Monday, July 7, 2014

How to completely disassemble a Lamy Z24 converter

I've had my Lamy AL-Star fountain pen for a few years, along with the popular Z24 converter and while I love this pen, one thing kept me from using it more often in my rotation: the Z24 converter can be hard to clean. Ink likes to fill the recesses inside it, stick to the nooks and then dry up.

The last time I cleaned the converter, right after I finished the Diamine Green Black that was in it, it literally took me 15 minutes of flushing the Z24 over and over to realize that I wasn't going anywhere. As soon as I thought it was clean enough and shook it, out flew some more greenish water.

I decided that I had enough. I searched the internet for how to disassemble the Lamy Z24 converter and the only thing I could come up with was people assuring other people that it could be done, that they themselves had done it easily. Well, I tried in the past and failed. It seemed to me back then that the damn parts which make up the converter are fused together.

This time I used a different method and succeeded. What follows is a video (my first production video ever) of the procedure, as well as a written explanation with photos. Please excuse the amateurish quality of the video as well as my superglue-covered fingers. Also, please subscribe to my newly-minted Youtube channel if you wish, in the right sidebar.

What you're gonna need for the Z24 disassembly procedure is quite simple: a thin rod preferably made from plastic or wood, which can fit inside the converter, and your fingernails.

I used the plastic piston from an insulin syringe. I have a lot of them lying around, not because I'm diabetic but because I bought a pack of 100 a few years ago so I could use them to fill my cartridges, converters and fountain pens with ink. For this purpose the piston works wonderfully.

The first thing you want to do is to remove the black metal ring at the twisty knob end. This is easily removed by pulling outward with your fingers, perhaps twisting it a little if it feels stiff.

Now comes the tricky part. Underneath the metal ring you will notice that the red knob is mated to the black plastic piston assembly. This black part is actually the one that holds the piston inside the converter, and joins the knob and the piston. In the past I've tried pulling the assembly out with my fingers. Though my grip is pretty strong, I've never managed. The black part can be twisted but that doesn't help to extract it.

So I had to figure out a different way. This is where your nails come into action. Alternatively, you can use some sort of plastic shim, but I prefer the nails. I wouldn't recommend metal (like a knife blade for instance) because it will most likely damage the soft plastic of the converter.

You need to wedge your nail between the black part and the transparent converter body. Since the two parts seem melded together, it might help to bend the converter a little until a gap is formed between the two. At this point you should be able to slide your fingernail inside the gap.

You will now perform 2 simultaneous motions. First, you slide your fingernail along the gap, while rotating the black assembly (remember, this one is rather stiff to rotate). At the same time you pull outward with the other hand until the whole thing pops out.

There you go, the piston assembly has been removed from the transparent converter body. You can now unscrew the piston for cleaning but don't tell me I should have also detached the black assembly from the red knob because that would be pointless. Ink doesn't get between those parts anyway.

What remains is the small black ring/washer/valve/thing at the business end of the converter. This little part always bothered me the most because ink likes to accumulate between it and the walls of the converter, thus making it nigh impossible to wash the converter thoroughly. Well, not anymore buddy. Time to use the syringe piston.

Grab the syringe piston or whatever thin rod you have and stick it inside the converter. I would stay away from metal rods because, again, they could damage the soft plastic.

Brace the rod against the hard surface of a table and press down hard on the converter while pushing on the black washer thing until it pops out. Keep a finger or two on the opening because the sudden release could shoot it through the ceiling.

And there you have it. Taking the Lamy Z24 converter apart turns out to be a pretty simple procedure, but one which has eluded me for years. Now I'm hoping my method will bring relief to thousands of Lamy aficionados plagued by this very same conundrum.

I hope you have enjoyed this how-to and if you have a different method of doing this I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


  1. Thank you! I have recently started noticing this issue with my Lamy converters. Nice to have a post that shows me how to do this. Hope you do not mind, but I would like to share this on my blog :)

  2. Thank you, thank you so much for this post! Some ink got stuck in the piston part of my converter, too, and I'd need to disassemble it to get it out. I don't use my converter anymore because cartridges have more capacity and they're easier to maintain, but I'm sure that this will be very useful for many people.

  3. Of course I mind! How dare you??? JUST KIDDING! Please share all you want and thanks for visiting!

  4. I'm so glad I could help. It's such a bummer, these are lovely pens, too bad the ink gunks up in the converter. At the beginning, I actually used to refill the cartridge my Lamy came with, for fear of messing up the converter. But that's not a great solution either, unless you are always using the same ink, because cartridges also have that plastic fitting where they connect with the pen, which loves to catch ink residue.

  5. Thanks Freddy! I must ask, do you have a Lamy in your collection?

  6. So I wanted to pop in and let you know I tried this tonight! It is not as easy as you make it look (at least my converter wasn't LOL). So the black metal ring that you have to twist/pull off (The first step). I had to have my husband pull it off. Took more strength than I had hehe. Also once the converter was cleaned, putting that ring back on was a pain in the.....yea, you get it. The rest was pretty simple. My husband also had to separate the piston assembly from the converter as my nails were not strong enough. Otherwise, it was easy to clean and pretty simple to put back together (for the most part). I had to put some "umph" in getting the black metal ring back on...whew! But it is done and now in my pen inked up with Private Reserve Ebony Blue

  7. Haha well you got it in the end didn't you? I think I specified in the instructions that I'm a guy who has above average grip strength, so there's that. But the metal ring actually was the easiest for me to pull off. In truth, I had already pulled it off several times in the past, in aborted attempts to take the thing apart. So it was already kind of loose for this video.

  8. I just wash it out. =)

  9. Here's an excellent post on the Fountain Pen Network (FPN) on how to clean a Z24/Z26 converter. Since the Lamy converters cannot be easily disassembled, this is especially useful if and when you get ink behind the convert's piston.

    By FPN User "flight878" on 04 January 2012 - 22:00

    To clean off the ink that seeps past the piston, turn the converter upside down and and perform the usual water flush. Immerse the upper half of the converter first (the red (Z24) or black (Z26) handle), turn the converter like usual to draw up water and drain it. It will look weird because it'll seem like you're filling the converter "upside down". Allow plenty of time to dry.

    To clean the bottom rubber converter plug, it can be removed by taking a paper towel and twisting a corner to make a tip pointy enough to be inserted into the converter. Once there is some paper towel inside, screw the piston down until the paper towel you put inside creates a barrier space between the piston and the bottom plug. Keep screwing down gently until the downward force and the extra space created by the paper towel pushes the plug out of the converter and you can remove the rest by hand.

    If ink doesn't easily go away with water you can use rubbing alcohol.


    If you must disassemble your Lamy converter, it can be done. See here:

    Here's another cleaning/disassembly post on FPN:

  10. Thanks for this David! The paper towel method is pretty intriguing. I have seen these instructions before but since I'm a visual person I decided to make a video on what worked for me. Are there any photo/video instructions out there?