Refilling Varsity fountain pens

A few years ago, a friend turned me on to Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens. I have not picked up another stylus since. The only problem is that the pens are kind of hard come by in bricks and mortar office supply and they’re … well disposable. You can refill them with some effort at yanking the nib off (which can damage the pen). So fellow DC Dorkbot member Jon Singer had a different, decidedly more mad scientist, way of refilling the pens:

I took a quick look at the structure of the pen, but I did not find any obvious point of entry. Then, while cruising on Simon Quellen Field’s excellent Science Toys Website, I came across something that seemed like a great idea: Simon uses a common canning jar as the chamber of a simple vacuum system. As soon as I saw the words “canning jar” and the photo on his page (it’s in Chapter 6, Aerodynamics), I knew I had the solution to my problem. The hardware store provided two quick-connects intended for polypropylene tubing. I chopped two holes in a canning jar lid, screwed the connects through them, and used silicone rubber caulk to seal them in.

Fountain / Calligraphy Pen Techniques – Link


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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