Cleaning Rapidograph Reusable Pens





Introduction: Cleaning Rapidograph Reusable Pens

About: I am a graphic artist during the day and at night, I create soul food. Currently working on designing a fantasy world with a silent comic component online ( LOVE to illustrate and design. C...
Cleaning Rapidograph HELL made easy:
  • Windex
  • 1/4 cup Windex solution
  • Place whole nibs with ink well separated into solution
  • Use Q-Tip to rub the Windex solution inside the plastic ink well. Ink comes off pretty quickly. Wash out with water
  • Unscrew main black plastic housing from around the main inside nib component
  • Swished a bit and within 10 seconds it breaks up quickly
  • Shake the main nib component until the nib bit starts to go back and forth
  • Rinse hot water and hit Windex again until satisfied

I have to use the super permanent ink (film) for the inking I do. So when it dries it is absolute hell to clean.

I cannot tell you how many years I spent using all sorts of garbage. I have used alcohol, 2nd degree burn worthy hot water, soap, oscillators, special Rapidograph cleaning solution, I could go on and on.

I found a random post one day a few months back mentioning using good old fashion Windex. I got off my lazy butt  and decided to give it a go. I am not kidding. 10 seconds and the thing was coming off, unwinding and shaking free ink debris.

They are perfect.



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    17 Discussions

    I have been cleaning my Staedtler-Mars 700 drawing pen set while converting it for use in my HP DraftMaster rollfeed pen plotter. Household ammonia dissolves the old ink in seconds. It's just a stronger version of Windex.

    The "pen" conversion is also a snap. I bought a second set of identical pens to 'sacrifice' in this process, and it turns out that you can trim the pen barrels with a hobbby "razor saw" quite easily to the length of the ink reservoir inside, and this makes them fit the HP pen carousel. The "ring" around the pen required for it to be grabbed and held by the plotting mechanism can be added using a 7/16-in "fiber washer available at hardware stores. I used a tapered grinding stone in a 1/4" electric drill to VERY CAREFULLY enlarge the hole in the washer (Probably less than 1/32") to make a tight, friction fit around the knurled (the part with the little tiny grooves) section of the pen tip. It's easy to slide the washer onto the pen barrel using an HP plotting pen as a guide to position it, and so far, mine are tight and square enough to function perfectly. Some epoxy or super glue might be required if the washer is enlarged enough, by accident to, slip during operation. some care and patience in enlarging the hole just a tiny bit at one time allowed me to get a perfect friction fit.

    Pen conversion.jpg

    OH MY!! THANK YOU!! I can’t believe how easy this was. I have tried SO many ways to clean these stupid pens. I was skeptical about the Windex, but it worked beautifully!!! I accomplished in a matter of minutes what has taken me hours to do before.

    1 reply

    Believe me, I feel your pain. So glad it helped you. Cheers!!

    Thank you for the post! It works perfectly, it took a bit longer to clear everything in the nib.

    1 reply

    Tried for hours with no success to clean up my old pens that had sat for over 8 years and had dried up ink caked all inside the nib. Found your post and within an hour or so they're all working like brand new. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1 reply

    Hell yeah. ^___^ It was so satifiying to mine clear up after so much fustration.

    I was totally skeptical, but I have to admit...THIS WORKS! Tonight I've revived about 7 rapidograph pens that I had let dry (with ink in them) in a drawer for a few years. It really is amazing!

    I did use the syringe that came with the cleaning kit, but the cleaning kit's cleaning fluid is a complete JOKE in comparison to glass cleaner. (I used the cheap, generic stuff.)

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    i found this tip moments after i bought the cleaning kit. i got buyer's remorse when i found out how well this works. my whole set sitting with caked on ink for over a decade cleaned and working like new within minutes.

    I will try it.. got a half dozen pens all clogged up with a pen/ink project that i was asked to do.. thanks!


    3 years ago

    My son will be so thrilled! Thanks!

    Good to know. I have some of those pens but do not like to use them often because cleaning can be challenging. I guess I don't have to tell you that though. I just looked up what the active ingredient in Windex is and apparently it is rubbing alcohol, although there is also 2-Butoxyethanol in it too, which is an organic solvent for paints and ink. A chemical that may be found in higher concentrations in bug and tar removing products? Look for the CAS chemical number 111-76-2 on products and you may find other pen cleaning solutions. Windex is mostly water.

    1 reply

    That is interesting. Isopropyl alcohol might work for most inks, it didn't help with the ink for "film". It might be a combination that is the magic key. I have seen ammonia (also found in Windex) as another suggested solvent to use for the nibs but I am not too comfortable dealing with it straight. Food for thought.