1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Need a good, inexpensive pen

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by azranger, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. ac7ss
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ac7ss Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    2,442
    Likes Received:
    2,788
    I use one when I want ball point, (I use Fisher fills)

    I like the Parker mechanism, and the Fisher writes very smoothly.

    (Going to a FP for the logs at work now.)
     
  2. Seed808

    Seed808 Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    You know I think you guys are driving up the prices for the F-701's! They are almost $8.50 now where I'm at. Walmart use to carry them but im not seeing them anymore. Only at office depot.

    Im hearing that TSA is catching onto the whole tactical pen as well. From a legal standpoint id much rather carry the 701 vs any tactical pen. If anything were to happen and I would have to use it, im thinking if im walking around with a pen made by Smith and Wesson, GLOCK, UZI etc.... they could twist it and say I was expecting to look for trouble. 701 is just a "pen". Not considered "tactical".

    I think it matters especially in a state where I live, where it is illegal to carry a gun on your person for self defense reasons.

    Definitely love the 701s. Fave pen by far.
     
  3. mooshi
    • In Omnia Paratus

    mooshi Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    5,565
    Likes Received:
    13,421
    ^ I thought they were always around that price. I get mine at Staples for $6.xx. But really, I get them for pennies on the dollar (about 90% off when you calculate it) since I recycle ink cartridges and use that money toward "splurge" purchases there. :D
     
  4. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    I swore by my Parker Jotters for years, decades even. I've gifted, lost, had stolen and replaced more than I could count. Most in all stainless. Now I have one with a Fisher refill in case I want to write on something that's upside-down and wet. The rest of the time I use an F-701, some are stock and some are modded in various ways but I love them. I love the fine point and it writes smoother with fewer blobs than the Jotter ever did.

    I still like Parker. My favorite fountain pen is my Parker and the Jotter is still worth having. But you can color me a converted Zebra fan.:)
     
    mooshisho likes this.
  5. ketchupgun

    ketchupgun Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    1,265
    $20 ... Caran D'ache 849
    >$5 ... UniBallJetstream (retratable or cap)...Sharpie Pen (available in Stainless Steel too

    The Shaprie Pen is my new best cheap pen.
     
  6. MichiganMan

    MichiganMan Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    102
    If it helps your decision, the writing of the Fisher Space Pen refill IMO (and others) is among the best, experience wise, of the non-gel refils. Enough so that I would risk the cost of an experimental purchase. The endurance and performance of the all-conditions ink in a pressurized cartridge gives it the edge over the silkiness of gels, again IMO. Your priorities might vary. For instance, I prefer a gel in my Maxmadco for the writing enjoyment over the ink's performance.

    I tried the bullet, but its configuration lends itself to pocket use instead of desk use, and, as others and myself will attest, its design as a pocket pen makes it inevitability prone to loss.


    For an inexpensive (title of the thread, after all) deployment system for the Fisher refill, I don't think the Zebra701/402 Spacepen mod can be beat. I just made two more tonight for placement around the house.

    If you're considering the (easy) mod, here's a few things I've determined.

    The freezer step in the heat/freeze method of removing the clickers is unnecessary. 10 seconds with a simple Bic lighter has consistently gotten the job done for me with judicious use of my fingertips (sometimes with a couple tries required)

    Heating with a "jet" lighter might be too hot as I found myself pulling out the plastic core from the 701 along with the clicker. It wasn't a deal breaker as the clicker and pen tip locks it in place, but I still used a little locktight glue to recommit the core to the metal shaft since I imagined that it gave it a little more structural integrity.

    I saw someone say that the mechanism within the pen that toggles the click must follow the clicker. That hasn't been my experience at all. They are different, the 701's has a ... stem of some sort. Both work equally well but I imagine (again) that the 701's mechanism is more reliable, so I leave it. That said, I find a 30 second period of "breaking in" clicking often solves any problems that can be attributed to this mechanism. (But its probably not the mechanism, see below)

    If you have a problem with the mod, its going to be the plastic piece in the tip of the 701 that guides and seats the nub when its deployed. If your pen isn't working smoothly, its almost certainly this piece. The problem is that the piece is too tight for the Fisher refill. There are three common ways to deal with this. (I'm assuming you are following a guide that taught you to remove it with a straightened paper clip)

    First is to stretch it. The problem area is the very tip of the piece. I've had good luck with some pieces working them over the Fisher refill and then working them backwards over the narrow end of the thicker Zebra cartridge that came with the pen. If you're lucky, doing this and maybe letting it sit for 10 minutes on the Zebra cartridge permanently stretches it enough to where it will work smoothly with the Fisher refill. This is my best-case preference, and my first pen tonight worked with this method right away.

    Then there is the fold-over method where you fold the narrow tip of the plastic piece inward, again working it backward over the Zebra cartridge to stretch it. This worked for me tonight on the second pen when the plastic piece simply refused to stay stretched after the spring pushed against it in the tip. This is my second choice method.

    Then there is the method whereby the modder uses a razor or other implement to cut off the narrow tip of the plastic piece. Its simple and it works first time, but I don't prefer it because, in my experience, its leaves the pen nib just a little bit sloppy. Not much, but enough to where you notice a click when you set the tip to paper to write (if you're looking for it) The other two methods seem to leave the tip suitably reinforced to where there is no play.

    I think I saw one poster saying that he replaced the plastic piece with a copper fitting of some type. I would love more specifics.

    I tried adding copper tubing to the pen to add weight, (the pen is light, and the Maxmadco is paradoxically heavy in all the right ways) but it just didn't feel right in my hand. YMMV.

    As to some poster's speculation as to the suitability of the pen as a "tactical" implement. It is, in the sense that incidents in which you would use a pen as a defensive weapon in the real world involve a only a single or double strike in a sensitive area, if you're lucky, and effective in high adrenaline situations. But after that strike(s) you aren't likely to get another opportunity (or need one if you're lucky) The scenario of a confrontation in an environment in which only a pen would be allowed (been there) and the durability of the pen after one or three repeated strikes would make the difference between health and non-health before help arrived just isn't that ... plausible. In environments where such confrontations are plausible, you aren't normally limited to just a pen, you normally have either more suitable tools or other people.

    (I'm all for people being properly equipped, I'm just realistic about the circumstances of environments in which only pens are allowed)

    SO, that said, the 701/402 combo as a tactical weapon is as suitable in such environments as a Parker Jotter, a Zebra 301, a Parker G2, or as my brother-in-law prefers, a number 2 pencil that can break off internally after its deployed, thereby preventing its subsequent use against its initial user.

    The plastic core, two-piece shaft 701/402 combo is not a "tactical" pen. It is however a reasonably durable pen that becomes a kick :censored: pen with a Fisher Space Pen refill.

    :)
     
    Last edited by MichiganMan, Sep 26, 2012
    Dedrich, Sarky and chrisemt like this.
  7. Sarky

    Sarky Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,213
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Thanks for the great explanation of the mod. My post wasn't very clear, I actually have 2 Fisher bullets and a cap-o-matic, and was wondering (price aside) if/why anyone actually prefers the modded Zebra to Fisher pens.

    I'll most likely end up getting a 701 anyway, just because all the good press it gets here makes me curious. Then, I imagine, I'll want to try the mod. :D
     
  8. MichiganMan

    MichiganMan Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    102
    Probably the most direct comparison between the modded Zebra and Fisher cap-o-matics would be the M4C?

    Speaking for myself, I prefer the 701's look, especially the knurling, distinctive tip, the 402's sterile clip, and the flatter finish of the pen body. And I strongly prefer a push button style clicker over a cap-o-matic. Basically all subjective perceptions.

    More objective factors probably favor the M4C. Its easily found cheaper than the $16.00 apiece it takes me to make two 701 mods (of course I also end up with two perfectly nice altered 402's and two extra Zebra refills) Also, I believe that the Fisher Space Pens have metal internal mechanisms as compared to the Zebra all plastic mechanisms. At least it appeared so to me on a cut away image of one I saw a while back. I don't know if its true for the more affordable Space Pen models.
     
    Last edited by MichiganMan, Sep 27, 2012
  9. dekandhisguitar

    dekandhisguitar Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    825
    Yeah. Seriously. Well, maybe not fired on the first offense. It is a hospital policy that does not allow weapons of any kind. So just before I come in, I leave behind the leatherman and para2.
     
  10. thwippa
    • In Omnia Paratus

    thwippa Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    1,162
    ^ that seems extreme... I mean you work there, it's not like you're some chump off the streets. I can understand them not wanting firearms in there, but a multi-tool? Would a small traditional looking slipjoint be considered a weapon? Where do they draw the line?
     
  11. dekandhisguitar

    dekandhisguitar Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    825
    "Colleagues may not bring firearms, explosive devices, or other weapons or dangerous materials onto any hospital or affiliate’s property."

    And they take that pretty seriously.

    They also enforce a "no visible tattoo" rule. No large arm. No face. No neck. No hands. Several of my co-workers have to wear long sleeves. but people with small visible tattoos (like me)dont have any problems. ;)
     
  12. UrbanFieldmaster

    UrbanFieldmaster Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    27
    If you check ebay there are a few real good Fisher Space pens for around $10-15 that don't come with the gift box.
     
    mooshisho likes this.
  13. david57strat

    david57strat EDC Junkie!!!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,723
    Likes Received:
    3,000
    I'm all for the Zebra F-402, fine point, with the rubberized grip at the base. It writes smooth as glass, and is very dependable. You can also get a two-pack at WalMart for less than five bucks; so if it gets lost, no big deal.

    For a pencil, I like the feel of Pentel's Client .5mm, and it's very beautiful. About my only complaint is the anodized finish, which, while very beautiful to look at, isn't as solid as I'd like (It's easy to scratch the finish, so if you're going to pocket carry one of these in a pair of jeans, with keys, etc....no good.

    I love the look of Zebra's 702 pen, but it also looks as if it'd be very uncomfortable for writing for extended periods, with that gnurled grip. Still, I'll have to try one out, some time, just to see how it feels.
     
  14. PaulThePolymath

    PaulThePolymath Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    43
    I used to use zebra pens in highschool (all typing in college basically) and I loved the hard gnurled grip, My mom though I was funny I always wanted those every year we went to staples for binders and whatnot :p
     
    mooshisho likes this.
  15. rickinFL

    rickinFL Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,543
    Likes Received:
    12,627
    Caran D'Ache 849 has become my favorite.
     
  16. Knightrock
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Knightrock EDC Junkie!!!!!

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,024
    Likes Received:
    1,775
    Can you use a Fisher refill in a Zebra Expandz?
     
  17. Epilektos

    Epilektos Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    209
    Die hard zebra fan! Not just the 701s either. Id use any of there products and feel assured they would write well when needed. Now granted if you want to spend $ you can buy nicer fancier pens but why? I can use that extra money for other edc/ghb/bob type items that dont have high quality inexpensive alternatives.
     
  18. Epilektos

    Epilektos Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    209

    Little off topic but, really? You cant carry a knife in your hospital?
     
  19. dekandhisguitar

    dekandhisguitar Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    825
    Nope. But to be fair, I work in the psych part of the hospital. All environments are suicide "proof", all staff has breakaway ID lanyards, and no potentially dangerous items are allowed. The kitchen knives in the locked nursing station break rooms must be hidden/secured, when not in use.
     
  20. RMinNJ

    RMinNJ Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    605
    Likes Received:
    225
    The stainless steel Jotter (and also the plastic ones)is probably one of the best inexpensive pens on the market .
    In Staples store the other day they have the new ones with an etched/chrome top section; that model as least is made in China now...so I hope Parker is able to make money on them.

    I found myself gravitating back to a round barrel design after briefly trying the Caran D'Ache 849.

    I think the Jotter design is hard to mess up no matter where it's built..their refills though are another story.