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Pros And Cons Of Different Ink Cartridge And Mechanism Types


Filipson
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Are there any good threads or discussions on the pros and cons of different ink cartridge, mechanisms, and ink delivery?

 

I'm looking for a fountain pen with a very good, reliable, not leaky, easy to refill -- ink mechanism. Thanks.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Lava (F), Visconti Crystal Demonstrator (F), Visconti Metropolis Gun Metal (M), MB PoA Ludovico Sforza (F), Lamy 2K (XF), Pelikan M205 (M).

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Easy to refill: cartridge. Hands down the easiest. Reliable, for sure. Very good? Don't know - you are a little limited in inks but not very much. You pay much more, but unless you use >½ml per day you might not notice. Unlikely to leak.

 

Any of the cartridge formats are fine. Of the proprietary ones I am partial to Cross, but nobody uses Cross.... Stick with standard international, Parker, or Lamy for ease of replenishing.

I am no longer very active on FPN but feel free to message me. Or send me a postal letter!

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Cartridge/converter easiest to refill, converter gives ink flexibility if you don't want to use cartridges. Piston filler will hold a lot more, the one I have (Noodler's Konrad) is easy to disassemble and clean.

 

I only have the one piston, and one lever (Esterbrook J) everything else is a c/c. I do keep some cartridges in my bag so I could throw one in a pen if I needed to.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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Hi,

 

I'm not a heavy user of cartridges, but I do prefer the short International format simply because the pens I use with cartridges allow one to place two of the SI cartridges into the barrel, so one has at least half the pen's ink capacity available on board. The downside of those cartridges is they can take a minor bit of effort to squeeze enough ink downstream to fully flood/prime a dry collector+feed.

 

I'm interested to read Replies from other Members who use cartridges on a regular basis.

 

EDIT - to add: As for the other fill systems, I have no preference, but in many pens the fill system also dictates the clean-up process, so it seems wise to give some thought beforehand to match pen to ink to your preferred method of clean-up.

 

Bye,

S1

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

 

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The only pen I have with only the possibility of using cartridges, is my Namiki Vanishing Point. Since I don't like to refill cartridges and new cartridges are not always available in the neighbourhood, it is never used.

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Personally I'd go for a piston filler in preference (CC second) as you can use bottled ink and that allows you far more freedom than cartridges. Piston gives you much more ink capacity as well.

 

Cartridges are easier and more convenient though if you want a standard colour.

 

 

 

You pay your money and take your choice...

Non-poster.
Current loves - MB 149, Pelikan M1000

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The extra ink capacity of a piston-filler over cartridge and converter is often overstated. Because of the space occupied by the piston assembly itself, the advantage of a piston-filler over a cartridge, or even a cartridge-converter, is often quite underwhelming. The way people talk you'd think it was 3x, but it's more typically like 1.3x or some such.

 

To my thinking, the principal advantage of a piston-filling system over a C/C system is that you don't feel like you have to disassemble the pen to fill it, and it's consequently easier to hold the pen while filling it. However, C/C fillers are easier to clean, easier to maintain, and easier to fix. Sometimes the ink gets stuck at the back of the converter because it is necessarily narrow, but this is easily countered when the need arises.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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Easy to refill: cartridge. Hands down the easiest. Reliable, for sure. Very good? Don't know - you are a little limited in inks but not very much. You pay much more, but unless you use >½ml per day you might not notice. Unlikely to leak.

(bolding mine)

 

How's that? If you stick to cartridges only, your ink choices are extremely limited for any pen that takes a proprietary cartridge. Even if you're using standard internationals, you have far far fewer choices than if you can use bottle ink. I can't imagine being stuck with cartridges only.

 

Syringe-filling a used cartridge is a perfectly viable way to deal with a pen that doesn't have converter options or for which you don't have a converter, but I don't think that's what you're talking about here as it is far from "the easiest" method of refilling a pen.

 

 

If I really had to pick one method as most practical and versatile, I'd pick cartridge/converter. They tend to be easy to clean, and I like how you can syringe-fill the converter if you're using the very end of a sample or something. Regular filling by dunking the nib is super-easy, it's nice to be able to keep a backup cartridge around, and a clear converter tells you how much ink you have left. I like having the option of syringe-filling used cartridges as well.

 

(Aside: somebody on this site used to have a sig that stated in big red letters that he would never ever use a C/C pen, as if C/C pens were the work of the devil or something. Anybody know what his beef was? I certainly understand preferring other methods, but is there something horrible about C/Cs that I don't know about?)

 

The only piston I have can't be disassembled for cleaning, and it's a royal pain to flush. twist twist twist Never again. twist twist twist It's a really fussy pen, too, so I've been through countless ink changes. twist twist twist...AUUUGH!!! A piston that could be taken apart would be no problem.

 

I seem to have accumulated a bunch of vintage lever-fillers lately, and I like the convenience and speed of refilling, but the ink capacity (of the ones I have anyway) leaves much to be desired. And I don't like how I can't see the ink level. Flushing is a pain, especially since I try to avoid too much wear and tear on those vintage parts. (yay for Waterman blue!) That said, I really like the look of the lever on the side! So much so that it's my favorite type, even though it's not all that practical.

 

Eyedroppers...I always seem to have issues with burping and leaking and general bad behavior. Other people use them with no issues, but based on my experience, I avoid them.

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Eyedroppers...I always seem to have issues with burping and leaking and general bad behavior. Other people use them with no issues, but based on my experience, I avoid them.

 

Ironically, the problem here is too much ink capacity. I mention this for purely academic reasons, since it is not easy, IME, to make use of this insight. I've had some success in making my EDs behave perfectly by reducing the ink capacity to somewhere in the 1.5ml vicinity, or slightly above, but I have worked too hard at it using multiple approaches, none of which I think is really something I want to try to teach anybody else how to do (as I am not satisfied that I know what I am doing myself). Obviously if you have the perfectly-sized, chemically resistant object to toss in there that won't interfere with anything and will take up the right amount of space without impeding the flow of ink, then that will do it.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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cartridges have it for convenience, provided you're satisfied with the ink choices available. if not, use a converter, i guess; the two converters i've used were simple enough and since they can be removed from their pens, easy to clean.

 

cartridge pens are very convenient to clean, i do admit.

 

the only piston pen i have experience with is my brand new Ahab, and it comes apart into ridiculously many pieces ridiculously easily. i must confess i like its piston system, a lot.

 

aerometric ones... well, that's the weakest part of my otherwise dear Hero 329. cleaning it out or changing the ink in it wouldn't be any fun at all. so far it's not been necessary, thanks to using only one very forgiving ink in it.

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Keep in mind that when discussing the limited color choices of cartridges that Private Reserve has 45 colors in standard international cartridges.

 

Most of my pens are c/c and I use converters in most of them. I also have a ready supply of cartridges, some proprietary, just in case or for when I have to hit the road. I also syringe fill used Parker and Sheaffer cartridges when I want an ink color that is not available in those formats.

 

There are some accessories available that make filling some converter pens, piston pens and the TWSBI Vac a bit easier.

 

The TWSBI Diamond 50 bottle takes a lot of the chore and mess out of filling their piston fillers. The Vac 20 bottle makes filling the TWSBI Vac 700 a piece of cake.

 

The Visconti Travelling Ink Well can be used with most pens. Its only shortcoming is that it is a bit expensive. See

for a demonstration. The ink well takes most of the muss and fuss of filling most piston pens. I have to experiment with water and the Lamy Safari to see if they will work together.
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All the J. Herbin inks (though maybe not the 1670 inks) are available in cartridges as well. You can get them from jet pens, or as I've done in the past, see if Mr. Goulet can get some with his next Herbin order.

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Cartridge, hands down.

 

I like the convenience of being able to carry a five pack of international long cartridges in my pocket, what four or five ml of ink. One goes empty, open, place, close, and on I go.

 

Only need black ink, once upon a time that was all anyone used, and cartridges have it.

 

Cost, negligible compared to a one time visit to Starbucks, even McDonalds, for coffee.

 

Simple mechanism, probably the hardest to break and the last to wear out.

 

But it is all achedemic, no one buys fountain pens for rational reasons anymore. It is like the arguement of the Casion tendollar quartz watch vs the thousand dollar Rolex. It is not about rational thought, it is abut desire, lust, cravings, irrational covetness, averess (?), and all those other desires we don't bring out in public.

Forget it and go with what makes you feel good, as long as you don't spend the rent money.

YMMV

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But it is all achedemic, no one buys fountain pens for rational reasons anymore. It is like the arguement of the Casion tendollar quartz watch vs the thousand dollar Rolex. It is not about rational thought, it is abut desire, lust, cravings, irrational covetness, averess (?), and all those other desires we don't bring out in public.

 

Since when is the pursuit of pleasure irrational?

 

 

(p.s. avarice)

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I favor Cartridge/Converter pens due to ease of cleaning. I generally use converters but cartridges would be convenient if you expect to use a lot of ink. Pistons fillers than can be disassembled are also easy to clean. For any manner of sac filler I would stick to easy to clean inks like Waterman.

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I love cartridges. Caedfel_tex mentioned above that J. Herbin inks are available in international cartridges. As I use JH Violette Pensee 99% of the time, this works fine for me. Popping in a new cart is fast, clean, and easy. I get them from Jetpen. (no affil.)

 

Last week I took notice of the speed I am running through cartridges, so I bought from Goulet a 100 ml bottle of Violette Pensee and syringes, so I will now be refilling my cartridges. I'll see how that goes.

 

Side note: Goulet is amazing: perfect packaging, not excessive. And the package arrives 2 1/2 days after I ordered it, at the cheapest shipping rate, 3000 miles. (no affil.)

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I would recommend the cartridge system. It is easy to maintain. It is very durable. Even the small "International Standard" cartridge holds 0.6 ml of ink. Will someone tell us how many pages of writing comes from 0.6 ml of ink, please. Changing an ink cartridge is as easy as changing a ballpoint pen refill.

 

Good hunting.

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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[...]

How's that? If you stick to cartridges only, your ink choices are extremely limited for any pen that takes a proprietary cartridge. Even if you're using standard internationals, you have far far fewer choices than if you can use bottle ink. I can't imagine being stuck with cartridges only.

[...]

 

Use international cartridges, then :) Some 21 colours from Diamine, 30 from J Herbin, 45 from Private Reserve, and many more.

 

I know of only 18 colours for Lamy proprietary refills (Lamy and Monteverde brands) but they come in packs of 5 so working your way through a whole set means 90 cartridges (>100ml ink) which will last many people years.

 

Now if you are stuck using, say, Cross proprietary cartridges it is a different story….

I am no longer very active on FPN but feel free to message me. Or send me a postal letter!

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Cartridges are horribly expensive....$$$$$$$ always have been.

Drove me to ball points as a child...who could afford 10 BP refills for 10¢, and not an expensive and still over priced Parker Jotter BP refill much less cartridges....back in the day of the silver dime.One did want to buy Spiderman #1 and have a nickel Snickers and so on.

 

They are still so expensive, I flinch when even thinking about buying a cartridge five pack. For a couple packs of cartridges I can get a bottle of Pelikan 4001 or Lamy ink...Of course I live in Germany. You can get cheap Noodler ink in the states for the price of a couple packs of cartridges.

 

 

I can not find the post I copied from some one with the amount of ink held in a cartridges & converters along with piston pen volumes.

 

Cartridges do hold more than most Piston pens.

I don't worry about ED pens, they still have the same trouble that Conklin solved and Sheaffer perfected in 1912. They burp...sooner or later they will burp. Ask Mr. Waterman.

 

There is a Visconty with over 2.0 Ml.

A 200/400 = 1.27 ml

600/800 =1.37

1000 =1.47

MB 149 = 1.60

400NN=1.97

 

Two short international hold @ 1.74ml That is more than a a Giant MB 149.

There is a fat Sheaffer cartridge that holds 1.60 The same as the 149.

I don't remember how much a normal long international held but it was more than the Pelikan 1000.

 

That was a shock to me...and the myth of Piston pens holding so much more died as it ran into the brick wall of fact.

Converters have trouble holding as much as a short international cartridge...if that, if I can remember correctly.

Many converters are nothing but trouble...There are tricks to be learned to fill them full.

 

Load with a converter, put a cartridge in your pants pocket cartridge/converter holder, and swap out. Put the converter in you screw tight holder so as not to get ink in your pants pocket :happyberet: and you are good to go.

 

If you needle refill every night so the cartridge in the pen is always full you should be good to go, with a spare in your pocket.

 

I just put two piston pens in my pocket and I'm good to go till Thursday, this or next.

 

I still prefer Piston pens...I can fill them with just a touch to test ink, or fill them all the way.

Yep, piston pens are 'harder'....well take longer to clean than a C/C pen.

 

I like lever pens too...don't know exactly how much they hold but think near what a piston pen holds and lots more than a converter. So blazing fast to reload too.

 

I have 5 6 7C/C pens and have no need to buy another one. I keep forgetting those aeromatic squeeze fillers on my P75 and P-45...don't even think of them as c/c pens.Neither has ever seen a cartridge.

 

Good thing I got a converter for that Cross Townsend. Because cartridges cost beer money and I live in a Heaven for beer..

I do have a needle to refill with. Suddenly talking serous time for refilling.

Piston/lever I dip into a bottle and am done in a hurry. Don't have to have a rack of hot glue pistol topped cartridges with different bottle inks standing around either.

 

 

Of course I think C/C pens are a huge rip off in price too...all that money and no guts in the pen. :wallbash:

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Use international cartridges, then :) Some 21 colours from Diamine, 30 from J Herbin, 45 from Private Reserve, and many more.

 

I know of only 18 colours for Lamy proprietary refills (Lamy and Monteverde brands) but they come in packs of 5 so working your way through a whole set means 90 cartridges (>100ml ink) which will last many people years.

 

That's still far far fewer than the choices when you use bottle ink. You can argue that the choices available are probably sufficient for most people, but you know perfectly well that the variety doesn't even come close to comparing.

 

And what percentage of C/C pens take internationals anyway? If you stuck to international cartridges, you wouldn't be able to use pens from Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer, Lamy, Pilot, Cross, or Sailor. That takes a LOT of pens out of consideration, including many of the most popular models.

 

I have 9 pens inked right now. Of those, 8 contain ink in current production. Of those, only 1 is available in international cartridges (PR Ebony Purple). 1 (Waterman blue) is available in proprietary cartridges, but those are useless to me because that's my ink for hard to clean vintage pens, none of which take Waterman cartridges. 3 of the remainder I love but could live without. I would be very very sad if I couldn't use Diamine Eclipse, Diamine Syrah, and Noodler's 54th Massachussets.

 

 

Fortunately, deciding to use cartridges does not mean that you can't switch to a converter any time you like, at least for the vast majority of modern cartridge pens. But let's not kid ourselves here about the huge hit you'll take in ink choices if you go cartridge-only.

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