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These are good products as expected from Pilot. I use these rather than the bladder ink tube supplied with the pens because I can clearly see ink level and plan when to refill. I specially like the stirring beads inside. I have 3 metropolitan and bought this set for them. I'm glad these are option and not unnecessarily adding on to the pens cost, because I understand others might be only wanting to use ink cartridges. For people who would like to fill their own ink, these work best.
Very hard time trying to get the tube to fill up with ink. You spend more time screwing and unscrewing just so that you can get half the tube filled with ink, not to mention now your finger tips become black and messy. So you have to keep refilling it every two days depending on how much you write
Some things to consider before selecting these converters.
#1 This converter works with Pilot and Namiki fountain pens. It may work with others, but it's probably better to select one from your pen's manufacturer. My Lamy pen has a different converter and this one does not fit it.
#2 Converters take a little bit of skill to use without making a mess. I think it's something most people will learn quickly, but not everyone wants to deal with it. There I times when I prefer the convenience of a cartridge so that I can just pop off the empty and slide a new one in place.
Hint for first timers: practice with water first. Instead of having to (potentially) deal with a mess from ink, get the feel of it using water and then switch to ink.
#3 The converter probably won't fill completely on the first try, so you won't have as much ink as you think you do.
This is what I do to fill a converter. --Prepare the converter by screwing it counterclockwise to expel most of the air. --Open the pen by unscrewing the body from the nib. --If there is a cartridge in the pen, remove it. --Attach the nib by sliding the converter into place until it feels secure. --Open a bottle of ink and dip the nib into the ink. Not going too deep helps with cleanup. The depth is a something to learn by practice. --Turn the knob on the converter clockwise to pull ink into the converter. I seem to get a better fill by turning slowly. --When the converter plunger stops, remove the nib from the ink and rotate it up. Expel air from the cylinder by rotating the converter knob counterclockwise. --Fill with additional ink until full. I rarely need to repeat more than once. --Put lid back on ink, assemble pen and enjoy.
I like the flexibility that converters offer with being able to use different inks. I like having something that I can reuse, although I also reuse cartridges. I like my cheap Pilot Metropolitan pens and these converters are perfect for them. The photographs show a cartridge, squeeze converter, this converter and a Pilot Parallel nib from the side and end. The nib has an interior concentric plastic piece that the converter or cartridge fit over. It's what punctures the cartridge to let the ink flow, but it also helps hold the cartridge or converter in place.
Nobody is in love with these converters, but they are better than the squeeze converters that come with Pilot Metropolitan pens because you can see how much ink you have left. It is very hard to fill the Con-40 with ink because the suction mechanism doesn’t draw much ink into the converter. The converter has tiny ball bearings, and maybe these interfere. All my frustration (and inky fingers) went away by using a blunt syringe to fill the converters. I like this better than refilling an empty cartridge because I can twist the converter cap to give the ink a nudge when it’s getting low.
Its always unfortunate when manufacturers won't use an international standard, but you can't fault Pilot for the quality of the converters. They work perfectly in Pilot pens and are truly a great upgrade for anyone using the cheap, but otherwise fantastic, Metropolitan fountain pen. This converter is a great upgrade to the serviceable dropper style making refills much easier. Further, the increased capacity means you won't be filling as often if you are using bottled inks.