The Hunt for a Rollerball Compatible with Fountain Pen Ink

So lately, I have been looking around for the perfect fountain pen ink compatible refillable rollerball pen. No, I have not been brainwashed or kidnapped and forced to write the previous sentence. I usually rely on three or four pens when I write notes for school, one handling the bulk of the writing and the others to emphasize certain parts. The other pens usually don’t get much use and are usually filled with some eye popping colours, so drying out is a serious concern as they may lay filled for over a month or more. As much as I love fountain pens, leaving them filled for as long as I do should be avoided.

Although I have an excellent Platinum #3776 Century that handles being left filled for extended periods of time, I was hoping for a solution that would allow me to leave the pen uncapped and sitting on my desk for ten minutes at a time. The best tool for the job here is an ink rollerball, so much to the horror of some of my fountain pen wielding friends, my search begins.

I have a few requirements for my search

  • Must be able to be refilled with fountain pen ink
  • Must be tolerant to abusive treatment, like being left out unused for periods of time
  • Preferably under $10, as it isn’t being used much

After some research, I have a few candidates!

Noodler’s Rollerball

I bought one of these ebonite fed rollerballs when I purchased my first fountain pen. I have a serious love/hate relationship with this pen. It burps ink like a baby after dinner, the tips tend to be squeaky, and replacement tips are no longer sold.  After watching a video on Nathan’s YouTube channel showing how to repurpose an old rollerball refill for the pen, I felt a bit inspired to give the Noodler’s Rollerball another shot. It was tossed aside after it burped some Baystate Blue on the carpet a few years ago, but I have pulled it out of retirement (and into the ultrasonic cleaner) to give it another go.

Pilot Hi-Tecpoint Cartridge System

One of my favourite pens from my pre-fountain pen days, I was quite pleased to hear that the new Cartridge System pens use Pilot’s standard fountain pen cartridges. The ink appears to be a special formulation designed for the Hi-Tecpoints, as there is a big warning to not use these cartridges with fountain pen ink. I’ve read a few blog posts from Pen Addict and Cult Pens regarding the use of fountain pen inks and have decided to give it a shot. I bought a V5 and a V7 to experiment with from Jet Pens. Being a bit cheap a student, I’m in the middle of blitzing through the original ink that came with the pen. I do have high hopes for this experiment.

Mont Blanc Rollerball Refill

Once upon a time, I supported Big Idea Design’s Titanium Pen project on Kickstarter because the pen is compatible with a mind boggling variety of rollerball and gel pen refills. Since they haven’t designed a fountain pen yet, the Ti Pen has been collecting a bit of dust on my desk.

I recently stumbled across a video on YouTube showing how to refill an empty Mont Blanc Rollerball Refill with fountain pen ink. While this is supposed to work on any old rollerball refill, I keep hearing how smooth Mont Blancs are supposed to be and there is a Mont Blanc boutique near the University of Toronto St. George campus. So after sticking out like a sore thumb, I walked out with a pair of rollerball refills and a surprisingly reasonably priced bottle of Mont Blanc Royal Blue fountain pen ink. Unfortunately, my Ti Pen was a dud from the factory and destroyed the first refill. Now that I have the replacement parts from Big Idea Design, I have been playing around with the broken refill trying to figure out the best way to open up the back cap. Looks like a pair of pliers will be my friend on this project.

There are some others that I should probably try, but have yet to actually purchase, mostly due to cost. These include the Kaweco Sport Ink Roller and the Monteverde Ink-balls. If my current experiments fail miserably, these may be the next stop. Stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “The Hunt for a Rollerball Compatible with Fountain Pen Ink”

  1. While I have not tried the other two, my vote is for the Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint. After writing the review for the Pen Addict, I converted the Hi-Techpoint to an eyedropper. I’m really pleased with the results and looking to fill it up again soon. I am interested in how you have been getting along in your experiments since this post.

    1. Nice to know the Hi-Tecpoint works as an eyedropper. I probably will go with a cartridge because I have really warm hands that causes all sorts of ink leaking with eyedroppers.

      Hopefully I’ll have a proper update in a few weeks, but so far the Noodler’s Rollerball does not play well with Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper.

  2. I’ve had a good experience with the Stipula Speedball. Its available on number of models. I used the Passaporto Speedball as an eyedropper and it worked well.

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