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Restoring An Mb 432 Stylograph - My Journey


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28 replies to this topic

#1 siamackz

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 05:02

Hi All,

 

The last time I took on a challenging restoration was when I tried to repair the telescopic piston of my 146G. I received fantastic help and encouragement from you guys through the journey. So, I'm back with another challenge...

 

I bought this MB 432 (wartime) period stylographic pen for $75:

fpn_1520312388__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

These are rare pens - the ones that don't work sell for between $150-250 and the ones that do work sell for over $450. I have been trying to get my hands on one for over a year.

 

This is what a good specimen looks like:

fpn_1520311856__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

The pen I bought was cheap because the gold/steel wire feed is stuck in the nib pipe. See pic:

fpn_1520310263__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

I wrote to every restorer in the US and in Europe that I have heard of - more than 10 of the best. I even sent it to FP nibs to check out and they sent it back. Professionals will not work on this nib because it's too risky and the parts are not available. I understand completely, and I appreciate their honesty and humility. 

 

But, this means I will need to try and fix it myself. So, here begins the journey...

 

I tried to somehow drill out the wire feed stuck inside the steel pipe, but the opening/hollow in the pipe is so tiny that no drill can successfully take it out without damaging the pipe itself. One professional restorer tried and gave up. So, I figured that I will simply need to remove the pipe and wire unit and replace it with something new. 

 

Step 1 - unscrew the nib unit's plastic housing from the section:

fpn_1520312032__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

Step 2 - Use pliers to pull out the steel pipe. Twist and pull (twisting was most important):

fpn_1520312158__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

Step 3 - Measure all dimensions of the steel pipe and wire feed inside it so that we know what the replacements should measure:

fpn_1520312260__screen_shot_2018-03-06_a

 

Step 4: Source replacements for:

a. Steel pipe 

b. Wire feed

 

Any suggestions? 

 



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#2 Hardy08

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 12:59

Hello !!

For the steel pipe you could use a synringe intraveinous needle, you cut both ends to the desired length. There is a wide rande of diameter (inferior to .5 mm inner diameter to 2 mm inner diameter). For the wire feed you could use piano wire or spring wire in stainless steel. (You can find it in every diameter in online shops, it is sometimes used for fishing, if this wire is too soft you can harden it by quenching (with a ligjter slightly heat the wire and put it immediately in water). Hope it helps !!

#3 siamackz

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 13:54

Hello !!

For the steel pipe you could use a synringe intraveinous needle, you cut both ends to the desired length. There is a wide rande of diameter (inferior to .5 mm inner diameter to 2 mm inner diameter). For the wire feed you could use piano wire or spring wire in stainless steel. (You can find it in every diameter in online shops, it is sometimes used for fishing, if this wire is too soft you can harden it by quenching (with a ligjter slightly heat the wire and put it immediately in water). Hope it helps !!


Excellent ideas! Let me look them up.

I am concerned about the needle rusting? Is this a legitimate concern?

Also, I am wondering if there is any place I might find gold wire because I know these wire feeds also care in gold

#4 Hardy08

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 21:24

Don't worry, medical needles don't rust. Why using gold wire ? I think gold is too soft for this don't you think ?

Anyway good luck !!

#5 siamackz

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 00:11

Don't worry, medical needles don't rust. Why using gold wire ? I think gold is too soft for this don't you think ?

Anyway good luck !!


Thanks for the suggestion. The original 432 would have an alloy of gold wire. But steel will do fine. Let me start working on this and report back

#6 siamackz

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 01:07

Ive ordered:
1. A set of 7-9 gauge hypodermic needles for the outer tubing
2. A set of 9 gauge electric guitar strings (one of those strings should fit as the wire feed - though my only concern is rusting - my guitar strings do rust)

#7 Hardy08

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 07:20

Yes most of guitar strings do rust, but stainless guitar strings (or else like special fishing stainless steel wires) don't rust.
Ask at a model shop for stainless steel piano wire.
Good luck

#8 siamackz

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:27

Yes most of guitar strings do rust, but stainless guitar strings (or else like special fishing stainless steel wires) don't rust.
Ask at a model shop for stainless steel piano wire.
Good luck

 

Correct. So here's what I am going to do. I will buy some cheap guitar strings just to see which diameter string fits perfect. Then I will use those dimensions to order for some stainless steel string online (there are no hobby shops I know of in my city in India). Piano wire is very long and so more expensive. 

 

I'll report back soon



#9 yoyosma

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 22:10

Would the wire from a needle threader be too thin?

 

(Thanks for posting this repair journey. I too was recently trying to figure this repair out. Will be following along.)



#10 siamackz

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:18

Would the wire from a needle threader be too thin?
 
(Thanks for posting this repair journey. I too was recently trying to figure this repair out. Will be following along.)


The needle threader is a clever idea. I dont have any at hand so cant check. The diameter will need to be less than 1mm. The issue I am facing right now is that my calipper is unable to measure precisely what the needle feeds diameter is because it just shows 0. Hopefully one of the guitar strings fits and then I will know the precise measure to use when ordering wire online. I want to order stainless steel so theres no corrosion issues. EBay has many Chinese sources for such wire but I need to know the dimensions first

Which pen are you working on? And whats the precise problem?

#11 prashant.tikekar

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 07:34

You can try tubes from pens like Pilot High Tec Point marketed by Luxor. Or Rorito (Reynolds) Trimax etc.



#12 siamackz

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:11

You can try tubes from pens like Pilot High Tec Point marketed by Luxor. Or Rorito (Reynolds) Trimax etc.


Very clever! Thanks for the suggestion!

#13 yoyosma

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 16:47

I don't have one of these pens but saw them on an online auction and became curious as to what they were and how they are put together. Found a very clear article on Richard Binder's site with diagrams of different stylographic pen constructions. I admire that you are tackling the restoration and being creative with your materials!



#14 rhitee93

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 12:59

You can buy some sizes of hypodermic tubing from McMaster Carr:

https://www.mcmaster...tubing/=1bw7bzn

 

If you can't get the size you need, PM me.  I work with hypo tubing a lot and may have some scrap pieces you can have.

 

0.4mm is going to be closer to 27 or 28 gage tubing.  The ID of tubing that small will require a wire ~0.1mm in diameter.

 

304 stainless tubing may rust with time.  316 stainless tubing should not.


-Brian
West-Central Indiana, USA

#15 siamackz

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 14:16

You can buy some sizes of hypodermic tubing from McMaster Carr:
https://www.mcmaster...tubing/=1bw7bzn
 
If you can't get the size you need, PM me.  I work with hypo tubing a lot and may have some scrap pieces you can have.
 
0.4mm is going to be closer to 27 or 28 gage tubing.  The ID of tubing that small will require a wire ~0.1mm in diameter.
 
304 stainless tubing may rust with time.  316 stainless tubing should not.


Ooh, just in time! I was about to order for some 304 tubing from ebay!

PMing you for more help!

#16 siamackz

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 17:35

Update, just when I was about to give up on the 5 needles I bought because none were a perfect fit, I thought why not try and sand down one of the needles to size? Here is the process...

fpn_1520616787__screen_shot_2018-03-09_a

 

NEXT STEPS:

1. Wait for my weighted lead piece to arrive back (the restorer that attempted to fix the pen forgot it on his workbench - it should arrive in a week or so)

2. Decide on wire for the inner feed



#17 Hardy08

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 10:11

Good job !
For the inner feed use stainless steel wire.
If the wire is too soft you will have to quench it : heat the wire with a lighter (very quickly : the metal should not become red, you have to stop heating before it comes red : i.e a few seconds). Immediately after heating put the wire in cold water.

Once quenched you will have to attach the piece of metal to the lead block. Maybe drilling a hole in the lead block of the diameter of the wire and glueing it with epoxy glue should do the trick...

NB : for wire thickness, don't forget that ink should run across the wire, the wire should not be too thick in this purpose...

Good luck.

#18 siamackz

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 11:51

Good job !
For the inner feed use stainless steel wire.
If the wire is too soft you will have to quench it : heat the wire with a lighter (very quickly : the metal should not become red, you have to stop heating before it comes red : i.e a few seconds). Immediately after heating put the wire in cold water.

Once quenched you will have to attach the piece of metal to the lead block. Maybe drilling a hole in the lead block of the diameter of the wire and glueing it with epoxy glue should do the trick...

NB : for wire thickness, don't forget that ink should run across the wire, the wire should not be too thick in this purpose...

Good luck.

Thanks for the tips and all the support thus far!

 

I am thinking that for the wire thickness, I should figure out a way to test different thicknesses. So, maybe Ill use some playdough to position one thickness of wire on to the lead weight, then try the pen, then try another thickness, etc. Once I know which thickness I like then I can fix it. 

 

I'll report back before I fix it in



#19 Stylomeister

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 17:11

I've not taken one of these MB technical pens apart but broadly speaking these nib units are weighted - that's how the wire moves up and down and Indian ink flows.  If you replace the tube and wire I'm not sure how the ink is going to flow.  I used these types of pen for may years before moving to CAD.

 

When they stick you have to soak them in an ink dissolving fluid for several days better, plonk the unit in an ultrasonic cleaner on full blast.  This is how i've successfully approached the problem with vintage Tintenkulis as well as the more modern Isographs.  I managed this with a nib filled with dried acrylic ink.

 

I think at this stage you might want to consider another nib unit.  Chances are the thread will be identical to the vintage Rotring units - I have a few of these and there are several styles that may match.

 

Just a thought.  Good luck.



#20 siamackz

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 17:37

Update:
 
My weighted lead piece came back so I took measurements:
fpn_1521912623__img_1694.jpg
fpn_1521912645__img_1695.jpg
 
Now, the weight is something I just could not measure. I tried my digital weighing scale that I use for food/recipes. It measures up to 3gms but it just kept showing the weight of the lead as 0gms. I don't think the scale is sensitive enough to measure 1-2gms. 
 
The reason I need to replace my current lead weight is because its coming apart:
fpn_1521912835__img_1698.jpg
 
But, I patched it up with some two-part epoxy sealant, and I have also put in a 0.04mm wire, to set and dry overnight:
fpn_1521912897__img_1699.jpg
 
If the weight and wire work with ink, then I know I have all my dimensions right. This means I just need to source some stainless steel wire (as the one I have put in right now is copper/brass and will tarnish), and also some lead weight which I am exploring fishing supply sources like this one https://www.ebay.com...2IO8QKVTG66OgdQ
 
Any suggestions?

Edited by siamackz, 25 March 2018 - 16:01.







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