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Dealing With Parker 51 Ink Flow/dryness Issues (The Hard Way)

parker 51 dry ink flow wet

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#1 Nestor

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 21:58

So, I recently bought a Parker 51 from the flea market. It was in a pretty sorry state. I did a complete restoration.After removing the hood, cleaning the feed, collector, breather tube and so on, I went on and replaced the filler unit with a new one. Then I polished the exterior of the pen using a buffer and then some micro-gloss. All good so far. I started to write with the pen. It produced a very wet line and the writing experience was super smooth. Then this happened. After a few sentences the pen started to become very dry and after a bit more the ink flow completely stopped. I waited a bit and then it begun to write again. This was an endless loop.

The first thought that crossed my mind was that I am dealing with a not so clean collector. I cleaned it. Still no luck. I tried a new collector. Same...the pen run dry. I tried a new nib, a new hood,  a new feed nothing. And then I thought about the way that ink is delivered into the collector. THE BREATHER TUBE. It has a hole on top, which allows the user to fill ink without, removing it every time the filler is pressed. However there was no hole on the bottom (or at least mine didn't), to allow any ink to escape from the barrel and go back to the feed/collector. (In contrast with the aerometric breather tube that has one, for this purpose). This had to be it, there is no other logical explanation, I said to myself. 

So I picked up a dental hook, heated the end of the hook with a torch , and then opened a tiny hole just above the bottom of the breather tube.

(It had to be smaller than the one on top, because if it wasn't then it would defeat the purpose of having a breather tube in the first place, which is to have more ink going in, than going out.)

I then reassembled the pen and begun to write.

That did the trick, the ink flow is now super consistent and pretty wet (Note that the size of the hole that is opened, determines the wetness of the pen. The smaller, the dryer). For anyone who will ask, no there are no leaks,  no ink blots, just a very satisfying wet line.  



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#2 FarmBoy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 00:58

There is a hole in your theory.
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#3 Paul80

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 08:27

Never seen a breather tube in a Vacumatic 51 with a hole in the side, it's always just a short length of plastic tube.

Unless I am wrong, then others will be along soon to correct me

Paul

#4 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 10:11

There is a hole in your theory.

Being a physicist, I will tell you this. The theory is not the important part, the important part is the experiment. And the experiment has been successful. 



#5 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 10:13

Never seen a breather tube in a Vacumatic 51 with a hole in the side, it's always just a short length of plastic tube.

Unless I am wrong, then others will be along soon to correct me

Paul

No you are probably right, my Parker Vacumatic which has the same breather tube doesn't have a hole as well. I just noticed that the pen behaves better with a tiny hole on the side of the breather tube. Its something Parker probably noticed as well, when they introduced the same hole (on the side) on the aerometric's breather tube.



#6 Paul80

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 13:10

Mind you on the Aerometrics it has to have to hole as the breather tube is so long, no ink would get into it when the pen is held in its writing position, so lower hole allows in to flow into the feed, with equalising air coming out the top of the breather.

 

One thing to note, their are a number of different length breather tubes for the Vac fillers, I wonder if yours had one of the longer ones fitted at some point, that might replicate your problem.

 

Assuming that the vac filler is working correctly and pulling enough ink for it to be at the correct level for continuous writing.

 

Other than that not got a clue I am afraid.

 

Paul



#7 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 13:51

Mind you on the Aerometrics it has to have to hole as the breather tube is so long, no ink would get into it when the pen is held in its writing position, so lower hole allows in to flow into the feed, with equalising air coming out the top of the breather.

 

One thing to note, their are a number of different length breather tubes for the Vac fillers, I wonder if yours had one of the longer ones fitted at some point, that might replicate your problem.

 

Assuming that the vac filler is working correctly and pulling enough ink for it to be at the correct level for continuous writing.

 

Other than that not got a clue I am afraid.

 

Paul

I don't think it has to do with the length. Since the hole is always on top, the ink would have to "climb" on top to reach the hole and then the feed. The introduction of the tiny hole on the side, satisfies this purpose. The constant delivery of ink to the feed/collector. I also believe that all breathe tubes for the 51's had a specific length, which was precisely measured to be just below the diaphragm when its extended (by pushing the filler button). 



#8 FarmBoy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 15:56

The is a Patent that discusses this little hole. The hole is also featured in advertising when it was introduced.

Edited by FarmBoy, 02 March 2019 - 15:56.

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#9 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 16:32

The is a Patent that discusses this little hole. The hole is also featured in advertising when it was introduced.

So you believe, there should have been a hole there in the first place?



#10 FarmBoy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 17:36

So you believe, there should have been a hole there in the first place?

No

The hole is not there for flow reasons.
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#11 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 17:52

No

The hole is not there for flow reasons.

Well, if it works what does it matter if it was there for another reason? It seems to help inkflow. Like I said, I see no other (sufficient) way that ink can be transferred from the barrel to the collector. I don't know if its right and honestly I don't even care. What I care about, is that the pen didn't work before and now it does. That is all that matters at the end of the day. Getting a pen to work the way its supposed to.



#12 GlenV

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 18:24

Nice to hear you got your 51 working well, I had a suspicion you would by your analytical approach to the problem.
Regards, Glen

#13 GlenV

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 18:30

Farmboy your first response was a good one Haha :)
Regards, Glen

#14 FarmBoy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 20:13

Well, if it works what does it matter if it was there for another reason? It seems to help inkflow. Like I said, I see no other (sufficient) way that ink can be transferred from the barrel to the collector. I don't know if its right and honestly I don't even care. What I care about, is that the pen didn't work before and now it does. That is all that matters at the end of the day. Getting a pen to work the way its supposed to.

The reason for the hole does matter.

 

Did you check your collector with the go-no go gauge to ensure proper flow as described in the Shop Manual?


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#15 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 21:10

The reason for the hole does matter.

 

Did you check your collector with the go-no go gauge to ensure proper flow as described in the Shop Manual?

No I didn't, I also  don't know what shop manual you are talking about. I don't know what this go/no go gauge is or how to use it. Though I strongly doubt it was a collector issue, since I tried 3 different ones, which by the way all worked on different pens.



#16 Paul80

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 21:31

I can't seem to find it but with the Vacumatics there has to be a way for the ink to get to the feed when held in the writing position and that will not be down the breather tube as it goes half way up the barrel.

I vaugly remember that some of the 51 feeds had a small slot cut in them, would these be on the Vacumatics and is that how the ink gets fed to the nib and collector.

If it is I wonder if the op's pen has had the wrong feed fitted or the slot is clogged.

Only got Aerometrics in my to do pile at the moment so can't check.

Anyone else know how the ink gets to the collection for and feed on the Vacumatic models.

Paul

#17 Freddy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 21:43

Interesting read.

Thanks.

   Fred

still listening to WKCR 89.9 FM



#18 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 21:55

I can't seem to find it but with the Vacumatics there has to be a way for the ink to get to the feed when held in the writing position and that will not be down the breather tube as it goes half way up the barrel.

I vaugly remember that some of the 51 feeds had a small slot cut in them, would these be on the Vacumatics and is that how the ink gets fed to the nib and collector.

If it is I wonder if the op's pen has had the wrong feed fitted or the slot is clogged.

Only got Aerometrics in my to do pile at the moment so can't check.

Anyone else know how the ink gets to the collection for and feed on the Vacumatic models.

Paul

That was my initial thought. I did notice a slit on the top of the collector. This slit could theoretically allow tiny amounts of ink to flow from the barrel to the collector. In my case this slit was super tight (Despite the fact that the collector had the tiny ebonite rod stuffed into it). But having changed the collector multiple times, the only think that was left for me to try was this. By the way me feed doesn't have this slit. Maybe it was the wrong feed I don't know. However it was certainly a vacumatic's feed.

I know that to some people my method may have been extreme or foolish. But at the end of the day what matters is getting a pen to work and it did.



#19 Nestor

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 21:55

Interesting read.

Thanks.

   Fred

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You are very welcome!  :)



#20 FarmBoy

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 22:37

If you had an early collector was there a small rubber rod in the slit at the end?

If you had a later collector was the slit still held open with a heat weld?

If your collector fit in the barrel is too tight and the channel pinches shut, you get no flow.

 

No-no go gauge is used to test this.

The hole was in the long Aerometric breather tube to allow for pressure equalization in the ink sac when flying at altitude.  The hole serves no other purpose per Parker.  The long tube was chosen to allow the sac to fill all the way, when the pen was full and sitting nib up in your pocket and the plane went up (pressure down) you got a burp...thus the hole to equalize pressure.

 

But I am glad your pen is flowing nicely now.


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