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Belching Eyedropper Pens With Ebonite Feeds


ebluegrass
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Hello everyone:

 

I have in my posession 2 pens I like very much. One is a Noodlers Ahab with a medium Goulet (Jowo) nib and a Ranga 2C with their Indian fine nib. I really like both pens a lot. Both pens have ebonite feeds. I converted the Ahab to eyedropper and began to get belching of ink. I've had the Ranga about a week and it has begun to belch ink. I have heat set the feed in the Ahab 3............ that's right 3 times-- to no avail. I'm using an o ring in the Ahab as well. I haven't heat set the Ranga feed yet. So I need help desparately to know what I need to do to get these pens to behave properly, if that is possible. Thanks for any advice.

 

Regards, Bill

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Keep the pens as full as possible. Warmth from your hand as you write is probably warming the air in the ink reservoir, causing it to expand and forcing the ink out as you write. Less air means less expansion and less belching. I tend to carry pens in my shirt pocket, nib up, which prewarms them and I can get away with lower ink levels without burps, even in some of my larger vintage eyedropper fillers with the simple feeds. There might be leak where the nib goes through the section but that would more likely cause a dribble than a burp.

 

This is starting to sound more like a post on babies than pens. Hope it helps, anyway.

Dave Campbell
Retired Science Teacher and Active Pen Addict
Every day is a chance to reduce my level of ignorance.

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I converted the Ahab to eyedropper and began to get belching of ink. I've had the Ranga about a week and it has begun to belch ink.

 

I haven't heat set the Ranga feed yet. So I need help desparately to know what I need to do to get these pens to behave properly, if that is possible. Thanks for any advice.

 

A. Go back to the Ahab post/syringe filler. If you need more ink than that, then start banging your head against the wall now because here's the problem. It's too much air in the ink chamber. Air is "compressible" (or more importantly, "expandable"), ink is not. As previously noted, if your EDs are full, they won't belch. As soon as you start using them, air is exchanged for ink. Eventually they will be susceptible because the ebonite feeds don't have enough storage space to handle a belch before the ink makes it out. I can't figure out what good it does to have a huge ink capacity if you can't actually use it all. So put that post filler back in. If you expel the air after the first pump (sometimes a little messy), you can fill even the handle.

 

B. You have four options with the Ranga.

1. Keep it full of ink, or nearly.

2. Put plastic beads or some such in the ink chamber to take up space so that it won't hold as much ink.

3. Convert it to a blow filler. http://blog.peytonstreetpens.com/blow-fillers-are-back/

4. Find a modern plastic feed with lots of fin storage that fits perfectly in the Ranga, or make it fit. This one is not a very attractive option. I tried with a Sheaffer No Nonsense feed and didn't have the patience to secure a proper fit.

 

Heat setting the feed might help develop an air seal if it is leaking, e.g. if when you fill it, it never stops dripping. Since the problem with belching from a high-capacity ED isn't about the air seal, rather about the air that's already in there, you can't solve the belching problem by tinkering to make things seal better.

Edited by mhosea

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

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I converted a few Kaweco pens to eyedroppers a while back and ran into the same problem. It is just physics; the heat in your hand causes any air in the reservoir to expand. Keeping the pens full all the time defeats the purpose of having a large ink capacity.

 

The Kawecos sit in my holder for clean pens unused, now.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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You all have proved once again how amazing this forum is!! Thank you all so much for the information and advice. A few hours before I posted my original, I tried to read everything about this issue that I could find. Someone suggested just holding the pen, nib up, in your hand to warm up the air (for a minute or so) and hopefully expel air through the nib and feed. I have tried this a couple of times, including last night taking notes at a Bible study. So far, no belching. I'm hoping this will continue to work, but only time will tell. I may look through my parts box for a plastic feed to use in the Ranga, at some point. I'm not in that big of a hurry to do that. For reference, this Ranga (2C) is probably the smallest pen they make, besides the dip pen. The barrel is only 11mm wide, so a decent eyedropper capacity, but not near as big as the other models. I also have a model 3-duofold from them, but it has a Jowo nib assembly built in to it, and I have never had any belching or dripping from that pen.

Thanks again for the help and advice. You all ROCK !!

 

Kind regards,

Bill

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I prefer pepto bismol for my belching and vomitting issues

I think the standard advice for ED fountain pens doesn't work so well for humans. It is not a good idea to keep yourself "full". HTH

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

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Someone suggested just holding the pen, nib up, in your hand to warm up the air (for a minute or so) and hopefully expel air through the nib and feed. I have tried this a couple of times, including last night taking notes at a Bible study. So far, no belching. I'm hoping this will continue to work, but only time will tell.

 

Kind regards,

Bill

 

 

I prefer pepto bismol for my belching and vomitting issues

 

Pink ink might have the same effect as Pepto-Bismol. Just don't spill any on your Bible—or worse someone else's.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some of you may remember my post a few weeks ago about the frustrations I have experienced with my Ahab belching ink. I had actually put the pen away in my case of "retired / semi retired" pens. Just on a whim, yesterday, this thought came to me. I decided to take a small piece of plastic sheeting (from an old plastic file folder) and cut it about 2.75 in. by 1.8 in. and rolled in up and slid it into the barrel. The goal here was to add a little (and I mean a little, since the plastic isn't very thick) bit of insulation to the inside of the barrel, to prevent the air from getting too warm, and then belching ink. As of now, my experiment has worked!! I have written a couple of small pages and no belching!! So barring any incidents, this Ahab will be an eyedropper used on a regular basis. As time goes on, I will keep you posted of any issues. Hope this will be a help to some of you all.

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You might want to take a look at the discussion on this page:

 

http://edisonpen.com/index.cfm/2011/09/25/eyedropper-conversion

 

Brian Gray postulates that the belching has less to do with temperature changes but rather the elasticity of air (ie, compressibility and expandability).

 

As more air gets in the reservoir, it causes more elasticity.

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Sometimes, also, the nib and feed assembly does not sit tightly enough in the section. You could try with the Ranga if pushing it farther in, or rotating a little, will prevent the blurping. It's helped in my case with several of the larger Walitys that blurped. After tightening the fit of the nib & feed, that was over.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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You might want to take a look at the discussion on this page:

 

http://edisonpen.com/index.cfm/2011/09/25/eyedropper-conversion

 

Brian Gray postulates that the belching has less to do with temperature changes but rather the elasticity of air (ie, compressibility and expandability).

 

As more air gets in the reservoir, it causes more elasticity.

Air is not elastic under normal conditions, it is compressible and those two are very different properties. Air is subject to the Ideal Gas Laws which state that if you increase the temperature on a gas the volume of the gas will increase proportional to the temperature change (in Kelvin) if pressure remains constant. Ink is almost entirely water and water above four degrees Celsius expands much less than air does for a given temperature change. The more air in the barrel of an eyedropper filling pen the greater the amount of possible expansion when the temperature changes. Because of the ink channel through the feed there is an outlet for the contents of the barrel as the temperature goes up and the air expands. If the pen is nib down ink will flow out. If the barrel is nib up air will flow out.

 

The potential problem with this explanation, of course, is that a ten Kelvin change (room temp to body temp) is only about a three percent change. Is that enough to cause burping? I don't know and I don't have the equipment to test it. I just know that a partially filled eyedropper pen that I have prewarmed in a pocket doesn't burp when I write with it.

 

You can see the same effect due to pressure change in an airplane. If you try to write with a fountain pen during the initial climb to altitude you will probably get a big mess if there is any significant air in the barrel of the pen. If you try to write on the descent the air flowing in to equalize the pressure as the ambient pressure in the cabin increases will cause the pen to skip.

Dave Campbell
Retired Science Teacher and Active Pen Addict
Every day is a chance to reduce my level of ignorance.

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Air is not elastic under normal conditions, it is compressible and those two are very different properties. Air is subject to the Ideal Gas Laws which state that if you increase the temperature on a gas the volume of the gas will increase proportional to the temperature change (in Kelvin) if pressure remains constant. Ink is almost entirely water and water above four degrees Celsius expands much less than air does for a given temperature change. The more air in the barrel of an eyedropper filling pen the greater the amount of possible expansion when the temperature changes. Because of the ink channel through the feed there is an outlet for the contents of the barrel as the temperature goes up and the air expands. If the pen is nib down ink will flow out. If the barrel is nib up air will flow out.

 

The potential problem with this explanation, of course, is that a ten Kelvin change (room temp to body temp) is only about a three percent change. Is that enough to cause burping? I don't know and I don't have the equipment to test it. I just know that a partially filled eyedropper pen that I have prewarmed in a pocket doesn't burp when I write with it.

 

You can see the same effect due to pressure change in an airplane. If you try to write with a fountain pen during the initial climb to altitude you will probably get a big mess if there is any significant air in the barrel of the pen. If you try to write on the descent the air flowing in to equalize the pressure as the ambient pressure in the cabin increases will cause the pen to skip.

 

 

 

For the longest time I've tried to make eydroppers work for me but I can't seem to fully address the belch problem. I'm not particularly interested in the increased ink capacity because my consumption rate is not very high. I just find the idea of a simple as possible filling rather attractive.

 

As for the debate related to temperature versus compressibility (it's what I meant when I used the word elasticity) I've often tried to equalize the pressure inside the barrel with the outside by unscrewing the barrel open and then putting it back together. Pre-warming the barrel in my hands with the reservoir open, blowing air into the reservoir so the warm breath raises the temperature. Nothing worked, the problem still persists.

 

I'm more of the opinion that the air is more compressible and expandible than ink/water and that largely contributes to the problem. Take for example an ink syringe. Pull the piston back to get air in it and the stop the nozzle with your finger, then try to move the piston up or down, and the air will have some give. You'll get some springiness. That's what I mean by elasticity.

 

Ultimately when you put stuff into the ink reservoir, like plastic sheeting, basically you're displacing ink or air out of the ink reservoir and replacing it with solid. End result is that the composition inside the ink reservoir is made up of less elastic substances than air. And this causes the problem to go away.

 

The same happens with air travel. If you have air and ink inside the ink reservoir, and outside pressure drops, due to gain in altitude causing cabin pressure to go down, that is again causing the elasticity of the air in the reservoir to create problems.

 

Maybe a combination of both phenomena, charle's law + boyle's law, work together to exacerbate the belching problem I don't know. But I am not one-sided on attributing it all to just temperature. That's just me.

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I know this post is about eyedropper pens, but the same problems apply to any pens that contain ink directly in the barrel without some extra temperature insulation. This includes Vacumatics, most Sheaffer Vac fillers, Onoto plunger fillers and most MontBlancs. These pens are best kept full to minimise the effects of pressure changes - whether induced by temperature change or directly (as by cabin pressure change in an aircraft). Many modern pens use the barrel reservoir principle, but avoid the worst blobbing because of their high capacity feeds.

 

In my early days of pen collecting/repair I tended to use the latest completed project at work to assess the real life characteristics of the pen. I soon stopped using Vacumatics, Onotos and the older Sheaffer Vac fillers. How nice it was to use the double insulated Ford, double insulated Sheaffers and the simple rubber sac pens. These pens did not suffer from temperature induced blobbing, but direct pressure change did, so I would not take any of them on an aircraft.

Laurence

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A very interesting discussion. I primarily use Edison pens as eye droppers for convenience sake as well. I've found the smaller barrels on the Pearlette, and Beaumont models make superb eye droppers, the larger pens like the Collier and Herald not so much. Jowo 5 nibs, no problem, the larger 6 nibs give me problems.

 

I've had much better luck filling a larger barreled pen half full. Also if one tampers with the original nib unit it produces a bit of play between the nib and feed. Many of us have taken apart a nib unit for replacement of a different nib. I would not recommend this. It might be a bit cheaper but as pointed out if there is play developed between the nib and feed within the unit, the unit may begin to leak. My findings of course.

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