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Refill Pilot Varsity?


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#1 Libertas

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 20:40

I picked up a varsity today, and I am quite surprised by how well it writes! Unfortunately, the color selection on these pens isn't that wide....is there a way to refill them or turn them into eyedropper pens?

Greg

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#2 saturation

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 21:38

There are a number of Internet mail-order places selling more than just blue or black ink. I see Amazon.com has several colors.

I'm afraid if you break the seal on these pens to refill them and make some sort of cap for it, if it leaked it would be quite a mess :o

Edited by saturation, 01 February 2006 - 22:04.


#3 Libertas

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 22:12

Which seal are you referring to, filling it from the top or the bottom? I was thinking about trying to pull out the nib and filling it from that direction. Anybody try that?

#4 Annie

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 22:24

There have been detailed directions on how to refill a Pilot Varsity posted on Pentrace in the past. It involves removing the nib.

The Pilot Varsity ink colors I have seen are blue, black, pink, purple and turquoise.

#5 Bill D

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 00:12

You just wrap a papertowel or a rag around the nib and yank it out. Make sure the pen is empty first! :o

Don't overfill, or you will spray ink everywhere :bonk:

You have to really force the nib & feed back in firmly... press until it SNAPS into place.

It's easier to do than to describe...

Bill

#6 saturation

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 00:17

Mea Cupla. You guys are great for the info. I'm copying an earlier post here in case the link dies, because I think this is nifty information. Finding a way to pull the nib out without damaging the pen will be the trick! :eureka:

http://hans.presto.t...ll_varsity.html

From: benzab@xxx.xxx (Br Zaborowsky)
Subject: Refilling Pilot Varsity pens
Date: 1998/12/12
Newsgroups: alt.collecting.pens-pencils

Someone recently asked about refilling a disposable Pilot Varsity fountain pen. I had a blue one that went dry a couple of weeks ago so I took it apart this weekend.

The end cap is just a color indicator and a barrel plug. When removed you can look half way down the barrel and see the top of the ink chamber. Half of the barrel is nothing but dead space. No way to fill from that end. I popped the cap back on and began working on the nib end.

With a pair of needlenose pliers I twisted the nib assembly and pulled it out with a bit of force. It came out with a "plop" like a stopper from a bottle. And that is just what it is, a ribbed stopper with a stainless steel nib attached. After adding a shot of Quink blue, I reinserted the nib section. It took a little force, but went back in and seated well. It works!!! In fact it works so well I wish I had filled the ink reservoir instead of adding only 1cc of ink. My guess it will hold about 2cc.

I wasn't very careful and the pliers left marks on the plastic under the nib. With the amount of force necessary to remove the nib assembly there may be no way to get it out without marring it. This did not effect the nib or its writing quality. I'm amazed how well these pens write. For a disposable they are great.

Shame on Pilot for only filling the barrel half full of ink. Other than a marketing scheme (read greed), there is no physical reason they could not have made the entire barrel an ink chamber. At a retail price of $4.50 per 60cc bottle of Sheaffer ink, another 2cc of ink would add only 1.5 cents to the total cost. More like 0.25 cents for Pilot. Certainly a pretty small incremental cost for a retail $2.95 pen. The pen is well constructed and it's a shame that it is not readily refillable.

--Ben

#7 Bill D

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:16

I don't use pliers. I just wrap it, grab, and pull. The nib frequently comes off the feed, but that just makes cleaning it easier... just grab it again and PULL.

You can slide the nib back onto the feed easily enough later.

Like I said, it's easier to do than to describe.

Bill

#8 Libertas

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:01

Alright, I attempted the procedure!

After sliding off the metal part of the nib, I tried to pull the rest of it out. I pulled, twisted and pulled, twisted the other direction while pulling, all to no avail. Finally, I took a fork and placed one of the tines into a sort of little hole at the top of the nib where it attaches to the body of the pen, and the leverage popped it right out! I don't know if it would stand up to repetitions of this procedure, but it worked the first time.

(I know I just made a lot of people cringe after taking a fork to a fountain pen.....)

I filled the pen up with a couple droppers of Sherwood Green, clicked the nib back in, and it seems to work just like before with no problems. Seems like a great (cheap!) way to have a pen that writes well and holds some nicely colored ink!

Greg

#9 Robert Ellis

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:25

Why not drill out the plug and re-fit or retro-fit the cap end with something ink tight. If one is careful this wrong-end eyedropper mod might make for a heck of a $3 pen. I had a Varsity that wrote nearly as good as my $100 pens.
Cheers.

It's cold outside, I should get more pens.

#10 Libertas

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:32

Unfortunately my dorm room tool kit consists of.....a pocketknife and a screwdriver. I can't exactly do much construction.

But you aren't kidding about how well it writes! I am getting progressively more enamored with the varsity.

#11 chupie

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:43

And a fork. Don't forget you have a fork.
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#12 Libertas

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:50

:lol: True, true.

#13 wdyasq

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 02:40

After reading this thread I thought about the Varsity sitting in my desk drawer. It probably died 5 years ago. I grabbed the nib and off it came. The feed and stopper remained (on a real pen I think this is called the section). Since my copy of "Da Book" is still in transit, I knew I was on my own. I thought about using a fork. In its' stead I took an ice pick and forced a hole in the back side of the nib and levered the stopper/feed out.

Just because a Pilot Varsity fails to write, it does not mean it is out of ink. I have washed and dried the parts.

I had origianlly thought of "Vacuum Filling" the little things.

Ron
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#14 kissing

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 13:51

Varsity's. I havent seen them around much in Australia. Anyone know an Australian retailer who sells them? I was actually thinking of getting hold of the nib itself after using one up and fitting it onto a Smiggle fountain pen that is missing a nib (the tines broke and i threw it out. If only i knew that nibs could be bent back in place back then <_< ! ).

Varsity's sound very tempting (inexpensive too :D )
http://www.youtube.com/kissing88

#15 Ashland

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 01:16

kissing,

The Varsity is what Australians call a Vpen. Vpens are ten times prettier than Varsitys, IMHO.

To see Varsitys/Vpens from around the world, go to

http://hans.presto.t...com/cat012.html

I want a Vpen from Sweden or Germany. If anybody wants to send me one in trade for a U.S. Varsity (you're not getting my Aussie Vpen), please PM me.

Ashland

#16 kissing

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:31

I have found Vpens in Australia!!

For the aussies who want Vpens, Check your local KMART! They usually have them :lol:

And oh my goodness! They are such beautiful writers. I'm angry at my more expensive pens that dont write as smooth <_<

its a huge shame that Pilot didnt designe the Varsity to be refillable :( They probably did it like that so people keep having to buy new Varsity's when their one ran out. If Varsity's were refillable, people would stop buying new ones, and well.....sales take a nose dive.

So the deal is:

If Pilot makes Varsity's refillable, they would have to make it expensive like the other fountain pens on the market to make up for people not buying new ones

OR

Sell disposable ones for cheap price.

I guess they took the latter choice.


One of my Varsity's had a faulty, scratchy nib (i did some nib surgery on it to fix it into a beautifully writing Stub Italics nib http://www.fountainp...showtopic=12751 )

I will attempt to refill these after they run out as instructed here :)

Thanks for the suggestions
http://www.youtube.com/kissing88

#17 OldGriz

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:34

I refilled a Varsity (from the back) months ago, just to see if it could be done. It can, just not a clean handed job and you need to be quick on the fill.
Anywho.... it has been sitting in a cup since then and this thread reminded me it was there...
Danged, if that sucker did not write wet and smooth after not being touched for over 3 months. Amazing pens for the price...
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#18 kissing

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 14:03

The end cap is just a color indicator and a barrel plug. When removed you can look half way down the barrel and see the top of the ink chamber. Half of the barrel is nothing but dead space. No way to fill from that end. I popped the cap back on and began working on the nib end.

This seems to be contradictory to the fact that OldGriz has filled them from the back.

Could you give us an idea of how you did it?

thanks :)
http://www.youtube.com/kissing88

#19 OldGriz

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 14:37

The end cap is just a color indicator and a barrel plug. When removed you can look half way down the barrel and see the top of the ink chamber. Half of the barrel is nothing but dead space. No way to fill from that end. I popped the cap back on and began working on the nib end.

This seems to be contradictory to the fact that OldGriz has filled them from the back.

Could you give us an idea of how you did it?

thanks :)

They can be filled from the back... it is a bit trickier and a bit more messy.... but you get a load of ink in it.
First pop off the back cap gently....
There is a barrier between the dead space and where the ink supply was... I took a drill just a bit smaller than the inside diameter of the barrel and drilled out the barrier... you can actually do this hand holding the drill bit since the barrier is thin.
I used a bulb syringe to flush out any remaining ink.
I then fillled the barrel with water to test it.... this is where I found out that if you are not careful it can get real messy.... because the barrel is not airtight at this point... the water started to drip slowly out of the nib/feed. At least I found this out without using ink... :doh: :doh:
You need to use a long nose plastic pipette to fill the barrel... you want to get past the section you drilled and fill from the bottom up... for some reason if you try to just drop ink from the back end, you end up with an air lock at the area you drilled and you don't get a good fill.
You also want to wrap the nib area with a napkin/paper towel to catch any drips.
Fill the barrel and quickly pop the bottom cap back in place....
The pen wrote beautifully after that...
I placed the pen nib up in a cup with paper towel on the bottom to test for leaks and left it there for a week...no leaks...
As I said, this can be a messy undertaking, but you get a fantastic amount of ink in the pen and don't have to disturb the nib/feed assembly.
Someone, said it could not be done when I first read it... but being the thick headed Irishman I am, I decided to see for myself.
TomPosted Image
A veteran is someone who wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.

#20 kissing

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:28

:lol: Thank you so much Tom~!

This is the method I will use when my Varsity's run out of ink. It sounds much better than pulling out the nib with a fork :blink:

I do have a long nose pipette lying around somewhere, but I shall attempt to make the hole thru the barrier as big as the barrel to prevent the airlock.
http://www.youtube.com/kissing88






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