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Ink Calculations


ClaireRonalds
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Hello all!

 

I recently purchased my very first fountain pen - a Pilot Metropolitan Fine nib. I've had it for 2 days. It's been lovely. (Translation: I can feel my hand after writing a English essay)

 

Anyways, I did some calculations for ink usage that I figured would be worth sharing. Any input you can give me on the accuracy of my calculations is very much welcome!

 

I'm going into college in the fall, and have therefore calculated based off of a college schedule (not including holidays, in-semester-breaks, etc.) of 15 weeks, or 75 days. Over estimation is better than under estimation!

 

Based on some research (thanks FPN), I have selected the values of 1 cartridge/day and 0.5 cartridge/day as reasonable - 1 c/d for super-heavy-totally-overestimating calculations and 0.5 c/d for more reasonable light note taking. If anyone wants to know the specific math I used, just speak up. Double the numbers for the whole, two-semester school year.

 

These calculations are based on the Amazon price for Pilot Namiki 0.9 mL black cartridges at $5.03 for a pack of 12, but with the numbers provided you could calculate based on other cartridges. If you wanted to, you could probably calculate this in mL for bottled inks, but I'm really trying to not get into bottled inks for a while - no way my mother would let me buy bottled. :(

 

Cartridges per semester:

- Maximum usage (1 c/d) = 75 cartridges

- Reasonable usage (0.5 c/d) = 37.5 cartridges

 

Packs per semester:

- Maximum usage (1 c/d) = 6.25 packs (round to 7)

- Reasonable usage (0.5 c/d) = 3.125 packs (round to 4)

 

Cost per semester:

- Maximum usage (1 c/d) = $35.21

- Reasonable usage (0.5 c/d) = $20.12

 

As a bonus, I calculated the approximate cost differential between fountain pen ink and Frixion pen ink (second favorite pen, behind my FP) as 29.5% more per mL.

 

I've got a full 12 pack now, so I'm fine and dandy till the end of this semester, even if I'm using nearly 1 cartridge a day (most likely not) so it's not that big an issue. I want to purchase ink enough for a semester BEFORE said semester, so I'm trying to math my way into reasonable number of packs to buy in August-ish.

 

What do you think of my projections? Are they on the nose or wildly inaccurate? I really really don't want to overstock or worse, under stock. Thanks!

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I, personally, would forget about cartridges. They are all too expensive and >>90% of the most interesting inks aren't available in cartridges anyhow. Buy yourself one or more converters and then buy all inks in bottles (several companies offer more than one size) or samples, which can be bought almost everywhere. Much less expensive und much more fun!! But your calculations were interesting.

 

Mike

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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I, personally, would forget about cartridges. They are all too expensive and >>90% of the most interesting inks aren't available in cartridges anyhow. Buy yourself one or more converters and then buy all inks in bottles (several companies offer more than one size) or samples, which can be bought almost everywhere. Much less expensive und much more fun!! But your calculations were interesting.

 

Mike

 

More than happy too - in time. I'd kill to be able to use bottled inks, but my mother would kill me if I bought them. She's afraid of the mess. So, eventually, I will move over to the wonderful world of bottles, but for now, I'm a prisoner in cartridge-land.

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Interesting calculations, thanks for sharing. Pilot black is a nice ink but I wouldn't order a semester's worth up front-- you may want to experiment with other cartridge inks too and certainly other colors.

 

Congratulations on entering college! My university years were among the happiest of my life. What school are you entering?

Children think adults have all the freedom and adults think children have
all the freedom.
 

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Interesting calculations, thanks for sharing. Pilot black is a nice ink but I wouldn't order a semester's worth up front-- you may want to experiment with other cartridge inks too and certainly other colors.

 

Congratulations on entering college! My university years were among the happiest of my life. What school are you entering?

 

I've been very very happy with the Pilot black, which is wonderful. It's fast drying, nice and dark, and it washes off with a lot of water, yet is water resistant enough to not smear badly with accidental spills.

 

Inks are kind of a difficult-to-attain item in my house, as 1. My mother is anti-bottled inks and 2. we don't have a local pen/stationery store. I have to order EVERYTHING from online, which makes trying out new inks a fascinating but difficult idea to put into practice.

 

Thanks for the congratulations! I'm entering a small branch of a state college - I'd rather not say where or which. It's a lovely campus and my sisters have been very pleased with the professors, coursework, amenities, and cost of the college, so I'm very excited to start!

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I think your usage is about right. Thinking back a few decades the details are fuzzy, but I think I used a couple Parker cartridges a week. But I don't think I kept track of that even in college. I kept a few cartridges in my school bag, and just replaced them as I used them. The pens were Parker 45 with Fine nibs. At home I had a Parker 51 desk pen, bottle filled, so homework was done with the 51, not the 45s.

 

I suggest you get a 2nd pen, even if the 2nd pen is roller ball, gel or pencil.

 

When I was in college I used TWO pens, a primary and a backup.

When the primary pen ran out of ink or stopped writing, for whatever reason, I simply switched to the backup pen. Then between classes, when I had time, I would change cartridges or troubleshoot the faulty pen.

 

Ink usage will depend on the nib you use, the finer the nib, the less ink the pen puts down, and the longer the cartridge will write for.

 

Also consider the paper, absorbent paper will suck more ink out of the pen than a paper with a hard surface. But a hard surface paper will take longer to dry than an absorbent paper. There is no free lunch, it is all a compromise. The papers are not binary, it is a range. There are papers in between absorbent and HARD. You just have to find the one that works for you. But a Fine nib needs a smooth paper, with less than smooth paper, the scratchy feel coming up the pen is quite irritating, to me.

Edited by ac12

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

www.SFPenShow.com

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More than happy too - in time. I'd kill to be able to use bottled inks, but my mother would kill me if I bought them. She's afraid of the mess. So, eventually, I will move over to the wonderful world of bottles, but for now, I'm a prisoner in cartridge-land.

 

You could always promise to refill outside or in a garage/shed ;)

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Here are some ideas for making bottle ink less messy:

 

1 - As evyxmsy said, do your filling in a "safe" place, were a spill won't stain the table cloth or carpet. And do NOT cheat and try to do it otherwise, because that is when you WILL have a spill. Always remember Murphey's Law, and that Murphey is out to get you. Murphey got me, knocked over an ink vial onto the kitchen table, staining the place mat and table cloth :( That was the mess your mother is afraid of.

 

2 - Get a baking/cookie tray with raised sides to do all your filling in. The tray will help to contain the spill. And put a few sheets of paper towel on the bottom of the tray. The ink you see on the paper towel could have been on the table cloth.

 

3 - To reduce the spill damage, I move the ink from the bottle to an ink vial. The ink vial holding max 4ml of ink, vs 2-3 oz of ink in a bottle. There is spill risk when you transfer ink from the bottle to the vial. But that is done less often then inking from the vial.

 

4 - As necessary, get/make a bottle holder to stabilize the bottle to reduce the chance of knocking it over. Especially taller bottles like Noodler's. Similarly, if you fill from ink vials, get/make a holder for that. Anything tall and narrow is just asking to be knocked over. I knocked over an ink vial onto the kitchen table.

 

5 - NEVER NEVER reach over and past the ink bottle, as that is where you will knock it over. Everything you do must be in front of the ink bottle.

 

6 - Open the ink bottle just before you ink the pen, and close it as soon as you finished inking the pen. That open ink bottle is the biggest spill risk you have. Leave wiping the pen till after you close the bottle.

 

7 - Get a box of examination gloves from Costco, to keep your hands clean.

 

You can discuss options with your mother, but in the end, your mother's decision is LAW. While you are under her roof, she calls the shots.

gud luk

Edited by ac12

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

www.SFPenShow.com

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Nice tips ac12. It sounds crazy, but I deliberately slow down my movements around an open bottle, and try to be mindful of the space and the movements I make.

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Check out this thread (an Inky Thought o'Day) and we'd love to have this information added to the other thread.

 

Inky T O D - How Much Ink Do You Really Use?
http://www.fountainp...you-really-use/

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice tips ac12. It sounds crazy, but I deliberately slow down my movements around an open bottle, and try to be mindful of the space and the movements I make.

 

 

All it took was one moment of in-attention, then . . . AW $HIT !!!!!

Boy was I POed. I got my wife's table cloth, and she was NOT happy.

 

Murphy visits me regularly, so I have to be extra careful.

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

www.SFPenShow.com

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It sounds to me like you did your homework on how much ink you can expect to use. If you'll be able to order more ink while at school, go with the "reasonable" estimate. In the event you start to run low, you're likely to realize that fact in plenty of time to order another box. If you don't think you'll be able to order more (for whatever reason), I'd go with either the higher estimate or just a single extra box (5 instead of 4). It takes ink a pretty long time to go bad, and it's not like you won't need more next semester.

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Nice tips ac12. It sounds crazy, but I deliberately slow down my movements around an open bottle, and try to be mindful of the space and the movements I make.

 

This is completely unrelated to the thread (sorry OP), but what exactly does the recipe in your signature make?

If it includes Diamine Havanu Turqoise it's gotta be good!

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes; after that, who cares?! He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!

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This is completely unrelated to the thread (sorry OP), but what exactly does the recipe in your signature make?

If it includes Diamine Havanu Turqoise it's gotta be good!

 

I made some playdough with it :)

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