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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TWSBI VAC-700



We just got in the hot new TWSBI VAC-700's last Thursday, and amidst the chaos of trying to get them out to eager new VAC-700 owners, I had a little bit of time to shoot a video on the new pen. For the sake of time, I didn't record the intro or outro of the video, as I wasn't planning to post it until 6 days later (today, Wednesday). Ironically enough though, I got a sore throat over the weekend and my voice sounds like I'm a chain-smoking sea captain, so I had to 'improvise' in the video. It's definitely worth a look!

The VAC-700 has been talked about for nearly two years now, and it's release has been pushed back all the way from October of 2011 until now, May 2012. That's a long wait, for sure. So I thought even though my time was limited and I knew that these pens would be limited in supply, I would still make a video introducing them even though I know it will make some of you who weren't able to get one angry. I'm sorry!

The video explains most everything, but here are some highlights:
  • It's slightly bigger than the 540
  • It has a vacuum filling mechanism which is super cool
  • The ink capacity is 1.5ml, but I am able to get 2.3ml in there with some finesse (which I'll feature in a future video)
  • They are offered in the same colors as the 540 color demos, amber, blue, smoke, and clear (clear isn't yet released though)
  • VAC-700 nibs are different from 540 nibs, and they are all made by Bock in Germany
  • Nib sections will be available separately, but for now it's only whole pens
I didn't get to a full writing test or anything like that in this video, and I'm sorry. It was already long enough ;) But I'll be talking about these more, this is just to give you an idea of what a vacuum filling pen even is, and how the VAC-700 follows up to the TWSBI 540.

TWSBI VAC-700 in amber, blue, and smoke

TWSBI VAC-700 in smoke

TWSBI VAC-700, screw on cap, push to post on back (posts really securely)

TWSBI VAC-700, vacuum filling pen, which is not very common these days

TWSBI VAC-700, nib units are interchangeable, but not available separately (yet)

TWSBI VAC-700 (top) and TWSBI 540 (bottom), almost the same length capped

TWSBI VAC-700 (top) and TWSBI 540 (bottom), uncapped nearly identical in length

TWSBI VAC-700 (top) and TWSBI 540 (bottom), posted the 540 is actually longer

TWSBI VAC-700 nib (left) and TWSBI 540 nib (right), all VAC-700 nibs are made by Bock in Germany, 540's are moving that direction from Schmidt


Let me know what you think in the comments!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

38 comments:

  1. Michel de MontrealMay 9, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I've been using mine for a while now, and it's pretty awesome.....

    PS: the dancing was my favorite part!

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  2. Haha, I'm glad you like it (the pen, and the dancing) :) I pretty well made a fool of myself, perhaps I've been cooped up in my studio too much lately!

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  3. MORE DANCING!!!  I love the dancing!  You should start and end every video that way!  p.s. I think Joseph may have out-danced you, just a little bit!! :)

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  4. Best. video. ever.  Pens look nice, too!

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  5. Haha...yeah we'll see about that :) It was definitely fun trying to get Joseph to dance with me, as you can see I had to act a little looney to be able to get him to react! :) 

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  6. I guess it is the funniest video of Fountain Pen world. Nice review by the way. Thank you!

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  7. Haha, is that really saying much? :P I guess normally you only see me sitting down, or my hands...it's not often you get to see how 'nimble' I am. I'm about as graceful as an ox. Believe it or not though, I was a dance captain in my high school show choir! Little known fact about Brian... :) 

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  8. Agree with the comments so far, totally awesome video.

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  9. Well, as much as I'd been looking forward to this pen, the steps are real deal breakers for me. I wish Speedy would somehow shape the pen without the double steps that interfere with holding a pen comfortably (for me). Otherwise, it looks very cool and functional. Thanks for the review, Brian. Hope you get your voice back soon...

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  10. Haha, thanks! Now I know that I don't really need to spend much time on the actual reviews, I just have to cutting a rug ;) 

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  11. The step isn't as bad as you might think, it's pretty far back. I hold my pens far back and really low, and I almost always have my thumb on the threads of whatever pen I'm holding, but this one my thumb doesn't even make it to the threads. 

    Steps are a tough thing when it comes to pen design, I know firsthand because we've developed two pens with Edison. There's always a compromise when it comes to pen design where if you want the outside of the pen to look smooth and continuous, there has to be a step for the cap to inset onto the grip section. If you want a smooth grip section with no step to the rest of the body, then the cap is going to be proud of the body when the pen is capped. There's just no way around it. 

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  12. Congratulations, your dancing has upstaged the TWSBI Vac-700. The dancing with Joseph and Ellie was just beyond adorable. I second the call for more dancing! 

    As for the pens, they do look pretty swish. 

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  13. I was worried about the dancing overshadowing the pens....ah well! Yeah, I had fun with the kids on that one. I'm sure I can embarrass them with it in front of their future girlfriends/boyfriends! :) 

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  14. Sorry I haven't been keeping up in the FP world but is the VAC 700 the successor to the 540? I own the 540. What are the changes/improvements?

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  15. That's okay! The VAC-700 is a whole new pen, it's not a successor to the 540 like the 540 was to the 530. If you watch the video, I'm literally comparing the 540 and VAC 700.

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  16. Oops, serves me write for commenting before watching the video. Sorry, Brian :)

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  17. Haha, it's okay! Everyone does that from time to time ;) 

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  18. Ankur SrivastavaMay 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    More dancing!!! We need more!!! That was the best intro ever. 

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  19. Awesome video. I have always wondered, what camera do you use to create these videos? They are awesome quality! 

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  20. Thanks! I'm using a Canon Vixia HFS-10, it's a great camera (but not the cheapest, unfortunately!). 

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  21. Brian, anyone who can openly show to the world such out and out joy in his children is definitely not loony.  Of course, Joseph and Ellie are complete scene stealers and it was a delight watching Joseph dance and hearing him giggle.

    Your overview of the Vac 700 was an excellent introduction to the pen and I shall look forward to a more complete review.  I received my Amber fine nib 700 from you the other day and I just haven't had the time to play with it yet.  However, I cannot wait. :-)

    By the way, it seems to me that the Vac 700 amber is a darker color than is the amber of the 540.  I definitely appreciate the richer look of the Vac's amber color to the 540's if that is indeed the case.

    Thanks again for this wonderful review that is both serious and lighthearted.

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  22. Thank you! You were indeed seeing unadulterated joy there :) Sometimes my kids are slightly less than joyful, but I'm thankful to have them at work with me every day. I frequently scare Joseph and chase him around the office screaming, and dance too!

    The amber VAC-700 is noticeably darker than the amber 540, and not in a bad way, for my personal taste. Enjoy!

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  23. Help!  I can't find the Ghostbusters shirt in your store!  I looked everywhere, I did a search.  How can I enjoy my pens without that shirt?  

    And those children are just the cutest.  (usually I'm not very fond of the littles, but yours are too sweet for words).   Nevertheless, good thinking on the blackmail angle. 

    There were pens in that video?
    ;)

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  24. I really love that orange and want to get one soon. Maybe I can time it so I have it before sending my Smoke 700 off for grinding (just want a stub, nothing wrong with the nib as it is).

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  25. This was without a doubt the most entertaining video ever! .. And now I want the Vac...

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  26. I never understand why people don't use their SLRs (especially from Canon) to create video. Surely the full-sized sensor and decent lenses would capture better video as well? I know the 600D capture amazing 1080p video (even if the uncompressed version eats a 8GB card in about 10 minutes).

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  27. Haha, I think I got it at JC Penny's ;) I'm glad you like my kids (even if you don't like most everyone else's....). Every parent thinks their kids are the cutest, but mine ACTUALLY ARE the cutest ;) ;) ;) Hey, someone's kids are actually the cutest, why not mine? 

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  28. I like the orange on the 700 better than the 540, just a personal preference. It's more orange and less yellow. What size stub are you getting on your smoke? 

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  29. Haha, 1) thank you, 2) I'm sorry ;) 

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  30. I'm going to send a pair of broads (likely my Smoke 540 and Smoke 700) to Pendmonium to have their Sheaffer-trained grinder turn them both into the widest stubs she feels she can make with them. That's how I intend to phrase my instructions, at least. 

    I think I'll like the orange better as well based on the photographs. It was really handy seeing it next to an orange 540 because without that comparison it was tough to tell if lighting conditions or other photographic tricks were just making it looks oranger. 

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  31. Gotcha, you'll probably be looking at around a .9mm if that's the case. I figured getting the 540 and 700 pics next to each other was important. I know I noticed the color difference right out of the box, but then I have somewhat of a trained eye :) 

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  32. Anyone have any hints for filling this pen from a sample vial?

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  33. Yeah, this pen isn't so ideal in the vial, it needs a large volume of ink to draw with that vacuum. Tilting the vial while you fill helps, but you won't get it all. The best way to do it would be to use an ink syringe, unscrew the grip section of the pen, and syringe fill right into the body of the pen. 

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  34. Michael MattesonJune 7, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I just got one of these pens, and I'm curious about how exactly you syringe-fill it. Do you do it with the plunger down, and slip the needle past it, or do you do it with the plunger up, and try to lower it really carefully? Seems like the first would work better, but I haven't tried it yet since I've only filled the pen once. 

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  35. I think the former will work best for you. Unscrew the nib section, slide the syringe needle past the piston seal while the plunger is all the way down (down meaning the seal is right near the opening). That ought to do it. 

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  36. PacifistNOTHippieJune 13, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    WAIT! You're taking picture on top of rice!

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