Oct. 18th, 2010
CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROTO-NIB: YOU ARE THERE
I wish I had a better shot of this to-scale drawing from which the protonib was made, but maybe this is better because it injects a modicum of mystery into something that isn't really very interesting. The protonib will be 4" wide and 16" long, made of 18-gauge steel, which is about 1/16" thick, rolled (or "bumped" as they call it for some reason) into the semi-tubular shape of a nib, and have the inkhole and channel cut. As you might surmise this nib will not be very flexible. The spreading of the tines which is so essential for thick-and-thin linework will not be accomplished with this nib unless operated by a veritable Samson, and even then it would tear the paper to pieces. This part of the operation is to determine whether the ink reservoir system will work. If it does, the protonib will be modified to make it more flexible and that function will then be tested.
To hold the ink against the underside of the pen, seven nesting plates cut from thin sheets of brass are prepared.
I found these enormous Italian-made shears at a garage sale.
Here is the protonib looking haggard and worn thanks to considerable pre-plate testing. I thought I had a picture of it in its pristine glory, but it was too out-of-focus to use. At any rate, it didn't stay clean and shiney for long. As predicted, without the reservoir plates in place it held very little ink and only made a line about an inch and a half long. The plates will be drilled and affixed to the underside of the protonib with the machine screws pictured.The small oblong object on the left is a whetstone, not hashish.
Here is the protonib with the plates attached. They are identical in size and shape but arranged so that the lowermost one extends onto the foot of the protonib.
But there's a problem already; the plates hang below the snout of the protonib, when they should be- must be- snug against it.
The solution: two wire harnesses and a small piece of cork. In the final version of the pen this clumsy arrangement will be replaced with something more elegant.
Tomorrow I'll mix up a big batch of a special ink I've formulated and draw the first line, which will be videoed and put here whether it works or not. If it does, the modification to make the protonib flexible will commence. If not... ugh.