Copper Tubing Dip Pen





Introduction: Copper Tubing Dip Pen

About: I am a qualified Industrial Designer based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and UK Citizen. I currently am working as a researcher, Industrial Design Lecturer, and direct a registered Industrial Design Company.

Dip pens generally provide more contrast than a ballpoint, and allows for variable line thickness depending on pressure and stroke. If you have never used a dip pen for any type of sketching, you should give it a try.

Although there are many types of pens like this available, I decided to design and manufacture my own around an existing nib. The design incorporates a standard available component (the nib) and the re-implementation of waste material (copper tubing) in its assembly. The nib was manufactured in England and purchased locally in South Africa from a stationary supplier. The bodies of the pens are cut from copper tubing from the refrigeration industry (presumably). The copper is then polished to luster, which also removes any edge burrs. The design is straight forward - the nib fits into the copper tube, and gets bonded in place with a suitable thermoplastic adhesive. A test prototype has been in use for several months and proves successful. The copper will tarnish, which can be brought back to luster if desired, with a suitable brass/copper polishing compound. Personally the ink and tarnished copper adds to the pen's appeal.

You can also see this design on my website at



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    10 Discussions

    I started doing this, but my version came with some accompaniments....a friction fit cap, a counter balance post with brass crown, bronze tip (grip area that gets exposed to ink) and built in nib slot so that nibs can be changed out whenever you want. I always over engineer things,....but that's me. This instructable got me started.

    3 replies

    Sounds interesting! Have you got a picture by any chance? (or even better, a link to your instructable)

    Here are some pics of the 2 pens that I crafted from copper and various other metals.....One is very simple and I just popped in a nib acceptor and capped the end with a simple set screw for a finishing touch. The other has a full fledged copper cap that is friction fit and snaps has a counterweight at the other end that really makes this a hefty tool for my big will also notice a bronze collar at the business end that allows for the copper cap to snap on and off with friction as insurance. The nibs are both fitted with reservoirs so that I can literally ink an entire comic strip with just one dip!


    I did not shine up the copper as I actually prefer the tarnished look. I also wiped both pens with a very fine steel wool to give it some texture and remove the shine and slickness. One correction,...on the copper pen with the cap: I added a Copper collar; not bronze to act as the cap stop when pushing the cap on.....the bronze section is the one closest to the nib. It was a cosmetic choice and the ink doesn't seem to bother the bronze when I dip the nib in too deep.

    Lovely instructable I also live in South Africa and was just wondering what shop you got the nibs from so i can make my own :)

    1 reply

    Hi. I bought the nibs from different stationery stores. In Joburg there is Herbert Evans and Showbiz, but the best quality nibs I usually find at hospice or charity stores (old nibs). I recently bought a bag with about 20 nibs in for about R10.

    Ya I'm going to have to make a set of these. They're beautiful! Industrial art u can write with. What a novel idea!