Tip for Rapidograph users.

May 7, 2012

I broke my brand new .13 rapidograph pen.

The .13 makes the smallest width of line from Rapidograph. When I was in the middle of IT’S YOU, NOT ME, I realized I needed a pen that could detail and corner text beyond what my .25 could do. I was very excited to get it in the mail and was very happy with its detailing ability (which can be seen in the vertical stripes in the shirt of You Germ: D).

These pens get clogged and you’re need to clean them often…When you do, you’re supposed to use a special cleaning kit that they suggest, so that you don’t have to take the whole pen apart and risk damaging the nibs.

I bought a set years ago, and I’ve only lost one of them by ignoring this suggestion and taking them apart myself to clean (and that time I had accidentally left the ink to dry for over 6 months – which is unusual). But I think I’ve just been lucky.

The nib has three parts. #1 is the tip that touches the paper. #2 (which is a little hard to see) is the part that holds #3 into #1.

#3 has a fine wire that runs through #1 and lets the ink seep down through #1 in some sort of capillary action. It’s the most fragile part of the entire pen, and when that tiny wire breaks, you don’t have a working pen.
The wire that I broke on the .13 is hair-thin. I couldn’t even locate it in my photograph, except for when I looked for it on the actual napkin. In fact, even to the naked eye, it’s hard to see.
I’ve ordered a new tip from Blick, so I should be able to resume work on the You Germ series in a couple of days.
So here’s my tip: USE THE CLEANING KIT THAT THEY SUGGEST
Those nibs are expensive (up to 23 bucks a pop). If you do it yourself, you’re asking for a larger headache (and bill) than the original $22 for the cleaning kit.
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