About our Piston Demonstrator Pens
Our Piston Demonstrator pens let you see how a fountain pen works, allowing the artist to view the medium and how much remains. Demonstrator pens are also designed to let you use popular drawing nibs — especially dip nibs — and not bother to dip the nib.
Demonstrator Fountain Pens are also very attractive.
The Ackerman Piston Filing Demonstrator Fountain pen is a clear fountain pen with a piston filling mechanism and your favorite large drawing nib. This pen measures 5.25" (13.5 cm) uncapped and 5.5" (14 cm) capped. You can't post this pen (put the cap on the back) because of the piston turn knob.
Great for sketching in the field and in the studio. Beautiful pen to handle. Crystal clear.
We sell three versions of this pen:
- Brause Rose Piston Filler
- Manga G Zebra Piston Filler
- Sketch Nib Piston Filler
The Anatomy of a Piston Demonstrator Pen
There are four pieces to the piston filling mechanism. You must disassemble and reassemble all four pieces.
There are two sets of threads for the piston, and they turn in opposite directions. Do not force anything. You are dealing with thin plastic in small parts. Instead, follow these three steps:
- Remove the piston
- Clean the pen.
- Reinsert the piston
The Benefits of Piston Demos
- Use any ink — even India — or paint
- Large-capacity ink reservoir
- Keep your eye on the remaining volume<
- Draw all day and don't run out
- Easy to clean
- Replace the nib easily
- Designed to hold the most popular large drawing nibs
Other Nibs You Can Use
- Brause Rose nibs, including Bandzug and Ornamental
- Gillott 303 — using our adapters
- Hunt Drawing nibs, including the 22B, 56, and 101
- Manga G nibs, including Nikko, Tachikawa, and Zebra
Piston fillers are handy pens - no need to change cartridges when you run out or fill a converter, which can be awkward. Stick the nib into the medium and suck it up by twisting the piston knob.
The only problem is that ink (or paint) can collect inside the reservoir, plugging up the pen or wearing down the piston seals. But that's not a problem with an Ackerman pen. Disassemble the back of the pen to remove the piston and clean the reservoir.
Since the Demonstrator is a clear pen, you can usually see what's wrong from the outside. You can disassemble the pen to clean the insides of the pen and replace the piston seals. In most cases, the seals should last the life of your pen. The seals can wear down when ink dries in the reservoir and you continually drive the piston over the rough spot.
Solution: Leave your Demonstrator pen filled with ink, or empty the pen and flush it clean. This prevents ink and paint from drying out inside the pen.
Removing the Piston
To remove the piston, start by turning the knob at the back of the pen in a counter-clockwise direction to unscrew it from the back of the pen. There will be a bit of clicking towards the end. Don't worry and don't rush. Just click your way through until the knob is free.
Pull out the tube. You might have to spin it off the piston stem.
Remove the plastic piece secured in the back of the pen, which should now be exposed. Take the little wrench and pass the fork around the base of the plastic piece. Jiggle the wrench until it seats correctly.
There are flat sides (detents) on either side of the plastic piece that are designed to be gripped by the fork. Turn the wrench in a clockwise direction. Be careful! The plastic is soft. If you strip the detents, you can use pliers if you're careful. You can also use hand pressure if you get a good grip. It's best to start with the wrench.
- Spin out the plastic piece.
- Slide out the piston.
- Arrange the pen parts so you can reassemble the pen easily.
You can now clean the inside of the reservoir and replace the seals on the piston.
To remove the piston seals, work each seal off the piston. You can roll the seal out of the notch. You can also use a pick to lift the edge of the seal to get it started. A toothpick is good. Try to keep the seal intact and for future use.
These are DASH size # seals, made from silicone, are usually available at most well-stocked hardware stores. You can order softer seals online at McMaster-Carr or a similar industrial supply business. Or, you can use harder seals if you want to.
To apply the new seals, roll one onto the piston and work it to be back notch. Then, roll on the second one for the front notch.
Cleaning Your Pen
To clean your pen, first remove the nib and feeds from the front. Then, remove the piston from the rear. Run warm water through the body. Use a diluted solution of soap to remove any stains or ink stuck to the sides of the reservoir. Don’t use a brush unless you want to risk scratching the inside walls of the reservoir. You can use a Q tip dipped in soapy water to try and remove dried ink.
Reinserting the Piston
To reassemble, reverse the steps for removing the piston. Begin by sliding the piston into the pen body. Then, screw in the plastic piece. Make sure the stem of the piston slides into the slot in the piece.
Use the tool to seat the plastic piece. Just give it a short quick movement over 10 to 15 degrees, and you should feel the plastic piece seat. Give it another short movement, and that's it!
If you don't seat the plastic piece correctly, it will start to spin out when you spin the knob back on. If this happens, reseat the plastic piece using the wrench and keep tightening it until you're sure it won't tighten any more without damage to the pen.
If the wrench slips and no longer grips the plastic piece, gently use pliers.
Slide the tube onto the piston shaft. You might have to guide the tip through a slot in the plastic thing. Spin the tube to grab the piston shaft. Make sure you can slide the piston back and forth. Push the piston all the way into the pen.
Screw the knob back onto the plastic piece using a clockwise direction. Keep spinning until the knob starts to bind. It should pull the piston back towards the rear of the pen. Keep turning the knob until it is flush with the back of the pen. You should feel several clicks.
These are handy pens built to last. Each pen is delivered in a charming metal box you can use to store the pen safely.