Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vac Diaphragm length - It really does matter!

Many of us do repairs by the book, and many of us simply "get it workin' again". Some folks consider a pen restored when it's working right now. I consider a pen restored when it's working now, and I know it will be ten years later. Often times we overlook certain things when repairing a pen. Many people skip the all-important step of de-rusting the j-bar on a pen that they're restoring. Many people also forget to, or choose not to trim their sacs to size before putting the pen back together.

Today's post is going to tie into tomorrow's post "What do you mean by "restored"?". Today I am going to specifically speak about the Parker Vacumatic, and the very important, but more-than-often overlooked step of trimming the diaphragm to the right size. Enjoy:

So, I've always been one to do what I was told when it came to pen repair. This means that when I was told what the correct length for a vac diaphragm was (took quite a bit of searching to find that), I stuck to it, and have been cutting my diaphragms that way ever since. It wasn't until just the other day that I finally discovered why this is so crucial.

I was working on this cute little demi Vacumatic (yes, the demi-sized pens are cute - no two ways about it :). The client had said that the pen was "restored" by a friend, but for some reason, ink wasn't flowing. It was a pretty simple fix, involving some tine adjustment, and some hood-to-feed adjustment.

As I was cleaning the pen out to ship it, something odd happened: The plunger depressed down, but would only spring up halfway. I stopped for a second, and then took an immediate guess as to what the problem was. I had never had it happen before, but my hunch was still correct - the diaphragm was to long. Because of it's extra length, it was getting jammed o the breather tube, just they say it will.

Here's the important part. When I took the diaphragm out and measured it, it was only a few millimeters off. That's it, the difference of 1-2mm, was all it took to jam this diaphragm up. This is very important to keep in mind when you are trimming your Vac diaphragms! It doesn't take much for the to be to long, and get stuck.

So there you have it - I am now a firm believer in trimming your vac diaphragms to exactly 26.5mm. It is recommended you trim them between 26.2mm, and 27mm, so I go in the middle, and do 26.5mm.

Here's the little fellow that brought me to the light:

As always, if you've got any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comment area below. I'd really love to hear from you.

If you've never left me a comment before, I encourage you to do so! It's very easy, and I promise I won't bite. ;) Commenting is really encouraging for me, and it really adds depth to the article. We can all benefit from some friendly conversation. 

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