How Do Frixion Pens Work – Our Breakdown!

As the popularity of the Pilot Frixion range continues to grow with each passing month while showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, we have constantly seen more and more questions being asked. Due to the unique properties of the Frixion range, we have noticed more and more people reaching out just to ask how do Frixion pens work?

As we are sure a number of our readers are trying to satisfy their curiosity when it comes to the Frixion range and the magic of their erasable ink we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over exactly how they work. We also have a few tips and tricks in the article to try and help ensure that our readers are getting the most out of their Frixion pen during use too that can help you with their erasable properties too.

Although there are a number of different variants of pens in the Frixion range these days ranging from the Standard pen, to their Fineliner, and then to their most recent addition, their Highlighters, they all tend to work in a very similar way. Due to this, the breakdown of how Frixion pens work should apply to the technology in any variant of the pen used by our readers.

How Do Frixion Pens Work?

“Pilot Frixion pen” by matsuyuki is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Although the majority of people tend to want to know about the thermo-sensitive ink technology, the actual ink delivery system is also important when it comes to how your pen works. The highlighter and fineliner variants of the pens use the standard felt transfer system where the ink in the pens ink cylinder is drawn to the felt nib and in turn transfered to your paper when pressure is applied.

The regular pen variants stick to the standard ball based writing mechanism where you actually have to have enough friction to rotate the ball on your pen to get the ink to transfer to it from the ink cylinder to then transfer onto your paper. For the majority of people, this should not matter either way as most people use their Frixion pen to write on paper.

That said though, we have noticed more and more people wanting to use their Frixion pen on fabric with a few wanting to use it on wood and this is where it becomes important to know how the pen works. Although the regular pens do work with fabric, the Fineliner or the Highlighters tend to be a better option for getting the Frixion ink onto any fabric with decent detail while retaining the erasable properties of the ink.

If you do need to write on wood with your Frixion pen then the regular pens will almost always be the better option. If you are just using paper then all three variants of the pen should be good enough to use without issue.

How Does The Frixion Pen Ink Work?

This is what the majority of people actually want to know when they ask how a Frixion pen works due to the unique thermo-sensitive ink that the Frixion range use. Keep in mind that the competing erasable pens on the market that use a friction erasable ink also use a very similar system to the Frixion range but at the time of writing, the vast majority are no where near as effective as what Pilot use.

Although most people know the ink system as thermo-sensitive ink, its official name is Metamo ink and unlike a regular pen ink, the ink in your Pilot Frixion pen has a number of microcapsules in it that contain three different substances. These are leuco dye, color developer, and a temperature regulator with each being an essential part of how your Frixion pens ink can be erased.

Unlike a traditional pigment or dye that the majority of other pens use, leuco dye moves through the color spectrums depending on its temperature breakpoints. The leuco dye is what provides your Frixion pen with its unique color depending on the color you purchased and although the most popular are black and blue, the modern Frixion range offers pens of all ink colors.

Now, the leuco dye in the Frixion pens essentially needs to be activated to actually show up on your paper, fabric, wood or other type of surface and this is where the other two ingredients come into play. Upon initial usage as well as while kept at below 60°C, the leuco dye in the Frixion ink will interact with the color developer and be visible and remain that way provided that it does not go above 60°C.

When you need to erase the ink of your Pilot Frixion, you simply apply friction with the eraser that is included on the end of your pen to warm your ink up. Although most people do tend to be surprised by this, it really does not take much to raise the temperature of the ink above 60°C to activate the temperature regulator in the ink. At this stage, the regulator activates and stops the interaction between the leuco dye and color developer making the ink from your Frixion disappear.

As the ink is still actually on your paper and has not actually disappeared, you are able to reactivate the interaction between the leuco dye and the color developer by bringing the ink back down to around -10°C. This is a common trick that people take advantage of as a few minutes in the majority of domestic fridge freezers will be able to reactivate this bond and make the ink visible again.

How Do FriXion Pens Erase?

Although the majority of people will erase their Pilot Frixion ink via the eraser that comes included with all Frixion pens, there are a number of other tricks that you are able to use to erase your Frixion ink. One of the more common ones and a system that is very popular with people who use the Rocketbook notebook range is to take advantage of a microwave.

As the microwave is able to quickly and easily heat the ink to a temperature that is able to make it disappear many people take advantage of this to be able to erase all of their work in a Rocketbook at once. Please note though, we would NOT recommend that you use this method with any type of paper, the Rocketbook range has been specifically designed to be safe if microwaved with use with the Pilot Frixion range in mind.


That brings our article going over how Pilot Frixion pens work to an end and we hope that you have found our article helpful. We have covered how the actual ink transfer mechanisms work, how the thermo-sensitive ink in the Frixion works, and how the erasing component of the pen works. This should cover all bases and help ensure that you understand your pen better during use as well as how you are able to mass erase its ink as well as how you are able to bring ink back after erasing it.

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