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Caring For Makrolon, And Keeping Plastics Safe


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Hopefully this isn't in the wrong place.


I have limited experience with FPs and being young I've done some things that I now know were REALLY stupid, but I guess nothing came of it...yet. I'm never again going to make the stupid mistakes which I'm going to tell you about.


Currently, nothing's broken. Unless some things suddenly disintegrate because of my idiot newbie abuse a few years ago. Thank god that I have plenty of duplicates in that event. If that's going to happen, at least I can try to slow the process.



- I now know to keep plastics in the dark

- aluminum and water don't mix

- keep all types of alcohol away from plastic

- Higgin's ink is NOT okay for FPs, even if it says it is

- I'm only going to clean them with ammonia, dish soap, and water from now on.

- Plastics are very chemically unstable and just should not come into contact with most things.


on Lamy Safaris (ABS), I cleaned two stained ones with turpenoid, which got rid of the stains (in the spots I could reach), but they also took away the gloss and made the pens smell funny. After a while I thought it looked like the pens were no longer smelling weird and were becoming shiny again, but this was a slow process. I would uncap them and let them air out. I don't have them with me, but do you suppose that was a really bad idea and I should keep turpenoid away from them?


I found that isopropyl alcohol was not only a useful substance for cleaning, disinfecting, and refilling sharpies, I also noticed that if I needed to get the feeds out of the pens I was abusing (mostly to take out the Higgins stuff and to see how they worked), putting isopropyl in there would let them slip right out and evaporate quickly. I found this to be very convenient. I did this to a Lamy Safari and a Waterman Phileas. AFAIK now, nothing came of it, I know better now, and I had no celluloid pens to abuse at the time. Now I do, but I know about keeping alcohol away from plastic.


...Well, some plastics get along with isopropyl fine, so IDK. I'd like more info on that.


I also labeled some Safaris past the section threads with ultra fine black Sharpie (which I think I recharged with isopropyl) so I could tell them apart. I quit doing that, and I rubbed off some of the ink. I don't know what will come of that. I understand that Sharpies don't come with isopropyl in them, but that's just what I use.



And now that I know more about caring for/not utterly ruining plastics, I'd like to know more about Makrolon.


- Do I keep alcohol away from it?

- Do I keep it out of sunlight?

- What temperatures are bad for it?

- Any chemicals it shouldn't come into contact with?

- Anything else that I should know?


Thanks in advance.

The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory - Chinese proverb

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The Lamy Safari is ABS plastic. The Lamy 2000 is Makrolon, a Bayer-branded polycarbonate. You want to keep acetone, ammonia, and paint thinner away from polycarbonate to be on the safe side. I know the hard way that acetone will kill the finish of a Lamy 2000 -_- :bonk:


See http://www.wilkersoncorp.com/brochure/FRL-TEC-600.pdf for a useful list of products to avoid.

Edited by bphollin
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Acetone is indeed the Achilles heel of polycarbonate, it's pretty resistant to most other common solvents but any coatings used on it may not be. My favourite pen cleaner is Koh-I-Noor Rapido-Eze which is available at most art supply shops. It's basically just a fairly concentrated detergent without any colorants, perfumes, conditioners, etc. added. I've also used it, safely on polycarbonate and Trivex eyeglasses with anti-glare coatings, on cellulose acetate eyeglass frames, and pen bodies made from cellulosic resins, ABS, SAN, polycarbonate, styrene and various acrylics as well as hard rubber feeds.


And now the standard declaimer boilerplate:

But always test first on something not critical or some part that's inconspicuous.

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Polycarbonate scratches easily, which is why the pen comes pre-scratched has a brushed finish. It probably shouldn't share a pocket with keys and bottle caps, and if you ever need to scrub it, scrub it lengthwise.

“As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.”Gene Cernan, 14 December 1972

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You should, out of principle, keep most solvents away from most plastics. Naphtha is one that is safe (used for removing label adhesive and such), but unless you know how the material will (or won't) react, keep them apart.


I had a client who decided to clean out their Targa with some solvent or another. I got the back end off, and the piercing tube plug, but nothing else. The feed never budged. Ever. It was solvent welded into the pen, and was nasty. I'd like to know how they did that.

Edited by Ron Z

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This is another thing to keep an eye on. If you plan to use citrus cleaner on polycarbonate, use as weak solution as possible, certain concentrations cause polycarbonate to craze. I discovered this not on certain pens, but during testing with various plastic materials. strong solutions of citrus cleaner consistently caused cracks to form at the stress points of the polycarbonate items that I tested. In my shop, I don't use citrus cleaner on polycarbonate pens. I use Rapidoeze.


As said before, keep organic solvents away from plastics as well as flames. Some plastics burn violently. Others just dissolve in organic solvents.



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