My new 72 pack of gel pens are 75% unusable due to the ink in the gel pens being stuck at the wrong end of the pen and no ink near the tip? How can I get the ink flowing down the tube to the point? I've had them point down for 5 days now only 50% of the ink in the gel pens has actually traveled down to the tips...

  • 2
    I've never experienced this problem, but I would have thought it's worth a try to heat them gently to see if the gel temporarily loses some of its viscosity and allows gravity to do what it does best...?
    – Lefty
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 8:17
  • Related, possibly duplicate - lifehacks.stackexchange.com/q/13465/6973
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 18:23
  • Some pens have a tiny plastic or wax covering to the tip to prevent accidental leakage. Don't forget to check for this and remove it if present. Sometimes it takes more than just scribbling. I've had to use my fingernail to break off the glob before. Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 21:10
  • That number of failures suggests you bought/got both OEM factory seconds due to the points being incorrectly inserted (end-for-end) during assembly. It also sounds as if 'seconds' got mixed with some good pens and it was cheaper to sell them 'as-is' rather than sort, count, re-package. Can you pull the point and re-insert for those that are backwards? Can you complain to the seller for a partial (substantial) refund? Good luck
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 1:33

2 Answers 2


You can easily utilize centrifugal force to move the ink to where you need it.

Grap the pen securely at the bottom end, letting the tip extend from your hand. Now quickly rotate your hand and move the tip of the pen in an arc around it. The centrifugal force will push the ink from the inner parts of the arc (the bottom of the pen) to the outermost part (the tip of the pen).

Start with only a few shakes. Depending on how liquid the ink is, you may shake some ink out of the tip, creating a real mess inside the pens cap.

A similar technique is used to "shake down" old-fashioned thermometers.

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Heating the ink cartridges will do it easily. Remove the cartridge and hold it under a stream of hot water. If it has dried in the nib, hold just the metallic tip in the flame of a lighter for 1 to 3 seconds. Either singlely or combined these techniques should restore an old ink pen to functionality. The nib-in-flame method can be used to squeeze out a little more from a dead pen.

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