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Thread: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

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    Default Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Esterbrook FJ and Wordathon ballpoints can now be made to write again without any messy cleanout of old refills.

    With the aid of several people, there is now a 3D printed adapter that accepts a ballpoint mini refill to bring these old ballpoints back to working order. With the adapter installed, the click action works as intended.

    Because of the 3D printing process, the inside of the hole for the mini refill is slightly "grainy" which can make insertion of the refill difficult. The hole can be cleaned out by using a 3/32" drill bit, by hand. UPDATE: An improved version of the adapter is now on the Shapeways site. Its design eliminates the need to use a drill bit to clean out the socket for the refill.

    I assume, but have not tested, this adapter in any other Esterbrook pen, but if it uses the same original refill as the one pictured below, it should work.

    If you are interested, the adapter is available to be printed for you by Shapeways. You can find it at https://www.shapeways.com/shops/bamapen It costs $6 plus your actual mailing cost.

    Here are pictures:

    FJ ballpoint, Schmidt mini refill, 3D printed adapter, and original Esterbrook refill


    FJ Ballpoint, Schmidt mini refill inserted into adapter, and original Esterbrook refill


    Click here to visit my site for a variety of pen and ink storage boxes.
    Last edited by BamaPen; November 24th, 2017 at 08:10 AM.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to BamaPen For This Useful Post:

    AliciaR59 (April 10th, 2018), welch (July 13th, 2016)

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Thank you for this post! I gave up on the messy refill replacement strategy ages ago but kept my wordathon (of course). I happened to stumble upon this today and have already ordered one.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by AliciaR59 View Post
    Thank you for this post! I gave up on the messy refill replacement strategy ages ago but kept my wordathon (of course). I happened to stumble upon this today and have already ordered one.
    Thanks AliciaR59, I'd be very interested to hear what you think after you've had a chance to try the adapter.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Received and installed the adapter. The mini refill needed one more millimeter to keep it from protruding when retracted. A quick fix with a drill bit and it fits perfectly. I could only find Cross minis so that might make a difference. Either way, it works like new. Again, thank you so much for taking the initiative and resolving the problem.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by AliciaR59 View Post
    Received and installed the adapter. The mini refill needed one more millimeter to keep it from protruding when retracted. A quick fix with a drill bit and it fits perfectly. I could only find Cross minis so that might make a difference. Either way, it works like new. Again, thank you so much for taking the initiative and resolving the problem.
    Thanks very much for your report...glad the adapter works for you. There are two likely explanations for the adjustment you had to make. One is that all D1 refills are not alike. I've found small but noticeable variations in the diameter, which can result in some refills slipping right in to the adapter and others being a really tight fit. The other is that the 3D printing process (SLS) used by Shapeways results in sort of a fine dust that accumulates in that small cylindrical hole in the adapter into which the D1 fits. The little square holes in the sides of the adapter are there just to help get rid of that dust. Sometimes it is necessary to clear out the hole with a paper clip (or a small drill bit) to get that debris out. Inserting a refill in without first clearing out the hole can push the debris to the bottom of the hole and keep the D1 from fitting quite as far in as it should.

    Unfortunately, Shapeways does not provide any means by which I can enclose a small instruction sheet with the printed parts and they also don't tell me who has bought the parts, so I can't send an email with instructions either. I've asked them about this and they promised to take a look at it.

    Thanks again for your report.
    John

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Also works in a desk model Esterbrook ballpoint. Time to hunt a base.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook Ballpoint Refill Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    Also works in a desk model Esterbrook ballpoint. Time to hunt a base.
    Thanks for that information. I'll add it to the product description on Shapeways.

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