will cause much burping. You just have to fill it up more often so it stays fuller.

There was a very good reason to spend more money on a Lever pen than the normal ED pen when it came in in 1912, besides the ease of loading....the rubber sack pens didn't burp.

That's a good idea I had not considered, Bo Bo!  If you unscrew the nib you can fill an Estie like an eyedropper and there's **NO** burping at all.  Completely forgot about that idea.  Can't see in them, but a good idea nonetheless.  Thanks.

 

 

Well, no, you are welcome to your preference, but neither history nor current fact supports it. There are modern eyedropper-filling pens, some quite high-end, and many of them still in production. Some people prefer them for their consistent flow characteristics, simplicity, and reliability, or just for their elegance. The idea that they have a greater chance of leaking or that they necessarily burp is simply untrue. I have cheap piston-fillers much more problematic than even cheap injection-molded eyedropper pens.

To address the OP's question, most pens with modern feeds will not have a burping problem unless they are nearly empty and you subject them to significant heating. A modern feed with ink-collecting channels is capable of absorbing the extra ink flow caused by the expanding air. If this is not the case (for instance if your feed is very simple, or if you are taking the pen from a below-freezing car into a warm office) then the simple precaution of holding the pen nib-up while the barrel warms usually prevents problems. It's when you want to whip out a cold pen and start writing with it immediately that there are issues.

For these situations, there are still solutions. One is to keep the pen over half-full. For most pens this solves the problem, and still gives you all the ED's advantages, but with a little less capacity. Another is to put some sort of object in the barrel to reduce the volume, so there is never more air in the barrel than the feed can compensate for. Another is to replace the feed with a modern one. For instance, the feeds from Sheaffer NoNonsense pens exactly fit many Indian EDs. Once again, this solves the problem completely for most pens.

ED pens have many virtues, but perhaps less BP-like convenience than a cartridge pen. There are good reasons why they remain in production.

ron

Can you recommend some good modern eyedropper filler pens that are being made new?  I know there's some, like Edison, that you can turn into eyedroppers, but I'd like to know some that are sold specifically as eyedroppers today.  Thanks.



#18 jar

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 02:31


Can you recommend some good modern eyedropper filler pens that are being made new?  I know there's some, like Edison, that you can turn into eyedroppers, but I'd like to know some that are sold specifically as eyedroppers today.  Thanks.

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#19 FarmBoy

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:55

Seems to me that over the last 100 or so years many patents were issued in part to overcome the issues of ink belching by eye dropper filled pens. Almost all of the solutions involved alternative filling and/or ink storage methods.
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#20 Goudy

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 04:01

The only eyedroppers I have that don't blob on startup are vintage safety pens. I assume this is because the process of uncapping the pen and extending the nib exposes the ink reservoir and releases the air pressure.

Perhaps some sort of air release valve (i.e. a hole) could be added to the rear of a conventional eyedropper pen to prevent blobbing. The hole would need to be completely sealable, of course, so that ink couldn't escape when you put the pen down.

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