Sunday, June 12, 2011

In Which I "Demonstrate" the Making of Inky Messes

Pilot Plumix Eye Dropper

Saturday morning I gave blood.  Last few times I've done this, I've attempted to continue my day without any reservations, and have had some wooziness later in the day.  It's not a nice feeling.  This time, I resolved to be a good girl and mostly take it easy and drink plenty of fluids; chill out, catch up on my journal, read a bit, maybe watch some TV.

Now...for the TV part, my brother and sister-in-law recently turned me on to the show "Hoarders," which is about people who compulsively buy/obtain and hoard...all kinds of stuff, from food to toys to old construction materials to...well, you name it.  It's like watching a train wreck: tough to watch at times, and yet you can't turn away.  It makes me feel a bit better about my own lack of organizing skills and...umm...collecting tendencies: OK, so I may have something like...erm...a few dozen empty notebooks waiting to be used, and that's pretty ridiculous.  But at least I don't have so many notebooks they spill out onto the floor or out into the yard or keep me from getting to the kitchen.  Yay me!

On the other hand, it makes me frantically want to prevent becoming such a person.  I finished watching my first episode earlier in the week, and ended up staying up late vacuuming and putting things away, and after another episode on Saturday, I ended up going through drawers I've barely touched since I moved in, sorting.  In the process, I came across some pens and such I'd pretty much forgotten about.  For example, the Pilot Plumix I bought for four or five bucks at Target awhile back.

It's an odd looking little thing...I continue to like Mike Clemens' "baby squid" descriptor.  But it is comfortable to hold and has quite a nice smooth italic nib.  I used it a bit at first, but the ink went dry, and I debated with ordering cartridges, or a converter (to use bottled ink) that would probably cost as much or more as the pen itself had. In the end I stuck it in a drawer to deal with later.  And there it stayed, until now.

It comes with a single ink cartridge.  This cartridge *could* be refilled with a syringe, and that was sort of my plan, but as I was rinsing the last of the original blue ink out of the pen, it struck me: the barrel of this thing seems pretty water tight.  Why not fill the whole barrel with ink and turn it into an eyedropper pen?

I have a Platinum Preppy pen that is converted just using silicone grease smeared on the threads, and I figured this would probably be enough for the Plumix as well...but I also added an O ring of sorts: I still have about a zillion of those dorky orthodontic rubber bands used to adjust one's bite as part of the whole braces thing, and some of them seemed just the right size (the Stellar's Sea Lions, for dentists/orthodontic patients playing at home), so I added one of those as a precaution.  I'm not sure it really does anything, and it's not the most attractive of O rings...but it makes me feel better.

Close-up of the threads, "O ring".

And then, using an eye dropper, I filled it up with Waterman South Seas Blue!  Two reasons for choosing this ink: 1. it looks mahvelous in this pen, and 2. it is the most washable of my current inks--just a precaution until I'm sure this thing isn't gonna explode...

Pilot Plumix Eye Dropper conversion

I then tried it out, and it seemed to work great!  Flushed with success, I ran to the Internets to see if anyone else had had the same brilliant idea.  They had, but many also mentioned having plugged the hole at the end of the barrel.  Say what?  Hole???  I ran back and checked the leaks, fortunately.  But after a few minutes, I could wipe a tissue over the end of the barrel and get a smudge of blue, so apparently there *is* a hole there.  I emptied out the ink and dribbled some super glue in the divot there and let it cure.  Hopefully it's enough.

The cap feels like relatively fragile plastic, so I don't think I'd just toss this pen in my bag with everything else (it holds a *lot* of ink, after all, and what a mess *that* could be!), but otherwise, it seems to be holding together pretty nicely. As I said below, it's a bit of a dry writer, but a fun little pen.

So there you have it: a quirky italic "demonstrator" (i.e. you can see the inner workings) eye dropper fountain pen for about five bucks. Pretty nifty. I'll have to update if it ends up developing issues later on, but at the moment, I think I have a good excuse for keeping it. I mean, it's not hoarding if I'm using the thing, right? Right??

For additional information on making eye dropper pens out of cheapie plastic fountain pens, Jetpens has this nice little article with more info and far better pictures: How to Do an Eye Dropper Conversion.


notagain said...

This must be DIY week in the blogs.
I have yet to find a fountain pen in the stores. I must be looking on the wrong shelves.

Richard P said...

That's cool. Would make me nervous about the possible mess, but very cool.

Elizabeth H. said...

In addition to my makeshift o-ring, the threads are completely saturated with silicone'd be pretty hard for any liquid to get out that way. The biggest risk is it cracking or the cap getting broken, which is why I'd be nervous about throwing it in a bag with other objects. Other than that, it seems fine.

Target doesn't always have these, but one of the Targets in town has them on occasion. They're just with the other regular pens when they're there, in the usual sort of blister packaging.

Elizabeth H. said...

For the record, I've still not had any problems with leaking into the cap or out the end I sealed off. I'd still be chicken about throwing it into my backpack or carrying it in a pocket, but issues.