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Designing a 3D printed pen

…just a quick follow up to yesterday’s blog post about Staedtler’s 3D-printed pen.

Staedtler’s app needed to design the 3D printed pen is (currenlty) only available for the iPad. When I got my hand on an iPad another problem came up. You can only get Staedtler’s app from the German Apple App Store. I did manage to get access to the German App Store, but it wasn’t not easy, so I thought I make a quick video of how the process of choosing/designing your pen looks like – for those unable to try it out themselves.

Here’s a look at ‘designing’ a Fusion-Line pen.

In the YouTube comments Julie Paradise pointed out that the difference between the  M and the A (beginner) nibs is that A nibs

…have the tipping of the nib shaped differently, more “forgiving” to rotating the pen while writing instead of having a smaller “sweet spot”.

Here’s a look at ‘designing’ an Icon-Line pen.

I guess we’ll see many more 3D printed pens in the future. As a start in this new era Staedtler’s Fusion and Icon-Line seem rather good.


Staedtler’s 3D printed Pen

I just noticed that Staedtler let’s you design your own pen in 3D. They will then 3D-print it and send it to you.

What a great idea.

Image © Staedtler

Image © Staedtler

As far as I can tell this service is currently only available in Germany and you need an iPad to design the pen.

PS: For Staedtler’s web sites you can’t leave out the “www.”, so staedtler.de will (currently) not work. You can find the page for this pen at https://www.staedtler.de/de/produkte/staedtler-3dsigner/.

 

I believe that the use of the image shown, taken from Staedtler’s web site,  in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


The Uni Shift and a look at 0.4 mm leads 1

The Uni Shift 0.4mm unlocked

The Uni Shift 0.4mm unlocked

Let me start by saying: It’s all Lexikaliker’s fault.

He praised the virtues of 0.4 mm pencils, so I had to order one.

I had a look at various 0.4 mm pencils and decided to go with the Uni Shift for £7.43 from Amazon Marketplace in the UK1, in the USA it sells for $10.20, again on Amazon Marketplace …including shipping. In many online shops this pen can easily cost twice as much, though. I have no idea how the pen can be sent from Japan for such a good price.

The Uni Shift 0.4mm locked

The Uni Shift 0.4mm locked

Despite coming all the way from Japan it only took a few days before the pen arrived. The seller even remembered that I bought form him before.

0.4 mm

In theory

Well, this is my first 0.4mm pencil. You’d think 0.4mm doesn’t seem to be that different to 0.5mm, it’s just 20% smaller, but depending on how you write the difference in the graphite you lay down can easily be 30% or more.

Uni Shift 0.4mm

Here’s a little table showing the surface area you cover, depending on which angle you write with and assuming you don’t rotate the pencil(!). The spreadsheet is available as a Google Doc, so you can check the formulas I used. Please let me know if you find a mistake.

Surface area at 40°

Surface area at 40°

Assuming a writing angle of 40° a 0.5mm pencil would cover a surface area more than 50% bigger than a 0.4mm pencil, so there is quite a difference.

Uni Shift 0.4mm

 

In practice

…well at least that’s the theory. In reality things look a bit different. When I checked lead diameters with my caliper I got different numbers. Have a look at the table below. Note: 0.3mm and 0.35mm is used interchangeably my manufacturers.

Nominal value (mm)0.20.3/0.350.40.50.7
Measured value (mm)0.240.360.460.550.68

I am not sure whether I read about this discrepancy in the past, but when I had a look I couldn’t find any information about this on the web. Since my caliper isn’t ‘officially’ calibrated and is just for home use I won’t go into more details and speculation here, other that these might be legacy diameters manufacturers adhere to so that leads and pencil stay interchangeable.

Uni Shift 0.4mm

Using the nominal value, an 0.5mm lead used at an angle of 40° has a 50% bigger surface area than an 0.4mm lead. Using the measured values the 0.4mm lead is closer to the 0.5mm lead, but the gap to the 0.35mm lead widens, see table below.

Lead size (mm)0.350.40.5
Surface area (mm^2)(nominal diameter)0.150.200.31
Surface area (mm^2) (measured diameter)0.160.260.37

The main issue with 0.4mm pencils is that the choice of leads is not that big, but the excellent neox Graphite leads are available in 0.4mm.

Uni Shift 0.4mm

Uni Shift

The main purpose of the pipe lock mechanism seems to be to make the pencil pocket safe, i.e. the rigid sleeve/pipe is hidden so that it can’t damage your pocket. I guess the mechanism used in the Uni Shift makes it easier to create a pencil where the sleeve is rigid and doesn’t wobble, compared to mechanical pencils with a retractable sleeve. Easier might in this case also equate to ‘cheaper to manufacture’.

All sleeves out

All sleeves out

The mechanism that locks the lead feels a bit clumsy. I don’t find it as nice as some alternatives, shown in the video, mainly because it is more difficult to use single handedly.

I like the grip section. It is made from metal. The upper body of the pen is only plastic. Considering the price of the pen this is however not surprising.

All sleeves in

All sleeves in

The pencil is excellent value for money, at least for the price I paid. If you don’t like 0.4mm you can buy the Uni Shift in many other lead diameters, too.

Uni Shift 0.4mm and Silvine Memo Book


Price: June and July 2016
Exchange rates: July 2016

As usual please open images in a new tab to see a high resolution version. To see the video inhigh resolution please open in YouTube,

If you want to read more about Mitsubishi and it’s link to other companies with that name have a look as Estilofilos.

If you want to be amazed by Lexikaliker’s special 0.4mm pencil have a look at Sonderanfertigung and Sonderanfertigung 2.

The Uni Shift has been mentioned in The Pen Addict podcast, episode 152, at around 30 minutes. One of Brad Dowdy’s favourite mechanical pencils.

The Pen Addict and Dave have reviews of this mechanical pencil.

 

 

 

 

  1. When I bought it it was 3p more expensive: £7.46. []

Staedtler’s Pencilmaker Set and ISOT 2016

Staedtler’s Pencilmaker Set

What a nice surprise. Yesterday I got this Staedtler pencilmaker set. Christoph, a blog reader bought it in Staedtler’s shop in Nuremberg and sent it to me (and postage was quite expensive). Thank you very much.

The pencilmaker set came out in 2011, you might have seen this blog post at the time, and at that time you could also buy it online in the UK. I assume what is being sold in Nuremberg is stock left from that time.

I made a little video showing the set and how it is being assembled. I suggest you watch it on YouTube for a better resolution. I also suggest watching it with an increased playback speed (I like 1.5x).

ISOT 2016

ISOT is the International Stationery & Office Products Fair Tokyo. Yumiko has made me aware that their Stationery Of The Year product list is out.  Thank you. Have a look at the web site. It’s in English.

ISOT 2016


Staedtler Goodness  4

Staedtler goodness at Lidl UK. Two for £3.

…and of you don’t have enough novelty erasers there’s something for you, too.