I'm really interested in fun product/software "hacks" that create more usable, more productive, or generally better stuff. I'm not talking about the blackhat kind of hacks, but more the kind of thing you would find here. One such example is illustrated on this site. The idea of having a writing instrument that performs as well as a $200+ Mont Blanc pen - at a fraction of the cost - is pretty cool. So I followed the instructions on the Web site to see if it really worked. Read on for more.
First, yes you can take a Pilot G2 gel pen and use a Mont Blanc ink cartridge to make a better pen. At least, some people think it's better. I'm not overly familiar with what makes Mont Blanc pens so great and according to Wikipedia there's considerable argument the pens aren't great. From my reading though, it appears the ink in a Mont Blanc cartridge is what really makes writing with their pens better. While I'm sure the weight and balance of the pen make a difference as well, in the end, it seems the quality of the ink is where the real value lies. If this is true, and if one could put a Mont Blanc ink cartridge in a regular pen, you would have a writing instrument that performed at least near as well as it's more expensive counterpart (Mont Blanc's run from $160 to several thousand dollars).
The first step in creating your faux Mont Blanc pen is to purchase a Pilot G2 rolling ball pen. You can buy the same one shown in Figure 1 below or opt for the more expensive Pilot G2 Pro as described in the instructables article. A pack of 4 Pilot G2's will cost you around $3 and can be bought at any office supply store. Next, you need to pick up a Mont Blanc Rollerball refill. These can be purchased individually or in a pack of two for about $12. Office Depot, and perhaps other office supply stores, carry these refills. Make sure you purchase Rollerball refills and NOT Ballpoint refills; the ballpoint refills are too short and will not work. Don't ask me how I know.
Figure 1: What to buy
Next, open the Mont Blanc packaging and take out one of the refills. Disassemble the G2 pen and compare the two cartridges. They're almost exactly the same diameter and nearly the same length. The Mont Blanc cartridge is about 1/8 of an inch too long at the end opposite the tip. Using a sharp knife or box cutter, cut off the excess plastic on the end of the Mont Blanc cartridge. If you arrange your MB cartridge as shown in Figure 2, and place the blade of your knife on the far right end, you can move the knife slowly to the left until you hit a little ridge on the cartridge. This is where you want to cut, which will shave off the 1/8 inch of excess. Figure 2 shows an unaltered MB cartridge on the top, an altered MB cartridge in the middle, and the original G2 cartridge on bottom.
Figure 2: Comparing an unaltered and altered Mont Blanc cartridge with the original G2 cartridge
A closeup view of the pens illustrates where and how much to cut off.
Figure 3: A closeup view of the cartridges
With the MB cartridge now shorter, assemble the Pilot G2 with the MB cartridge inside and you have a cheap pen that writes like a $200+ Mont Blanc!
Figure 4: The final Pilot G2 Mont Blanc hybrid