[RRE]cheap pens

From: Phil Agre (pagreat_private)
Date: Mon May 05 2003 - 13:13:17 PDT

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    [Long-time readers will remember that I wrote several commentaries on
    cheap pens for RRE.  These can be found here:
    This page has caused me to meet many interesting people, one of whom
    recently sent me the commentary that I enclose.]
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    Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 19:08:15 +0000
    From: djhodgesat_private
    Subject: Cheap pens: Pilot V rollerballs
    I read your 'commentaries on cheap pens' with interest and - as a 
    fellow cheap pen afficionado - I thought you might like a few of my 
    comments. I'm concentrating here on the Pilot V models.
    1.1 As you say, the Pilot V (visible ink supply) models were the first 
    liquid ink rollerball pens on the market, that is to say pens with an 
    'ink tank' rather than a fibre wad soaked in ink.
    1.2 The Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 (Precise V5 in the US) was the original 
    model, introduced in 1987. The wider Hi-Tecpoint V7 (Precise V7) 
    followed a year later in 1988, and the conical tip V-Ball 05/07 in 1993.
    1.3 All V pens (and all other liquid ink rollerball pens) rely on a 
    combination of gravity and capillary action to feed ink to the writing 
    point. They do not use compressed gas or other fancy technology. [The 
    only pen that does use compressed gas is the Fisher Space Pen - a 
    viscous ink ballpen that isn't cheap. Gel pens all use gravity feed and 
    a thixotropic ink than shears and goes runny with the action of the 
    ball - like non-drip paint].
    1.4 Provided the caps are properly fitted (see 7.2), V pens don't 
    appear to dry out in storage. They have a long shelf life.
    2 PILOT HI-TECPOINT V5 (Precise V5 in US)
    2.1 This is one of my favourites because I have small writing and a 
    light touch. It wouldn't suit everyone - heavy pressers would find it 
    scratchy and might bend the stainless steel needle tip.
    2.2 16 years on, Pilot never has cured the rub-off paint of the V5 (and 
    V7). After you've used the pens for a few weeks, the barrel finish rubs 
    off, bit by bit. In a strange sort of way this is part of the appeal.
    2.3 The ink characteristics are different for the blue and black V5s. 
    The blue is richly-coloured, free-flowing and highly penetrative - good 
    for hard, low-absorbance paper but can soak right though thin paper. 
    The black is the opposite - great for thin paper but less good for hard 
    paper. The black is more water resistant and lightfast than the blue. 
    I've also had problems with the tips of black V5s getting clogged on 
    thermal and photocopier paper, but no such problems with the 
    freer-flowing blues.
    2.4 Red, green, turquoise and purple inks all seem too anaemic for the 
    V5's fine line.
    3 PILOT HI-TECPOINT V7 (Precise V7 in US)
    3.1 This is smoother than the V5 and a better choice for hard pressers 
    with big writing. I find the point to broad, but that's just me.
    3.2 V7 blue ink is the same as V5 ink and is probably too penetrative 
    for the wider point. V7 black is a different formulation to V5 black - 
    it's slightly thicker and suits the V7 well. I've never experienced 
    flow or tip-clogging problems with the V7.
    3.3 V7 reds and greens produce satisfyingly bold lines.
    4 PILOT HI-TECPOINT V2000 0.5 & 0.7
    4.1 These are updates of the V5 and V7 and were introduced in 2000. 
    They have identical writing tips and inks, but are bigger and thicker 
    with more ink capacity.
    4.2 V2000s have excellent rubber grips - maybe too thick for some - but 
    this takes away some of the entertainment because you can no longer see 
    the ink move in and out of the collector (the finned part between the 
    ink tank and the writing point).
    4.3 Unlike the V5/V7, V2000 paint doesn't rub off the barrel, so the 
    pen stays looking smarter for longer. It seems to be the same finish as 
    the V-Ball.
    4.4 The V2000 cap is small, so unlike the V5/V7/V-Ball you can't use it 
    as a handy straight-edge.
    5 PILOT V-BALL 05
    5.1 V-Balls have a conical writing tip that's near-indestructible. Ink 
    laydown is excellent but arguably a little less precise than the 
    Hi-Tecpoints. The V-Ball 05s are scratchier than the V5s, too.
    5.2 V-Ball 05 blue ink is thicker, less penetrative and more lightfast 
    that V5 blue. V-Ball 05 black is the same as V7 black and the pen is 
    less susceptible to clogging than the V5 black.
    5.3 Red, green and other V-Ball 05 colours give bold, clear lines.
    5.4 V-Ball 05 pens have abrasion-resistant barrels with round ends and 
    silver print.
    5.5 The V-Ball 05 View pigment version (see 8.1) is available in blue 
    and black and flows well.
    6 PILOT V-BALL 07
    6.1 The V-Ball 07 is identical to the V-Ball 05 except that it has gold 
    print and a wider writing point.
    6.2 V-Ball 07 blue ink is the same as V-Ball 05 blue ink, but V-Ball 07 
    black is thinner, more penetrative and more free-flowing than V-Ball 05 
    black. It writes with a very thick line which makes it ideal for 
    signatures, &c.
    6.3 There are no clogging problems with the V-Ball 07.
    6.4  V-Ball red flows and lays well. There are no other colours, except 
    in the View 07 pigment version, which is available in a variety of 
    highlighter colours.
    7 PILOT V-BALL GRIP 05 & 07
    7.1 The V-Ball Grips use the same writing points and inks as the V-Ball 
    05 and 07 in newer, curvier, silver-plastic bodies with ergonomic 
    rubber grips.
    7.2 There's a design fault with the Grip's caps. They click on firmly 
    but click off far too easily. I've had one come off in my pocket and 
    ruin my shirt.
    8 INK
    8.1 Most Pilot V pens use dye based ink which is affected to a greater 
    or less extent by light and water. If you get it on your clothes you 
    can (with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the colour)) wash 
    it out. But the V-Ball View pens - which look just like the 
    conventional V-Balls except for a pale blue cap and barrel, regardless 
    of ink colour - use a pigment ink. Instead of a dye, this ink uses a 
    suspension finely-divided particles to get its colour. Once dry, it's 
    completely waterproof, lightfast and indelible. You'll never shift it 
    in the washing machine. [Uniball Eye pens and several gel pens like the 
    Sakura Gelly Roll and the Zebra J-Roller also use pigment ink].
    Best regards,
    David Hodges
    Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

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