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Retro 51 Tornado Nib Replacement



AlecB

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Hello everyone! I'm brand new to the world of fountain pens, and have a couple beginner's questions regarding my new Retro 51 Tornado. It came with a medium nib, which writes nicely, but I'd like to purchase a nib that allows me to vary my line stroke and write more calligraphically and personally. Before I look into flexible or italic nibs, however, I was wondering if my pen can even take replacement nibs; the nib doesn't seem to come apart from the nib assembly/ feed, so even if I knew the correct size to buy I'm not sure if my pen could take it. Do I have to purchase an entire new nib assembly (in which case, where should I look to buy them?) or does the nib disconnect in a way I'm unaware of?

 

Thank you all,

Alec

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Welcome to FPN Alec,

 

I think the reason that you haven't received an answer to your question is because most here aren't familiar with Retro 51. Of all of the vintage and new pens I have, my Retro 51 Lincoln XL is my favorite daily user. Sorry to bore you with the details, but when I got it several years ago, I had the very same questions you do.

 

After talking with R51 in Richardson, TX. and Brian Gray with Bexley Pens back east, I finally contacted Schmidt nibs in Germany and talked with their marketing dept.

 

Retro 51 uses a proprietary Schmidt Nib unit. Meaning that the feed and nib are joined into one modular piece. It is nearly impossible to replace the nib without screwing up the whole module. The Module, however, screws out easily (like a Pelikan) and can be replaced. That said, Schmidt makes the units for R51 in Fine, med, and Broad.

 

I received a regular Medium nib in my pen and wanted a stub medium, so I started looking for a replacement as you are now. I decided that I could have a Broad nib ground to a stub medium. When I spoke to one of the managers at R51, they didn't have any surplus Broad nibs on hand and referred me to Brian Gray because he used a similar Schmidt nib unit in his pens. Brian informed me that his was different and suggested contacting Schmidt directly, which I did.

 

The marketing guy at Schmidt was very accommodating and offered to send a Broad Regular nib unit to fit my pen. He surprised me by doing this at no charge (not even postage). I then began to look for a Nibmeister to grind it to my specs and found that most will only work on gold nibs, not stainless steel.

 

I was determined, so I read a few instructional threads on nib grinding and did it myself. The result was incredibly satisfying and surprisingly easy. And best of all, I got EXACTLY what I wanted!

 

I have since learned that Danny Fudge (http://thewritepen.net/) will grind SS nibs and is very reasonable and quick by comparison.

 

I hope I've answered your questions and help save you some time. I cannot locate the name and contact number of the person I spoke with, but here is the Schmidt web address -http://www.schmidttechnology.de/en/schreibgeraete/produkte/fuellhaltersysteme/c_1_3_1.htm

 

Good Luck in your endeavor! Let us know how it turns out-

 

Clayton

Edited by Hooker56

"Not a Hooker Hooker, but rather a left-handed overwriter."

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Alec,

 

This is who I spoke with in Germany:

 

Mr. Benjamin Hirt
Export Sales Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 77 24 / 8 99 -285
b.hirt@schmidttechnology.de

 

I recall trying to contact YAFA here in California, but no one would pick up the phone or answer emails.

 

Hope this helps.

"Not a Hooker Hooker, but rather a left-handed overwriter."

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Wow, thank you for your detailed response! I did remove the nib from the nib unit, and bought an inexpensive flex nib. When it arrives I'll attempt to reassemble the pen with the new nib... although if it's as difficult as you mentioned I doubt I'll see success. If I'm not able to reassemble, I'll probably contact the nibmeister you mentioned and see if he grinds steel nibs to add flex (if that's possible)...

 

Thanks again for your reply, helpful indeed.

 

Alec

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Alec,

 

I know there are some who have had success, but there are so many variations of Schmidt units... some have a brass ring holding it together and some have plastic rings... it may work out great for you, I certainly hope so. Please let us know what happens

 

AND post Pictures or it didn't happen!

"Not a Hooker Hooker, but rather a left-handed overwriter."

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The flex nib I ordered (#6 Ahab Noodler) arrived this morning. While it doesn't fit the assembly perfectly, I managed to jam it in. It writes, but it's too dry to flex; when I push down, the tines separate but no ink comes out. Am I correct that the pen is too dry, or is there another factor that might be causing this behavior?

 

Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

The flex nib I ordered (#6 Ahab Noodler) arrived this morning. While it doesn't fit the assembly perfectly, I managed to jam it in. It writes, but it's too dry to flex; when I push down, the tines separate but no ink comes out. Am I correct that the pen is too dry, or is there another factor that might be causing this behavior?

 

Thanks!

I'm looking to do a similar thing. But, I think I might have an answer to your problem. The feed on your Retro 51 was designed to handle ink flow from a normal nib. A flex nib uses way more ink and I would believe that the feed simply cannot keep up. You could try a Noodler's Ahab feed (you can buy the pens pretty cheap) and try that. Or just get the Ahab and use it since it is designed to flex. Sorry that it didn't work.

 

Also, the Retro 51 pen looks better in my opinion. The Ahab is fun though.

Edited by atc729
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  • 5 years later...
kreadtambunga

Hello Everyone, 
I had to create an account to respond to this (after years of just lurking!!) I dropped.... my retro 51 Zodiac and it landed on the nib, bending it backwards at a weird angle. Horrific, I know. 
After many almost successful attempts at using heat and gently plying, I got the nib back in place but alas, it was now a very dry and miserable pen to write with. 

I put the pen away about two years ago and recently rediscovered it, realizing that I needed to buy a new nib assembly. After scouring the web for the now defunct 51 nib assembly, I found a couple of high priced ones on ebay. 
And then it hit me... the nib and feed wasn't all that good to begin with... so I found the assembly from another pen I liked and VOILA.... it fit the barrel perfectly. I can't believe it. I'm sure smarter people would have already known this, but I was shocked it worked. 

Photo on 7-8-21 at 7.50 PM.jpg

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Maggard

@kreadtambunga

Which fountain pen 🖊 did you take the ✒ nib from to repair your Retro51 and actually improve the writing ✍ performance compared to how your remember the original?

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Retro 51 came out with a 1.1mm stub nib in 2019. So far it fits all but one of my Retro 51 fountain pens. It gives very good line variation. 
 

Maybe in time the new owners of Retro 51 will have nib units in stock. Glad others have found a way to switch out their nibs. 
 

I like Retro 51, and have their fountain pens, roller balls and mechanical pencils. My Zodiac fountain pen came with a clip.  It was a Rustico exclusive. 

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