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Struggling with my technical pen

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Hello all! I'm an artist who works primarily with pen and ink. After doing some research, I recently bought a Staedtler MarsMatic 700 set. I don't know if its the pen or if its something I'm doing wrong, but the ink flow from these pens is pretty 50/50. One second it'll be fine, the next it'll write but instead of being black (like it should write) it only dispenses some ink so it turns out gray. Or, it'll stop writing completely for a line or two which then forces me to go back over the drawing area. I'm using the staedtler marsmatic black ink that came with the set of pens. Usually, if I give the pen a good few shakes it'll start working again, but I'm having to do this every few seconds while I'm drawing and it's pretty annoying. Is it the pens themselves? Or the ink? Any advice or tips would be great. 

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  • dipper


  • Zookie


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  • klane4573


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Did you clean it well before use? Even if new, it could have some manufacturing residue in the ink chamber.

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10 hours ago, klane4573 said:

Is it the pens themselves?

Yes! Technical pens are inherently prone to ink flow problems.


Great tools when they work well. Unique in the line quality they can give. But things can go wrong so easily...


Used on "drafting film" the metal tube tip can slide cleanly over the hard film. Used on other papers there is some risk that fibres become lifted from the paper and clog the tip.


Slight drying of ink at the exposed tip is inevitable. Using pigmented ink, as generally the case for these pens, those traces of dried ink can block the flow if they get up inside the metal tube. There is a fine wire, with a weighted back end, that slides up and down inside the ink tube. It makes a slight knocking sound when the pen is shaken gently. That wire does not move up and down very far though, and taking the wire out for cleaning is risky. (It slides out OK. Reinserting requires brain-surgeon level precision. Don't risk it!)


The difficulties above become more and more likely, and difficult to clear, as you move to smaller tip sizes. I have used 0.2mm in the distant past, but now I use only 0.35mm or larger.


So how to fix problems?


I think the key is to understand that the only way to clear blockages is to create a rapid and continued flow of liquid through the tip tube, with the fine wire being gently shaken during that process. And that is also the way to avoid blockages if the flowing liquid is ink.


Filling the pen with dye-based fountain pen ink, and using it on paper with a fairly hard smooth surface, can be one way to achieve the desired result.


Adding a little water to the pigmented technical pen ink can tip the balance away from blockages. As long as the pen is being used, and the ink is flowing well, then the pen is cleaning itself. 


Filling with water mixed with a little detergent, shaking, wiping tip onto a cloth or paper towel, shaking again, etc, etc, can clear minor blockages.


Flushing with a technical-pen-cleaning-fluid will be the most effective method.



I have worked beside a profession draughstman who had an array of half a dozen pens of different tip sizes, all inked, standing in a plastic holder with their tips down, used as needed on A0 size engineering drawings. (Back in the days before on screen design - CAD - took over the world.) Occasional dry tips and blockages were expected. A bottle of Rotring pen cleaning fluid was always ready, just part of the equipment of the profession.






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having the right paper and the right ink is key to these drafting pens performing the way they should and the way they could , they were and are mean to write on very fine hard and preferably smooth surface with the kind of ink that will not run and will not bleed , you can find special ink for that , routine cleaning and knowing not to fill it too full is common routine .. really this bring back old times when I had to do loads of engineering drawing using exactly these kind of pens

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afaik the steadtler ink comes in 2 variants - film or paper 


the film ink is pretty indelible waterproof, if it dries in your pen it’s not easy to redissolve during cleaning 


i strip down my MM700/750 nibs then give them a spa in the ultrasonic vat. Helps shake out a lot of solidified ink more than just pressure flushing. 

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