Jump to content

What Equipment Do I Need? Where Can I Get It? Newbie.


BookCat

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm going to start my first forays into ink mixing but I'm not sure what equipment I'll need. I already have two large ink syringes for measurements and imagine that I'll need vials into which I put the mixes.

Where can I get the vials from? I've tried fleabay, but don't think I'm using the correct search terms because nothing suitable comes up.

 

How do you test the mixes? Do you use dip pens, reserve a cheap fountain pen or just do a swab? I would imagine that putting the ink into a fountain pen would be the only true test? Or am I being naive?

 

I'm surprised there isn't a pinned thread on this subject - if there is, apologies, I couldn't find it.

 

Any help which you could give a mixing newbie would be most welcome.

 

Thanks :sm_cat:

Catherine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • BookCat

    7

  • katerchen

    3

  • Ted A

    2

  • ac12

    1

Top Posters In This Topic

Thanks migo, I've bookmarked that site incase I want to buy the vials in bulk. I'm thinking of starting small with maybe 20 vials or less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Vials (5-8ml) for mixing the initial concept
  • Blunt syringes (buy a dozen at least so you don't have to run back and forth to the sink to have clean ones on hand when you work with a bunch of inks) to measure out inks in tiny amounts into the vials while you are still playing with color balance.
  • Glass pen. Todd has them deeply discounted *and* you get two bottles of R&K ink http://www.isellpens.com/category_s/1982.htm
  • 50ml glass beakers (3 or so) to mix up larger batches that you really liked from the vial testing and ready to commit to
  • Glass funnel
  • Empty ink bottles to store them in (Iroshizuku bottles for those mixes that you are really proud of, Diamine for the rest)
  • Distilled water
  • Photo flo to deal with dry inks.

I bought these items from the Goulet's and Amazon ... since you are in the UK, non-amazon shipping costs might be prohibitive.

 

It's a fun hobby.

 

-k

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For vials: is there anyone who sells ink samples in UK or EU? They might either sell them or be able to advise where you can find them.

 

In the US we have a place called "Container Store" which sells all sorts of storage items, from bookshelves down to vials and bottles of every size and description. if you have something similar you might be able to find some. There are bottles made of, or with a tradename, of Nalgene which work well.

To hold a pen is to be at war. - Voltaire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Katerchen for your exhaustive list. I managed to find some 5ml vials on fleabay, they're plastic, does this matter?

What is Photo flo? I googled it and it seemed to have something to do with photography. From your comment, I gather that it somehow makes ink more flowing?

 

I'll have to think of a substitute for empty ink bottles as I don't have any.

Why should the funnel be glass? It'll probably be easier to find a plastic one. Is there something about mixing ink and plastic which makes this unwise?

 

I'm looking forward to creating my own colours. More ink on my fingers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Katerchen for your exhaustive list. I managed to find some 5ml vials on fleabay, they're plastic, does this matter?

What is Photo flo? I googled it and it seemed to have something to do with photography. From your comment, I gather that it somehow makes ink more flowing?

 

I'll have to think of a substitute for empty ink bottles as I don't have any.

Why should the funnel be glass? It'll probably be easier to find a plastic one. Is there something about mixing ink and plastic which makes this unwise?

 

I'm looking forward to creating my own colours. More ink on my fingers!

 

Glass to me just seems generally better suited for inks. You never know if plastic will stain or not. But it breaks easier too, so ... meh. I started out with plastic vials, but I am thinking about these (or similar) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008SQ781M/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=VTL0KTXN4ULV&coliid=I1F15VSFAAT46Z

 

Here's Sandy's Photo Flo additive post: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/199472-in-praise-of-dish-soap/?p=2033015

 

Yes, it should improve flow (mine is arriving today, so I'll have some time to play with it) but you need to dilute the heck out of it, otherwise the ink wont stick to your nib&feed at *all* just pour right out of the pen.

 

With that said however : this is a highly optional ingredient. I wouldn't get it right away. Distilled water however is pretty handy to have.

 

-k

Edited by katerchen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use both 10ml and 1ml syringes.

 

When mixing ink in a 7ml ink vial (that you only fill to 5ml), you can be much more precise with a 1ml syringe, than trying to measure out a small volume in a larger syringe.

 

Glass is better for vial, mixing beakers, funnels, etc. because of ink won't stain it, like it could some plastics.

 

You also NEED a very stable holder for the ink vial, so that you don't accidentally knock over the vial as you are working with it.

I use a heavy glass ink well with a layer of paper tissue around the vial to make the ink vial fit snugly in the ink well.

And all your stuff should be in FRONT of the ink vial. Reaching over the ink vial is just asking to knock it over, and spill the ink all over the place.

 

And speaking of ink spills.

A large baking sheet, with raised sides.

I mix and handle ink on these sheets so if I spill ink, it does not get on the counter, and the raised sides limit the spill damage.

Line the bottom of the baking sheet with paper towels, so there is some absorbing small spills, and the paper towel keeps things from sliding around.

 

The test pen can be a glass pen or a dip pen. Whatever you use, you should test it to determine how close to your writing pen it writes. Some glass pens write very wet, so the ink line will be much darker than the ink line from your pen. Ideally you want a test pen that has an ink line that is close to your writing pen, so that the ink test is representative of what that ink will look like in your writing pen.

 

A notebook to take LOTS of notes as you are working up a formula.

You WILL refer back to these notes in the future.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is all extremely helpful, thank you.

 

I've already 'solved' the problem of keeping vials upright. I was sent a couple of ink samples and secure these in a laptray's cup-holder by pressing a large blob of blu tak on the side of the cup holder, and gently pushing the ink vial into that, which prevents it from toppling while I fill my pen. I've seen a youtube vid where someone suggested securing a vial with tape to the side of something fairly heavy (this may have been Brian Goulet).

 

I'll make a "shopping list" from this thread.

 

Are droppers of some sort a useful item? Or are the syringes enough?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use packing foam or foam rubber to support my vials. It's soft enough that you can use the vial to cut a hole just the right size through it and make it wide enough that it will support the vial. It's quick and easy to make.

 

The syringes that Goulet sells are manufactured as single use. They can, of course, be reused as long as you clean them and aren't injecting medicine in to people. But the ink marking the volume tends to rub off after a number of cleanings with just water. So I find I have to use the markings on the vials for measurement, not the syringe.

To hold a pen is to be at war. - Voltaire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S I have a cheap fountain pen which I really don't like. Can I use that, maybe dipped, rather than buying a dip pen? Finding a dip pen and nibs which might suit is proving very difficult.

Thanks.

 

Ted, I bought two blunt syringes from fleabay, rather than Goulet, because I'm in the UK. They were very cheap, so if the markings wear off I'll just order more. Good idea about the packing foam.

Edited by BookCat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S I have a cheap fountain pen which I really don't like. Can I use that, maybe dipped, rather than buying a dip pen? Finding a dip pen and nibs which might suit is proving very difficult.

Thanks.

 

Is it a converter pen? The thing about using regular FPs for dip testing is that it takes forever to get the ink out of the feed. If it's a CC however, get a bulb syringe. *then* it is very easy to clean them out : you just use the bulb to force water through and get the ink out in no time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Katerchen, I have a bulb syringe. Your answer saves me lots of research and surfing trying to find the 'right' dip pen.

 

I've just ordered some extra ink syringes and I'm looking at some amber glass containers to store any mixes which I like. The choice is between 30ml and 60ml. Should I buy the 60ml to be on the safe side? They come in sets of six. I thought the amber might protect the ink from light? Edit: there was only £1 difference in the two sets, so I took the plunge and bought the 60ml.

 

I'll probably do the mixing in disposable cups, the plastic type which you buy for parties. Is there any reason why this might not be suitable?

 

Are there any good books on this subject?

Thanks,

Catherine :sm_cat:

Edited by BookCat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to mix small batches of ink (<1mL) so I use a micropipette.

I wouldn't recommend it if you didn't already have one because it can cost more than your most expensive pen (depending on the pen and pipette).

 

If you decide to go for a micropipette, get either a 100 -1000 μL (.1-1 mL) or a 1000 - 5000 μL (1-5 mL) micropipette. (there are 1000 μL [microliters] in a mL [milliliter]) Anything smaller than that and you're measuring drops and fractions of a drop.

 

Next, you'll have to get tips. Do not use a micropipette without a micropipette tip. Be sure you get the correct size tip for your micropipette. For example, if you have a 100 - 1000 μL pipette get 1000 μL pipette tips. You can throw away tips after each use, especially with inks that stain quite a bit like the Baystates, but for ink mixing you can reuse the tips but make sure each tip only gets used with one ink.

 

If you want, you can calibrate your pipette so you can be 90% sure that you're pipetting the exact amount indicated. I say 90% because the accuracy of the calibration depends on the accuracy of the equipment you use to calibrate. If you can get/use a high precision analytical scale, go for it. If not, look for a cheap handheld scale online with reasonable accuracy. Just make sure you calibrate the scale as well. Here's a video on determining the accuracy of a pipette: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LyFgtYx1u4

 

Adjusting the micropipette involves taking apart the pipette, and I would not recommend it unless you know what you're doing.

 

A few notes on micropipette usage:

Never set the pipette past the operating range. You can seriously damage the pipette.

Always pipette slowly. Quickly drawing in ink could squirt it up into the pipette mechanism. Quickly dispensing ink can leave ink behind inside the sides of the pipette tip, which can be a big problem with wetter inks.

 

Links:

Micropipettes on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=s9_dnav_bw_ir03_s?node=318128011&pf_rd_m

Micropipette tips (1000 μL, 1000 pcs): http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-1000UL-Liquid-Pipette-Pipettor/dp/B00AQV17N2/

Micropipette tips (5000 μL, 300 pcs): http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Liquid-Pipetter-Pipette-Microliter/dp/B00N3YXMRS/

Reasonably accurate scale (includes calibration weights): http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Weigh-JDS20-Portable-Milligram/dp/B00ESGK8WW

 

Something that I think people overlook is thoroughly mixing the ink. In my limited experience, you have to really shake your mixes vigorously to get an even blend. The best way to see this is by mixing a few drops of Noodler's Blue Ghost (their invisible UV ink) into a vial of water. If you gently shake the vial then shine a blacklight into it, you can still clearly see where the ink is more concentrated.

 

If you want overly expensive lab equipment to mix it for you, get a vortex mixer. Just don't use glass vials in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks dxing97, but I won't be mixing such small amounts. I'll probably make initial samples of about 5ml, any smaller than that would be hard to test. I'll make extensive notes about each sample.

 

I've also ordered some labels which can be cut down for the vials and jars. They are easy-peel labels which means I can just re-label each container as necessary. Just waiting for the things to arrive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Most Contributions

    1. amberleadavis
      amberleadavis
      43844
    2. PAKMAN
      PAKMAN
      33433
    3. Ghost Plane
      Ghost Plane
      28220
    4. inkstainedruth
      inkstainedruth
      26426
    5. jar
      jar
      26101
  • Upcoming Events

  • Blog Comments

    • bramley
      I have the Sailor Naginata and some fancy blade nibs coming after 2022 by a number of new workshop from China.  With all my respect, IMHO, they are all (bleep) in doing chinese characters.  Go use a bush, or at least a bush pen. 
    • A Smug Dill
      It is the reason why I'm so keen on the idea of a personal library — of pens, nibs, inks, paper products, etc. — and spent so much money, as well as time and effort, to “build” it for myself (because I can't simply remember everything, especially as I'm getting older fast) and my wife, so that we can “know”; and, instead of just disposing of what displeased us, or even just not good enough to be “given the time of day” against competition from >500 other pens and >500 other inks for our at
    • adamselene
      Agreed.  And I think it’s good to be aware of this early on and think about at the point of buying rather than rationalizing a purchase..
    • A Smug Dill
      Alas, one cannot know “good” without some idea of “bad” against which to contrast; and, as one of my former bosses (back when I was in my twenties) used to say, “on the scale of good to bad…”, it's a spectrum, not a dichotomy. Whereas subjectively acceptable (or tolerable) and unacceptable may well be a dichotomy to someone, and finding whether the threshold or cusp between them lies takes experiencing many degrees of less-than-ideal, especially if the decision is somehow influenced by factors o
    • adamselene
      I got my first real fountain pen on my 60th birthday and many hundreds of pens later I’ve often thought of what I should’ve known in the beginning. I have many pens, the majority of which have some objectionable feature. If they are too delicate, or can’t be posted, or they are too precious to face losing , still they are users, but only in very limited environments..  I have a big disliking for pens that have the cap jump into the air and fly off. I object to Pens that dry out, or leave blobs o
  • Chatbox

    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More
  • Files






×
×
  • Create New...