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Need a pen to draw the "finest possible" lines?

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Donald MacDonald 117/04/2022 15:35:19
50 forum posts

Hello

What type of pen do you recommend to draw the finest possible lines on ordinary paper & tracing paper?

Important factors:
- Low maintenance
- Must reliably draw dark/black lines, of constant width
- Must dry fairly quickly

Major bonus factors:
- Being erasable
- Should not smudge easily (e.g. once dry)

Minor bonus factors:
- A nice smooth action ==> easy to write as well as draw with
- The darker the better ==> easy to read
- Different colours of ink

Doesn't matter:
- Fade proof
- Waterproof

Use:
- High precision "life size" drawings of extremely small objects.
- The precision required is hard to quantify, but to give you an idea, I am using +5 reading glasses.


THINGS I'VE TRIED

A) Indian ink pens

When they work they are great at drawing jet-black ultra-fine lines.
BUT
- They are massively high maintenance. i.e. The block up easily
- They can be messy & ink can easily leak out & get everywhere

B) Unipin Fine Line pens (e.g. "0.05mm" )
Low maintenance, fairly smooth action, fadeproof, waterproof
BUT:
- I am hoping to get finer lines!
- Also not erasable

C) Propelling pencils
Erasable
BUT:
- I have a 0.3mm propelling pencil but the leads break easily
- I hoping for a finer line than 0.3mm
- Pencil lines are not very dark.

Thanks

Donald

PS This is what I currently use: (0.05mm Uni Pin Fineliner drawing pens)


 

 

Edited By Donald MacDonald 1 on 17/04/2022 15:35:48

pgk pgk17/04/2022 16:01:44
2563 forum posts
293 photos

I doubt it meets your criteria,.but many moons ago I played about copying a woodcut print using a fine mapping dip-pen. It did draw very fine lines with Indian Ink but one had to check on a scrap first after any dip.

 

 

Edited By pgk pgk on 17/04/2022 16:02:06

old mart17/04/2022 16:12:16
3775 forum posts
233 photos

When I was working on aircraft parts manufacturing, we used Rotring pens exclusively, partly because the ink was approved for that use. They were easy to use. It would be worth checking their products.

**LINK**

Speedy Builder517/04/2022 16:22:16
2613 forum posts
212 photos

Draw 2 x size and photo reduce to size.

or these ??  You would have to test suitability and availability in the UK

mapping pens

Edited By Speedy Builder5 on 17/04/2022 16:25:40

SillyOldDuffer17/04/2022 16:34:26
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8692 forum posts
1967 photos

Ordinary paper puts a severe limit on the fineness of lines because it's very porous. Best results need professional drawing paper, which eventually became sheets of plastic. Common enough when drawing boards ruled the world but I couldn't find any last time I looked. CAD may have done for it.

I used Rotring and Mapping Pens. The latter, being sharp dippers, produced the thinnest lines, but I found Rotrings easier to control; constant ink flow and fewer messy accidents! From memory, my lightest Rotring pen was 0.1mm

Erasing was always unsatisfactory, maybe I had the wrong ink!

Dave

Dave S17/04/2022 16:44:08
370 forum posts
90 photos

Rotring are the thoroughbred horse here. There is no unicorn

Dave

HOWARDT17/04/2022 16:50:40
908 forum posts
39 photos

Draughting (drafting) film, sometimes refereed to as Mylar. Seems to be plenty about, mostly in smaller sheet sizes. In my day I am sure we used two types as well as an ammonia processed print one for modifying copies. Definitely better to produce fine lines in ink than paper based products.

Danny M2Z17/04/2022 17:34:05
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963 forum posts
2 photos

As SOD remarked, ordinary paper is a limitation.

Drafting paper is good for fine work and readily available, at a cost - Drafting Papers

My roll of 3M drafting Mylar was donated from a cartographer as it had reached it's 'use by date' and so shrinkage of less than 0.1% was not guaranteed beyond that point.

I reasoned that if I drew my plans on it then if the shrinkage' continued at the same rate then another 20 years of life might be obtained.

As for pens (none of which use erasable inks) then once again, they cost a bit but are a great investment for serious work Technical Drawing Pens

I use Rotring pens for my own work as the same cartographer recommended them and donated a few. Clean the tips in an ultrasonic cleaner or they can clog up.

I use this equipment to draw model aircraft plans and any mistakes may be erased/scratched out with the point of a sharp modelling knife but that section of the Mylar will no longer accept ink so it pays to get things correct the first time around.

* danny *

Georgineer17/04/2022 17:35:47
577 forum posts
32 photos

I did try mapping pens (my Mum, a tracer, produced some wonderful work with them) but I'm left-handed which makes me literally a pen-pusher. On paper the straight nib caught in the fibres of the paper then broke loose with a splat.

Later I used Rotring pens on tracing paper, then Rotring on mylar which is my favourite. We had tungsten carbide tipped pens because the mylar wore down ordinary pens too quickly.

Later there were plastic pencil leads (permanent or erasable) for use on mylar film and they were horrible.

George

Mike Poole17/04/2022 17:37:23
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3339 forum posts
73 photos

The Pilot Frixion pens can be erased by heat but 0.5mm seems to be on the large side for your requirements.

Mike

Alan Jackson17/04/2022 18:09:29
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258 forum posts
146 photos

I used to use plastic leads on drawing film. By rotating the pencil as you moved it, it was quite easy to draw a fine thin line. The other trick was to push the pencil so that the lead was in compression, not bending.

Alan

JasonB17/04/2022 18:22:10
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22750 forum posts
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Draw it in CAD, set a fine line thickness and it will come out better than a lot of pens. Added bonus is you can get your sizes to as many decimal places as you want and easy to "rub out" on the screen.

Donald MacDonald 118/04/2022 00:52:39
50 forum posts


Speedy Builder
1. > Draw 2 x size and photo reduce to size.
Yes, I already do that where I can, but in this case I can't.

2.
Link
> DÉSOLÉ
> cette page n’existe pas (plus).

Are you suggesting search for "mapping pens" on Amazon?
If so can you recommend anything specific that is finer than my "0.05mm" pens


Dave - To be fair some, the injet papers I am using seem to only barely blot - if at all. Ideally I need a paper that I can print (using inkjet) on as well as write on, which is why I specified ordinary paper/tracing paper.


Re "Mapping Pen"
Frome what I can see this is a generic term for a type of "dip pens"/"dipping pens", yes?
If so, like I say I'm trying to avoid the hassle & maintence & potential for spillage of dipping pens.


Hmmm... I don't know anything about ultrasonic cleaners. It seems a little excessive just to get a pen that works. What other stuff do you use your ultrasonic cleaners for?


In terms of "Technical Drawing Pens" it depends what you mean. Different websites seem to mean different things!

Re Rotring/refillable Technical Drawing Pens (what we used to call Indian ink), about 20 years ago I used to own some Staelder Marsmatic Technical Pens, which I think we found to be slightly less scratchy than Rotring but both types clogged up quite quickly if not used and I also found they had to be used very vertically to the paper. So I threw mine out many years ago.

That said, I see Rotring also make a "Rotring Tikky Graphic 0.10mm Black Fibre Tip Pen". However the thinnest one they make is that "0.1mm", whereas other manufacturers seem to much thinner (?).


e.g. It turns out that Uni Pin (Mitsubishi Pencil Co) now make a "0.03mm" version. Sound tempting although it does not seem particularly well reviewed.

But I'm extremely confused about "0.05" Uni Pin Fine Line pen that I have.
The official website has the "pen nib size" as "0.05mm"
(see **LINK**)
However I just measured mine, and metal jacket/pointy bit seems to be 0.78mm and the actual felt measures 0.5mm and not "0.05mm"!

Maybe they mean the line thickness...(??)

However IME, if you are pressing hard enough to get a reasonably consistent black line, I still seriously doubt it is "0.05mm" thick. I mean 0.05mm is thinner than the nominal thickness of human hair which is 0.075mm (75 microns).


Mike: Yes, I use Pilot Frixxion pens too whenever I will need to erase the lines. If you try hard enough you can find them with "0.38mm" nibs. The immediate problem is that - esp with those finest nibs - they don't lay down a very dark line. "0.5mm" nibs are very much darker. Either way I am really hoping for a much finer line, if possible.


JasonB - Thank you, but I am asking for suggestions for a pen, not a re-think of my process.

(And for the record, yes I am using CAD etc etc, but there are times such as marking up card/bookcloth/certain plastics/other materials and/or annotating printouts... including ones that are required to be life size... when one needs an actual pen. And please don't anyone start telling me about Dykcem Steel Blue Layout Fluid, because I am already using that on steel too!)


Have any of you tried the Copic Multiliner SP-0.03mm?
Not cheap for what I think is a fibre tipped pen, but looks tempting. Nibs can be replaced.
**LINK**

 

Or what about the "Art-n-Fly FineLine Drawing Pens" which have an "Ultra Fine Tip 003" - and claim to draw a "0.15mm" line, which claims to use Archival Japanese Ink, which they claim work well on non-porous surface and "won't feather or bleed through most papers"
**LINK**




As ever, thank you for all your suggestions. 

Don

Edited By Donald MacDonald 1 on 18/04/2022 00:54:38

Bill Pudney18/04/2022 03:22:35
611 forum posts
24 photos

I started to use a email, but this super page disappeared. So this will be a shorter.

As Jason used ...get a CAD

As I used, use mylar, tracing paper is fine with pencils, mylar is much better for drafting

Treat yourself to a Rotring 0.10mm, and a decent quality of ink to use on mylar film.

If you are seriously hoping to use some sort of felt pin, look for Unicorns

cheers

Bill

Michael Gilligan18/04/2022 06:03:42
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20182 forum posts
1053 photos
Posted by Donald MacDonald 1 on 17/04/2022 15:35:19:

Hello

[…]

PS This is what I currently use: (0.05mm Uni Pin Fineliner drawing pens)
 

.

I am intrigued … and will be trying that one for myself !

[ it looks promising for writing on microscope slide labels ]

What width, and quality, of line does it actually produce on ‘ordinary paper’ ?

… a photo would be appreciated, if you can provide one yes

MichaelG.

.

Edit: Unfortunately, this is the most informative page I have found so far:

https://www.bunbougu.com.au/blogs/blog/uni-pin-fineliner-introduction

 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 18/04/2022 06:19:51

Speedy Builder518/04/2022 06:41:22
2613 forum posts
212 photos

Uni Pin Fineliner do a 0.1mm pen - however Amazon uk show a search error at the moment.

Otherwise try feeding a spider on black ink ?

JasonB18/04/2022 07:31:39
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Posted by Donald MacDonald 1 on 18/04/2022 00:52:39:


JasonB - Thank you, but I am asking for suggestions for a pen, not a re-think of my process.

(And for the record, yes I am using CAD etc etc, but there are times such as marking up card/bookcloth/certain plastics/other materials and/or annotating printouts... including ones that are required to be life size... when one needs an actual pen. And please don't anyone start telling me about Dykcem Steel Blue Layout Fluid, because I am already using that on steel too!)

Now you have moved the goalpost from wanting the pens to draw on paper and tracing paper to wanting to write on all manner of surfaces, many of which are muck more porous and open fibred than your original requirement. Suggest you use different pend for this particularly if you go down the tubular tip route.

Having spent 20 years in the Graphic and fine art retail trade I have all the types of pens mentioned and know a fair bit about them but if I needed to draw something that fine onto paper or tracing these days would not reach for a pen. The best white paper to use pen on is /was Frisk's CS10 which was a smooth white and had china clay in it but I don't think they make it now (lack of demand due to computers)

Edited By JasonB on 18/04/2022 07:32:03

Michael Gilligan18/04/2022 07:42:49
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20182 forum posts
1053 photos
Posted by Donald MacDonald 1 on 18/04/2022 00:52:39:

[…]


But I'm extremely confused about "0.05" Uni Pin Fine Line pen that I have.
The official website has the "pen nib size" as "0.05mm"
(see **LINK**)
However I just measured mine, and metal jacket/pointy bit seems to be 0.78mm and the actual felt measures 0.5mm and not "0.05mm"!

.

dont know … That’s rather worrying !

MichaelG.

.

Edit: __ Lots of guff here, but nothing technical:

https://uniball.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Positively-Pin.pdf

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 18/04/2022 07:57:06

Michael Gilligan18/04/2022 08:08:27
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20182 forum posts
1053 photos

This seems to be a reasonable overview of available ‘ineliners: **LINK**

https://www.pullingers.com/what-is-the-best-fineliner-pen

MichaelG.

JasonB18/04/2022 08:10:27
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22750 forum posts
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Yes just goes to show that technical drawing is not done with pens these days.

Michael. if you happened to have time it would be interesting if you could "measure" the line as you have done for other detailed items in the past. This is a quick freehand drawn line on photo copy paper using a 0.1mm Pilot DR pen.

The "size" of many pens sold is often based on the diameter of one of the components of the nib not the line it will produce as there are so many variables such as paper, pressure applied, angle pen is held at, speed pen moved at, etc

dsc04575.jpg

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