Posts filed under Kickstarter

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.

First Look: The Gist By Tactile Turn

If you couldn't tell by last weeks podcast or my Instagram feed this weekend, I am pretty excited by what Will Hodges has created with the Tactile Turn Gist. The design is extremely appealing to me, and the choice of materials available in the Kickstarter project has me drooling over the possibilities. I know many of you have reached out to me with questions about The Gist, and Will was kind enough to loan me a few prototypes to help out with answering those questions.

If you aren't familiar with this project prior to reading this post and are interested at all, you need to read the project page and watch the video before continuing. It looks very involved from an outsiders perspective, but Will does a nice job of breaking everything down into bite-sized chunks. There is also far more detail on the project page than I will get into here, so head there for additional information and the final say.

My intent with this post is break down a few components of the Gist models that I received, and help you make an informed decision if you are considering purchasing this pen. I say purchase because the project has met its funding goal already, so you know these pens are getting made.

The base model of the Gist is made from polycarbonate, which is a lightweight plastic reinforced with fiberglass. It is designed to take a beating without breaking, which is perfect for an EDC fountain pen. I was struck with just how light it is honestly. I like to write with the cap unposted, but the lightness of the pen made posting the cap the more comfortable option. The model I have on loan is finished with a Damascus steel finial.

The second model I received uses the same polycarbonate barrel, but adds a brass section and finial. The addition of a metal section gives this pen a great balance and feel, while still keeping it lightweight and portable. I think combinations with the poly barrel and metal section will be the biggest sellers as it give you the best of both worlds. In fact, the combination I backed prior to receiving these prototypes was the polycarbonate barrel with damascus steel section and finial. Using this brass combo solidified my thoughts on my original choice.

The last model Will sent me was the full titanium Gist. Titanium body, titanium section, titanium finial, titanium nib. Everything titanium except the clip. After using this pen I am convinced that this is the Gist model that all others will be compared to. I was worried about this actually, because now I have to back two pens instead of one! The full titanium is just that nice. This is the perfect EDC pocket, backpack, trousers, truck pen. It is perfectly weighted without being too heavy, like brass and copper pens can be. The one kicker is the cap does not post on any of the metal pens if that is a requirement for you. (Update: I talked to Will and the cap DOES post on the metal barrels, I just didn't try hard enough. The inside of the cap is machined smooth so as not to damage the pen barrel when posted.)

Each model comes with a choice of nib from steel, gold, or titanium. All nibs are made by Bock, and are interchangeable between pens. I have one of each to test with and they are all dead smooth right out of the gate. No tweaks to be made and no issues at all. The steel nib is the firmest, and my favorite. The gold is the smoothest and softest of the three, but my preference is not an all yellow gold nib. The titanium nib is great and well worth it if you don't have one already. It is right in between the steel and gold nibs in firmness, allowing for just a little softness when writing.

The last component that is worthy of a mention is the clip. It is a coated stainless steel clip, and is strong as hell. Like nuclear strength. The flange allows it to clip on easily, and there is a clear snap when removing even from the thinnest of shirt pockets. I want a strong clip on all my pens, but especially an EDC type pen like the Gist. Like the rest of the pen, Will nailed it here.

So, if you are interested in the Gist, how do you choose which one is right for you? Here are a few bullet points that may help:

  • The full polycarbonate barrel is as light as a Kaweco Classic or Sport. I don't have the exact weights, but on feel alone that is the first thing that popped in my head. If you like those models of Kaweco and like to post the cap then you will like the full poly Gist.
  • The metal section/poly barrel models are going to be the primary mainstream option. I think they offer the best combination of weight, balance, style, and design. Going full metal barrel is a tough choice if you've never used something similar, but adding a metal grip section gives the pen a great look and feel.
  • The full metal barrels are the exact same shape as the poly barrels, but compared to other metal pens by other manufacturers, the are more compact. The titanium looks somewhat like a mash up of the Pilot Murex and Pilot MYU/M90, two of my personal favorites. I'm sure all of the metal barrels would evoke the same reaction by me.
  • You cannot go wrong with any nib choice. I'm choosing steel for both of mine because I already have a Bock titanium I can swap in, and I don't like yellow gold with the barrel choices I made. Regardless of my preferences, they all write wonderfully.

The best thing I can tell you if you are interested in the Gist is to not overthink it. I read through all of the options Will has available, and I was dead solid on my choice of poly/Damascus once I went through everything. The only issue I had was that I was lucky enough to be able to test out the full titanium barrel and now I back the two most expensive options on offer!

My thanks to Will Hodges for sending me out these prototypes so quickly. Check out the project and feel free to reach out to Will via the backer page if you have any additional questions.

Posted on October 12, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Tactile Turn, Gist.

TiScribe EDC Fountain Pen Video Review

I've been wanting to make the leap into video content for a while now and I'm happy to introduce The Pen Addict Channel on YouTube. I'm just getting my feet wet, so expect many changes as I learn what works and what doesn't as I move forward.

First up is the TiScribe EDC Fountain Pen which is currently an active project on Kickstarter. Kelvin sent out several review samples for this pen and I thought this was a good opportunity to provide my thoughts a bit differently.

Check out the video and let me know what you think!

Posted on August 25, 2015 and filed under Kickstarter, Pen Reviews, Video Review, TiScribe.