Pilot Parallel Highlighter Conversion

I was always a fan of reusable pens. I believe this was one of the reasons why I was attracted to fountain pens in the first place. I always hated having to throw away my highlighters every time the ink ran out even though the felt tip was in great condition.

Once I saw the Pilot Parallel pen naturally one idea sprang to my head. How about I use it as a highlighter? I quickly purchased a couple from the local art store and started experimenting. I chose the 3.8mm green version as its width most closely resembles that of normal highlighters.


Once you open the box, it comes with two cartridges and a bulb syringe for easy cleaning. The little plastic balloon is shaped to the dimensions of a normal Pilot cartridge and thus fits perfectly every Pilot fountain pen.


The first hurdle was how to fill the pen. It turns out that since it takes standard Pilot cartridges, the Pilot CON40 converters fit perfectly. Luckily I had one lying around from my Pilot Capless Decimo. While it worked fine and I could easily refill the pen like a fountain pen one problem became apparent. Its capacity was minute and it was no match for the ink hungry 3.8mm nib.

I ended up using the cartridges that came along in the box by rinsing them and filling them using a small syringe I purchased from Amazon. At some point I will try to convert this pen into an eye-dropper but until that day cartridges are the way to go.


The second problem was what ink. In the beginning, I started diluting normal fountain pen blue ink in water and trying to use that as a virtually unlimited source of highlighter ink. I could never though, for the life of me, get the proportions right. It was either too dark or way to light. I ended up giving up on the idea and decided to purchase a dedicated fountain pen friendly highlighter ink. My choice was the Pelikan M205 Highlighter ink.


Overall, I think this is a great substitute to a normal highlighter. It works as it should and the Pelikan ink looks great over printed text. There are only two problems that I can think of. One, the pen is way too long. As a desk highlighter it protrudes over all other pens in a normal pen holder and if you have a pen pouch or pencil case for the road, chances are it will not fit. Secondly, while the ink does not bleed through in even lower quality paper, it does feel a bit scratchy and it takes quite a bit of effort to hold in the proper angle to get a smooth consistent line. Ease of use in a highlighter is vital for me. When I read I want to focus on what I am trying to understand rather than how to hold my pen and I ended up using the normal felt tip ones quite frequently.

If you can however oversee the above I think the Pilot Parallel pen to be a great substitute to normal highlighters which will save you money in the longterm and minimise waste. For now I use my Parallel pens for what they were initially designed for. Drawing and calligraphy.


Items mentioned*:

Pen: Pilot Parallel
Pen: Pilot Fountain Pen Capless DecimoInk: Pelikan M205 Highlighter ink
Tools: Syringe
Converter: Pilot CON-40

Photography equipment:

Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm

Other blogs about this topic:

Wonder Pens: Pilot Parallel Pen as a Highlighter
Writer’s Bloc Blog: Using Fountain Pens and Calligraphy Pens as Highlighters

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