Wednesday, 24 July 2013

An Idiot's Guide to Unblocking, Cleaning and Ruining Rotring Isograph Nibs

2015 Update: Dear Isograph user/abuser. The following article will help you unblock your pen. It's the single most popular blog post I've ever written and I'm delighted I could be of use. Before you go, however, please do me the enormous favour and look around my blog. I'm friendly. I rarely bite. I welcome feedback from real people and if that real person is also a fellow cartoonist, then I hope you'll see that this blog is for you.

[caption id="attachment_2536" align="alignright" width="392"]Rotring isograph unblocking Click to embiggen[/caption]

I’m writing this because people keep arriving here after asking Google how to unblock an Isograph. I’m no expert but I do use Isographs on a daily basis and I’ve had to clear blocked nibs more times than is probably good for a man’s blood pressure.

There are probably official instructions out there but this is what I do. First, a word of warning: don’t hold me responsible if you bugger up your nib. That’s really easy to do if you need to expose the core. In fact, it’s so likely that you’d ruin the pen that I’d try every alternative method including prayers to ancient goat gods before I’d remove the innards from the finer Rotring nibs.

Most of the time, I get the nib working by shaking it. This is the key with the Isographs: they work because there’s a small weighted inner core, the end of which you can usually see poking out of the tip of the nib. If you look at diagram D, that’s the exposed inner core of the nib on the left. The image shows the core from the really thick 1.00 pen so you can imagine how thin these cores get on the finer pens. Again: I’ve removed that core just to show you but don’t try it yourself on your favourite 0.25mm Rotring unless everything else fails and you’re really happy to buy a new nib!

So, start off by giving the blocked pen a good shake. I often try to get a bit of whip like action into my wrist and shake it in the direction of the barrel. Wiping the end helps as does dipping the end in some clean water. Most of the time, that’s enough to get thing going again. In fact most days this is how I begin work: by shaking the pen until I can draw a good line.

If the pen is still blocked, I move to stage 2. If I leave the Rotring unused for any length of time, I’ll have to go through Stage 2, or sometimes I’ll do it after a couple of months when it starts to become too much of a chore getting the pen going each day.

Stage 2 involves removing the barrel, taking off the ink reservoir and giving the nib a thorough clean. I bought a cheap Ultrasonic Cleaner from Maplin for this purpose. It was in the sale and cost me about £30. Unfortunately, the bloody thing stopped working after about a month and I’ll be taking it back (if I can find the bloody receipt) but it did a fantastic job on the nibs for the time it was working. So if you’re really keen about unblocking your nibs, I’d recommend an ultrasonic cleaner, though preferably one that doesn’t break after a month’s use.

With or without the ultrasonic cleaner, you need to get all the hardened and thick ink from the outside of the nib. Remove the collar (the part indicated in diagram A). If it’s stuck, you can knock out the centre of the lid and use the resulting tube to twist and remove it. However, I can usually pull it off with my fingers. Now use a damp tissue and clean all the gunk from the spiraled groove and remove any hardened ink from the top of the nip. With that done, run the whole nib under a tap and then immerse it in some warm water with a little bit of detergent for about 10 minutes or so (or give it three or four minutes in your ultrasonic cleaner). Then rinse it out, all the time giving it a good shake to get the insides rattling again. Word of warning: this is messy. I usually end up with ink all over the kitchen walls.

I can’t stress how important it is to keep shaking the nib. That’s the key with the Isograph: if it’s got a clean rattle, then it probably draws clean lines. That weighted core inside the nib needs to be loosened up before you get your pen working again.

If you still can’t get it rattling, move to stage 3 and may the Lord have mercy on your soul...

This is where you can destroy your nib and you have to be cautious. I wouldn’t advise doing this with the very fine nibs. If you look on the back side of the nib (diagram B), you’ll see a groove. You can use that to unscrew the cover from the nib (diagram C) and you then expose the end of the weighted core. Don’t take that core out unless you’re really desperate to spend money on a new nib! On the finer pens, it’s as fine as a hair and you probably won’t be able to slide it back in without bending and therefore destroying it. And you can ruin it so easily. The smallest I’ve ever removed is on my standard .35mm pen but I wouldn’t like to try it on anything finer. In fact, I did destroy a .25mm Rotring the very first time I removed a core.

Anyway, if you remove the cover, you can either rinse the insides very carefully with water, making sure not to wash out the weighted core. If you do decide to remove the core you can give everything a good clean for the absolutely best results. However, on the really fine pens, the chance of getting the core back in is so very small. Again, an ultrasonic bath gets rid of the crud really easily.

Reassemble the pen and hopefully it will be full of water. I can tell if the pen is working again by drawing on a tissue. If the pen is rattling well and you can draw with water on your piece of tissue, then you’ve successfully cleaned your pen. Reattach the ink reserve (filled with ink, of course) and try to draw something that will earn you a fortune which you can then share any kind but poor souls who took time out of their day to help you in your moment of trouble.

Good luck! And if you found this blog post useful, it has probably saved you a whole lot of time and money. If so, please consider showing your appreciation by supporting this blog with a donation. Alternatively don't. I mean, this post has been up here since 2013 and it has been read thousands upon thousands of times. And do you know how many donations I've received to say thanks? None. That's right. None! It's enough to make a man give up and join some kind of Rotring pen cult where bare chested women sit around all day blowing the ink out of blocked pen nibs... I'd do it too if I had the money, which I don't.

77 comments:

  1. I once took the core out of a 0.25mm Rotring and can offer some sage advice about getting it back in -

    Never take the core out. Never. It will bend on the way back in and it is impossible to straighten it again.

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  2. Oh lord, don't I know! As I was writing the above, I thought: I really must keep telling people never to take the core out of the finer Rotrings so I probably said it too often. It was a .25mm that I messed up doing exactly that that first time I tried to clean my pen. Pushed the core back in, pen didn't work. When I took the core out again it was twisted to hell. I even think the .35mm (my usual pen) is probably a bit tricky but I've done it two or three times now and feel more confident. Hate to think what those really fine pens are like. I have a .18 somewhere but I doubt if it could even have a core unless it's like gossamer.

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  3. Having been inspired to see if my nearly 40 year old Rotring micronorms* were in any way functional, I ended up here by chance while searching for replacement parts :s

    I'm sure 0.18s do have a core, as my 0.13 does. Well, did. No you can't get it back in. I think you mentioned that. It didn't work before I messed it up, and I haven't used it for so long that it's no great loss. But its sad that such an effective piece of engineering is no more - unless anyone knows where I can get a new nib... though that's pretty much the same as buying a new pen.

    However the 0.35 cleaned up nicely, and the 40yr old ink is flowing through it, after a fashion. I think its more the fault of the ink (somewhat separated into a pale liquid and jet black goo...). When I get some new ink I'll try it again.

    * kinda similar to the isograph, the components are slightly different shapes apart from the weighted core, which is identical

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  4. Thanks for the comment. Hope my notes helped!

    Never heard of the micronorm but then Rotring seem to be constantly evolving their pens. I tried their art pens but hated them. The isograph is about as perfect a pen as I've tried and I've tried so many. Can't believe those really fine pens have cores. Just beyond the capability of my mind to figure out how the hell they make them so fine!

    I've read that the Rotring ink is particularly sticky, which I think is half the problem. Often wondered if other inks would work but not going to risk my beloved .25 trying it.

    Good luck finding spare parts but I think a new nib off eBay would be your best bet. Nibs bought separate aren't too dear and it is crazy spending the extra just for the barrel, cap, and ink reservoir

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  5. I'm going to post this, not because it hasn't been said, but because I can't stop myself from saying it again: many years ago I stripped down a Rotring Rapidograph to give it a Jolly Good Clean and I was surprised to find the tiniest filament that ran down the inside of the nib. Imagine how I laughed as it dawned on me that's exactly how Rotrings work, and that I had just borked a very expensive pen.

    DON'T TAKE THE NIB APART.

    Having said that, I've found the Isograph so much less likely to clog than the Rapidograph was, I'm not sure why. I use Windsor & Newton black indian ink in mine, and perhaps that's less sticky than Rotring ink, although it does seem pretty viscous. I do tend to use the very smallest ones though, and I would recommend if you're going to leave them alone for a while then empty and wash them through first, because with the tiny ones, once they're blocked they tend to stay blocked. If you're lucky you can find a good cheap supplier of eBay that just sells the nib only.

    They're still fantastic to draw with though, you can't beat proper black ink.

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  6. Thanks Rich. I'm laughing because I wondered if I'd said it myself enough times: don't take the nib apart unless you want to buy a new one.

    That said, I think it's safe to take it apart to the level I suggest, that is, remove the plastic cap to reveal the weighted end of the filament. You can rinse most of the crud out by doing that but you have to keep your finger over the end to stop it falling out. Pulling out that filament risks ruining the pen. Again, in my experience, it depends on the thickness. The really thick Isograph is easy to pull apart but the finer pens, starting around the .35, you start to risk of ruining them.

    Never tried different inks, though Rotring always recommend their own which, I agree, is very sticky. I have had luck unblocking the very finest nibs but it's usually lots of rinsing, warm water, shaking, and the ultrasonic bath (when it was working). I agree, you can't beat real ink, though I've been playing with an Android drawing tablet and it's far less messy. ;)

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  7. I foolishly took the nib of a .18 Rotring Isograph apart, but chanced upon a way to get the filament back in. Hold the unit vertically (with nib pointing down), then let the filament rest inside and gently jiggle the whole unit up and down until the filament falls into position.
    Pure luck? Possibly - but it worked this time. :-)

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  8. Good luck next time! I took mine out and it was bust before I even had to slide it back in. I think it must have caught a draught of air caused by the fluttering of a butterfly's wings. Those things are delicate! However, if I ever find myself pulling one of those apart, I'll definitely use this method, after, of course, checking the room for butterflies... ;)

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  9. Thanks
    You save all my old Rapidograph!!

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  10. Hey, sooo.... I had these Rotring Isographs, brand freaking new, bought 2 years ago, and used the 0.13 and 0.35 exactly two times, then I just left them in a dark corner to rot. I always said i will clean them coz i knew that the ink will harden and I will have a hellish time cleaning them up, because I had isographs before, and the same thing happened. So after 2 years of uncleaned, hardened ink i decided to Clean them!!! yay !!! trieed eeeeverything, water, soap, alcohol, shaking( i think i shook them for about 2 hours). Also blew air inside them, and the little metal rod weight finally unblocked ( also after leaving them in hot running water for about 1 hour*).
    The problem is I think I destroyed the little wire inside by forcing the metal rod to unblock, because both of the isographs don't work. NEVER, and i mean NEVER FORCE THE METAL ROD. i was so stupid doing that.
    Im not sure if it's that or there is still hardened ink somewhere, but they are not writing.
    hope this helps!

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  11. Thank you very much for this post... It saved 3 of my rotrings and I broke one... It's because I'm to stubborn to follow instructions. "Never remove the weight". I thought, being an engineer, I'd manage. Hah!
    The first one I repaired I shook well, as advised, and the weight flew through my whole office. o.25mm... I did not try to re-assemble it afterwards. :-)
    Anyway.. loads of thanks as I did not believe I can make them work again. 3 of 'em work fantastic.

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  12. Many thanks for the comment, Oliver. It always amazes me when people find this post helpful but it fills me with inordinate pleasure to think of people the world over furiously shaking their pens after following my instructions. ;)

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  13. Does anyone know if any modern rotring nib would fit my very ancient rotring variant pen? I've tried everything but can't get it working again and I'm very attached to it......
    Thanks in advance - and thanks so much for the original post, it's really helpful

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  14. Thanks LB. Glad you liked the post.

    I'm not sure this is a great place to ask because I don't get huge traffic. There are some specialist pen forums that might have people who have the same pen. However, have you tried eBay? I just did a search and there do seem to be a few for sale.

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  15. Thanks so much - will go and have a look just now!

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  16. I can attest to this method. I went through my entire secondary school career obsessively using Isographs for all my writing and drawing. They were high-maintenance, but the perfect lines were irresistible.

    As a kid, I had to be careful not to destroy the pens, but of course they clogged constantly -- either because I had too many, and the out-of-favour pens got neglected, or perhaps because I bought successively finer Isographs.

    So over time I developed the same cleaning method, but I became far more gung-ho about removing the core. I probably did it hundreds of times, in pens ranging down to 0.2mm, and only wrecked one pen. BenS correctly writes above that gravity alone can be used to re-insert the filament into the nib: the pen must be made this way to allow assembly in the factory.

    Unused for 20 years, I still have the pens, and I think you've inspired me to look for an ultrasonic cleaner in the hope that they can be revived and brought back into use.

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  17. I have followed the steps you mentioned and my pens (0.25 - 0.5) are working again with them rattling away nicely but my problem is the ink that is being drawn through the nib is still watery (a mid grey instead of rich black). it seems the water is still in pen and was wondering how long with constant drawing it should take to become rich black again.

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  18. Sounds like you needed to shake them a little longer to get all the water out before you added the ink. I use a piece of tissue paper which draws the water out and you could probably do that now to draw out the watery ink. However, I don't think it should be a big problem. The problem is when the ink is too thick and clogs the pen. Watery will give way to normal ink pretty quickly, depending on how much water was left in the pen when you added the ink. In my experience, it doesn't last too long.

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  19. LOL. Just buy a better ultrasonic cleaner than the cheap one I bought at Maplin here in the UK. It definitely helped (until it broke) on the harder to clean pens but I think a good soaking in warm water is probably as good as anything. Oh, and lots of shaking. Lots and lots of shaking. ;)

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  20. ill try tissue paper solution. cheers :)

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  21. Nope. Had them standing on a ball of tissue for the day and still watery but not much water has been soaked up by the tissue. They write so there isn't a blockage so I'm kinda baffled. Any more suggestions?

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  22. This all sounds rather drastic to me - If you soak the blocked nib (facing downwards) in water with detergant overnight, come morning it will be as good as new. Just rinse under warm water and reassemble - no risk of breaking it.

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  23. I agree. You'll notice that I mention doing pretty much this at the beginning and most of the time a good soak followed by plenty of shaking is all that's needed. Occasionally, however, with really old nibs that haven't been used for a while, you might feel the need to go a little further.

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  24. Hi there,

    Thought I'd add a thank you and my tale.

    I just retrieved the last of my father's belongings (not a sad or unexpected event) in there were five Rotrings - he was a retired architect and I used to love his cast offs in the 70s.

    I have a cheapy ultrasonic cleaner from Aldi which is great (i've even cleaned motorcycle carburettors in it). I'd not thought of putting the pens in. As predicted they are all ticking away nicely.

    I too had the watery ink problem. It is the ink separating. After, oooh 25-odd years all four bottles have gone the same way. I managed to get Staedler ink from my local art shop, put a couple of drops in a .25 and it was dreamy. Happy days.

    Annoyingly I'd previously dismatled another .25. I would reiterate the mantra - don't take it apart. The filament is now a precision engineered corkscrew. If only I'd read this before.

    Incidentally, the Rotring site has a great history section.

    And finally, just this morning I read about this artist who Uses Rotrings to get a lovely woodblock effect http://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/apr/19/artsfeatures.art

    Thank you and goodnight

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  25. Here is some extra information and a trade secret from someone who has been selling these since they have been on the market. Never vigorously shake the .13 or .18 nibs if they are blocked. The wires inside are so fine that they bend and then break when the weight moves and the wire is stuck in the tube of the nib. A useful way to unblock after cleaning is to tap the back of the nib on the desk. This pulls on the wire rather than pushing and bending it. All of the cleaning hints read okay - especially ultrasonic cleaning. Here is the secret to putting the wire back in the nib. Trying to drop it in to place is impossible - the wire will just bend. The secret is to float it back in. You fill the nib with water and put your finger over the point. Gently slide the wire/weight in and it will float in to place. Have succeeded with .18 and above. Have never tried a .13. This will only work if the wire is still straight - if not then the nib is terminal. One last thing - don't tell rotring.

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  26. LOL. Thank you, John. Those tips are priceless and I'm glad my own advice isn't too far off the mark. I'll have to try the 'floating' trick the next time I clean my pen. ;)

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  27. Hi thanks for the tips. I tried this for the first time on my 0.10 which I believe is the thinnest you can get and bam it works again. I have to say though that he's not joking when he says its like a hair. The 0.10 is probably about a quarter of the thickness of a hair. But works a treat again now, thanks.

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  28. Slucajno sam pronasla cijelu kutiju rotring pera 8 komada ali na zalost samo dva koja nisu bila koriscena mogu da rade.Ostali ne.Molim da mi pomognete sta da uradim kad zavrsim sa crtanjem da se ne zacepe.I da li bi nekako mogla osposobiti ostale.Nemam iskustva sa ovim perima a namjeravam nesto da crtam na manencicima.
    Puno zahvaljujem
    Srdacan pozdrav

    [English translation via Google] I accidentally found a whole box of rotring pens 8 pieces but unfortunately only two that were not used can rade.Ostali ne.Molim help me what to do when I finish with a drawing that is not zacepe.I would somehow able to train others . I have no experience with this edge and something I intend to draw on manencicima .
    thank a lot
    Best regards

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  29. Wow. 0.1 is smaller than anything I've seen. Does it even leave a line on the page? ;)

    Glad the tips helped and got it working again. It's really amazing what a good shake can do.

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  30. Thanks Rosanda. Unfortunately, I can't help but I hope that somebody might be able to reply in your own language. If they do, I'll post it here...

    [Google's translation into Bosnian] Hvala Rosanda. Na žalost, ne mogu pomoći, ali nadam se da je neko mogao biti u stanju da odgovori na svom jeziku. Ako to učine, ja ću postavljati ovde ... ;)

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  31. Christine Enright17 January 2015 at 19:04

    Thank goodness for you and a spray of WD40. I have my 0.35 back! :)

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  32. So just now finished destroying my 0,25 isograph nib - well, turns out everything was invane. I even pushed the needle from outside into the thin metal nib - it didnt go inside, which means it was blocked by smth very strong.
    I must say I soaked the nib in solution of glass wash (which contains a bit of alcohol) for DAYS. So, really was hopeless from the beginning.

    But my 0,3 nib turned out to work just fine after the soaking.

    Thanks for the article and thanks for the comments - all info was really useful.

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  33. I also couldnt unscrew that black cover, thats how hard it dried to the main plastic part. Ended up tearing the top off to release the core.

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  34. Urgh! I share your pain. As the title of this piece said: ruining is often part of the pleasure of owning a Rotring. Those really fine pens are really difficult to get working. Maybe an Ultrasonic cleaner would have unlocked it but hardly work the investment for a single pen. I wonder what kind of ink you had in that to cause it block so thoroughly?

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  35. Great article, you helped to ressurrect my Isographs! I did foolishly remove the core from my 0.25, and i thought i'd lost it.... however i did manage to luckily get it back in and the pen now functions. It was a harrowing experience however not recommended, but it is possible!

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  36. Thanks Neil. Good to know the advice comes in useful. Somebody did kindly leave a tip about how to get even finer nibs back in but I'll be honest and admit that I'd not even attempting it on anything like a .25 or lower. To get that back in, you must have really steady hands, indicative of clean living and/or nerves of steel. ;)

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  37. Has anyone tried using Rotring's Cleaning Fluid For Drawing Instruments?

    http://www.rotring.com/en/leads-inks-refills/299-cleaning-fluid-for-technical-pens-4006856585803.html

    There are some positive comments on Amazon attesting to how effective the cleaner is even on Isograph pens which have been neglected for years!

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  38. I've heard about it but never used it since I've always sworn by washing up liquid. I guess it must be formulated to work with Rotring ink.

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  39. I revived isographs not used for 30 years by putting rotring solvent in the ink reservoirs, pushing them home with the nib down, and then storing them nib down for a year. I gave them a shake now and then, and now they work fine. Persevere with shaking. I started to get ink through after about 6 months, but it took a year for it to flow well.

    Tim.

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  40. Oh, I think I'll have to get myself some of that solvent. I've not used my Rotrings for over a month and I'm beginning to worry that they've turned to concrete. Thanks for the tip. ;)

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  41. If you're desperate, I think you can remove the inner nib of a .20 sized rotring then replace it correctly (done it twice on 2 rapidographs today, but be really careful). But NEVER, I say NEVER, try it with a more little size : it's just impossible with a .18 or .13 (and so on) to put back the needle kinda thing into the big nib...
    Be careful !
    Tom

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  42. I think I got lucky. I managed to get the rib back in by applying pressure on both sides: on a metal surface while pushing the other side. Managed to save my 0.5 this way. Unfortunately, the 1.0 soldier died in battle as the plastic thing (D image) snapped as I tried to unscrew it out. Oh well.

    I get a cookie, even though I am dead and full of black ink on the inside.
    Thanks :)

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  43. You do indeed. I'll put the cookie in an envelope and send it immediately. ;)

    Thanks for the tip!

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  44. Hello David,

    I 'm considering buying an Isograph, and asking myself now if this pen blocks very quickly or only after a longer period of time without the cap fixed to it?

    Thanks very much for your answer in advance and kind regards,

    John.

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  45. In my relatively limited experience, they're not too difficult to get going, even after a long period of non-use. However, it depends on how much time and effort you're willing to put into getting them going again. Leaving the top off would probably dry them out quite quickly but they're not like a felt (for example) which has an absorbent material. These are literally a empty metal barrel, largely filled by the central core, around which the ink flows. If it dried, you just need to soak, shake, and repeat.

    The plus side is that they do produce a very clean and accurate line and they're the best pens I've used for my preferred style of drawing. If you were going to leave them for a time (weeks), I'd probably thin it wise to clean them out and store them without ink. That said, my own are probably a bit dry now but I don't really worry that I won't get them going again after a good clean.

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  46. Hi, I am having a problem just removing the ink cartridge from the nib. These pens were left unmaintained in the store I just purchased. I am sure that I destroyed a brand new neb by taking it apart, not knowing what I am doing. The other pen had a tool to remove the neb but not the rotring. Any suggestions on how to remove a dried cartridge to the neb? I am soaking it and in search of a utrasonic cleaner.

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  47. Hello, is there suppose to be a part in the ink cartridge. It looks like an ink cap where you fill up the cartridge in the ones I have been able to remove the neb.

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  48. Bonnie, thanks for your question. As far as I know, the ink cartridge in my Isographs are just an empty plastic tube, slightly narrow at one end. They just push onto the nib section. If it's like mine, you can be pretty robust in cleaning them out. They just have to hold ink, so you can probably get the old crud out there with any slim tool, perhaps the end of a narrow screwdriver? To be honest, I've never had to clean mine out to that degree.

    Beyond that, I can only suggest that you soak them. You can buy a special liquid to clean the pens which apparently does a good job of getting rid of isograph ink but I usually use washing up liquid in some warm water.

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  49. Thank you for the blog. I finally able to recover all my rotoring isographs looking at the blog. The short manual which comes with the pen never say what you expect in the inside of the nib assembly once you open the screw. All it says is "Do not open". Your blog and the pictures helped me understand what I should expect inside it.
    The trick of the cleaning is just to turn the screw and make it loose enough so that water can get inside it. I didn't try to pull it open so that the internal thin wire come out. Once the water goes in, I put back the screw again and then shake and tap to bring out the black ink. Continued this process for four or five times and the internal rattle sound starts coming. This means that the internal unit is now free from the screw unit. Holding the nib downside, I could then able to take the screw unit fully out. The thin wire internal unit stays inside. Hold that under flowing water from faucet so that water can enter fully. Carefully put back the screw unit back. Do the tapping few more times and the rattle will be back up fully.

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  50. Nice blog. Thanks for helping people who are less experienced than I am at ruining isographs. My alternate method of wrecking these fine pens is by screwing the nib into the barrel too tightly. I find it really easy to do, resulting in initially a crack, then a bit looks as though it wants to split off from the body of the barrel.
    I have often tried to source a more permanent barrel, but nothing much has the same thread and barrel length to take the reservoir although a couple of cheap fountain pens came close.
    Have you ever had a problem with the barrels being too soft for constant use? What was your solution?
    Cheers,

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  51. Ah, never realised others had that problem. I've pretty much ruined every one of mine by screwing the barrel on too tightly. The caps go on so well that I think it's natural to think the barrel is equally strong. No solution except a bit of tape. I agree, though. Crappy plastic for such expensive (and otherwise good) pens.

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  52. Nice technique. I'll try that myself. I'm so afraid of removing the core that it never occurred to me to just open it enough to get some water in. I'll try it when I next need my pens which are probably now in need of a good clean.

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  53. After about 6 months non use, seeemed HOPELESSLY blocked. tried unscrewing th cap, filling this with water , and then screwing it o again - left it for abouut an hour, emptied it, gave it a good shake,and behold, all is well again. The pressure of screwing the cap transmits to the nib- seems too simple, but, worked!

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  54. Yes, they're amazingly simple mechanisms -- a metal pin with a weight on the end -- and can be unblocked if you just know the right technique. I like the opening it and putting water in the other side. I'll give it a try. I have a couple of bunged Rotrings at the moment.

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  55. I agree with rotring pen seller John (25 november 2014)
    I usually fill the kitchen sink with warm water. Ensure the nib chamber is fully clean before attempting to re-insert the wire.
    Cover tip of nib with finger and fill nib chamber with water. Hold nib vertically in one hand and with care (using other hand!) guide the wire core into nib and let it gently drop into place.
    No force required. Let gravity and displacement do its thing. :0)
    Anyone use Staedtler...?!

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  56. Thanks for the tips, Wendy. Still nervous about removing the nib but I might try next time.

    Staedtler? I've used Triplus fineliners, I think, but not often and these days I mostly do my colour work digitally. Tends not to make a mess of the curtains.

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  57. Oh the wonders of the internet! Where was this info back in the 80's when i was at school aspiring to be a comic book artist? First Variant i broke was a ,15 (no way was that filament going back in); shortly followed by a ,30(teenage hubris). Learned my lesson& thirty years later all i can say is "NEVER TAKE THE CORE OUT" :(

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  58. I've been using Rapidographs daily for the last 2 years, absolutely love them. I decided I'd give the Isographs a go so I bought a set with 3 different sizes that came with a mechanical pencil and a few other things. Anyways, my first day using the 0.35 isograph, I noticed a leak. It wasn't from the nib though (which I know is pretty common) The ink was getting all over my fingers where I gripped the pen. After further inspection, I noticed that it was coming from the area where the push on cover (brown plastic piece you've labeled in photo A) and the color coded size indicator piece meet. Somehow ink is seeping through that little crack.

    I've taken it apart numerous times, cleaned it and so forth. No luck fixing the leak. I was curious if you have ever run into this issue? It's pretty aggravating as I hadn't even gotten a days use out of it before experiencing this.

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  59. Sounds familiar. You could remove the sleeve and make sure that the spiral groove from the barrel to the nib is clean. I get ink on my hands when that's clogged. Also, you obviously can't touch the metal section as you're drawing. Beyond that, I'm not sure. If it only happens on one pen, perhaps you've got a dud.

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  60. The quickest way to drive water out of a nib after cleaning it is to blow through it. there is a hole at each end of the nib. They dry straight away.
    Has anyone tried to refill he clear plastic ink cartridge after using all the ink that is in it at purchase.? It can be done by dropping ink in one drop at a time from the small bottle. The ink can't be poured in because bubbles form to block its path & the ink just runs down your hand to waste.15 drops fill it. Can someone tell me if the pen cleaning fluid can be used to dilute ink that has become thick with age? JACKO

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  61. Don Luis de Mendoza y Quiroga31 January 2016 at 22:47

    Looking compatible Isograph Rotring inks. Which one do you recommend?

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  62. Don't know if you still check this older post but...you might want to correct the last sentence of the next to last paragraph. I'm not a Limey so I don't know if a "pool soul" is an actual bit of slang but I do believe you might have meant "poor soul". Oh...and thanks for the posting...I can affirm that taking out the core of anything under .35 is a very bad idea!

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  63. Ha! Many many thousands of reads and finally somebody spotted my deliberate mistake. I'd send you a prize if I had a prize but, instead, you can have my thanks, which now comes with 25% added gratitude.

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  64. I use rotring isograph 0.1 and 0.13. The rotring ink is great but sticky and the pens clot again and again. I tried Pelikan drawing ink, which is thinner, and this works very well with the rotring pens.
    Who has experience with diluting rotring ink?

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  65. On my 0.25 isograph, it just about rattles, but if the weight doesnt seem to be moving freely, if I push on it gently it feels like there is a spring pushing it back up. Does this mean that the nib is blocked ?

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  66. I don't get why everyone says don't take the needle core out? I got the needles back in to all my old pens just fine, including my .10, .18, &
    .25 (or at least my WIFE gets them in easily) AS LONG as they were thoroughly cleaned and she worked slowly, they slid in easily.

    My problem is with ink flow, and ink leaking out of the plastic parts when I am shaking it to get the new ink to flow in again. Or is this normal? I can never get my small mm pens working as well again. I too have problems with the India ink being too thick to flow well with my .25mm and smaller.

    Any ideas??

    Any idea why?

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  67. I have this same question! Let me know if you find anything ClintongBowers@gmail.com

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  68. It's because most people have got your wife's skill and lots of us have ruined pens by pulling out the needles.

    Are you using proper Rotring ink or some other generic Indian ink? Rotring's ink works perfectly but I've never experimented with anything else to know if it works.

    I do sometimes get ink over my fingers but it comes from that spiral where the nib enters the barrel. I always make sure to clean that part and don't let the ink build up. When it does, it can get messy. Again, though, I'd suspect you're using the wrong ink but that's just my hunch.

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  69. I've used these pens for over 30 years. To keep them flowing I've made some holes in the lid of a jam jar and keep them suspended over water. However in a dry atmosphere they still dry out if not used for a while and have to be shaken or soaked and have the spirals cleaned. Well last week I decided to wash out the cartridges as well, and two of them disappeared down the plughole! I ordered some new cartridges from ebay and they arrived today. Unlike the old ones they're full of ink and are sealed. I'll take them to the studio tomorrow and see if they fit the nibs. I don't fancy buying whole new pens if they don't. Maybe I've ordered the wrong type of cartridges?

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  70. I dug the seals out with a sharp instrument and they fit the nibs.

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  71. I have isograph rotrind 0,1 and 0,13 but 0,1 write thicker than 0,13. Does anyone have the same problem?

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  72. Can't say I have seen that problem but have you checked that the nib is clean? Nothing stuck to the tip? Using the same ink?

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  73. The nib is clean, I use rotring ink. But I came to shop and change my firsf isograph 0,1 and new isograph write as thick as previous

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  74. I just bought three iso's and the prop pencil.

    I dismantled all three completely and was appalled when i saw the thinness of the .20 core. like a thin hair as you've all said. then, i knew nothing. Just thought 'phew, better be careful getting that back in. Then put it straight back in.

    Only after that did I read all these horror stories. I'm pretty sure it's in OK. Daren't take it out in case i billy it right up. seems I'm the luckiest newb in history.

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  75. I have been using waterman ink in m'fountain pen for a while (30 years (parker)).

    Have tried that in the .20, seems fine. Now the waterman sea blue is in the .70. rOtring black in the .35 and I have cleaned out the .20 for some awaited Waterman red. As fine as it is maybe I can channel Da Vinci?

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  76. Rotring pens seem fairly robust and, if you can master the cleaning techniques, I'd guess you could use quite a wide variety of inks without too much problem.

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  77. Paul Bayliss Brown6 June 2016 at 05:39

    Massive confession here...have been using Rpens for many years to do stuff they were not designed to do and they have been briliant.....for some unknown reason to me my 0.5 and my 0.7 have decided to not deliver any ink at all...now I may be doing something bloody stupid but after thirty years of shaking, swearing, throwing and resisting the temptation to kick whilst on the floor my two most useful scribes seem truly buggered??? Many thanks for your really well worded explanation and as I use gallons of ink both in my sketching, fine line drawing and major drawings I have long worshipped the Lord Rotring....now I am going to have to go for the core remedy....any extra tips apart from the obvious "Dont take the core out"?

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