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Eyedropper Pen And Breather Tube?


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I am not totally certain if this is the right section to post this query, but since the eyedropper pen is widely known in India, I think the chance of finding a definitive answer is much greater.


As we all know, eyedropper-fill pens have a tendency to burp ink when the amount of air increases up to a point inside the reservoir. The use of a more effective feed such as that on the Sheaffer No Nonsense go some way to help for acting as a better buffer, but the Indian-made finned feeds - also used in the Noodler's Ahab in 6.3mm size - should also be more effective in this department. In fact my Kim came with this feed.


However, this particular 6.3mm feed has a hole in the back for the fitting of a breather tube, which in the case of the Ahab, increases ink filling efficiency as a small hole is opened on the top side of the feed facing the underside of the nib.


I am beginning to wonder if this feature for accommodating a breather tube is meant for eyedropper pens as well: I can envisage the fitting of a breather tube to the feed, where the far end almost reaches the dead end of the ink reservoir. I'd imagine there is a better chance for the internal and external pressures to get equalized.


I have yet to conduct experiments on this, but I seem to recall seeing some eyedropper pens with breather tubes fitted to their feeds, so there might be something in it after all. I would certainly welcome the views of my fellow correspondents, and perhaps even better, first-hand experiences on it too.


Thank you.

Edited by Seele

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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I did put a Neponset feed with a Mabie Todd #6 ventless nib into my ASA Nauka, and I did not experience any burps at all (the ink in the cap I put off to having been carried in a bag while hiking and as unavoidable) and it performed well while in my Suit pocket at work.


I agree with your theory on the effect of the breather tube, however, the times i have used my Ahab as an eyedropper it still had a tendency to burp (this could be due to be setting of the nib and feed not being as good as that of the Nauka though).


As much as o like the slim profile of the standard ebonite spoon feeds, they do have a tendency to burp a little bit.


I wonder if the breather tube would prove useful at all in the Ranga eyedropper pens, since they have that small hole at the back end of the section?


The airmail 74 is an eyedropper that has a breather tube I believe, though I haven't tried it yet so this is only from looking at pictures on FPR.

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Thanks for your input. The regular pattern feed certainly has more of a tendency to burp ink, but with the new type as used on Noodler's Ahab and Konrad, and also sold by FPR and Anderson might be an improvement, it's just that if things would further improve with the fitting of a breather tube, then it's so much the better.


When you used your Ahab as an eyedropper pen, did you remove the breather tube? From what I can gather it's deemed unnecessary, but even if it's present, it would still be far too short to reach the air pocket anyway. I purchased a bag of ten Wing Sung breather tubes a fair while ago and they're perfect fit, and they're more than long enough to work with my Wality 69EB and Click Bamboo Ebonite, both of them have the new pattern feeds fitted, taken from my Ahab and Konrad: I had a few too many channels opened so they ended up far too wet, but I think they might just be fine with non-flex and vented nibs. There again they might end up doing the exact opposite...

Edited by Seele

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In regards to the Ahab, I did leave the breather tube in. I didn't experience burps until close to the end though (jostling in transit and drops on the cap due to that I do not count).


I had thought that once the ink level had gotten below the tip of the breather tube that the expanding air would escape through the tube and then the feed/nib rather than forcing ink out. It has been a while since I have used an Ahab as an eyedropper, so I can not exactly recall if this worked well or not.


I will say that in the Nauka, due partly to the length of the section/section threads, and that the barrel tapers to a point, the ink capacity/chamber/area is not as large/long as the Ahab or Neponset (definitely not as long as the Zeal). So the tube was able to get to the end of the barrel or very close to it, and I did not experience any burps. So perhaps your theory is proving to be correct after all.


I was not aware of such breather tubes, would you be able to provide a link (if they are still up for sale)?


I have been thinking of trying to carefully drill a hole from the back of the stock spoon feeds forward a bit and drill another from the ink channel down to meet the hole from the back in order to get a slim/spoon like feed with a breather tube. (I view the slim profile feeds to be very complimentary to the pens aesthetics moving the focus to the nib and body, rather than a very chunky/clunky feed as we see in modern Pelikans).

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I bought a pack of ten of those breather tubes from a vendor in Taobao, but send me your address in a private message, I can send one to you for experimentation. Also note that the Wing Sung ones have a small hole drilled on the side for further pressure equalization, so if you need to cut it, try cutting that bit off.

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I've tried this before but it didn't work as well as I expected.


A breather tube attached to the feed as seen in bulb fillers, has no direct access to the external atmosphere. If air were to expand through the breather tube, it would still have to push out ink present in the feed.


If the breather tube had direct access to the external atmosphere and a larger cross section than the feed air channel, then the air inside the pen would also have direct access to the external atmosphere. This would in turn cause the pen to leak profusely. This happens because the total pressure within the ink reservoir(ink pressure+ air pressure) is not allowed to fall low enough to be balanced by external air pressure.


In practice, you would notice drop after drop of ink leak out of the nib till the entire ink reservoir is empty. Its like cutting the end off a cartridge.

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Interesting! I did think about it but wanted to make sure. Whichever way, the gradual drop of ink level within the ink reservoir has to be replaced by air anyway. I have just fitted a breather tube to a new feed and assembled it in my Airmail Wality 68EB, and made sure that the venting channel is cleared through the tube, feed's longitudinal channel, and then the vent hole in the nib. No ink leaking so far though, but I will keep using it through the rather large in reserve and see how that goes.

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A good test would be filling the pen to less than 1/4 of the pen's capacity and placing it a cool environment for around 5-6 minutes( a fridge would suffice). Then test the performance of the pen at room temperature.

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The Airmail 67T eyedropper has a breather tube which extends to a bit over halfway into the barrel. I can't recall how well it works though since it has been quite a while since I inked it.

STR:11 DEX: 5 CON:5 INT:17 WIS:11 CHA:3

Wielding: BIC stick of poor judgment (-3,-5) {cursed}

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