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Part 1 of Enjoying Your PILOT Fountain Pen

Different Ways to Refill

Discover the pleasure of PILOT fountain pens and their proper care: fill them with ink cartridges or converters, prime the pen for ink flow and show some love with easy maintenance.

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Paul Dovas

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Whether you have just purchased your first fountain pen, or your fiftieth in an ever-growing collection, the joy of owning a fountain pen is in the moment the nib touches the paper and ink begins to flow as you apply gentle pressure.

If, like me, you are fortunate enough to own more than one fountain pen, you will appreciate the thrill of using all your pens in some sort of rotation. I'm not organised enough to maintain a regular rotation, but there's nothing like the introduction of new PILOT iroshizuku inks to inspire a fresh rotation to try it out on.

Filling Your PILOT Fountain Pen

There are 2 main types of filling mechanisms to consider. The first and most common type is the cartridge. Ink cartridges are small, plastic containers that come full of ink and are designed to fit into the barrel of a fountain pen. PILOT pens make cartridges designed specifically for their range of fountain pens and come in an assortment of colours.

Refill With a Cartridge

To insert a PILOT ink cartridge into your PILOT fountain pen, unscrew the neck, point the nib upwards and push the cartridge into the back of the neck until you hear or feel a pop. Avoid turning the cartridge as it may not open the cartridge properly. Finally, gently squeeze the cartridge a few times to release the ink into the neck and nib.

Cartridges offer many benefits, including versatility and portability, (I always carry spare cartridges with me) but you will need a converter if you wish to explore the ever-growing world of colourful inks available, including PILOT's stunning range of iroshizuku.

Signature Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges


Reliable and well-behaved ink with a smooth flow, offered in a convenient refill option designed for PILOT fountain pens.

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Refill With a Converter

Converters are inserted into a fountain pen the same way cartridges are, but they are inserted empty so that you can draw ink into the converter by placing the fountain pen neck into an ink bottle. The converter will come with a mechanism designed to draw the ink into the pen.

Rotary Converters

For PILOT Rotary Converters (CON-40), rotate the knob to the left to release any excess ink in the pen. Careful as this may splash the ink everywhere. Wipe off the ink of the nib and dip the neck, nib down until the section is immersed in ink. Turn the knob to the right to draw in the ink.

Prera Fountain and CON-40 Converter

Rotary Converter for PILOT Fountain Pens


The PILOT Converter 40 features agitator beads inside the ink reservoir which help maintain a steady ink flow. To draw ink out of the bottle simply twist the top of the converter.

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Push-type Converters

Push-button Converters (CON-70) are inserted and prepared the same way, however they are immersed into the ink bottle upright and the knob is pushed 5 to 6 times to fill the converter.

Explorer Fountain Pen and CON-70 Converter

Clean the neck and nib once it has been filled and always take care when lowering the nib into an ink bottle. PILOT's iroshizuku range of fountain pen inks come with a dimple on the bottom of the bottle to rest the nib on.

Push Button Converter for PILOT Fountain Pens


The PILOT Converter 70 utilises a push button function where you can draw the ink out of the bottle, very simple to use!

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First Time Users

If you are using a fountain pen for the first time, it's important to prime the pen before you commence writing so that you can encourage ink flow.

If you are using a cartridge, squeeze the cartridge a few times until the ink appears on the tip.

Kakuno Fountain Pen and IC-50 Cartridge

If you are using a converter, draw some ink and flush it a few times so that you establish ink flow that way.

MR Fountain Pen and CON-B Converter

Sometimes a fountain pen will require some additional encouragement to get the ink flowing. In that case, cover the nib with a paper towel and gently shake the pen a few times. Repeat the process if you find that your pen's ink flow is erratic.

Refilling your Capless

The PILOT Capless, also known as the Vanishing Point in the US market (VP for short), sets itself apart with its clean lines and unique retractable nib mechanism. An in-house manufactured 18K gold nib, integrated with an innovative modular design, offers convenience without sacrificing elegance including an easy way to refill!

Next in this series

Refilling Your PILOT Capless Fountain Pen

With a unique retractable nib mechanism, changing ink colours in your fountain pen has never been this easy! Explore different inks with the Rotary Converter (CON-40) or refill on-the-go with a PILOT Ink Cartridge.

Learn More

Maintaining your Fountain Pen

Maintaining your fountain pens in a decent condition doesn't require you to be a pen technician, it simply needs you to apply some tender love and care by keeping your pens clean after prolonged periods of usage.

Next in this series

Enjoying Your PILOT Fountain Pen - Cleaning & Maintenance

Keep your fountain pen in great condition with these simple care tips from Paul Dovas: flush the nib regularly, soak it in cold water, and use a gentle touch – it's all about keeping your cherished pen in top shape for smooth, enjoyable writing.

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About Author

Paul Dovas

Paul has been obsessed with writing instruments for over 30 years. In this time, he has bought, sold, found, lost, ruined and written about every aspect of collecting pens and pencils. While he doesn't like to play favourites, he is the first to admit that Japanese writing instruments hold a soft spot in his crowded heart, with his favourite being the next when he buys.

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