Refill a ballpoint or gel pen with fountain pen ink

Picture of Refill a ballpoint or gel pen with fountain pen ink
This instructable explains how to dismantle, prepare and fill a gel or ballpoint pen with fountain pen ink. Although not efficient for everyday use, this will probably be a fun-filled activity for pen nerds everywhere.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
-1 syringe with needle (I got mine from a printer refill kit)
- A set of pliers
- Some fountain pen ink (I used Parker Quink)
- Surgical spirit
- A pen, preferably used ( I used 0.5 ballpoint and gel pens)
- Steady hands
- Several sheets of scrap paper for absorbing any spills
- Gloves
- a disposable cup (optional)

Step 2: Dismantle the pen

Picture of Dismantle the pen
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Take the pen apart, pulling out the ink tube

Step 3: Take out the metal point and Clean

Picture of Take out the metal point and Clean
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Take out the metal point:
Grasp the metal point lightly and pull the point out while twisting slowly. In gel pens, the metal point is attached to a plastic portion which, in turn, is attached to the ink-holding tube.

Washing or flushing the tube and point:
Wash the tube and point with surgical spirit, spilling the runoff into a a disposable cup.

Step 4: Filling a gel tube

Picture of Filling a gel tube
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(The gel pen can be filled without using the syringe's needle)
Suck up some fountain pen ink into the syringe. Place the syringe opening at one end of the gel-ink tube (picture 1) and push the plunger gently. Let an ink column of about 2-3 inches form.

Remove the syringe and let the ink almost fall out and at the moment when the ink column is threatening to fall out of the tube (see picture 2), stuff the metal point back in (picture 3). Wipe off excess ink.

If you see air bubbles, try again.

When I refill a gel pen the ink is no working. Sometimes work for 2-3 min. after 2-3 min. it stop. Please suggest how to refill a gel pen that works.

Very interesting.  dose it work on cheaper pens (roller balls and the like) or only on the more up scale pens? 

This would be good for those high dollar refill pens.
Half-Life (author)  atombomb19455 years ago
Well the total price I paid for those two pens was only around $ 0.3 and I think this technique will produce different results with different pens, irrespective of price.

BTW this fountain-pen-ink mod runs out pretty quickly, and isn't pocket safe.
David AS Half-Life11 months ago

Too bad. I literally had the exact same idea, even down to the printer refill syringes and saw that Staples had the Quink fountain pen ink. However, since you said it runs out quickly and is not pocket safe, I will hold off until I do some more research. If only we could get bulk ink that the pen company makes, then we wouldn't have to improvise! That's my next research...

oh the indignity of using fountain pen ink in cheap pens
The safest way to keep the pen is writing tip up. If needed, seal the other end of the tube with a glue gun.
oceanRI1 year ago

This seems like a very logical process to me. I am going to try this soon and then post my results. Thanks for this instruction. Cheers !

rera1 year ago
It doesn't work. I tried several times and fountain pen ink is too liquid for gel pen. It flows too ink from the gel pen tip.
rera3 years ago
I had tried several times but I had som problems:
I need something to replace the gel that's uesd to close the pen tank, maybe can I use hair gel?
I found fountain pen ink (I used Pelikan) too liquid for gel pen
Have you tried to make the pens pocket safe by putting Vaseline or Hair Wax at the end of the tubes?

It might work properly as a grease seal, making sure the ink doesn't flow out from the end.
sreeraj4 years ago
whats the cost of the cheapest gel pen available in your country?
Half-Life (author)  sreeraj4 years ago
There's a locally manufactured good quality gel pen for 15 LKR, or 0.14USD (which I used above).
Recently, a new pen called "butter gel" has been released by the same company for slightly less than that.

www.atlas.lk (their products can be viewed under "shopping cart")
i think more cheaper gel pens are available in India. You can get a gel pen for Rs.5(12 lkr) and cheaper ones are available for Rs.3 ( about 7 LKR). And Hi , I am glad to see someone from the sub continent :D
rammstein25 years ago
If you have a longer needle can you fill the ink tube completely witout removing the writing tip(i,e you fill it from its open end)????