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Old 04-18-2013, 03:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
gordonfraser's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Scotland
Posts: 40
Photos: 6

Default Clear Acrylic Kitless EyeDropper

Hello all,

It's been a few months since I logged in - new house!

Before we made the transition I completed a pen that I was pretty over the moon with. I made it my goal to spend a lot of time over the smaller details, get the threads right and clean, get the barrel properly polished etc.

So I spent the good part of 2 full days worth of graft making my transparent fountain pen. I took 2 lengths of clear acrylic rod and painstakingly turned them to size, bored them out with 5 different diameters, threading each part with obsessive precision, making sure parts threading in to the next did so beautifully.

I fabricated a custom nib-holder from some Corian and created the branch part - that is, the join between cap and body, and also the part that screws off to refill. I managed to get all 3 different thread pitches on the branch part in the space of 15mm. It's not my best work by a long way but I'm really chuffed due to the fact that making clear acrylic flawless is incredibly tough, especially when you've been at it with a roughing gouge and skew, and 15 levels of abrasive, from 160 up to 12,000 grit.

I glued all the end parts together seamlessly, another achievement considering how easy it is to inadvertently get glue on clear parts ruining all that work. I thought, "that looks great, what a slog, I can't wait to get some ink in it and start using it."

Showed it with pride to Dad who went "Hmmm...It's a bit...underwhelming. It just looks like a tube. It looks like the cheap end of the spectrum really, not much going on...Sorry."


Nevermind. It's like anything these days - handmade stuff might take so much more time, love and attention to detail, but it always loses to the stuff mass made. Anyway I wasn't too bothered as I was really proud of it and started using it the next day.

And I've been using it every day since. That's over 4 months worth of use, every day. And I've just refilled it last week. Which is pretty amazing I think. The reservoir compared to a converter is shown, so that's the reason, but I just love being able to see the ink sloshing about inside!

It's a great size too. Thin, perfectly long to fit in the saddle of my thumb/index and the section has a nice but not too exaggerated curve to it.

The pics of the pen in individual parts looking a bit scuffy are before I went at it with many more passes of Brasso and MM. It's now pretty much back to the stock transparency of...transparent! haha. Also where the ink viewer part is, the silicone grease has made a few bubbles, which look like messy parts. The threads and parts around them are flaw-less.

I also attached some photos of a Zebrano closed end eyedropper that I was so damned excited about until I totally hagged it by taking a parting skew to it and tearing it to pieces. It was a gorgeous finish on it as well - not too shiny, not too matte/unfinished. A nice warm glow. These things are sent to try us...

Comments welcome

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle, WA
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I like it. It's cool to be able to see the ink inside it. Something I've been thinking about for polishing the inside of clear tubes is to try flame polishing. I haven't ever done it but one of these days I'll work up the courage to give it a shot.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Scotland
Posts: 40
Photos: 6


I actually bought the butane torch to flame polish, but then decided it probably wasn't the best way to get down a barrel...then it broke and that was that.

A cotton-bud (I think they are called Q-Tips across the pond?) with a nice soaking of Brasso on it, after a thorough going over of 400 grit wrapped around a drill bit, does the job well. It all depends on the quality of your initial core I think. Try and quickly core through clear acrylic and you get chips and skips (evident in the Cap as wee lines around the inside and impossible to get out), melts and it takes bleedin' ages to get your final diameter hole cored. I'd estimate it took me around 45 minutes to do the barrel coring.

4mm pilot hole through the length, step up the diameters till I get to thread diameter, each taking 10-20 minutes to complete and each as bum-clenching as the last. All it takes is a slight melt and your gubbed, as both trying to remove or carrying on the drill leads to an even bigger mess as the molten acrylic swirls up the nice clean cut. But it's worth the patience.

Anyway, thanks for your feedback! It's really amazing to see the deep sapphire blue Diamine shining through, I must spend more time swishing it about than writing with it! hehe.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Greenbrier, Arkansas
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Does the "eyedropper" use the standard feed found in most kits? So instead of using a cartridge or converter just fill it up?
Joseph Gaspard
Central Arkansas IAP Chapter Member
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: South Lyon, MI
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I like it!
Joe S.

5th place 2014 tube-on casting contest.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
gordonfraser's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Scotland
Posts: 40
Photos: 6


Originally Posted by Dustygoose View Post
Does the "eyedropper" use the standard feed found in most kits? So instead of using a cartridge or converter just fill it up?
If you are able to get the kit down to nib, feed and feed holder then yes. I use JOWO nibs, feeds and feed holders, glue the feed holder in to my fabricated parts, plop the feed and nib in and place silicone grease on the threads. It's then just a case of filling it up, screwing the section to the barrel, wipe away the excess silicon grease and go to town.

The perks of having a barrel full of ink outweigh the relatively little hassle and process of refilling every 2 months.

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