Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Swapping Nibs between Pilot Pens - Part 1

Today, I decided that I should present you all with a guide on how to swap nibs between Pilot-brand fountain pens. First, the glaring question should be addressed: why would anyone want to do this? The simple answer is that it will give the user more options for nibs in their preferred pen body. As some of these pens take Pilot proprietary cartridges and others take standard international cartridges, the user may also desire to use a pen with a specific type of filling system and nib combination.

To begin, allow me to first clarify with which pens I know this modification works, their available nib sizes, their cartridge type, and where they are primarily sold.
  • Pilot Prera - Fine and Medium - Pilot proprietary cart. - Japanese markets
  • Pilot Metropolitan - Medium - Pilot proprietary cart. - USA markets
  • Pilot Penmanship - Extra-fine - Pilot proprietary cart. - Japanese markets
  • Pilot Plumix - Medium Italic - Pilot proprietary cart. - USA markets
  • Pilot Plumix Neon - Medium Italic - standard international cart. - EU markets
  • Pilot Pluminix - Medium Italic - standard international cart. - EU markets
Based on the look of the pen, I would assume that this modification would also work with the Pilot MR, which appears to be the same as the Pilot Metropolitan, available in the EU markets. (The other main difference is that the Metropolitan takes Pilot proprietary cartridges, and the MR uses standard international cartridges.) All other Pilot pens are either incompatible or unconfirmed.

From the above list, it can be seen that there are a lot of available combination options. The swap itself is relatively easy and can be performed in a few minutes or less. Here is a pictorial guide, utilizing a Penmanship, Plumix, and Pluminix.

First, remove the cap of the pen.

Second, get a good grip on the nib and feed and pull, gently. It may require some twisting back and forth (as though you were unscrewing the nib and feed from the section), but the nib and feed should come out together.

You will notice that, while the nibs may be interchangeable, the feeds are not entirely so, depending upon the style of cartridge that is used for the pen.

Choose which nibs you want to swap, lift them off the feed, and fit them back onto their "new" feed. Here, I am choosing to swap the Pluminix's medium italic nib for the Penmanship's extra-fine nib.

Once the nib is seated properly on the feed, fit the feed and nib back into the section, matching the middle of the nib with the middle, thin ridge of the grip. There is also a very small notch on the end of the section in front of the screw threads, which can be used to align the nib and feed with the section.

Your Pilot pen will now have its new nib installed, and you are ready to add ink and write! As pens like the Pilot Prera do not have nib units in other sizes available for them, purchasing an inexpensive Plumix or Penmanship is an easy way to acquire a compatible medium italic or extra-fine nib for your not-so-inexpensive Prera.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. Please post any questions or comments in the box below! Additionally, there is now a "guide" tag, by which you may view all guide posts on this blog!

Important links related to this post:
I bear no affiliation to any of the aforementioned companies, and I was not compensated in any way for this post.


  1. Thanks for this.
    I'm going to swap nibs between the Metropolitan and the Plumix when I receive them in the mail.

  2. Excellent, and very usefull. Thank you. I did find every information I was looking for.
    Thank you once more.

  3. how should I pull the nib ? Is there a risk in damaging the nib ? Do you use a plier or just pulled it out using fingers ? Thanks !

    1. Grip the nib and feed between your thumb and forefinger - one finger on top of the nib and one below the feed - with your fingers as close to the section as possible. Gently wiggle it, while pulling, and it should come out of the section easily. Do not forget to remove the cartridge or converter, first.

  4. Thank you for this guide, came in very handy in cleaning my pilot penmanship. Had residue in the feed line that I couldn't get out with just water.

  5. Thanks for the clear and simple explanation! Worked great switching nibs between a Plumix and a Prera.

    1. Awesome! I am very glad it helped. How do you like the stub nib in the Prera?

    2. MUCH better than on the Plumix - the angled grip was forcing me to hold the pen a certain way, which unfortunately wasn't a good way/angle to actually achieve nicely inked italic writing. Obviously that isn't an issue with the Prera's round grip.

      The only thing I did differently was use a nitrile glove on my nib-pulling hand, because even with the cartridges pulled, it was messy work.

    3. I totally agree, and I found the same with the Plumix nib in my Metropolitan. Those grips work well...in the same way that Lamy Safari and AL-Star grips do.

      Good choice on the glove, those feeds hold a lot of ink.

  6. I realize that this is a pretty old article but I was wondering if it was possible to swap the feeds too, for example to modify a US-Metropolitan to take international standard cartridges?

    1. Yes and no. I just tested and the feed from the European Pluminix (which takes standard international cartridges) does fit into the Metropolitan section. But, the section itself (on both the Pluminix and the Metropolitan have pieces that stick into the body to guide the cartridge. These pieces are different for the Pilot proprietary cartridges and the standard international cartridges. This is best seen in the second picture in this article, where you can see through the clear plastic of the section that there is a sort of half shroud in the Plumix (for the wider, Pilot cartridges) and a full shroud enclosing the "needle" of the feed in the Pluminix (for the narrower, standard international cartridge opening).
      So, unfortunately, just swapping the feed will not be enough to convert a Metropolitan to use standard international cartridges. The half shroud in the Plumix is a full shroud in the Metropolitan, sized for the opening of their proprietary cartridges and converters.