I bought a lot of fountain pens last year from several brands like Lamy, Pilot, Amazon Basics and Parker as well though I have been using Parker Vector Fountain pens for more than 20 years. I have had three in different body colours.
The Parker pens I had came with plastic piston ink converters along with some cartridges as well. I have always thought that the cartridges were as expensive as compared to the converters. But slowly and steadily all kinds of converters develop some kind of leakages etc and are no longer fit for use as it happened recently in one of my Vector Foutain Pens from Parker Pens. But it's understandable as I was using the said pen for the last 15 years so the quality has lasted a long time. Immediately I switched to the Parker Cartridges I have available with me.
My Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen I bought last year from a Stationery & Print shop in Sandton city came with a squeeze converter. I am sure most of the Pilot fountain pens come with the squeeze converter or the cartridge. When I bought it despite my gut feeling, I bought it with the squeeze convertor option though the cartridge option was also available at the store. I have had a long history during school time with squeeze converters as it has wasted my valuable time sorting them out instead of studying.
Since the time I bought the Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, I have been delighted by my purchase and went on to buy some more branded fountain pens as well. Some days back, when the ink finished in the Pilot Fountain Pen, I saw that the rubber has contracted and joined at some places. I have never put the pen in sunlight and it's always under the desk where no light reaches. I have had the misfortune as the rubber expended or contracted and started touching the barrel of the pen. It led to the whole socket coming out of the tip of the fountain pen.
I tried to wash it and blow it up with air but it didn't bring the rubber back into its original state. I also tried to refill it but it also didn't work as now it was taking much less ink like 5-6 drops. I immediately went into some kind of experiment mode as I didn't have Pilot cartridges available with me and I have to use this pen daily for my journaling.
There were some options available to me -
- The easiest option was to replace the squeeze convertor with the Pilot pen original fountain pen cartridges. I didn't want to buy the cartridges from the South African stores as it's costly here (ZAR 50) for 5 compared to ZAR 20 in India. Also, I will have to go to the store and get them from there. The pen cost me only around ZAR 200 and now I can not spend ZAR 50 for just 5 cartridges.
- Second, is to use the empty cartridges of the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint 0.7 Cartridge System which fits easily into the fountain pen as well. This is a unique design for all fountain pens. If you are using any of the refillable rollerball pens from Pilot, that is definitely a fit for the fountain pens as well. I bought one in India and my daughter was using the same here. She finished the same and it was there in one of the giveaway charity bags I saw it there and immediately it was a brainer to use it. But then fountain pen ink will waste this pen as it can be refilled with its own cartridges and ink that's not available in South Africa.
- Lastly, is to use the Parker pen cartridge using some jugaad that I did to make a cartridge that fits the Pilot pens perfectly well without any leakage. I did deploy this arrangement because this was the easiest one and can be done at the same time. I have empty cartridges available to me because Parker Fountain Pens come with a casing to keep 3 cartridges in a travel case that came free with the Parker Vector pens. I have had 2 of these cases for a long long time and somehow remained there till this time ready for the jugaad to happen.
The whole process is explained in the video I shot and available on my YT channel. The steps are simple take a knife or cutter to cut the blue portion out and then from the cartridge take the blue portion leftover ring out. Fill the ink with a syringe (1ml) that's available in the market for ZAR 2 only at Dischem. Push the cartridge into the fountain pen body and your pen is ready to write again as much as you want.
Let me know if you like these kinds of temporary arrangements leading to saving money as a whole. I have used these kinds of jugaads all my life so many things in life.