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Gel Insert For Zebra 701 Story...

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by lowes48, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

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    Hey Guys,

    Just wanted to post to let everyone know that IT IS POSSIBLE TO INSTALL A GEL INSERT INTO A ZEBRA 701! Sorry but no pics yet so I’ll try to explain the install as best I can. Now, on with the story…

    While I was busy minding my own business at work today I felt the need to go raid the supply cabinet to freshen up my hoard of goodies in my cube. While at said supply cabinet I noticed our admin had stocked some new pens so I figured I would swipe a couple. When I got back to my desk I automatically disassembled one of the pens with the hope that the insert would work with little modification in my new Zebra 701. I really like the Zebra 701 pen, (modded with Zebra 402 parts and a Fisher Space Pen insert to make it super cool, all metal, and bad :censored:!), but the crappy ball point sucks and even with a Fisher SP insert I still don’t care for the way the pen writes. I also have a Benchmade 1100 which I modded with a Pilot G2 insert and it gets most of the writing chores now due to its new gel insert. I hate to think it, but when I get a gel insert installed in the Zebra the ‘ol $100.00 “Tacticool” Benchmade may take a backseat to a $10.00 pen! But I digress…

    Anyway I open up the pen, which by the way is a UNIBALL JETSTREAM with a 0.7 blue insert installed. After a test fit of the insert to the pen body it seemed like it might just work! Others I have tried were all too big to fit into the body of the 701. But all is not roses just yet - there is a “boss” near the tip of the insert that the spring rests against and it’s too large to fit into the screw-in cap (pen tip?), at the end of the 701 pen. (Sorry if my laymen’s terms for the pen parts aren’t correct!)

    So now I have to figure out a way to remove the boss from the insert so it will easily fit into all parts of the Zebra. I pried the insert apart; the boss is part of the lower part of the 2 piece insert. While apart from the rest of the insert I was able to study the lower section to figure out what the next step would be. I decided to remove the boss by using my pocket knife (Benchmite II which IMO is awesome for pocket carry!), and cut the boss into 4 sections that I then folded down away from the insert like “petals” on a flower. With the petals folded down I was able to trim them away from the insert with the Benchmite making for a clean lower section now void of the boss. After I cut away the petals I joined the top and bottom sections of the insert together just like it came apart.

    It was about this time that I noticed a big blob of blue on my right palm… It seems that taking the insert apart disturbs the ink inside in some fashion and the lovely blue ink carried inside was now coming out of the top the insert! After a lengthy cleanup I still needed to trim the insert to the same size as the stock Zebra. This step was done very carefully to keep the precious blue ink where it was supposed to be instead of all over my hands and desktop! After the trimming was complete the cap was installed back onto the top of the modded Uni insert and a test fit was in order! Everything went together like it came from the factory that way (can’t see the butcher-job cuts on the insert while it’s installed!), and the pen functioned fine!

    Everything seemed to be OK but I noticed that there was a void in the insert where the ink wasn’t completely all the way down to the tip. I took the assembly apart again to find that the aforementioned big blob of blue was pretty much ALL the ink the insert had in it and now after all my hard work there was little to no ink available in the insert and the fine writing it had done in its short life would soon come to an end! With both the writing tip and the cap from the top removed, I was able to blow through the insert with my mouth (Careful to not get anymore ink on me!), so I’m sure the insert would have gave up the ghost very soon.

    So now what? The next step will be to pimp another insert, but this time I’ll do it at home where I can be a bit more precise. My plan is to grind the boss on the Uni insert with my Dremel tool until the insert fits into the pen tip without binding. This way I won’t have to remove the lower portion of the insert which was the biggest hassle in the first mod, and the spring will still have a “shoulder” to rest on. After the boss is removed all that will be left to do is to shorten the insert to the same length as the Zebra, and from a preliminary look it seems like the ink doesn’t go up as far as where the tube will be cut so I should be OK there as well. I’ll let you guys know how it goes and I should be able to snap some pics as well to help detail what needs to happen for this mod to work.

    While far from being a simple drop-in mod, the exercise will be worth it to me due to the fact that I hate ball point inserts so much, but others may not be interested due to the amount of work involved and the potential for messy blue, black, or red “accidents”. I’ll let you guys know how it went when I finish it up this weekend! And if this inspires anyone else to post a 701 gel insert mod or try to do one themselves, please post your results as well.
     
  2. Dozer

    Dozer Loaded Pockets

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    I will have to try this as the jetstream's ink is my favorite but I love the 701 body. Thanks
     
  3. freedoom

    freedoom Loaded Pockets

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    Sweet, i have 2 modded f-701s. one with fisher ink and one with zebra ink. i'm going to have to change the zebra one to the gel ink. thank you.
     
  4. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

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    And Now For The Rest Of The Story...

    OK Guys,

    Here is the finished mod with pics included. Didn't take long at all and the finished product is definitely worth the effort to me! And I couldn't resist taking a few shots of the Zebra 701 with a few of my knives and watches. Enjoy!

    Zebra 701 w/402 top mod and the donor Uniball Jetstream.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0361.jpg[/img]

    Stock Zebra insert and the Uni insert.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0362.jpg[/img]

    Detailed pic of the "boss" on the Uni insert.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0363.jpg[/img]

    This pic shows why the boss needs to be removed; it won't fit!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0364.jpg[/img]

    The trusty Dremel tool w/ sanding drum attached.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0365.jpg[/img]

    Just turned the insert against the sanding drum removing material slowly.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0366.jpg[/img]

    Finished product!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0368.jpg[/img]

    Comparison shot of a stock Uni insert vs. the modded insert.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0369.jpg[/img]

    Remember to remove the plastic spacer from the tip of the 701!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0370.jpg[/img]

    Cut the Uni insert the same size as the Zebra and reuse the Zebra cap.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0371.jpg[/img]

    Some ink will come out when the Zebra cap is inserted, but not much.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0374.jpg[/img]

    Ready to assemble with the Zebra spring installed on the Uni insert.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0375.jpg[/img]

    The spring looks too long mounted to the Uni insert but it works fine!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0377.jpg[/img]

    Pic of the writing tip with the Uni insert installed!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0378.jpg[/img]

    Sample of the stock vs. Uni end results.
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0379.jpg[/img]

    Just a few pics of the Zebra and his new friends. I like old Benchmades!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0381.jpg[/img]

    And old Surefires!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0383.jpg[/img]

    And old Rolexes! (Not vintage but with a few years on them!)
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0384.jpg[/img]

    And a tough-as-nails Casio Pathfinder for weekend duty!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0385.jpg[/img]

    With a custom fixed blade for the occasional deer carcass!
    [img width=640 height=480]http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk4/lowes48_photo/IMG_0386.jpg[/img]
     
  5. freedoom

    freedoom Loaded Pockets

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    thanks for the writeup.
     
  6. freedoom

    freedoom Loaded Pockets

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    Re: And Now For The Rest Of The Story...

    I love that benchmade, what model is it? please tell me they still make it or is commonly available on ebay.
     
  7. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks Freedom,

    The knife is a model 690 and I don't think BM still makes it. I'm sure you could find one on eBay or some of the dedicated knife forums. I would assume it would be in the $200.00 range, but I could be off on my estimate. I really like this one for a dressier casual outting, and even non knife/gadget people appreciate it's design and great looks!
     
  8. freedoom

    freedoom Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the quick reply. there's one on ebay with a sweet white handle for almost $300. can't justify that right now but the white is really nice.
     
  9. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

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    Hey Freedom,

    I just checked BM's website and they do still offer it! One like mine for $190.00 and black coated blade versions for $210.00. Get one if you can!
     
  10. freedoom

    freedoom Loaded Pockets

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    all i see under the knife is "discontinued consult your dealer" :(

    edit: their dealer list shows target master as one of their dealers close by, i have no idea why it never occurred to me to go there for sharp things. probably because i'm not a gun person.
     
  11. ferretkingdom

    ferretkingdom Empty Pockets

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    How exactly does one go about getting the plastic insert out of the inside of the tip? I have not been able to find any way to pull it out yet. :( I hate the refill in there. I wanted to put a gel refill in there, and then I saw this post. The JetStream is one of my favorite pens!
     
  12. jarguez

    jarguez Loaded Pockets

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    I would have liked to see these photographs but they have been deleted, hopefully the author returned to the place. Thanks anyway.
     
  13. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I used a safety pin, if memory serves, to pop mine out. A paper clip or any equally thin bit of metal can be used.

    -Trevor
     
  14. lowes48

    lowes48 Loaded Pockets

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    UPDATE - Since posting this I have found that Zebra gel inserts can be used in the 701 very easily. Just cut them down to the same size as the stock insert, insert the cap from the stock insert, fit the stock spring, and there you go! I've been using these for a good while and have had great results, save for the ink running out rather quickly due to the small diameter of the plastic tube. Sorry no pics, and sorry for the originals going down!
     
  15. rickinFL

    rickinFL Loaded Pockets

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