Tutorial: Filling a TWSBI with a syringe

Last week, there was a brief discussion on The Pen Addict Podcast about how to fill a TWSBI with sample ink. There is not enough ink in a sample vial to fill the pen by the usual method: inserting pen nib in the ink and using the piston to draw the ink into the reservoir. Brad mentioned using a syringe to fill instead which hadn’t occurred to me. So, I thought I’d share the technique. I used my TWSBI Mini but this technique would work with a Diamond 540/580 and probably a Vacumatic as well.

Step 1: unscrew the nib unit

Step 1: Remove the nib unit. Its a screw attachment so just untwist the nib and set it aside.

Step 2: locate the small hole in the body

Step 2: Identify the narrow hole in the top of the ink reservoir so you know where you’ll need to insert the syringe.

Step 3: collect your syringe and ink sample

Step 3: Grab your ink sample.

Step 4: fill your syringe

Step 4: Fill your syringe. For the TWSBI Mini, I only needed to fill up to the 1 unit marker to get just about a full fill.

step 5: insert the syringe into the ink reservoir and plunge ink

Step 5: Insert the syringe needle into the reservoir and slowly depress the syringe being careful not to overfill.

Step 6: Admire filled ink reservoir

Step 6: Admire the filled reservoir.

Step 7: Reattach nib unit and start writing

Step 7: Screw the nib unit back onto your pen. You may need to give it a good shake (put the cap on or wrap the tip in a towel before shaking) to get the ink down into the feed unit. Then start writing!

You can reverse the process if you are using your TWSBI for ink testing by sucking the ink out of the reservoir with the syringe and putting it back into your bottle or vial. Then clean the pen using water and filling and emptying the reservoir until the water runs clear. Let it dry and refill. I dry mine by shaking it vigorously wrapped in a towel and wiping the nib.

Good luck!

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10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great idea, never thought of it either. Thanks for the visuals. Ran in to this problem the other day with one of my Pelikans. Now if I can just figure out how to get it apart…

  2. I usually just slightly unscrew the piston knob until it sends some ink into the feed, and then screw it back. Similar to how you would, if filling using the piston itself, release 3 or so drops of ink back out of the pen, but just not going so far with it. That’ll keep you from having to shake the pen, and it works faster than waiting for gravity and the capillary action to complete.

    1. Another alternative is to remove the nib/section just as you’ve done above, but use the piston to fill the pen barrel directly (using the piston) from the ink vial. This of course isn’t quite as efficient and is a bit messier (have to clean off the end of the barrel), but it works in a pinch.

  3. Thanks for the pics of how to accomplish this. I have a few ink samples I want to try and this does the trick for inking up my pen…and how ’bout a few pics of your nails?!?! Cool! Looks like you used a few .2 mm gel ink pens to apply dot patterns. 😉

    1. Oops. The photos were hosted on a different site we no longer use so yes, we need to update the images at some point. Thanks for catching that.

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