Home > Product Reviews, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > Rapidograph Disaster: Part 1

Rapidograph Disaster: Part 1

October 6, 2011

I did something really bad.  I let the ink dry in my set of KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph technical drawing pens.  I left it there for years.  Worse, it’s the waterproof brand of drawing ink.  The pens, with their fine tips and moving parts, are utterly clogged.

After feeling like a terrible human being for at least ten minutes, because I have mistreated old friends of mine from the pen world (and my high school graduation gift, to boot), it occurred to me that water-proof ink does not necessarily mean solvent-proof.  I fully disassembled the pens and put the parts into my small plastic dollar store containers.  I then filled the containers to the brim with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and am soaking the pen parts.  Isopropyl Alcohol is a good solvent for ink and will remove ink from many surfaces, especially if the surfaces are non-porous.  I have the lids on the containers to prevent evaporation of the alcohol.  I am shaking the containers for a minute or two from time to time and intend to let them sit for a few hours.  There is a light tint from the ink in the alcohol and many flakes of dried ink that peeled off the pen nibs are floating around.

This is why many people prefer the felt-tipped Sakura Micron pens; they are disposable.  You don’t have to clean or maintain the Microns pens, they have ultra-fine tips and many varieties to choose from.  I have never met a Sakura pen that I did not love.

The problem with the Sakura micron pens is that they are disposable.  The felt tip wears down or tatters, the ink runs out.  If you want to use them for drawing, you need to buy a steady stream of them; I always have leaned toward dip pens and refillable pens.  I have a fountain pen that I need to find and dig out.  I just hate all the waste of throwing plastic into the trash over and over again.  I bought a Pilot Dr. Grip Gel desk pen for notes and letters.  When given the chance, I opt for re-fillable and re-usable.

Now, I am hoping to recover my Rapidographs from my own absent-minded neglect.  I wonder that hard-core Sakura Micron users have ruined Rapidographs in the past and vowed to stay with disposable pens.  When I found the condition I had left mine in, the thought occurred to me that re-usable is only as good as one’s diligence in maintenance.

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