The broken tip

The repaired tip of an inkless pen.
Not all that long ago, I discovered a product online (via Thinkgeek, my usual source of unusual item knowledge) which was identified as an "inkless pen". Rather peculiar, I thought, being as pens tend to require ink and such. After a bit of research, I discovered that this would be better described as a "pencil that never wears down"... but that doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely as 'inkless pen' I guess. As well, it does still technically wear down, just extraordinarily slowly since it's basically a lead alloy tip that leaves a difficult to erase writing behind, and the tip can be sharpened if needed after a long time with a metal file. A small metal nib with a removable cap, on a plain countertop.
So after several weeks of having this attached to my keys, I was pulling it out one day to show a fellow geocacher how it worked, when much to my dismay it seems the tip had just... snapped off. I have no clue how it happened or when, but somehow or another it must have happened while screwed into the cap. Last I looked at it, it was fine. The next time, the tip came out separated from the shaft. I was both embarrassed, shocked at the craftsmanship, and disappointed with the product. However, that's not to say the product IN GENERAL is bad... I just had a defective pen(cil) essentially. I've tested the hardness of the tip by trying to scratch it, and the material IS actually very strong. This was moreso just bad luck than anything else I believe. Showing the device but the writing tip is entirely broken off.
Thus, as is usually my way, I set about coming up with a way to fix, if not improve, upon the product. I started by drilling a small hole partway into the tip right in the center, and then did the same with the base. I went a bit deeper into the base, just because there's no risk of me punching through the other side as with the tip. At first I debated whether to use essentially a screw, minus the head, to hold the two parts together, but the effort of keeping everything absolutely perfectly straight with the threads would be problematic, and if I stripped it, it'd make any future fix attempts twice as difficult, if not impossible if the holes were stripped too big. Showing a small hole in the center of the handle.
Thus, I decided my old friend JB Weld would be my first attempt. However, although JB Weld dries rigid, it specifically says to avoid using it on lead or other flexible materials. I figured that 1) this won't be flexing at all, and 2) if I had left the holes perfectly smooth on the inside, it's feasible that over time it might be bumped loose and the tip would slide right off of the JB Weld post if I didn't correct for it not adhering to the metal. Therefore I had to give the JB Weld something to grip onto by making lots of deep grooves for it to dry to. After some trial and error, I found that using a fishhook seemed to do the best job of making deep scratches to the insides of the holes. Showing using a wire to scratch up the inside of the hole
Here it is immediately after attaching the JB Weld and placing the ends together. I believe I've got it about as perfectly lined up as possible so everything is centered and the tip isn't crooked. I also used a toothpick to cram and thoroughly rub around the JB Weld into the holes to avoid air pockets. Some of the JB Weld crept out the sides, which I attempted to wipe upwards around the 'lip', both to somewhat 'grasp' the tip, as well as a test of sorts for later to see if the JB Weld could even bond well to the metal. A little bit got into the cap's threading, which I removed with a knife once everything was dried. Showing a closeup of the tip plastic welded back onto the handle.
After it dried, it seems the 'test' JB Weld on the outside of the tip stuck VERY well to even the smooth surface, so that's an added bonus. It's been banged around with my keys for a week or so and is so far holding together. I was a bit worried that it would snap off again when writing, but thus far it's held up. The JB Weld is approximately the strength of HDPE plastic (think of a plastic coke bottle... and the JB Weld 'post' will be about as thick as the thicker plastic at the cap of the bottle), so I hope it'll hold up. Only time will tell, but so far I'm optimistic. Kabutroid writing with the pen on a paper saying 1 week later, so far so good.

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