Here's the "vision". It developed because of some absolutely inexpensive Esterbrook pens I purchased at the DC Pen Show a few weeks ago, and my conversations at the pen show with a guy seeking a Koh-i-noor Artpen for his son.
(Crescendo of trumpets here) Just use an Esterbrook CA101 cartridge filling fountain pen. Convert the renew point unit to a gold nibbed unit (there's a thread elsewhere on FPN, to which I contributed, explaining how to do this, and I have already made 3 or 4 gold nibbed renew point units which I'm using). Thus the nib and feed come out just as easily as the Artpen, for cleaning. Vintage gold nibs are flexible, from semi-flexible to "wet noodle", and available in your choice of nib widths/lengths, so long as it's a #2 or thereabouts.
The CA101 Estie barrel also unscrews at the barrel/section joint, similar to an Artpen, to access the area for the cartridge. I use Sheaffer cartridges, and at the moment Sheaffer ink. But I have some black Staedtler drawing ink which I'll be trying shortly. The secret with Sheaffer cartridges is to pre-puncture them before insertion, since the Esterbrook cartridge nipple is pretty wide and deep. Also, I reuse the cartridges by cleaning and refilling them with a plastic veterinary syringe. That allows me to thoroughly clean the cart's after each use, to rapidly change inks, and to reuse the cart's for an extended period of time. (And Sheaffer cartridges are still commonly available.)
Unknown to some, the CA101 cartridge nipple can also be removed from the section, out the nib end. And the center of the cartridge nipple is large diameter, to properly support inks which are less fluid than ordinary fountain pen inks. So the CA101 comes apart easily, via threads, into six parts: cap, barrel, cartridge, section, cartridge nipple, and gold nibbed renew point unit. This is virtually identical to an Artpen.
I've sold 3 Koh-i-noor Artpens in the past year or so (the FPN Artpen thread includes a picture of one of them) so I'm eminently familiar with their construction and cleaning, but not how they're actually used. I simply couldn't get over how "functionally equal" the Esterbrook CA101 is to the Artpen. And CA101's are relatively cheap because the exact same Esterbrook pen was also produced with a built-in aerometric filling unit. So virtually no one wants the cartridge filling models. The pocket clip on these models tends to be harder on your shirt fabric than earlier Esterbrooks, so that also makes them less popular.
In summary, the result of using a modified Esterbrook CA101 should be (1)a lightweight pen, (2)capable of being carried in the pocket, (3)easily taken apart for cleaning using threaded connections, (3)that is cost-effective, in fact cheaply obtained, and (4)which readily and rapidly accepts additional/different ink (almost sounds like a patent application, doesn't it?).
I would certainly produce and sell this item to cartoonists and sketch artists, but the real key is the gold nib and it's interaction with the Esterbrook feed. Although I've modified my share of ink feeds, I'm just not a "nib meister". Further, the nib and feed have to work together well for the pen to meet expectations - so I'd envision an artist perhaps having a set of gold nibbed renew point units with different feeds, to properly feed india ink versus drawing ink versus fountain pen ink. That's not a problem with renew point feeds, since they can be readily adapted to such needs, and can be part of a set of modified renew point units set up to take on every different type of task. (Note that due to the current price of gold and the relative scarcity of spare gold nibs, the total price for a properly functioning Estie CA101 with an appropriate gold nib and reworked feed (if necessary to support, say india ink) will still be about the same as an Artpen, but the combination instrument will be able to be maintained, repaired, replaced and further tuned.)
What'dya think? Is this something that might intrigue sketchers? If there's a positive response to this vision, I may try to get someone to exercise a prototype, and/or to get one of the "pen repair persons" to make a few of these on speculation.
- - - Happy sketchin', Jim
Edited by Autopoint, 05 October 2011 - 09:38.