PenBBS Model Guide

I’m rather a fan of PenBBS, but even for me it’s getting hard to keep track of all the different models!  So, here’s a quick reference table and some suggested starting models.

Quick Suggestion Lists:

Bread-and-Butter Models: 480, 309, 456

  • These pens check all the boxes, with a practical high-capacity filler, caps that post, clips, and the ability to swap nibs.
  • The 480 makes this list because the converter is a practical, easy solution and it can switch to eyedropper filling easily for maximum ink capacity & higher inkflow.
    • The 480 gets recommended over the 308 because it can accept any JoWo #6 nib, where the 308 has issues with many.
  • The 355 almost makes this list, but its bulk-filler is a bit tricky to use

Minimalist Models, the Clip-less Wonders: 267, 323, 350, 469, 471

  • The 323 and (aluminum) 350 are good everyday-carry options.  The former can be eyedropper-filled for high ink capacity (3.4 mL!)
  • The 267’s design echoes vintage desk pens.  Very ergonomic but it is impractical to carry around due to the length
  • The 469 and 471 are eyedropper-only

Specialty Models: 267, 355, 469, 471

  • The 267 is specialty due to being unusually long (won’t fit most pen cases)
  • The 355 is specialty because while it’s quite clever the filling system can be a bit tricky to use. It’s well-executed though, and combines massive ink capacity with a shut-off valve and the ability to fill as much or as little as you want
  • The 469 and 471 are specialty because they only feature eyedropper filling.

PenBBS Materials And Colors List:

A helpful Redditor has gathered a comprehensive list of the different acrylic materials

PenBBS Models Table:

ModelFillerShapeClip?Cap posts?Ink Capacity (mL)Dry Weight Uncapped/Total (g)Notes
267C/C/EyedropperLong-tail desk penNN0.714.48
/ 19.15
Due to the “long tail” at 185* mm this is too big to fit in most cases
268VacCigarYY1.1 mL basic fill, 1.9 mL maxed16.64
/ 24.07
#6 nib, includes ink reserve chamber and shut-off valve. Injection molded – only 1 style
266/308 – reviewC/C/EyedropperCigarYY0.7 converter, 3.2 eyedropper12.13
/ 20.31
Cannot accept most JoWo #6 nibs – tipping hits inside of cap unless the nib is ground down
309PistonStd penYY1.711.1
/ 19.3
All-plastic piston, safe for iron gall inks
322 Mian MianC/CCigarYY0.78.17
/ 12.85
#5 nib (smaller than norm), injection-molded, no O-ring to eyedropper
323 (resin)C/C/EyedropperCurvy, flaredNN0.7 converter, 3.4 eyedropper12.38
/ 18.11
323 (aluminum)C/CCurvy, flaredNN0.722.5*
/ 31.3*
Aluminum
349C/CTorpedoYY0.714.48
/ 21.5
350C/CFaceted capN†Y0.715.26
/ 22.73
Accepts Delike Alpha slip-on clip (probably the Kaweco sport one too)
352C/CFlat-topYY0.719.37
/ 22.7
Might be possible to eyedropper but not ideal – no O-ring, and rear of barrel screws on
355Bulk-FillerStd, conical topYY2.316.11
/ 28.09
Includes an ink reserve chamber behind feed and a shut-off valve
380C/CNakaya Decapod TwistYY0.721.8*
/ 36
Aluminum-only (so far, resin may be coming)
456 – reviewVacStd, conical topYY1.4 basic fill, 2.1 max-fill19.08
/ 29.72
Includes an ink reserve chamber behind feed and a shut-off valve
469Double eyedropperDouble-ended LozengeNN/A1.2 mL x 2 sides16.88
/ ~21*
471EyedropperPocket Pen – CylinderNY, screw-on???13* without ring
/ 17* with ring
480C/C/EyedropperTorpedoYY0.7 mL converter, ??? eyedropper (probably 3ish mL)10.53
/ 19.56

Key / Notes:

  • * = Values I haven’t measured myself, taken from PenBBS Etsy site or third-party reviews
  • † = Not available out of box, but may be added by third-party modifications
  • C/C = Cartridge/converter – unfortunately I haven’t seen their cartridges. See the compatibility guide for which other carts/converters will work with PenBBS.
  • Unless mentioned in notes (models 322 and 266/308), pens feature a JoWo-compatible #6 nib that can be swapped with custom-ground nibs
  • All models listed as “eyedropper” include O-rings for eyedropper use and do not require silicone grease

Updates & Versions:

  • 31 Aug 2019: Initial release
  • 31 Aug 2019: Cleaned up table formatting a touch
  • 2 Sep 2019: Added links for the list of PenBBS materials
  • 4 Oct 2019: More info in suggestion lists

5 thoughts on “PenBBS Model Guide

  1. I’m interested in buying a PenBBS pen, but I’m undecided on which model. Perhaps you can help. I will be exchanging the nib with a Franklin-Christoph music nib, a 1.9mm wide two-slit nib. Thus, I need a pen with good ink flow. The 456 sounds wonderful, and may be my best choice, but I have a TWSBI 700RVac which it similar. That’s fine, as I really like my 700RVac, but would this pen be my best choice for my specific needs? I’m also looking at the 323 and the 480. What would you recommend?

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    1. Yes, I can certainly help with that. If you’re looking for good inkflow, my top recommendation would be the eyedropper-filler models which can supply a lot of inkflow with the PenBBS feed. The 323 and 480 are good selections for this, and versatile since they can also accept a more conventional C/C setup as well and are suitable as daily-use pens. I have had excellent results using an eyedroppered 323 with a FPNibs 14k semiflex that lays down a ton of ink when flexed. The curvy shaping of the 323 is particularly ergonomic in-hand, while the 480 has the clip to allow carrying in pocket and to prevent rolling (I’d consider the 480 among the most versatile of the current models). If you carry your pens in a case or wrap mostly, get the 323, and if you like to carry one in your pocket get the 480.

      If you’re planning to use this mostly at home for italic calligraphy, consider also the often-overlooked model 267 “long tail.” It has the same section style as the 323, 480, and earlier 308, meaning it can be used eyedroppered (with built-in O-ring) or with C/C. It’s inspired by vintage desk pens, and while its length makes it impractical to carry around daily it balances the pen in a way that is delightfully comfortable to use for a prolonged period (in my opinion one of the most comfortable).

      In my experience the 456 (vacuum-filler) and older-style 355 (bulkfiller) supply quite solid inkflow as well. If you like the idea of an interesting filling system but don’t want a second vacuum filler, the improved-model 355 might be up your alley. They’ve worked out some of the kinks with the original 355 design to make it easier and more foolproof to use — I’ve heard good things about the improvements/fixes, but haven’t tried it myself yet since I’m happy enough with the older model. I’d definitely get a demonstrator if you take that path though, so you can see what’s going on with the filler inside (otherwise it can be a touch confusing).

      If you want the truly wettest-possible writing from a PenBBS model, FlexibleNibFactory does an ebonite feed and conversion for PenBBS non-converter pen uses (including eyedroppered 323, 480, etc): https://flexiblenib.com/store/product/jp6ex-jowo-6-feed-in-penbbs-housing/

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  2. Thank you for your though reply. I’m wanting the 323. However, the Etsy PenBBS Official store has limited colors and mostly metal bodies (not interested). The 480 selection is similar. However, I like your suggestion of the 267. Since I’ll be putting a 1.9mm music nib on the pen, it’ll be a specialty pen, and thus will remain at home most of the time. And with eyedropper capabilities, this is a great choice. The store site also has a color I like.

    Thanks for the FlexibleNibFactory link. Beini (Etsy store) says both the nib and feed of the PenBBS pens are dry, and thus discourages a purchase for my intention. I’m hoping to give it a go nonetheless, and I hope the PenBBS feed will be adequate. The F-C nib cost me $35, A 267 in the color i like is $30, and the FexibleNibFactory feed is $30. It adds up. I’d rather not need the extra feed cost, but it’s nice to know that option exists. With the extra feed, the cost is approaching that of a F-C pen. I also read that Jowo #6 nibs don’t fit great on the PenBBS feeds; perhaps the FexibleNibFactory feeds have a better fit. That’s why I recently bought a Jinhao x750 pen. I’ve read that F-C nibs fit just fine on the Jinhao pens.

    My preference is to find a 323 in a color I like, and to have the F-C music nib fit and work just fine with the pen. But I may consider a 267 pen instead. I hope I don’t need the FexibleNibFactory’s feed.

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    1. Apologies, I thought I’d replied back to you. With respect to Beini, she knows her pens but occasionally says something that makes me scratch my head and wonder if she’s using the same pens I am (she’s gotta be, since I’ve bought several dozen off her). This is one of those times.

      I would definitely NOT describe the PenBBS feed as “dry” — it’s a balanced feed that does a good job of matching inkflow to what the nib demands, regulates inflow well, and holds a respectable reserve of ink. IMO they’re just as good as stock JoWo feeds, slightly more fragile, but perhaps even a bit better at managing inkflow with unusual nibs. The limiting factors for inkflow with a PenBBS feed in my experience are how quickly the nib can lay down ink and how well the filler can supply a thirsty nib — and I’ve seen a couple cases where converters struggle with supplying particularly demanding nibs. Although I’ll say that I’ve had a good time using the converter PenBBS models with cursive italic nibs (but I tend to use wetter and well-behaved inks).

      The PenBBS NIBS on the other hand tend to write on the slightly dry and more feedbacky side of things (although not so dry that they are prone to skipping or hard starts). When you throw a standard JoWo nib on them or swap a PenBBS nib onto a JoWo feed this distinction between nib and feed behavior becomes visible.

      I think you’ll be quite happy with what your 323 does for you in eyedropper mode even with such a thirsty nib. If it struggles, it’ll be when trying to keep up after a longer period of sustained writing (even some fancier pens like the Pilot 743 with FA flex nib are known to have issues in these cases). A wetter, smooth-flowing ink will help — Pilot Blue Black, their Iroshizuku lines, or most of Diamine’s offerings (aside from shimmer & sheen inks) are good for this.

      The Jinhao x750 on the other hand is a very wet writer in general — they do well even with a firehose of a nib. The Zebra G nibs are popular paired with them, and there’s a reason.

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  3. Ok. I went ahead and bought a clear 323 for a total cost of $20 (with shipping). I figured that with my Jinhao x750 purchase ($10) I really need to make sure a F-C music nib will work on either one of these bodies before I spend more money. Besides, I already have several nice more expensive pens, and I really don’t need more F and M nib pens. I’m also getting more and more into wider stub type of pens, even though I’m a lefty. The F-C music nib will be my widest yet. I’ll try it on the X750 first , especially since the 323 will take 3-4 weeks to arrive. But in the end, I hope to have an eyedropper filled 323 with the F-C music nib on it.

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