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Wacom Bamboo Owners: How's Your Nib?

By February 3, 2009

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In the discussion forum, kcholman78 writes:
I bought a Wacom Bamboo tablet, and I'm really frustrated with it... Unfortunately, when I write, the pen leaves trails at the beginning/end of strokes, or sometimes a beginning stroke is ignored.... Wacom support says this is because of the nib wearing down. Problem is, the nib wears down REALLY FAST. Not that they're very expensive, but at one every several hours, it would get expensive.
He also details several other problems he has with the Wacom Bamboo--issues I did not experience during my testing. My Bamboo is out on loan, and my Bamboo Fun has not been used enough to have the nib wear down, so I'm interested in hearing from other Bamboo owners who use their tablets a lot. Do you find the nibs wearing out to soon? How long have you had it and how has it met your expectations? Add a comment here, or reply directly to kcholman78 in the discussion forum.

On this site:
Write a Review: Graphics Tablet Reviews
Bamboo Pen & Touch Graphics Tablets from Wacom
Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet Review
Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen Tablet Review
Wacom Intuos4 Professional Graphics Tablet Review
Before You Buy a Graphics Tablet
Top 10 Pressure-Sensitive Graphics Tablets

Update 9/28/10: We now have a form to submit reviews of graphics tablets. It would be great if you could use the form from now on instead of commenting here. You'll be able to add a star rating and specific issues will be able to be found easier in search results to help others.

For now, I'll leave comments open on this post if you just want to post a quick comment related to nib wearing, but if you could submit a review of your graphics tablet, it would be much appreciated.

March 1, 2010 at 12:21 am
(1) Kate S says:

I picked up a Bamboo Pen & Touch about 2 weeks ago. I’m an artist – so my main use is with programs like GIMP & Art Rage.

I went through my first nib in 1 week’s time. I use my mouse for web browsing & anything other than painting/drawing – so it’s not like I was constantly using this pen. After I wore that first nib out, I adjusted the “tip feel” to the softest setting. Another week passes, and I’ve gone through ANOTHER nib.

I am overall extremely pleased with the pressure levels & accuracy, but I am very put out by these cheap nibs! Not to mention replacement nibs for the Bamboo series are unobtainable. Wacom’s website only offers replacement pens (at $30/ea I’m not excited). I really can’t afford $120/month on replacement pens. I’m guessing I should’ve done more research before my purchase, and gone with the Intuos line. Unless someone knows where I can buy the replacement nibs?

March 1, 2010 at 12:43 am
(2) Sue Chastain says:

If you are going through nibs that fast, I would inquire to Wacom as to whether they are covered in your warranty. That is ridiculous.

I just tested and the Bamboo and Wacom nibs are interchangeable. I believe the standard nib is the same for both of them, but the Intuos comes with some other types of nibs. You can buy the nibs direct from Wacom.


There are some other nibs under the Intuos section of the store.


March 1, 2010 at 1:02 am
(3) Kate S says:

Thanks Sue!

I’ve just submitted a support request with Wacom. There are a few marks on the tablet surface from me using a worn nib (and not realizing it), and honestly it looks like I’ve been using this thing for 2 years – not 2 weeks!

Those links are a great relief. I’m very interested in the stroke nibs. Are you an Intuos user?

March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am
(4) Sue Chastain says:

I’ve reviewed both Intuos and Bamboo, but I don’t use a tablet very often. My favorite Intuos nibs are the rubber “flex” tip and the felt tip. I hope Wacom comes through for you on the support request.

March 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm
(5) Boruteczko says:

There is huuuuge thread concerning flattening nibs problem: http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1438 Unfortunately the problem is well known but Wacom’s support is weak or nonexistant…


March 4, 2010 at 11:13 pm
(6) Cherie says:

I use the wacom intuos4 and am not having the issue with the nibs. I use my tablet constantly for drawing and photo editing. So far, so good. My only problem is my hand cramps after hours of use because I rarely hold a pen outside of the use of my tablet. I’m thinking about upgrading to the new one… we’ll see.

March 24, 2010 at 2:50 am
(7) AC says:

after just a few hours (!!!) of intensive use my pen’s nib tip is not round anymore. got my bamboo pen tablet only 2 days ago…

April 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm
(8) Renee says:

The nib wear is horrible!
Crap product for such an expensive price!
I contacted Wacom and they didn’t offer any solutions or “free” nibs. I guess it’s their way to rob us of more bucks!

August 10, 2010 at 7:56 am
(9) Mike says:

I have the same problem I have used my Wacom for only a few weeks and now the nib is starting to wear, I have been doing some drowsing and it turns out that the intuos felt nibs fit the bamboo pen and pen touch. Hope this is some help


September 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm
(10) Anonymouse says:

I’ve had my Bamboo fun for three years in November. I’ve also had the same nib in since I got it because I didn’t know how to change it (this is my first tablet) and I’ve had no real problems. I don’t use it too often though, since the drawing surface is set up for a widescreen monitor and my monitor is not.

September 28, 2010 at 9:06 am
(11) Parris says:

At first, I found this tablet to be absolutely delightful. I have yet to replace the nib more due to sheer stubbornness rather than a lack of wearing down. It is very short now of course, since I draw a ridiculous amount, but that’s not the problem.

I’ve had my wacom bamboo fun tablet–”medium” I believe–for barely two months and it has “broken”. It literally has stopped working entirely; the pen functioned fine last time it worked, it is simply a matter of the tablet. It took a couple days to fully go out, “flickering” so to speak depending on how I had the cord. But now no amount of wiggling or repositioning will satisfy it and my already meager income has come to a halt since I can’t finish commissions.

I think the most annoying part is, other than the fact that it’s broken, is there was nothing to warn me of it. No brief flickers or uncertainty. Just one day it was fine and the next it wasn’t. It barely managed to finish the commission I was working on before it went kaputz. So I guess I could say…I REALLY like the tablet, to the point where drawing with a pencil feels weird to me now, but my “luck” with electronics appears to be getting worse.

September 28, 2010 at 10:25 am
(12) Sue Chastain says:

Parris: You should still be under warranty. Contact Wacom!

All: We now have a form to submit reviews of graphics tablets. It would be great if you could use the form from now on instead of these comments. You’ll be able to add a star rating and specific issues will be able to be found easier in search results to help others.

For now I’ll leave comments open on this post if you just want to post a quick comment related to nib wearing, but if you could submit a review of your graphics tablet, it would be much appreciated.

November 10, 2010 at 9:31 am
(13) Dominic says:

I bought a wacom bamboo pen and touch 2 weeks ago and I am using the 3rd nib now as the nibs are getting rough in 4 or 5 days time and I don’t even draw that much with it…I use the touch function of the tablet to navigate through my computer as a mouse. This is really frustrating and since stay in India I really dunno whether I would get the required assistance. Well I just wanna know like can we use Intuos 4 nibs with Bamboo….I have heard that Intuos 4 nibs are really good

February 15, 2011 at 6:33 am
(14) Spandan says:

I just bought a Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch this January. Since then I have only worked for 34 hours on it, and already the first nib is on the point of almost disappearing into the pen’s body.
I haven’t installed anything from the CDs coming with the Bamboo, my computer automatically detects the tablet and lets me work.
My question, do the Bamboo nibs really wear down this fast? Are Intuos nibs compatible with the Bamboo line?

March 13, 2011 at 10:14 am
(15) Shelly says:

I brought a bamboo for my brother and he went through his first nib in one week but I just laughed when he told me and told him it must be because he is heavy handed. I have a small table from wacom that is very, very, very old I’m talking about over three years old and never had to change the nib once. However, I just bought a bamboo for my daughter for her birthday and hers also only lasted one week. So I don’t know if it just the bamboo line itself or if wacom in general is starting to down grade the materials used in their nibs! Either way it’s sucks!

June 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm
(16) Paul says:

I have used the Intuos 4 Medium at work for just under a year as a professional user. It has been used for illustration work for a couple of hours each and every day. I am on my second (felt) nib. The surface is still as new. I sympathise with users who have nib problems but just cannot understand it. The felt nibs provide far better grip than the plastic ones and yes they do wear down but for me, this has been at an acceptable rate.

September 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm
(17) Eric says:

I bought a Bamboo Fun tablet around a month ago and went through the first nib in 2 weeks, using the tablet every day. Reading several blogs on the Internet when I noticed the quick flattening problem of the nib, I happen to learn that the surface of the Bamboo tablet seems to be more rough, in order to give a paper feeling when using the pen.

Instead of changing the nib, I bought a roll of protective adhesive film for books, at Staples (2.45$) and just cut a rectangle the size of the active surface of the tablet. Works just fine so far. The pen has the same sensitivity and just works as before. I have to press a little bit harder with the fingers to get the trackpad feature (and this is really a very little bit harder).

So far, the adhesive film does seem to make a difference with the nib. After testing it a few months, I will post an update.

September 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm
(18) Dragos says:

I have been using the same nib for about 7 months now and it is still usable.

October 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm
(19) Ankh says:

I’ve bought my Bamboo Tablet about three years ago. I’m an artist, so I’m constantly using it, but I never had to replace the nib before…

October 29, 2011 at 3:29 am
(20) Kim says:

I have had my Bamboo Connect for 2 weeks. I changed the setttings before using it so I had to apply the lightest amount of pressure (which was more than I want to apply!). I am a photographer, and have edited about 100 photos (2 sessions) and have gone through 2 of the supplied nibs. Very disappointing, especially considering I often find myself applying pressure so lightly it won’t work….so I am definately not pressing too hard.

January 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm
(21) Theodora says:

Major problem here. While trying to get the nib out, me, being as smart as I am, decided to use a pair of scissors… which cut straight through it, and now its pretty freaking short.

Is it still possible to get it out you think? Or should I save up to buy a new pen?

January 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(22) Sue Chastain says:

Oops! Theodora, your tablet should have come with a nib extractor tool. It’s a metal band about 1/4 inch wide and barely big enough around to go onto your pinkie finger. It has a slot for grabbing on to the nib and pulling it out. If you can find that, there is a chance you could get it out if there is a bit of it still sticking out from the pen. If not, you may be able to take the pen apart, depending on your Wacom model. Not sure if that will help but could be worth trying.

February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm
(23) Herb says:

I used a pair of small scissors in a needlenose-pliers fashion once and also snipped the tip even shorter than it already was.

I’ve also drawn and drawn and drawn and not noticed the nib wearing down until it was so short you could barely see it.

Take a sharp sewing needle or an X-acto knife blade, rest it on the edge of the pen handle by the nib and, pointing down at about 45 degrees, push it carefully into the nib just a little bit. Then lever that little sucker out.

February 10, 2012 at 10:14 am
(24) Shana says:

Hey guys. I HAVE A SOLUTION!!!

I took a look at this thread and got a little annoyed that Wacom would do this to us! I got my Bamboo connect pen tablet at Christmas. The nib wearing has slightly damaged my tablet. But not too badly. I have an old Volito tablet that has never had the nib wear down but definately sucks pessure and sensitivity wise!

So i went looking. Thankfully. You can order replacments nibs through amazon from itselectricstore online. Or you can order straight from their website! Very cheaply and free shipping! They do flexi and stiff nibs for the bamboo range! :D

Link below!


May 29, 2012 at 4:31 am
(25) Beryl says:

I have a Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch and found the nib beginning to wear after a few days. I am making efforts to lighten my pressure on the pen as far as possible. Here is a cost-free possible solution to avoid or minimise nib wear (in a similar vein to the previous suggestion of placing covering film over the tablet): cut a small strip of thin soft plastic film, the sort used to post magazines, and wrap over the nib, hold in place with tiny elastic band. Ensure that the film is not pressing tight against the nib i.e. leave a tiny gap of a millimetre or two. Although I have yet to test this long-term, I am hoping that the film will take the friction and wear, instead of the nib, as the nib surface is not moving against anything. You will need to move the film around regularly so that you are not unwittingly drawing through a hole in it. The feel when drawing is identical, as the tablet/film are producing the same drag that is necessary for the ďpen on paperĒ feel.

July 17, 2012 at 3:29 am
(26) branden says:

ive had my bamboo tablet for two months and have drawn/painted 30 some pictures with it i even played some of the games and browsed the internet with it some and i havent had to replace my nib yet and it still looks brand new and there is no marks on my tablet either

July 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(27) Rachel says:

Hi, my name is Rachael. I’m from New Zealand, and really interested in getting Wacom tablet, especially the Bamboo model. I want to create some customize animation of my children rather than using videos from Youtube. By the way, Iím working as an early-cchildhood teacher. My questions are:

1. What is the difference between Wacom CTH-460 Bamboo Pen and Touch and Wacom CTH-470 Bamboo Pen and Touch? Iím planning to purchase Wacom CTH- 470 cos I believe it has some extra features. Is this true?

2. Can both above mentions Wacom tablet compatible with softwares such as: (a)Flip Boom All-Star 1.0 (b) Hippo Animator 1 (c) Easy Web Animator 3 (d) Toon Boom Studio 3.5 and 5. Well, Iím having all these software in my laptop! Hahaha.

3. Could you please recommend a good stylus which is compatible Wacom Bamboo and last forever? Hehehe.

Thank you.

July 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm
(28) Sue Chastain says:

Hi Rachael. Sorry you had trouble posting. I have to moderate the comments here because there is so much spam that gets through, even with filters. To answer your #1 question about the model numbers, the CTH-460 is an older model from 2009. The CTH-470 is the current model which has the wireless option. Read more here: http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/hardware/ss/wacom-bamboo-2011.htm

Re: #2 – I have not used the software you mention, but if they have special features for graphics tablets, then I would be surprised if they didn’t work with Wacom Bamboo. If they don’t offer pressure sensitive features, then you can still use the tablet with them just as you would use a mouse.

And to answer #3 the Wacom Bamboo is a tablet and stylus. You get them both together, so you would not need to buy a stylus separate, if that is what you are asking.

Hope that helps!

January 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm
(29) Marianne Coleman says:

I also have this problem with my nibs. I have had my bamboo touch tablet for about 3 weeks now, and have gone through 2 nibs, ALSO it has marked my tablet because I did not realize that the nibs had worn through. I am a university student doing graphic design, and cannot afford to replace the nibs at the rate I am going through them.
I did come across this just last night, which sounds like it would be a real money saver:
It is instructions on how to MAKE your own replacement tips. In fact I just used his tip on the filing down to repair the two tips that have flattened already. I am going to find some of this stuff and do it myself. Their replacements are expensive, especially at the rate I go through them. I will also try placing that plastic stick on stuff on top of my pad as well. Thanks everyone for your input. I was getting very frustrated, thinking it was all my doing, like pressing too hard or something.
Cheers from New Zealand.

February 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm
(30) Ernie Wright says:

I read the comments and I find that some products gets a bad rap. I have bought several items on line and at stores and found that if used for the intended purpose and correctly they usually perform well.

May 7, 2013 at 11:32 am
(31) Matt says:

I can see that you guys are talking about a slight flatness after about a week of use in art. IMO you guys are picky and stuck up for blaming that on the company. They have already announced that they are in the process of developing stronger nibs due to the issues but I have 0 complaints about the nibs. I use my Bamboo Connect to [heavily] play a game called Osu!. You think you wear out your nib fast? Try playing about 1-3 hours of Osu! a day just for fun almost every other day of the week. You aren’t supposed to replace your nib after if gets slightly flattened, you are supposed to replace it after it gets so small on the tip that you have to put your hand in an awkward position just to get it to touch the surface of the tablet. If you have huge problems without being picky about that then get yourself a nice flat piece of laminated paper and get over it.

May 14, 2013 at 12:02 am
(32) Jimmie L Simpson says:

As Beryl reiterated, sitting in my chair, I swiveled to the left in my chair and thought about a similar type of plastic material likened unto film. Then I remembered the small grocery bags I keep whenever I go grocery shopping. I cut out a small square piece. Then I folded it two times and wrapped it around the nib on my bamboo pen then did a test stroke and sure enough it detected it just fine. I did more tests and still got the same results, even with pressure sensitivity. So I made a small square template from a magazine cover so that I could easily cut out more square shaped replacement films. Finally I used a small thin strip of black duck tape to affix it to my pen so that it wouldn’t shift when drawing on my Bamboo tablet. I’m so glad for the wonderful advice that was shared here. Thanks Beryl.

May 24, 2013 at 9:09 am
(33) Darren says:

In response to (27) Rachael, who asked whether the Wacom Bamboo is compatible with Flip Boom All Star,

Yes, it is indeed compatible (there is now a v2 of the software).

In fact I would recommend using it instead of a mouse. After I bought the software I ran straight out to my local Curry’s (big electronics store here in UK) and bought a Wacom just because drawing with a mouse is always a pain-in-the-you-know-what.

August 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm
(34) Sammi says:

My Bamboo nib lasted about 3 months of light-moderate usage (I’m a very lazy artist). Which I found strange, because the cheaper brand I used before lasted 2 years and counting (only ditched that one because it wasn’t Windoze 7 compatible).

I have now taped a plastic punched pocket onto the tablet surface and my new nib is doing pretty well. Wacom really need to get their act together.

August 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm
(35) serhat says:

i just used my bamboo capture pen for a couple hours – not more than 20hrs- and the nib is already finished now. i just got to digital lately but i dont think that its about not being used to tablets or pressure i apply to the pen or any user related problems. its all material. maybe the nib is too soft or the tablet surface is bad, i dont know. i work overseas so how the hack am i going to find new nibs every week! i cant even use it wright now becouse im afraid of losing the nib completely and eventually losing my pen for a nib i cannot get out.

October 29, 2013 at 5:17 am
(36) roky says:

i have bamboo touch/pen.. and it’s a piece of crap.. it must cost 10$ but not 150. Dont waste your money.

November 15, 2013 at 6:05 am
(37) indianninja says:

Apply a cotton cloth gently on the nib and tape it around the pen. Cotton cloth is tough like jeans, but thinner. You can use something else too…like velvet paper.

February 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm
(38) Lou says:

I own and use a medium Intuos5 with the spring loaded nibs. Nib wear was pretty frequent at first with any of the other nibs, but this was before I adjusted my pressure sensitivity in the Wacom settings; you must bring down the maximum pressure (to the mid level) so you’re not pressing as hard in order to get thicker lines, etc.

My main concern was scratching the surface of my tablet, which started right away. Now I have a simple business card stock piece of paper taped down over the entire drawing area with small blue pieces of blue masking tape (so it comes off clean). It works works perfect,

I have yet to change the paper (going on a year now) but I can just as easily change it out whenever need be. Buy a ream of paper, and your set for a really long time.

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