The Anatomy of a Rollerball Pen

A rollerball pen or roll pen is a pen that utilizes ball point writing mechanisms using water-based liquid or gel ink. The more common ballpoint pens use oil-based viscous inks. Roller ball pens have more distinct writing qualities due to the less viscous inks that saturate more widely and more deeply on paper. The writing point is a tiny ball, about 0.5 to 0.7 mm in diameter.


Two Main Types

  • Liquid ink rollerball pen – with an ink and ink supply system that is similar to the fountain pen. Designed to merge the smooth “wet ink” effect of a fountain pen and the convenience of a ballpoint pen. They were introduced by Ohto, a Japanese company, in 1963.
  • Gel ink rollerball pen – contains pigments, yielding brighter colors compared to liquid, which only has dyestuff. Gel ink can use heavier pigments to produce metallic or glitter effects.


How do rollerball pens differ from ballpoint pens?

  • Rollerball pens tend to write more clearly.
  • Rollerball pens feature a unique ink flow system that gives a smooth and even writing.
  • There are more choices of colors.
  • Users don’t need to apply pressure when writing as rollerball pens can write cleanly. Holding the rollerball pen is more convenient as the pen naturally “glides” when you write.


The Drawbacks

  • Liquid ink tends to “bleed” through the paper when writing. Since ink is less viscous, it is easily absorbed into the paper. This usually causes minor problems when you accidentally leave the tip on paper. The bleed-through may lead to a big blotch on paper when ink is continually absorbed by the paper.

However, this is not an issue with the gel-based ink type. Though the gel may potentially bleed, the effect may not be too noticeable.

  • Rollerball pens usually run out of ink more easily than ballpoint pens. Rollerball pens use more ink while writing, especially the liquid-ink types.
  • When left uncapped, rollerball pens are more likely to leak ink, particularly when you leave it in your shirt pocket.
  • Rollerballs have a higher possibility of getting clogged or jammed, specifically when writing over not yet set correction fluid. 
  • Rollerball pens need to be refilled more often.

Parts and Accessories of a Rollerball Pen

A rollerball pen has an internal ink reservoir, similar to the fountain pen. The ink flows through a feed to the tip of the rollerball pen. Most rollerball pen models are observed to have a transparent section in the grip, there are visible ridges on the inside, too. The ridges create the feed, a part that resembles the one in a fountain pen. The feed is connected to the ink cartridge, which regulates the flow of the ink to the tip of the pen.

You’ll find a lot of different designs for the rollerball pen and one pen doesn’t necessarily look like another.

The basic parts are:

  • Cap
  • Barrel
  • Tip
  • Ink cartridge
  • Feed

The good thing about a rollerball pen is that you have a lot of options available in the market.

 If you wish to check our variety of rollerball pens you are welcome to check our store :)

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