Study Tests Best Writing Instruments for Lab Data

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles


Image courtesy BLICK Art Materials.

Following an accident that damaged some of his written lab notes, biologist and photographer Colin Purrington undertook to choose his next laboratory writing instrument more scientifically:

Briefly: I subjected test writing on strips of paper to various conditions to see how the ink behaved. Test conditions were soaking (water, ethanol, methanol, or acetone), erasing, and baking (while moistened with water).

The test set included 20 pens and 1 pencil. As a brand, the Japanese-made Sakura Gelly Roll pens, like those shown here, stand out for fade- and bleed-resistance under the tested conditions. The blue Sanford Uni-Gel RT Fine and the blue/black Zebra Sarasa 0.7 also performed quite well. [via C & E News]

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Maintaining a laboratory notebook

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