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Keeping Extra Vanishing Point Nibs Inked



graystranger

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graystranger

Last year Brian Goulet received a question for his Q&A Blog asking how can spare nibs for the Pilot Vanishing Point be kept inked without drying out so the user can switch back and forth between nibs quickly.

 

This got me to thinking. I found some people who used empty Pilot cartridges as caps. I tried this, it works, but the empty cartridge makes the capped nib assembly longer than I like. My Pilot cartridges have internal ribs that keep them from sealing on the nib assembly if more than 1/4 inch is cut off them.

 

I worked out a simple hack to seal up my spare Vanishing Point nibs airtight so they can be kept inked and allowing switching nibs without having to flush and fill a new converter or cartridge.

 

The airtight seal: I keep polymer pipettes from Goulet Pens on hand, they are so useful for transferring ink, filling eyedropper pens, and even used to fill Pilot cartridges. For this application I cut about 2 inches off the small end off of one pipette as shown here:

 

post-106621-0-10584300-1433019806_thumb.jpg

 

Forming the seal to fit: The inside of the pipette is not round enough to provide a good seal with the cylindrical part of the assembly just behind the nib where it needs to seal. So I put hot water into a mug and held the large cut end in the hot water for 4 or 5 seconds to soften it. The water does not have to be boiling hot, just nice and warm. First I rubbed a bit of silicone grease on the surface behind the nib and slid the hot piece of pipette on the nib assembly and allowed it to cool in place. It can then be slipped off and should be perfectly round and a tight sliding fit on the shank behind the nib.

 

post-106621-0-36463700-1433019876_thumb.jpg

 

Closing the open end: The tip of the pipette needs to be sealed closed. The polyethylene polymer melts easily. Dip the tip into hot water for a few seconds then press it closed. You can use a pair of pliers if they have fairly smooth faces. Or you can press them between two flat surfaces. Do this quickly before it cools down too much. Test for a complete seal. I suck on the open end and see if it holds a vacuum against my lips. If not, then reheat the tip and repeat. You can use a flame, but you have to be careful you don't melt it completely. Sometimes I have doubled the flattened tip when it was hot and pressed it closed again.

 

Once the tip is sealed, it will close off the nib and feed airtight. I have let one of these sit inked up for several weeks on my desk. First I checked the nib after 24 hours: immediate ink flow. Then after a week: immediate ink flow. After 3 weeks, same thing. I believe it will sit unused for several months or longer without any start up problems.

 

Finally: how to store these for transportation. If you will just keep these in a drawer or a simple container, the capped nib assemblies can be left as they are. But, you may want to transport them in a pen case or something else. You may need to protect the delicate nibs better than the soft poly cap. I bought my extra nibs from Goulet Pens and they come in very nice rigid airtight polycarbonate centrifuge tubes. I removed the bit of foam in the bottom of the tube and found that the poly cap, as I made them, will allow the capped nib assembly to fit inside these tubes precisely. Furthermore, the capped assembly is captured between the screw-on tube cap at one end and the tapered bottom at the other, being held with no loose play of any kind. If you want more protection a thin roll of foam can be wrapped around it to protect the capped nib assembly more securely from dropping or heavy impacts.

 

post-106621-0-80064600-1433020646_thumb.jpg

 

I found virtually identical centrifuge tubes on Amazon at a very reasonable price. They can also hold 15 ml of ink too, quite leak-proof. A package of 10 sells for less than $10 from a US source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033C9U26?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage .

 

I have two Vanishing Point pens and five nib assemblies for them. Three nibs are sealed and kept in their centrifuge tubes in a pen case. The other two are in my pens. It is a simple procedure to take an inked nib out of its tube, slip off the cap, put it in the pen, recap the previous nib and put it in the storage tube. I have been doing this for nearly seven months with no problems. None of the stored nib assemblies have failed to write immediately, even after storage of two to three months between uses. I use the B and EF nibs fairly seldom, so they stay capped the longest. This system has worked very well for me.

 

Warning: I was tempted to coat the inside of the cap with silicone grease to keep it sliding easily. But, it would be easy to brush the top of the nib against the inside of the cap before it is centered and seated in place. Silicone grease is very difficult to remove from surfaces, so I elected not to do this. In fact, I cleaned the opening out after forming the cap with a paper towel to prevent contamination of the nib. You want your nib and feed to be well wetted by ink, and silicone grease will prevent this. Best to play it safe.

 

 

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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Very cool system.

Pilot Custom 823, Pelikan M600, Platinum 3776 Century (x2), Pelikan 400NN, Sailor 1911L, Pilot Elite 95s, TWSBI Vac 700, Noodler's Neponset, Hero 9018.

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I'm a little confused about this:

 

- Where does the silicone grease go? Is it necessary?

 

Forming the seal to fit: The inside of the pipette is not round enough to provide a good seal with the cylindrical part of the assembly just behind the nib where it needs to seal. So I put hot water into a mug and held the large cut end in the hot water for 4 or 5 seconds to soften it. The water does not have to be boiling hot, just nice and warm. First I rubbed a bit of silicone grease on the surface behind the nib and slid the hot piece of pipette on the nib assembly and allowed it to cool in place. It can then be slipped off and should be perfectly round and a tight sliding fit on the shank behind the nib.

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graystranger

Here is a photo with the area I put the silicone grease circled:

 

post-106621-0-36336000-1437425413_thumb.jpg

 

Not sure it is necessary, I was just trying to avoid the polymer sticking to the steel surface after it has cooled. I do wipe it off after the cap is formed, and wipe if off the inside of the cap. I'm afraid if the nib touches the inside it might affect how the ink wets the nib.

 

Since polyethylene is fairly slick, it probably would slip off without the grease. But if it is hard to pull off, be careful you don't jerk when it comes off and damage the nib.

 

I used my B nib assembly recently after a couple of months of sitting unused and it was fully wet and wrote instantly.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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graystranger

You know, I've been thinking about using silicone grease. You could take a bar of soap and carefully rub it in the area for lubrication. Then it can easily be washed off. It would only take a minute amount and would not mess up a nib if it got on it. I'll do a bit of experimenting when I get the new Vanishing Point stub nib that is supposed to be released in the US about the end of July. I'll be making another cap for it.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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