Pen Debugging

Shake Shake Shake

Having troubles writing? Cap your pen and try shaking it! We've found that mixing up the ink and disturbing any settling cures many errant writing problems.


The Circuit Scribe is a lot like a regular rollerball pen.  Sometimes the tip clogs up, or it dries out if you leave the cap off too long.  We also have some special considerations because the ink’s conductive material – silver – is so dense.  We address some of these issues in this document.

1) Clogged Tip

This could  happen if the large silver particles used as the conductive material in the ink jam inside the pen tip.  The best way to break a clog is to tap the side of the pen on a hard surface, like the edge of the table, and try writing again.

2) Dried Tip

This can happen  if the cap is left off.  If it’s just a dried chunk of ink on the outside of the tip, you can scribble with Circuit Scribe until it starts working.  If the ink inside the tip cavity is also dried up, write with the pen on a damp paper towel.

3) Silver Settling

The ink is mainly composed of  silver and water.  Since silver is much more dense (10x!!) than water, it is normal for the silver particles to sink to the bottom of the ink reservoir.  Depending on how you store your pen, it can take on a few appearances:

If the pen is tip-down, the particles will settle towards the tip, leaving a clear fluid above.  The pen should work normally, but eventually the ink will have less and less silver in it until it’s not conductive anymore.  If the ink is settled this way, agitate the pen or store it tip-up until the silver concentration has evened out again.

If you store the pen on its side, the ink reservoir will look like it’s split in two half cylinders – a silver half and a clear half.  The pen should work normally, but if you don’t like the way this looks, you can agitate the pen or store it on the opposite side for a while so the particles settle in the other direction.

4) Pen Leaking 

A leaking pen is uncommon, but unfortunately it does happen sometimes.  You’ve probably noticed that most pens have a clear gelatinous plug on top of the ink reservoir.  Ours has this too.  It keeps ink from spilling out the backside of the ink tube.  However, all ink pens will leak if you break the gel plug by shaking the pen upside down.  Since our tube diameter is wide and Circuit Scribe ink is quite dense, it’s a bit easier to break our gel plug than the plugs in other pens.

Try to be gentle with Circuit Scribe.  But if it does leak, you can take action.  Be sure to wipe the outside of the pen with a damp paper towel and wash your hands with soap and water.  You can continue using Circuit Scribe, but be mindful of future leaks.  

If your pen arrives leaking, please contact us -- we will replace it.  If leaking happens over time, you may need to purchase a new Circuit Scribe.