[Pen Contest] Do you think I can just weld the ink cartridge in?


Continuing the discussion from VHS Custom Pen Shootout:

It’s that time again. My hands are getting itchy, and I’ve gotta go build some stuff.

Last time I machined a pen, I did some rough planning, then scrapped it for the most part as I built it by the seat of pants.

This time, I’m approaching it with a slightly more meticulous strategy,

Check out my blog, here, but the short version is that I characterised what I liked about pens that were sitting on my desk, and hope to science the hell out of this. Hopefully it will help the other entrants, too!

Additionally, @jon provided some pen-expert-level terminology for that post:

section A is the “tip”, B-D is “the section” of the pen. C-D is the “body” or the “barrel". If you have the clip on the cap rather than the body (ie: rollerball, fineliner, fp, rather than ballpoint/mechanical pencil), between the clip and the end is the “finial”. if the back of the body is also removable, that’s the “blind cap”. I think A-B is usually just considered part of the section. G would be the Body Diameter, H the Section Diameter - it’s quite common for sections to be curved.

oh, something that might not be obvious, and would be annoying -
if you go with a refill that’s labeled a “rollerball” rather than a “ballpoint"
they’re the same basic idea, but a rollerball uses more liquid ink, and needs to be capped

Note to self: incorporate that into my post.

VHS Custom Pen Shootout

So a few weeks ago, I made it out to the Vancouver Pen Shop, at @jon’s recommendation.

The intention was to find and ink cartridge - Or “refill” - that I liked the feel of. I’m not a pen snob or anything, I had no idea what I was looking for.

A bunch of pictures were also taken for inspiration. Fun story, at one particular display case, one of the employees charged up to me and explained to me that Mont Blanc has a strict no-picture policy for their pens. No other company, just them. My bad!

Here’s a small sample of pictures of other brands, though. This place is really neat.


Ended up walking out with a Fisher Space Pen, and a FriXion clicker:

I liked how the full pen on the right felt, but it might be a better idea to build around the space pen - Way more universal.


hahaha I love that the store has to try and enforce the no picture taking of the Mont Blancs :joy:


After my last log, people in Slack did some digging, and we discovered some neat stuff.

You’ll notice that the Space Pen (space pen!) refill I bought comes with an adapter that makes it compatible with Parker style refills.

Turns out, Parker refills are an ISO standard, ISO 12757-2. A million and one manufacturers use this form factor because of that, so it would be a little bit silly to try to design around anything else.

People have also done all the hard work of generating CAD models for this already!

I’ve been pretty crazy busy lately, but hopefully that will start winding down in a bit and I’ll whip something up in Solidworks. One advantage to having days full of work meetings, is that I now have notebooks full of sketches.


Oddly, I just measured the “Parker style” Fisher Space Pen refill I bought from the Vancouver Pen Shop, and it doesn’t match up with the dimensions of @Jarrett’s post! It’s actually quite different, not merely out of tolerance.