This instructable will teach you how to turn a Fisher Space Pen refill into an (almost) full size, comfortable to use, pen that fits in your wallet and looks good enough to use in a professional environment.
The Fisher Space Pen refill on its own makes a functional emergency pen. However, it is very skinny and slippery and is not comfortable for writing more than a short note (and, it looks like a refill).
The core idea for this came from this instructable. https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-5.00-Spac...
I've made several optional improvements including a different way to carry it in your wallet.
Be sure to read through each step before undertaking it. There are choices to be made.
WARNING: I do not recommend doing this with any other refill EXCEPT for a
Fisher Space Pen PR series refill. Why? Well, this legendary pen, used by astronauts, can write upside down and extreme temperatures, but the qualities we value here are that it is solid, will not leak, and will not dry out after long periods of non-use. Do not blame me if you use another refill and end up with an inky mess.
Step 1: Ingredients
1. Fisher Pen Refill (PR Series. NOT the skinny U series)=$4.50-$7.00. You can get online or at office supply store.
2. Heat Shrink Tube Pieces (You want at least one piece (minimum 3-3 1/4 inch long). I used 3/16, but you can use larger. Any color you want.
3. Sharp cutting instrument. Scissors will do, but you want and X-acto or razor blade for the wallet step
4. Heat source.
5. Wallet (optional).
Step 2: Heat Shrink Your Pen!
tl;dr: Take the smallest diameter of tube that will fit over the pen and heat shrink it on with your lighter, candle or heat gun. When you are done, you will have a pen that is much more comfortable to use. You can stop here if you want. (but who wants to?)
Stuff you should read
The tube should go from just above the tip of the pen and extend just a millimeter or two beyond the butt. This will give you a finished look and make the pen more comfortable to use.
Start at one end and shrink to the other to avoid uneven spots.
If you are using an open flame, TAKE YOUR TIME and keep the pen in motion at all times. I kind of wave it back and and forth. You don't want to melt the tube!
Step 3: Add Tube to the Tip
tl;dr: Shrink a short piece of tube to the tip to increase thickness. Try your pen. Is it more comfortable?
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I found it more comfortable to write if the tip were thicker. If you don't like it, you can always carefully slice it off with your X-acto knife.
I also found it less comfortable if I jammed this piece right up against the fat part. Just place it so it is touching where it flares to being thicker.
In an early version, the extra tube on the tip fell off after a few days. If this happens, consider a drop of glue in there to keep it on.
Step 4: Add a Cap (Optional)
tl;dr: Fashion a cap out of shrink tube. And you will want to read the advice below.
Stuff You Should Really Read
A space pen doesn't NEED a cap to be practical. It will not dry out or get ruined by lint or dust. However, a cap will 1) stop you from getting ink on your fingers or marking your wallet, and 2) add additional length...making it almost like a full-sized pen!
For Pens Where You Left the Tip Skinny
1. Put about and 2 inches of tube over the tip and push it until about 1/4 inch covers thick part.
2. Start at the thick part, and make a quick pass with your heat source. Stop and remove the tube.
3. Put the tube back on and repeat the process. Just quickly heading and quickly pulling off the cap. What you are trying to avoid is having the cap tube melt to the tube you already have in place.
4. You only need a snug fit on the thick part. When you have this. Cut the tube about 1/2 longer than the tip.
5. Melt the very end of the tube. Yes, melt it. Hold it over the flame for a few seconds and then smoosh it flat with the lighter or something else.
6. Trim so it looks nice and fits in your wallet.
For Pens with the Extra Tube on the Tip
Follow the same process above, except do it on the butt instead of the tip end. When making the cap, it can sometimes take a lot of force to pull it off. You don't want to pull off the extra tubing you just put on the tip. After each pass, take it off the butt and see how it fits on the tip.
When you are done, you will have a pen that will be protected, and have extra length when using it!!!
Step 5: Store in Your Wallet
I don't know what your wallet looks like. This method works for me. I have a wallet where you flip it open, then it has another flap with additional pockets. The only place my pen would fit was along the spine of one of those pockets.
Of course, I could (and you can) just put your pen in one of the pockets, but I was concerned about increased thickness.
One other method is to attach a clip and clip it to the spine, but that didn't seem secure to me and I worried about it getting in the way.
Find a spot on the spine where the pen will fit. , pick a spot about 1/3 the way down on the spine. CAREFULLY cut a slit THROUGH THE TOP LAYER ONLY of leather. It should be about 1/2 inch long.
Insert your pen.
IMPORTANT!!! If you have a cap, insert pen BUTT DOWN (unless you want to lose your cap in your wallet). If you don't have a cap, insert pen tip down.
If the leather snags on the cap, just give it a gentle twist.
Congratulations! You will never be without a pen again!
Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017