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Thread: Pilot "switch filler" converters

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Pilot "switch filler" converters

    I have two slightly different (from each other) Pilot converters that use the switch fill variant of button filler mechanism, they were both off of early regular cartridge pens, so needless to say the sacs are petrified...
    I was wondering if anyone has successfully re-sacced one of these and if so what the secret of removing the cartridge mouth/coupler without damage is?
    Last edited by awa54; October 15th, 2019 at 11:01 AM.
    David-

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    I got a few comments on one of those *other* forums with this same post, so I thought I'd copy my response here for any of you who might want to try their hand at normal switch filler restorations:



    The issue with the converters is that the plastic mouth of the converter (which is almost certainly also the part the sac is glued to) is crimped very firmly in the metal shroud, which prevents extraction without mauling the plastic This firmer connection to the shroud is because of the need for the converter to stay as a unit when removed from the pen.

    The mouth of a switch filler mechanism on the other hand isn't really held in place to the shroud, except by friction between the sac and the shroud mouth... then the shroud is press fit to the inside of the section (or metal barrel coupler tube in an E300).

    A trick for extracting the plastic coupler from the feed that has worked well for me is to press the mouth of an empty Pilot or Sailor (depending on which fits tightly) cartridge on to the sac coupler (all sac remains must be removed for this to work), then spinning the now connected cartridge and sac nipple while slowly pulling outward, this will usually get the plastic coupler out of the section without risking gouging it up with metal tools, or inadvertly pulling the feed out of the section (unlikely, but possible in many models!).

    Another thing to be careful of with switch filler shrouds is the paper-thin (thinner really...) internal stirrup that retains the end of the pressure bar spring, these are often a bit corroded in addition to being delicate from the start, so be careful when picking petrified sac crud out of the shroud, also don't over-stress the switch mechanism, as you can inadvertantly tear the little metal flap off with too much pressure, or too many actuations without a sac in the shroud. I think that dynamic may be one of the reasons original Pilot sacs are so tightly fitted in the switch filler shroud.

    While I'm on the subject of switch filler quirks, remember to cut the sac a few millimeters short of the depth you found by measuring the shroud depth, since the plunger that actuates the pressure bar moves downward when the "switch" is actuated and that mechanism won't work well if it doesn't have enough clearance to move freely.
    David-

    So many restoration projects...

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    It sounds fascinating and a great fix, but I'm not sure I've seen the type of converter that you mean. Do you have a picture by any chance? Before and after would be even better.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    I wonder if it's anything like this I have on my Pilot Super 250 that I call a "quarter turn filler"







    Last edited by KBeezie; October 19th, 2019 at 09:35 AM.

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    KBeezie, that's a conventional switch filler mechanism, I'm not certain that Pilot had an official name for this mechanism, but I first heard it called a switch filler on the forums back in the late 1990s or very early 2000s, so that is what I've stuck with.

    If I might ask, what was your process for feed removal on that pen? Also, congrats on scoring a Falcon nib in one of these! ...and where did you find the demonstrator????


    Chrissy, here is a (terrible) sketch of the workings of a switch filler, the only differrence with the converters is that the shroud is shorter, in order to fit in the barrel of a cartridge adapted pen and the mouth of the converter is shaped differently as well as being retained by multiple staking points in the shroud (the "normal" ones just float, retained by friction between the section, shroud, sac and feed end).


    David-

    So many restoration projects...

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Quote Originally Posted by awa54 View Post
    KBeezie, that's a conventional switch filler mechanism, I'm not certain that Pilot had an official name for this mechanism, but I first heard it called a switch filler on the forums back in the late 1990s or very early 2000s, so that is what I've stuck with.
    The name I got for it came from the website (Cronicas Estilograficas) I used to research the Pilot supers where they called it a quarter turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by awa54 View Post
    If I might ask, what was your process for feed removal on that pen? Also, congrats on scoring a Falcon nib in one of these! ...and where did you find the demonstrator????
    Once the sac protector was slid off, a blunt syringe thru the breather hole (underside in the section housing) could nudge out the feed, along with it the gasket that holds the sac without pulling on the sac.
    Likewise lining it up on insertion (once the nib has been correctly positioned), pushing up on it with the sac protector would get the feed back into place.

    It's a lot easier than it's newer Elite cousins with the threaded parts.

    It's not a demonstrator, it's the same pen as seen by my infrared camera.

    Some of the black plastics seem translucent to my infrared camera, and near transparent when I filter it down to non-visible light (the example above was 560nm which includes some visible red and orange light, into the IR spectrum, popping on an 850nm eliminates all visible light)

    For example :

    1950s Pelikan 140



    1956 Pelikan 400nn



    Modern Sailor 1911L in Black+Rhodium trim with a 21K H-MF nib



    I just took a picture of my recently acquired 1991 Montblanc 149 as well, and it does the same thing (more so than the rest)

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Quote Originally Posted by KBeezie View Post

    The name I got for it came from the website (Cronicas Estilograficas) I used to research the Pilot supers where they called it a quarter turn.

    That's a great site! I had seen that same post just recently when I followed a link in an FPN post


    Quote Originally Posted by KBeezie View Post
    Once the sac protector was slid off, a blunt syringe thru the breather hole (underside in the section housing) could nudge out the feed, along with it the gasket that holds the sac without pulling on the sac.
    Likewise lining it up on insertion (once the nib has been correctly positioned), pushing up on it with the sac protector would get the feed back into place.

    It's a lot easier than it's newer Elite cousins with the threaded parts.

    That was my instinct, but I have been reluctant to apply much force to the nose of the feed... maybe in corcert with some silicone oil on the gasket that can work with lower pressures required...

    It's easy to make tools for newer Pilot feed disassembly, 7mm diameter brass tubing filed to have a pair of protruding lugs works perfectly. 6mm tube finished the same way works for Platinum and Sailor.



    Quote Originally Posted by KBeezie View Post
    It's not a demonstrator, it's the same pen as seen by my infrared camera.

    Some of the black plastics seem translucent to my infrared camera, and near transparent when I filter it down to non-visible light (the example above was 560nm which includes some visible red and orange light, into the IR spectrum, popping on an 850nm eliminates all visible light)

    That's just too cool! I have a Sony a700 and a Minolta 5D gathering dust, that I've pondered getting one of converted for IR, but never followed through on it.
    Last edited by awa54; October 19th, 2019 at 11:08 AM.
    David-

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Quote Originally Posted by awa54 View Post


    That's just too cool! I have a Sony a700 and a Minolta 5D gathering dust, that I've pondered getting one of converted for IR, but never followed through on it.
    The conversions can cost a bit of money unless you're brave enough to do it yourself, mine was done to my Olympus E-M1 (mk1) by LifePixel, and that runs about $375 to do a conversion, plus the cost of filters in front to narrow it down further if I don't want full color IR.

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    The way I understand it, the filters are not easily removed on the Sony sensors... plus with the sensor mounted on the IBIS/SteadyShot suspension the issue of alignment is that much more critical.

    Looking at your IR images, I can't help but think that type of imaging is a powerful diagnostic tool for somone working on vintage pens that have variants which look alike from the outside, or that are risky to disassemble for troubleshooting.



    Back to pens... How flexible is that Falcon nib? I've been disappointed in the amount of flex allowed by the "Soft" marked nibs I have in E series Pilots from that era, though in my experience the very similar un-graded nibs in V series Pilots from the 60s often border on true flex.
    David-

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Quote Originally Posted by awa54 View Post
    Back to pens... How flexible is that Falcon nib? I've been disappointed in the amount of flex allowed by the "Soft" marked nibs I have in E series Pilots from that era, though in my experience the very similar un-graded nibs in V series Pilots from the 60s often border on true flex.
    It's more springy than the current "FA" nibs (which I guess could be described as squishy/mushy by comparison), but has more give than the current "Falcon" pens.

    It's pretty similar to other vintage "semi flex" I've had but with a definite need of a light hand versus say my Pelikan 400nn's


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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Hmmm... sounds (and looks) pretty similar to the E series Soft nibs I have. If you get a chance, try out a contemporary V series Pilot, they're essentially the same design as an E, but with a thinner section and no ID naming on the nibs, but all of the ones I have (half dozen now?) have been fine or extra-fine and semi-flex or better. Of course if you like wider nibs, or don't really crave flex, then there's no real reason to seek one out.
    David-

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Quote Originally Posted by awa54 View Post
    Hmmm... sounds (and looks) pretty similar to the E series Soft nibs I have. If you get a chance, try out a contemporary V series Pilot, they're essentially the same design as an E, but with a thinner section and no ID naming on the nibs, but all of the ones I have (half dozen now?) have been fine or extra-fine and semi-flex or better. Of course if you like wider nibs, or don't really crave flex, then there's no real reason to seek one out.
    I used to have a late 70s Pilot Elite that had a "SOFT" fine nib on it, it has more give/flex than those.

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    Here is a pic of the Pilot and Platinum feed retainer removing tools:

    I hate phone cameras so much, but I don't have a copy setup for my real photography rig


    David-

    So many restoration projects...

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    Senior Member awa54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pilot "switch filler" converters

    I snooped around Cronicas Estilographicas a bit and found that Bruno believes that the Pilot term for the "switch/quarter turn" filler is "hose" filler...

    Not sure where Pilot came up with that, but I'll stick to switch filler, it sounds much more sophisticated and wholesome
    David-

    So many restoration projects...

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