A refillable mechanical pencil can save some bucks indeed. But there is some rule of thumbs to keep in mind. Otherwise, you might jam the leads or break them apart. Also, the process might vary a lot based on the type you have.
It’s because not all types have the same way to open the lead filling tube.
Whatever, today, we’ll make the process “Rocked” with all the comprehensive steps on how to refill mechanical pencils, the best way!
For that, it’s vital to understand the different parts put together. So you can get it apart wisely and reconstruct safely once filled with leads.
Different Parts of a Mechanical Pencil
Let's divide the pencil into 3 different parts; front, middle, and rear part. To refill it, you’ll mostly be detaching the rear compartment from the body.
But for some specific upgraded pen & pencil combos, you might have to detach the front part where the grip is. So, understanding all the compartments can actually help to refill it wisely.
1. Front Part
This is where you'd grab the pencil. And you'll see a few external parts put up together in this section. These include; the lead and its sleeve, cone, ring, and grip. So together they make up the front part which is also detachable. And inside, it might have a spring set with the dispenser and its ring.
2. Body Part
It’s mostly a long sleeve that works as the main body of the pencil. The main function of this part is to cover the lead tube reservoir and conjugate the top and bottom. It’s also the main aesthetic part as the designs are put on the body.
3. Rear Part
This is the part that needs to open to refill the pencil. It includes the pocket clip, push-button, eraser and its cap. And there could be a few methods to follow in order to get access to the lead refilling tube or hole.
What is used to Refill Mechanical Pencils?
These are also known as automatic, drafting or technical pencils use a replaceable solid pigment core known as LEAD. It’s made of graphite material that’s worn away as your write with it. And it’s mechanically extended while in use a mechanical pencil.
There will be some sort of a button to push to allow the lead to release towards or drop. Also, the same button is used to retract it when you’re done writing.
5 Simple Steps to Refilling Mechanical Pencils
Now that you have your leads and the pencil in your hand, it's time to start the refilling process. One important thing is to make sure you get the right size of the lead diameter supported by the pen.
Once you’re set, let’s head on to it!
Step 1: Identify the Type
First of all, note that some cheap versions aren't allowed to refill. They're used once and discarded when empty. So, once you know that you have got a refillable pencil, you're ready to follow the next steps.
Step 2: Access to the Filling Chamber
Leads are refilled through a tiny hole found under the push button. Most of the time, you’ll be able to find the hole once you remove the eraser and its cap. So, go ahead and wiggle the eraser or the cap out and it’ll reveal the chamber where you can put the lead.
But remember that each pencil might have a different opening to the filling chamber. While some models will have access under the eraser, some will have access from the middle part of the body that needs to detach.
Also, some combo versions will give you access once the grip (front) part is opened. So basically, you'd have to get familiar with the opening of the compartments that allow you access to the refilling hole or tube.
Step 3: Don’t Pull Hard
So for the type of pencil you have, explore the different parts to get access to the lead chamber. Hence, one important thing to note is that you shouldn't really be pulling too hard that's not getting apart easily.
If you do, you might be very well pulling something to separate that’s not intended to detach. As a result, you might break it accidentally so avoid doing that.
Also, while opening the access compartment, make sure you preserve the small parts carefully.
Step 4: Refill with Leads
Did you ever face that a pencil is not working properly? What was the reason in your case? Well, let’s see if you can find any conjunction with this phenomenon.
When the chamber is crammed with more leads, it’ll promote lead jamming and not working as expected. Hence, you're highly advised to put just about 2 to a maximum of 3 leads if you have room for that.
Or, sometimes stick to just one at a time if necessary.
Step 5: Set Back Everything
Once you’re done refilling, it’s time to put up the compartments together. Make sure you install the parts sequentially and properly with the spring, cap, sleeve, eraser or the pocket clip, etc.
And then it should be ready to use again.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are all drafting pencils refillable?
Answer: Most of them can be refilled. However, some cheaper models aren’t allowed for that. You’ll have to discard them when empty.
2. Are pencil leads harmful to human health?
Answer: Leads are made of graphite and clay or sometimes used plastic polymers. And graphite isn’t highly toxic yet minimal so it’s less nonpoisonous and free from any toxic chemicals. However, considering the material it’s always good to take necessary precautions from swallowing.
3. How do you refill a drafting twist pencil?
Answer: First of all, twist pencils usually don’t get apart from the rear part where the clip and the twister are. In fact, you’d have to unscrew from the front part to detach it from the body. And that’ll reveal the filling chamber and other pen shafts. Now, gently pull out the chamber and it should come out as a whole and you can refill.
4. Why does my technical pencil not work?
Answer: Very commonly, leads might get jammed inside that prevents them from smoothly dropping when you press the button. One way to fix that is by not cramming with extra pieces. So just stick to 1 or 2, or maybe 3 at maximum if you have room for that. And hopefully, that’ll prevent the issues that stop it from working properly.
5. Can you use 0.5 lead in a 0.7 pencil?
Answer: Straight to the answer, you can’t use 0.5 lead in a 0.7 pencil since the sleeve is 0.2 mm larger and the 0.5 will eventually slip or fall out of the tip.
So that’s how you can refill a mechanical pencil by yourself. Hopefully, some of you in the audience now feel a little more knowledgeable on how to perform the refilling process.
So, go ahead a give it a try!
Just remember to fight the urge of pulling something hard that's not opening easily. Other than that, go ahead and hunt for the little feature of getting access to the lead chamber, and refill it wisely. And you’ll still get the same level of performance with sharp lines for neat and clean writing and drawing.