Posts filed under Kickstarter

RelayCon Atlanta: The Pen Addict Live 2016

In case you missed it, RelayCon Atlanta: The Pen Addict Live 2016 is now live on Kickstarter. We are taking over the Atlanta Pen Show again this year, with myself, Myke, and Ana all set to record in front of a live studio audience.

We have already surpassed our goal but there is still plenty of time to get in on the action. Check out our project on Kickstarter, back us to get the show video and some sweet notebooks, and join in on the fun.

Thank to you everyone who helped make this happen!

Posted on February 2, 2016 and filed under Atlanta Pen Show, Kickstarter.

First Look: Titanium Mechanical Pencil

I have had the Titanium Mechanical Pencil in my hands for a few weeks now thanks to the team at Cogent Industries, and have found this pencil to be extremely hard to review. It’s not because it isn’t a good pencil, it’s engineered to very high standards, but there are a few things that are keeping me from backing this pencil myself.

There is no doubt this is a high quality titanium pencil. The manufacturing quality is as nice as I have seen on any Kickstarter project, and Magnus Macdonald, the project creator, clearly knows what he is doing. The design is clean, the tolerances are tight, and the finishing is perfect. It’s extremely well done.

That said, I can’t use it regularly. The primary issue is with the clip. First off, there is a sizeable gap between the clip end and the barrel. That may allow it to clip well on thick fabric like jeans, but shirts and thinner materials are a no go. It slides all over. You are going to have a hard time bending the thick titanium too. The Titanium Pen Magnus offers uses the same design, so this is a design choice.

Secondly, and the more serious issue, is that the clip bulge hits your hand in an uncomfortable way. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t twist the pencil in their hand when writing (aside from the Kuru Toga of course), and when you rotate the Titanium Menchanical Pencil you are going to run into the protruding clip frequently. It’s a completely different pencil when the clip is in the top position as opposed to the bottom position digging into your hand. You can get away with this on a pen, but not on a mechanical pencil.

I’m not a huge fan of the short end cap in use on this design either. Aesthtically it is fine, but functionally, like when removing it to add lead, it is hard to grip and pull off. Luckily, you don’t have to change lead that often.

If you can overlook these issues, the is one final hurdle to clear: The price. $129 is too much for me to pay for a pencil that isn’t a game changer. The Titanium Mechanical Pencil is not for me, but 433 backers at the time of this writing are all aboard. Give me the Rotring 600 for 1/4th the price every time.

(Cogent Industries provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on December 21, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Pencil Reviews, Mechanical Pencil.

First Look- Mini-Click Pen Project

The Kickstarter Fist Looks have been rolling in fast and furious lately, and I am happy to bring you another one with the Mini-Click Pen Project. Jack Roman from Tuff-Writer Pens is back on Kickstarter for the third time with a lighter, shorter click pen with a new custom designed and maufactured clicky mechanism.

Many machined pen manufactuers use the stock Schmidt SKM-88 click mechanism for their retractable pens. It is readily available and works well. Jack wasn’t content with using an off the shelf mechanism for this project and set out to design his own. The result is what you see here, first used in the Mini-Click.

The design, specs, dimensions, and materials are all laid out on the project page, but all you really need to know is that the mechanism works, and it works well. It is solid, smooth, and responsive. When you depress the knock to engage the pen you know you are locked in and ready to write.

The pen barrel itself is made from aluminum, giving it a lightweight yet durable feel, while the clip is stamped from steel. The balance and feel are spot on. The glossy coated anodization on my prototype is wonderful, give it a sharp, crisp finish. Refill wise, the Mini-Click is based around the standard Parker design, and ships with a Fisher Space Pen pressurized refill.

The only issue I have with the pen is the use of o-rings in the grip area. Theoretically, they are there to allow for a better grip when writing. While this is true, the tradeoff is you will be losing them constantly, and hunting for one is like searching for a lost contact lens. When I unscrewed the barrel to get to the refill, I lost the middle o-ring, never to be found again. I’m not the only one either, as eagle-eyed viewers will see Jack in the video writing with a pen at one point missing the very same o-ring after swapping the refill. I would much rather a smooth or machined grip area than have to worry about extra o-rings on hand.

Aside from that, the Mini-Click is rock solid to use. All of the tolerances are tight, the new click mechanism design is great, and it feels good in the hand when writing.

Pledge levels begin at $60 for aluminum finished barrels, with anodized barrels priced at $65. For an American made pen with a brand new in-house designed click mechanism this is a good deal. Head over to Kickstarter and check it out now.

My thanks to Jack for sending me this pen at no charge for the purposes of this review.

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Pen Reviews, Mini-Click.

First Look: Pen Type-B from CW&T

It's a good time to be a Kickstarter pen fan, isn't it?

This weeks First Look comes from my old friends Che-Wei and Taylor, better known as design group CW&T. Possibly even better known as the team who brought you the Pen Type-A. They were kind enough to get one of the early builds of the Pen Type-B into my hands for review, and for that I am very thankful.

Many of you have heard of the Pen Type-A, and for those who haven't, you have quite a bit of catching up to do! The Pen Type-A was the first Kickstarter pen to break through to the mainstream, and with that came money, exposure, failure, theft, and more. It was quite the story during the production and fulfillment process. The Kickstarter updates and comments section are worth reading if you have several hours to spare. NOTCOTdid a good job of rounding up the details if you are looking for the shorter version.

With the learning experience of all learning experiences behind them, Che-Wei and Taylor set out to improve on the Pen Type-A. Not just improve actually. They believe in the Pen Type-B so much they are calling their shot: This is the last pen they will ever design.

At it's core, the Pen Type-B is the barrel of the Pen Type-A with a new exterior sleeve to make the pen portable, which the Pen Type-A wasn't. The sleeve isn't just an afterthought either. It is solid brass, machined to such a tight tolerance that it creates a piston-like effect when pulling the barrel out and sliding it back in. Again, just like the Pen Type-A did.

The brass sleeve is something special. It is stunning to look at and hold, and the addition of a single flat side on the sleeve serves as the perfect roll-stopper. It is HEAVY though. When I opened the package and grabbed it for the first time I let out a "whoa", then did the whole balance in my palm lift it up and down thing. I got used to it the more I carried it around, but if you are planning on carrying it in your pocket you will want a tight one, like found in jeans to prevent the pen (like a phone) from bouncing around too much. You also probably aren't going to write with the sleeve posted either. It's doable, but the balance is a little off. I don't post it to write with personally.

The fatal flaw with the Pen Type-B, as many will point out, is the use of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill. Both universally loved for its crisp, clean lines, and loathed for its tendency to fail, it is a divisive refill. And rightfully so. I'm on the side of the fence that puts up with it because when it works it is impossible to beat the output. So far, no issues with my refill in the Pen Type-B, and I wonder if the tight tolerances will even help keep the tip from drying out? Only time will tell. And if you like the design but hate the refill, CW&T lists other compatible refills that will work with the addition of a spacer.

I'm a backer of this pen on Kickstarter, and now that I have had the chance to sample one, I am an ecstatic backer. This is one of those pens that will cause some reshuffling of the deck, if you will. I can only carry so many pens at a time, and one of them is going to be relegated to the desk when my Pen Type-B arrives.

My thanks to CW&T for sending me one of their few pre-production samples for review.

Posted on October 19, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Pen Reviews, Pen Type-A, Pen Type-B.