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Jinhao X450 Flex Hack

A simple mod – an incredible result.

IMG_0560Last week @FourFiftyTwo on Instagram posted a pic of a Jinhao X450 with a Zebra Comic “G” nib and some pics of the result. Needless to say I went right to Amazon and ordered up a pack of nibs (10 pack is about $9). The process is really straight forward – you’ll want to remove the Jinhao nib and feed and put the old nib aside. Next take one of the new G-Nibs and set the end of the Jinhao feed about 1.5mm from the end of the nib. You will notice that if you now hold the nib and feed together at the back the nib curves slightly up and away as you approach the tip – but not to worry, as the nib is pushed into the barrel it will line up perfectly. Start by pinching the nib and feed at the back and get them both started into the hole – this may take just a little force. Once they are both in (but just a millimeter or two) make any slight adjustments to the nib to get your approximate 1.5mm gap at the tip. Once you are happy with the feed alignment push the nib and feed into the pen.

Now you wiIMG_0556ll need to fine tune the nib which means inky fingers and some trial-and-error. A few notes – I have found forcing ink into the feed with the convertor when first inking up helps a lot – once you are writing it seems to do really well and if it begins to dry out a quick twist of the convertor and you are back in business.

One note: do take care when pushing and pulling out the new Zebra nib. As you can see from the pic on the right, unlike the original Jinhao it’s very sharp (trust me on this).

The flex is pretty amazing and the pen does a great job keeping up with the ink flow the new nib needs. Keep in mind this is not a nice smooth tipped 14k nib – it’s sharp so it will shred cheap papers but it did great on my Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks. The line width variation is fantastic – about an extra fine on the thin side and fully open it feels like a 1.5mm stub. The flex dies not require a ton of pressure to produce and the nib is very springy and snaps back easily.

For less than a $1 a nib this was a great way to play with flex writing – need to get out the Noodler’s Ahab and see how it stacks up against the Jinhao next!

 

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12 thoughts on “Jinhao X450 Flex Hack

  1. Hi!
    Having bought (and waited 3 weeks for the pen to turn up) I was eager to try the nib swap, which was super easy!! – but I’m not getting ANY flow of the ink coming down to the nib?
    Any suggestions?
    I want to use waterproof ink (to draw with) do you have any recommendations for ink??

    Thanks in advance,
    -Mack.

    1. There are a few things to try Mack – set the feed closer to the tip of the nib to start. Next twist the converter to force some ink into the feed as it can sometimes require a little jumpstart when you first get it going. Let me know if that helps or we can look into more options.

  2. Hey Calligraphy Nut,

    I followed your advice. And the pen flexes like a ballerina. But it needs more inkflow, as it it railroads quite often and even stops writing alltogether. (A dip in water gets the ink flowing again.) another little probleem is that the nib and feed are stuck now. I’ll fry using force and keep experimenting.

    Greetz,
    Bert

    1. Yep this will be tight – I usually need to wrap the nib/feed with a paper towel for better grip. As for ink flow there are a few things to try like aligning the notch on the side of the zebra nib with one of the notches in the bottom of the feed. The biggest experiment was playing with different inks – some tend to flow a little easier and put up with the tines spreading that much. I may try opening up the section hole a bit this weekend and see if that helps with the nib/feed removal.

    2. hey, hello
      I tried this hack with an x750 and a brause No.361 nib, which turned out to be absolutely incompatible.
      the nib and feed got so stuck half way down the shaft I needed pliers to get the thing out.
      You’re gonna damage the feed if you’re not careful so here’s how I did it:
      Got one of those plumbers pliers, they just wrap around the feed and nib very snug, but not pinching the plastic feed more than necessary, I padded them with some rubber first.
      the other end where you actually hold the pen you can grab with something else, pad that with something too but remember the feed ribs are delicate. Now pull.

  3. Unfortunately I also have ink flow problem. It stops writing in the middle a of a word. I believe the ink channel should be wide or deeper.

  4. Your posting on the Zebra G hack offers quite a few subtle insights lacking in some of the other postings who talk about this (mostly on YouTube) and I do wish I’d seen yours before I took the leap. I’ve noted elsewhere my issues with quality control at Jinhao, the 450 I received seems to have issues with the feed, because right out of the package it was definitely not making the same clean lines that were coming from the 250s I’ve given my young daughters as their first FPs, in fact the line from the 450 looked like you drew it in wet sand with your big toe (and this was on Rhodia paper after cleaning the nib). I needed to do a great deal of heat-setting and manual readjusting to get the ZG NIB seated properly on the feed, and it is in no way a leisurely drawing experience even once I got the ink flowing reasonably well. Advocates say that the frequent dipping of a point like the Zebra G in a holder is frustrating, but my level of frustration getting the ZG working with the 450 made me wistful for the ease of inking a Hunt crow-quill with the dropper in a jar of Higgins India Ink by comparison. It truly is a beautiful pen, but it is in no way a gratifying drawing experience with the Zebra nib in place. I’m no calligrapher, but I suspect others may feel the same way. Still, as I said, Jinhao’s quality control may be at issue, because some such as yourself seem to like their results, while I see in your comments others who feel as I do, hopefully without my level of infuriated frustration.

  5. Hey there!

    I’ve recently got a Zebra G nib with a Jinhao x450, and so far have recieved no ink flow at all. I have done everything that I have read and I’ve seen no results.

    Any advice for a total newbie with no idea what she’s doing?

    1. There are a few things you can try – first give the feed a good soaking in pen cleaner to make sure there is no issues with ink flow. Next try adjusting the nib closer to the pen – as you get closer you simply run the risk of having too much ink flow. Also try giving the nib a good cleaning and break-in like you would any dip nib to remove anything that is holding back the ink flow. Finally – and with great care, you can widen the main ink channel that runs down the top of the feed but you need to be careful not to go too wide, so if you do go this route do it little by little.

  6. I tried this in my x450 and x750 and it works like a charm! I wished I had tried it sooner. I gave my first Jinhao away several Christmas’ ago. Now I am happy I gave this a try!

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