Tuesday, February 6, 2007

How to unclog a gel pen

Deena asks:
How do I unclog my gel pens, and then how do I keep my gel pens from clogging?

Ah, good question! First of all make sure you are buying a good brand of pen - the better pens have reformulated their inks so they clog less. Don't buy your gel pens from the dollar store. Try Sakura or Pentel. One of my very favorites is the Gel Xtreme by Yasutomo (Y&C). Although I only use the black and white - their other colors are metallics.

First thing to do is start scribbling in a circle. The tech help at Sakura says "The motion makes the tip (ball) roll and causes the gel ink to be pulled into the ball tip chamber. It might take a few tries, but this might work. There is no guarantee though that this will start it again.

It is very important to put the cap on the pen between uses because unlike regular ballpoint pen ink, gel inks need to be kept sealed away from air. Prolonged exposure to air will cause the gel ink to dry-out in the tip/ball chamber. There is a tiny silicone ball in the cap that "closes" or touches the tip and prevents any air from drying out the gel in the ball chamber when the cap is on."

When that doesn't work I tend to hold the tip over a heat gun for a few seconds. This has usually worked for me. I also scribble on my skin as the oils seem to help unclog the pens too.

It's important to store your pens laying down (horizontal) rather than in a vertical position also.

Best of luck!

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