How to make a pen from a “whippet” /N20 cartridge


In Manchester, if you’ve ever been to a shabby area then you have most definitely found empty N20 cartridges at the side of the road. 

They’re used in whip cream machines but I can assure you that the ones you find on the roads were not thrown away by some French chef who had too many lying around. The sad truth is that people get high from them and just throw away their hoarded stashes with no way to recycle them.

So after finding one of them I decided to put it to good use. An example of upcycling you could call it.

The plan is to try and make a pen from the canister which can be refilled and something light that you can easily carry wherever you go.

Step 1 – cut the cartridge to size

Cut a few cm of the end of the cartridge so when inserted, it can fit fully inside the canister. But don’t cut too much off so that the pen runs out quickly.

Step 2 – make the hole

The canister has a single small hole at the neck which was previously punctured if you found it. Do not attempt to make the hole or widen it with a unused cartridge as all the gas will burst out causing the metal canister to fly somewhere and cause a dent. Worst case scenario is that you lose your eye :0

You should widen the hole with this Victorinox tool:

Depending on whether you g=have this tool or not, you may need to just hammer in a small screw driver again and again with each srew driver increasing in width. 

After widening it as much as you can, if the pen fits inside but the conical end where you write remains then you can move into printing the adapter.

If it still doesn’t fit, then drill through with a M4/5 drill bit carefully. Since it can get very hot during drilling, hold the canister with a wet piece of cloth making sure that the cloth is far away from the drill bit. That way the cloth cant get caught up in the drill which your hand might get trapped in and you can guess what happens next :/

If the hole is too wide, then that’s still okay as we are printing an adapter for a reason. 

Step 3 – Printing the adapter

You can find the adapter stl files here:  

Just download the “cap” file and print it on 0.12mm (or highest resolution you have) at 100% infill with no supports or rafts.

In your silver (I use Cura), position the adapter so that the bigger hole (which connects to the canister) is attached to the print bed and the hole which the ink cartridge directly fits into is closer to the ceiling. 

Once its printed just attach it onto the pen like so:

It should lock onto the cartridge by design so it doesn’t require any sort of super glue. 

Then just fit the pen into the hole which should also be a tight fit and just like that the pen is complete

Step 4 – Print the lid

This step is optional but I would recommend it since you want to carry the pen around without ink spilling everywhere.

Print the “lid5” file in the Thingiverse link I provided earlier on the same print settings making sure the hole of the cap is closer to the ceiling. 

Once printed, just clean up any edges with 400 grit sandpaper and it should turn out like this:

And with that the pen is complete!

Let me know what you think in the comments

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