How Are Ballpoint Pens Manufactured?

ballpoint-pens-manufactured Credit: Steve Gorton/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

The manufacturing process of ballpoint pens is fairly similar across brands. The essential parts of the ballpoint pen include the ball point, which acts as a buffer between the ink and the paper, the point support, which holds the ball, and the ink cartridge. These parts are produced separately and then assembled in the plastic or brass body of the pen in high-speed machines.

  1. Make the ball point

    Tungsten carbide balls are first hardened in the manufacturer's factory ovens. This process renders them almost as hard as diamonds. They are then ground between two flat surfaces to become spheres which can grip onto any paper. The balls are then inserted into the manufactured point and point support which is usually made out of brass.

  2. Assemble the ink cartridge

    Most manufacturers have their own specially formulated in-house ink, which has a viscosity to it so the ink doesn't clog or leak onto the paper. Plastic reservoirs or cartridges are first attached to the point support and then injected with inks of various colors. The spring of the ballpoint pen is then attached to the cartridge.

  3. Encase the parts in the body of the pen

    The point, the point support, ink cartridge and the spring are then inserted into the body of the pen. The body is usually made of plastic, brass or stainless steel. At this point, other elements like pen caps or decorations can be added.