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Pilot Vanishing Point - Is The Small Ink Capacity A Problem?



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YoungMahony

Hi,

 

First time posting - I was just hoping someone could shed some light on whether they think the relatively small ink capacity of the pilot vanishing point is significant or not? I'm just about to start my first job as a junior doctor, and was considering getting this pen for work on the ward. The pen is clearly good for this situation as it's quick to use, not too showy (was going for the black version), and clips to clothing easily. However i'm sure it's not a stretch to see that taking time out to ink up a pen during the working day would both be unprofessional and would make me look a little odd.

 

Clearly many factors affect how much ink you use, but with a fine (or potentially extra fine) do you think the ink capacity is a problem? If so does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe using cartridges instead of a converter gives more capacity? [although I need to use water resistant ink so i'd rather avoid cartridges if possible]

 

Any help and advice would be really appreciated. I'm a long-time subscriber to SBRE Brown and Goulet so i've heard plenty about how helpful and knowledgeable people can be from the FP network. Thanks in advance! :)

 

 

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KLscribbler

If you're getting a new pen now, I'd say the bigger problem is not ink capacity per se, but the general annoyingness of the CON-40 converter you have to use for the Vanishing Point.

 

It holds somewhere around 0.4~0.5ml, quite a small capacity - but I find that its main problem is that ink tends to get stuck around the metal ball bearing retainer-thing in the middle of the converter. The CON-40 has 4 ball bearings in the converter that act as agitators to prevent ink sticking inside due to surface tension, but the metal screen inside the converter that's meant to keep the ball bearings in causes its own surface tension problems. A rather silly design, I find... :roller1:

 

Pilot used to make a squeeze converter, the CON-20, which was discontinued early last year (2017). That one has a bigger ink capacity and is not prone to ink flow issues like the CON-40. Alas, it is no longer available, barring a lucky NOS find on ebay or stationery store.

 

Of course, you can always refill a cartridge. Pilot's cartridges have a particularly wide mouth making them easy to refill using a micropipette or fine-tipped eyedropper. And they hold more ink than any of the Pilot converters except the CON-70 (which doesn't fit the Vanishing Point). Be sure to use the metal "cartridge cap" that is provided with the VP if you do use/refill cartridges.

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PaganArcher

Though I don't have a vanishing point and I can't directly attest to it, the blue-black cartridges by Pilot appear to be the same as the bottled blue-black ink. At least in my limited experience with the bottled version (two fills from a sample I was given). I'm guessing other, more experienced users here could confirm or debunk this thought.

 

In either case, I've found it to be quite water resistant and well behaved on most papers.

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Use the Con-20 converter. Try to find one and get one and use it. It's the best converter to use for the Pilot Vanishing Point.

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If you're getting a new pen now, I'd say the bigger problem is not ink capacity per se, but the general annoyingness of the CON-40 converter you have to use for the Vanishing Point.

 

It holds somewhere around 0.4~0.5ml, quite a small capacity - but I find that its main problem is that ink tends to get stuck around the metal ball bearing retainer-thing in the middle of the converter. The CON-40 has 4 ball bearings in the converter that act as agitators to prevent ink sticking inside due to surface tension, but the metal screen inside the converter that's meant to keep the ball bearings in causes its own surface tension problems. A rather silly design, I find... :roller1:

 

Pilot used to make a squeeze converter, the CON-20, which was discontinued early last year (2017). That one has a bigger ink capacity and is not prone to ink flow issues like the CON-40. Alas, it is no longer available, barring a lucky NOS find on ebay or stationery store.

 

Of course, you can always refill a cartridge. Pilot's cartridges have a particularly wide mouth making them easy to refill using a micropipette or fine-tipped eyedropper. And they hold more ink than any of the Pilot converters except the CON-70 (which doesn't fit the Vanishing Point). Be sure to use the metal "cartridge cap" that is provided with the VP if you do use/refill cartridges.

 

+1

 

The Con40 is terrible. It is cheap, it feels cheap, and mine can't fill more than 2/3 full without a syringe. It makes the con50 look wonderful and even that converter held an unfortunately small amount of ink.

 

The con40 is something I'd expect from a free cheap pen from India. I'm surprised pilot would sell something so poorly made.

 

If I purchased a VP, I'd use a cartridge if I didn't have my con50, and even though I do I'd still consider a cartridge for the larger ink capacity.

 

If you only plan on using a converter and are stuck with the con40 then ink capacity is a problem and the broader the nib the more you'll feel the frustration of having to refill it often.

 

I would research how the VP functions using a cartridge.

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It all depends on how much actual writing you do (ink on the page, not frequency of writing). Without knowing that, it's impossible to say how long the ink will last. If you're going to be filling out pre-printed forms (which never have enough space to write all the requested info), printed on ink-sucking paper, I think I would go with the EF - the nibs are gold, which makes them a little fatter than the steel version in my experience, and even the F might be problematic. (I've learned to like the feedback of Pilot's steel EF nibs - haven't yet tried the gold ones.)

 

Pilot Black and Blue-Black (and Blue, I just don't like the blue as much) are water-resistant, so those cartridges would work well for your intended use. And the cartridges hold a lot of ink - so using these, either refilled or not, might be a good idea. I've had trouble with one ink in these (the only non-original ink I ever tried - it would get horribly, ridiculously stuck at the back of the converter and refuse to come forward with anything like reasonable coaxing), but never with the original ink. (The problem ink was Robert Oster Blue Denim, not water resistant, so not one you would be using - and I was using it in a Penmanship, no idea if that impacted things or not.)

 

Meanwhile, agreed, the CON-40 is a piece of junk compared to the CON-50. The "ink sticking around the cage" thing wouldn't bother me (so much) if the stupid thing would just fill more than half way (without a syringe or pipette being involved). Of course, with an EF nib, even a CON-40 will hold enough ink to last quite a while (depending on exactly how much you write). I wish I had caved to my irrational desire to buy up a bunch of CON-50s when the change was announced (which is silly, because I already have more than the number of Pilot pens that I use at the same time).

 

All in all, I would recommend the VP regardless - I wasn't sure whether I'd like it until I started using it, and now I love the thing (I have 3 and am considering a Decimo EF, cuz, ya know, variety, or something). :D

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KLscribbler

An addendum. If you try to find a CON-20, fail, and wonder if you might use that squeezy converter Pilot provides with the Metropolitan - don't try it. Unlike the CON-20 (which has a metal sac-guard surrounding the whole sac), the squeeze converter shipped with the Metropolitans does not have a sufficiently robust back end to withstand the pressures of the clicking mechanism. If you use it with a VP, you will soon have a fountain pen in the most literal sense.

 

Good luck finding a CON-20 - or, failing that, refill cartridges (and remember to use the metal cartridge guard that comes with the VP). And pray to the FP Gods that Pilot comes to its senses one day and restarts production of the CON-20... :mellow:

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Junior doctor?

 

My ophthalmologist and eye surgeon is a serious pen geek. He must unscrew the cap on his EDC Sailor two hundred times a day so he is considering replacing his office Sailor with an equally impressive unit that has a magnetic cap.

 

Im not sure Id trust the complex mechanisms in the Dialog or VP to hold up to doctor writing; too many moving parts.

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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CON40 is rather useless and irritating - to fill and to clean. CON70 is difficult ro clean even with an ultrasonic cleaner. CON50 and CON20 are ok. I now use a syringe to fill my Pilot cartridges. And, no more Pilot pen purchase for me.

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ISW_Kaputnik

With either a fine or medium nib on the Vanishing Point, I've found the ink capacity to be quite adequate. I don't care for either the CON-50 or CON-40, and instead either use a CON-20 (squeeze filler) or refill a Pilot cartridge with a syringe. I can't give you actual numbers such as "X pages of size Y paper", but I haven't noticed that I run out of ink any faster than I would with another Pilot pen filled the same way, say my Falcon or Elite.

 

With a broad nib I presumably run out more quickly, although I use that rather seldom, and can't be sure.

 

By the way, I always carry at least two pens, so running out of ink on both of them would be a rare occurrence in any case.

Edited by ISW_Kaputnik

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

 

- Benjamin Franklin

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graystranger

Junior doctor?

 

My ophthalmologist and eye surgeon is a serious pen geek. He must unscrew the cap on his EDC Sailor two hundred times a day so he is considering replacing his office Sailor with an equally impressive unit that has a magnetic cap.

 

Im not sure Id trust the complex mechanisms in the Dialog or VP to hold up to doctor writing; too many moving parts.

 

I disagree. I bought my first Pilot Vanishing Point in 1999 and used it daily for 14 years at work, writing a lot, clicking the mechanism probably thousands and thousands of times (sometimes to just enjoy the feel and sound). It still works perfectly. I compared it with a new Pilot Decimo VP last year, and the mechanism of the 17 year old pen was just as smooth as the brand new one. The mechanism is robust and rugged.

 

I used Pilot black cartridges until I discovered Noodler's Black ink in 2009. I started filling cartridges with that because in my work I needed permanent ink for some documents that would be archived for decades. Never had a problem, and a full cartridge would last me a couple of weeks or more. The pen was probably used several dozen times a day, but rarely used for more than a half page of writing at a time.

 

My brother was handed a Vanishing Point by his wife's doctor to sign a document. He was so impressed he bought one for himself (been using a Lamy 2000 and a Waterman fountain pen). I would not hesitate to recommend one to a doctor. I would recommend using cartridges. Either Pilot cartridges or refilling empty cartridges. The end of the Pilot cartridge is large enough that I often fill them using a 3 ml plastic pipette.

 

Just keep a new cartridge handy and running dry is not a problem at all.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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I have found the ink capacity adequate as a writer, but then I usually carry two (a Twilight and a Crimson Sunrise) and if one runs out (usually both are only partly inked at any given point), I can switch to the other.

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I used some con-20's in mine or just syringe fill a pilot cartridge. I have both the VP and the twist to extend Fermo. I could also see getting a Decimo now that they are coming with some new colors in the US. After using the Fermo I think I would like the Decimo better then the standard VP. It's a sleeker pen.

 

Just remember the F and XF are Japanese nib sizes and will be really fine. When you go to M it jumps up to more of a western M and is much wetter then the finer ones.

 

They are great pens!

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We have 3 VPs at home - one M and two Fs. Writing with the supplied converter has never been a problem for days of meeting notes, minutes, and regular staff work. As you point out, asking if a converter holds enough ink is similar to complaining about how many gallons (liters for the rest of the world) your gas tank holds. Makes a difference is you are driving an American Suburban or a small Fort Fiesta, but we never talk about tank size, just kilometers/miles per liters/gallons. Same with a fountain pen--depends on the paper (absorption), the ink (wet or dry), the nib (flow of ink), and the amount you write. You should be fine with a day's work with a VP.

 

If you are concerned, carry two fountain pens (I do). One can be a Varsity or Preppy. Or, make sure you fill up every night with your favorite ink.

 

Enjoy the writing, and congratulations on the job.

 

Buzz

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For a few pennies more, just have a box of Pilot refill cartridges in your desk drawer and you’re all set. If/when you decide to try a different color, just rinse out the nib, shake of the water, insert a new cartridge, and you’re done. They supply a metal cap that slides over the cartridge to withstand the pressure from the clicker. I found the extra fine nib too thin for general purpose daily writing so you may want to try a fine if that’s going to be your only nib/pen.

Enjoy the pen.

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I love my Pilot VPs for when I am walking around making notes. It is so much more convenient that messing around with the cap. I am always afraid of dropping a cap and damaging it.

 

Forget the converter. Just like everyone else says, it is a pain. Even the cheap squeeze converter that comes with the Pilot Metropolitan is better.

 

Stick with the cartridges. They are easy to refill as everyone has already said. But keep a couple of boxes of cartridges in your desk or in your coat pocket.

 

But I suggest that you buy two of them. And I would recommend buying them from someone who will make sure the nibs are working well before they sell the pen. Pilot VPs can have finicky nibs. I ended up sending mine to a nibmeister to tune the nib. If I had bought the pen from someone who had already made sure the nib worked, it would have cost about the same. I have heard that www.nibs.com sells new VPs and that the nibs have been adjusted so that they work well. I have never bought a pen from them though.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Honeybadgers

pilot just needs to put a nib on the con-70 and be done with it.

 

I don't mind the con-40. if you need a little more ink, the con-20 holds a hair more, but unless you're using a B or stub, there's no way you will routinely run out of ink. I think if a pen lasts a week, it's doing just fine, and I usually have 2-5 pens in use each week, so I RARELY run out of ink in anything but my broadest nibs.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Get a Fine nib from nibs.com and ask them to tune it and make sure it's smooth. I think this pen would be great for you. Yes, use cartridges. I think a box of cartridges for a doctor would be great. I confess I have 3 Vanishing Points.

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I managed the large size Pilot squeeze converters for all my Pilit pens whatever the name of that converter is.

Khan M. Ilyas

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