Posts filed under Kickstarter

United P2 Pocket Pen Review

United P2.jpg

Dylan Polseno reached out to me a month or so ago wanting some feedback on a new pen design he was working on. I liked what I heard from Dylan, and the pictures he provided were interesting, so I agreed to take a look at what now has turned into the United P2 Pocket Pen on Kickstarter.

I used the P2 on and off for a couple of weeks, then went back to Dylan with my thoughts. Since I was using a prototype and the final product saw some changes from what I was using, I thought it would be interesting to see the actual email discussion Dylan and I had around the design. I asked Dylan for his permission to share this behind the scenes conversation and he agreed. Here is my original feedback:

Finally getting to this Dylan! I need to carry it more, which I will start doing tonight. My initial thoughts:

  1. The size is good, but it is borderline too small to write with comfortably. Adding the bulge in the barrel to help with the grip is fine, but that pushes my grip higher up the pen and with the cap posted it barely reaches the cusp of my hand to rest on. I have average hands, so those with bigger hands may find it uncomfortable.

  2. The friction fit on the posting is much more solid that on the cap. The cap feels a little loose. I know the tolerances are tight here, I just wonder if it will slip off.

  3. The post in the rear of the pen sticks out farther than the end of the barrel. The first thing I did when I got the pen was uncap it and stand it up on the end of the pen and it fell right over. The appearances of it visually tell me I should be able to do that if needed so I can set the pen down without it rolling away.

  4. I love the D1 refill option - it's just plug and play.

  5. I think you are going to get some pricing friction at $65. I personally understand why it costs what it does and I'm fine with that, but I wonder what other potential customers will think. You are going to have to answer the "why shouldn't I buy a Fisher Space Pen for $20 instead of this" a lot, because people will use this pen in the same way and won't understand the differences.

Let me know what questions or comments you have for me and I'll get back to you again after I pocket it for a while.

Thanks, Brad

(If you want the non copy/pasted version you can find it here. This post is image heavy enough as-is.)

To summarize my thoughts: I love the barrel construction. The aluminum stock with black hard-coating looks and feels great. The stainless steel cap provides wonderful contrast, and the tolerances are very tight. I felt there was a difference in fit between the front and back of the pen, with the cap on the front feeling a hair looser. I'm concerned with the posted writing length of the pen, as it falls just short of what I feel is comfortable for a portable pocket pen. The post on the rear of the pen sticks out too far, but that is easily corrected. Love the choice of D1 refill.

Dylan responded the same day:

Hi Brad,

In regards to your comments:

  1. I kept going back and forth upon which side to have the refill come out, as in I could have had the bulge as the grip or the inverted bulge as the grip. I chose the inverted bulge due to the small size of the pen, ideally your pointer finger rests within the inverted bulge aiding in grip. I most likely will enlarge the pen overall by about 25%.

  2. I haven’t seen any loose issues between the body and cap. My test for that was to hold onto the body and whip the pen, if it doesn’t fall off then, it shouldn’t during normal use. The choice to design it this way was for one reason: I wanted to remove any steps that most pens have accounting for a cap/ any outer threads. I wanted to make this the cleanest pen possible and this was the only way to accomplish that in my opinion.

  3. This will also be addressed on the production version, the little stainless cap on the back was a late addition. I’ll end up making that cap even with the body so it will stand on end.

  4. It’s critically important for the pen to be expandable to a person’s likes so the D1 was a no brainer.

  5. The price for me has been a tough decision. I’m definitely going after a higher end, lower volume market. I’ve seen incredibly basic pens do well selling on Kickstarter for $40, so it was only logical for me to go above that. Also these will be offered below $65 on the Kickstarter campaign (I haven’t decided exactly what the price levels will be yet). After that the price will float between $55-65.

In the end, this pens intention is for those that want something new, truly new. It breaks free of old pen designs and will be manufactured with extensive detail. The form has to match the function for me to be pleased with it. I honestly don’t think many people will realize/ appreciate the machining feat that is this pen but I hope that some do.


Dylan Polseno

(Original image here)

This is awesome feedback from Dylan. Open and transparent, answering all the points I brought up and discussing what changes he might make in the upcoming launch. He got feedback from others too, including Elizabeth at No Pen Intended. From the time of our discussion to the Kickstarter launch, here is what changed:

Improvements for the Production Run:

After living with our pen for a couple of months and hearing outside opinions we will be making the following improvements to the pen:

The length of the body will be increased 1/4" and the overall diameter will increase .060" (Updated 2/8/14) Smaller hole in the cap. A smaller hole will be drilled in the cap making it more difficult for something to physically get into the cap. Making the press fit cap in the rear of the pen even with the pen body so it can stand on end. The current prototype version features a cap that protrudes past the pen body, this will be addressed. Better body contour machining for a perfect blend of the radii.

Making your own product is hard. Finalizing design decisions is tough. Making everyone happy is impossible. Showing an openness to change while staying true to your design ideals all while being transparent is impressive. I hope you enjoyed this look inside my inbox.

My thanks to Dylan for sending this prototype at no charge for me to review. Be sure to check out the United P2 Pocket Pen on Kickstarter, which I have happily backed.

Posted on February 9, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, United P2.

Help Myke Get To The 2015 Atlanta Pen Show

With the 2015 Atlanta Pen Show only a few months away and all of my talk about preparing for it, my podcasting partner Myke had a brilliant idea: Let's meet at the pen show!

On the surface it's simple, except for that whole Myke lives in the United Kingdom thing. So we brainstormed some ideas and came up with what we think is a great way to fund his trip and give something back to you for helping.

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign where you can get custom Nock Co. Hightower pen case and video recording of the Pen Addict Podcast, including outtakes and bonus footage from the show itself. The Hightower case will be an early release of our new Summer 2015 colorway, Forest Green exterior with Sunshine Yellow interior, and for this project only it will include a custom Union Jack tag to denote you were a backer.

The pen show is looking to be a huge blowout, at least from my perspective. I'm not sure what the rest of the pen show people will think! Both Myke and I are so thankful to be part of this community and we appreciate any support you can offer to make this dream a reality.

Posted on January 26, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Atlanta Pen Show.

The CUBE By Karas Kustoms

Dan Bishop sent me a pre-relase version of The CUBE, the latest Kickstarter collaboration from Karas Kustoms and Mike Dudek, and I am taken aback by how much I like it. I had already backed the project before receiving this from Dan, and while I didn't need to have the product in hand to be happy about backing it, I am ecstatic that I have a second one heading my way.

This is a pen holder I don't want just sitting around the desk. It is so well done and feels so incredible that I want to hold it, play around with it, take it with me in my backpack, all just so I can be around it. I may even ask it to marry me, which I'm sure my wife would not approve of.

I made the point with Dan on this week's podcast that this is not a six-walled hollow center pen holder. This is a solid block of aluminum with 9 holes drilled and filled with Delrin sleeves to keep your pens protected. The CUBE weighs in at 1 lb., 14 oz. An almost two pound block of goodness to sit on your desk and look beautiful.

The Kickstarter project has already met its goal, so you have 20 days to get in on the action and take a CUBE of your own home. And maybe marry it.

My thanks to Dan, Mike, and Karas Kustoms for sending me this CUBE for review.

Posted on November 20, 2014 and filed under Kickstarter, Karas Kustoms.

Airfoil Click Pen Review

The Airfoil Click Pen is not Grant Takara's first Kickstarter rodeo. He has lived the ups and downs of funding with his previous project, the original Airfoil, and is back with a pen design that has already proven to be a winner.

This model differs from its predecessor in two major ways. The first is obvious: This is a click pen instead of a twist pen. It uses the popular Schmidt mechanism that many Kickstarter projects before it have used. It is a solid, simple, attractive, and an excellent choice for any machined pen.

The second major change, and the most important, is the reshaping of the barrel. The original Airfoil had a fin-based barrel, which, while extremely beautiful, was not functional for longer writing sessions. Early reviewers of the original model (I was not one of them) repeatedly made note of how uncomfortable it became and Grant took that feedback to heart when designing the Airfoil Click.

To steal directly from the product page, the barrel has been streamlined. The fins are gone, replaced by a smooth barrel with cutouts on each side that fulfills Grants vision of aircraft geometry as part of the pen, and also serves to reduce the overall weight. My first reaction when I saw this pen was to think of the Uni-ball Jetstream barrel cutout and now I wonder with if that is an aviation based pen too. It is named Jetstream after all.

I'm really impressed with the prototype Grant sent me. If I was forced to pick nits I would like to see the barrel seam connect more flush between the two halves, and the edges on the grip ridges could be softened just a bit, but overall this is a solid product.

The Airfoil Click is available in aluminum (natural or anodized in several striking colors) and titanium. There is even the ability to pick the finish on your clip bolts and push mechanism, which I don't think I have seen anyone offer before.

Thanks again to Grant Takara for sending me this prototype for review and be sure to check out the Airfoil Click Kickstarter project.

Posted on September 25, 2014 and filed under Kickstarter, Pen Reviews, Airfoil.