How to Unclog Rapidograph Pens

By Haley Montgomery ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Cotton swabs
  • Alcohol
  • Bowls for soaking
  • Pen Cleaning Solution

Rapidograph pens are the gold standard in drafting and pen and ink drawing. Keeping your set is good working condition is a must for creating top-notch architectural drawings and illustrations with no ugly ink blots or spatters. When taken care of properly, a set of Rapidograph pens will serve your drawing needs for years. Here are some tips for cleaning and unclogging your pens.

Remove your ink cartridge from the pen tip. Unscrew the colored ring on your pen and remove the ink cartridge from the nib. Now hold the pen cylinder under hot running water and gently rub ink away. As the ink begins to loosen, you can lightly shake the inner parts of the cylinder to dislodge more ink. Continue to work with the pen tip under warm water until the water runs clear.

Disassemble the pen tip. Use the tool provided with your Rapidograph set to unscrew the inner pen cylinder from the outer black casing. Then slide out the additional parts. Take special care not to bend the tiny stylus that helps the ink to flow smoothly inside the tip.

Soak pen parts in hot soapy water or purchased pen cleaning solution. Rapidograph offers a special pen cleaning solution that you can try if dried ink has been caked up on the inner pen parts. However, hot tap water with a little dish-washing liquid may be all that you need to dislodge minor clogs.

Dislodge dried ink with rubbing alcohol. If there is still dried ink on your pen, soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub on the inked up parts. It will usually evaporate the ink and any liquid in the parts. You can also try soaking the parts for a few minutes in alcohol. Be careful not to soak the parts too long because alcohol may slightly erode some of the delicate plastic parts.

Reassemble pen and load with fresh ink. After allowing your pen parts to thoroughly dry, put the pen tip back together by first inserting the tiny stylus and then slipping the other parts over it. Once your pen tip is correctly assembled, load the nib with a fresh ink cartridge. Then, screw on the colored ring and pen holder.

Scribble with pen until you get a clear ink flow. There may be a small amount of water still in the pen chamber as the ink begins to circulate. Write or scribble with your pen for a few minutes to allow any water to filter through before beginning work on your drawing or illustration again.

Tip

Dip the end of your pen in rubbing alcohol and scribble on paper to dislodge a minor clog.

Warning

Remove ink cartridges and clean pen parts often to prevent clogging from dried ink. Use extra caution with delicate pen parts, especially the tiny stylus inserted in the tip that causes consistent ink flow.

About the Author

Haley Montgomery is a graphic designer in Starkville, Miss., where she writes about design, marketing, website development and parenting. Montgomery earned a bachelor's degree in graphic design at Mississippi State University and has worked in the advertising industry for 15 years. Her writing has been published by BrightHub.com and RootandSprout.com. She also writes a marketing blog at DuxDLux.com.