Technique Tuesday: Refilling a Pilot V Ball Pen

I’m pretty addicted to Noodler’s ink. It’s great for sketching and I really like the nice black line I get with it. One of my friends is not a fan of fountain pens. Noodler’s makes a roller ball that is really nice. I wanted to see if I could refill a variety of the pens I’ve got around the house that are half full or almost dead.

It turns out that refilling the pens with liquid ink is super easy. You’ll need the following:

  • A nearly empty liquid ink pen like a pilot V Ball, precise V or the like
  • A small knife or screw driver with a thin tip
  • Syringe
  • Q-tip
  • Rag
  • Ink of your choice, Noodler’s Bullet Proof Black is my ink of choice as I’ve had success

First open the pen up, you’ll notice that the part that the roller ball is attached to is plastic and slid into the body of the pen. You want to slide your knife between the plastic body of the pen and the black plastic of the tip. The black plastic thing is technically called the feed.

Gently and carefully pry the feed out of the body. It will click as it releases. After it releases you should be able to simply pull it from the body of the pen. You’ll have a plastic ridged feed probably loaded with ink. Put this into a cup of water, don’t let it dry out. Now head to the sink and clean the residual ink from the body. I used a syringe full of water to spray all the ink out.

Use a q-tip to dry the body of the pen. I use a small syringe intended for use on animals to refill fountain pen cartridges. I used this to measure 1.5ml into the body of the pen. Some pens only hold 1ml of ink. The B ball extra fine that I refilled held 1.5ml.

Once filled with ink you need to gently press the feed and tip back into the body of the pen. Don’t put pressure on the tip of the pen otherwise you’ll break the tip or make it scratchy. You’ll be able to see that the feed is pressed back into the body and hear it click in place. Some pens take more pressure to press the feed back in than others. DO NOT try to use the cap to press the feed back into place you’ll end up damaging the tip of your pen, leaving you with a scratchy pen.

Wipe up any ink that may have worked its way out of the feed and to the tip of the pen with your rag. Test your pen out on scrap paper. I’ve read a few articles online that suggest you can get around 10 refills into a pen before the roller balls give up and won’t work any longer. I think that the mileage will vary according to the brand of pen.

Let me know if you try this and how it works for you!