Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Staples Xeno Pen Hack
I bought some great looking Xeno ballpoint pens at Staples even though I'm no longer a fan of ballpoints, thinking that I would refill them with a gel ink cartridge. How difficult could it be to find a 1.0mm gel ink refill that would fit this pen? And the perfect place to look would be Kinokuniya; friends were due in for the day, and it's a short walk from the Port Authority. My friends could see one of the great Japanese specialty stores in NYC, and I could look at the pens, notepads, and paper. We'd all have fun, and I could get some great different colored gel inks for these pens.
Flash forward to late afternoon as we're having coffee. I take out the Hi Tec C Coleto refills I bought at Kinokuniya and compare one to the Xeno I brought along. The Xeno ballpoint refill is longer, and no amount of fiddling will get around the fact that the gel ink refill is too short to be pushed out of the barrel. This ended abruptly when the gel ink refill flew apart, splattering my face with blue-black ink. We laughed and went on our way.
But I could not get this hack out of my mind. Somehow I had to extend the length of the refill in order to push out the plastic cap that fits into the barrel. Suffice to say after a few false starts (Q-tips, toothpicks) I found a way to do it, using the sharpened end of bamboo skewers. As seen in the pic to the left, with the red Hi Tec C Coleto gel ink refill, the skewer is inserted into the cartridge and then cut to the same lenght as the ballpoint refill.
This hack worked really well, the only slight problem being that the Xeno takes 1.0mm refills and the largest I could get in the Hi Tec C Coleto refill was 0.5mm. But other than looking a tad strange, I have my Xeno pen with a gel ink cartridge.