FUNDED August 29, 2014 -
Visit www.bulletpencil.com to purchase your own Bullet Pencil - ST.
Bullet Pencil - ST: A compact and rugged metal "bullet pencil" & stylus for people on the go, and in the know!
Thanks to the support of the Kickstarter community this is my fifth campaign. All previously completed campaigns were successfully funded. Go here to check out those campaigns. Go here to check out all the products I offer that got their start right here on Kickstarter. www.twgrants.com
Encouraged by the success of those projects, I decided to create another product design that would be a useful everyday carry (EDC). My goal was to come up with an item that would be functional, simple, useful and would last a lifetime.
Inspiration & Research
I decided to create a writing instrument accessory that would allow me to use my favorite writing instrument, the trusty No. 2 pencil. A device to protect the pencil tip while in a pocket, backpack or bag...but also a useful tool for today's smart phones, tablets and touch screens.
I thought back to what my grandfather would carry in his pockets and on his person. For sketches and note taking he would always carry a No. 2 pencil behind his right ear or his shirt pocket. This wasn't any old pencil, he used a "Bullet Pencil" that he undoubtedly got as a giveaway at the local hardware store he frequented.
The Bullet Pencil kept the pencil neatly stored away to protect the tip and looked cool! He would use the rounded tip of the bullet pencil to dial the old rotary dial telephone hanging on the wall in the kitchen. I'd ask him to use his pencil from time-to-time and he would always give it a new sharp point by whittling the end with his Case pocket knife. I have fond memories of my grandfather and all his cool stuff.
My next step was research. I searched through expired patents for different types of pencils, holders, storage devices, etc. that might spur my imagination. Here are just a few several dozen patents I looked at:
I also searched online and through Kickstarter and came across dozens of really neat pens and mechanical pencils made of all types of materials; titanium, carbon fiber, aircraft grade aluminum, etc. with all sorts of ingenious mechanisms. I found fancy stylus pens with electronics inside and other types of gadgetry.
In the end, I decided to make a modern, multipurpose Bullet Pencil using aerospace materials. A functional tool with a nostalgic connection and a modern function. With this inspiration I created the following design goals:
- Durable: Crafted to last a lifetime.
Protective: Protects a No. 2 pencil body and point while protecting your pocket from the pencil point.
- Minimalist design: Simple with no complex mechanisms or electronics.
- Refillable: Easily filled with a high quality and readily available pencil, eraser and stylus tip.
- Easy to carry: Light weight and ergonomic with no sharp edges.
- Compact: Smaller than the cover of a Field Notes memo book to easily fit in your pocket.
Multipurpose: Pencil holder and phone / tablet stylus.
Bench-marking & Prototyping
I acquired a bunch of old Bullet Pencils and measured them up and checked out all the interesting designs. (Most Bullet Pencils were originally designed and constructed to be semi-disposable with no provision to change out the eraser and sometimes not even the wooden pencil. The bullet shaped tip was reversible to store or utilize the pencil but finding the right size replacement pencil could be a challenge.)
I also bought a variety of wooden pencils and measured those as well. I read up on pencils, their history, manufacturing methods and proper sharpening techniques. Paying particular attention to Chapter 11 in the book, How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees. I also consulted pencil "experts" to try to gain a consensus of the best modern wooden pencils.
I decided to use the Palomino Blackwing pencil brand. It has very nice lead, is slightly larger in diameter that regular pencils and it has an interesting rectangular eraser.
I made some hand sketches in my Field Notes book, created some mock-ups and tinkered around to come up with a working prototype.
Bullet Pencil - ST Prototype images
Along the way I developed THREE design concepts which are offered as rewards in the campaign:
Bullet Pencil - ST
This design is similar to a traditional Bullet Pencil but with a few key upgrades and new features. Traditional bullet pencils do a great job of protecting the point of a wooden pencil and "breaking down" a longer pencil into an easy-to-carry cylinder. The Bullet Pencil - ST has these same great features along with some new twists.
First, the Bullet Pencil - ST is constructed of a much thicker material but still weighs less than a half an ounce. Second, the bullet tip is equipped with a stylus for your electronic devices, the "ST" in the name. Perhaps more importantly, the Bullet Pencil - ST is designed to be easily refillable with a very high quality and readily available pencil, the very popular Palomino Blackwing. This Bullet Pencil design is the first to utilize a full aluminum body, a stylus tip and a rectangular eraser all in one sleek design.
Bullet Pencil - TT
Same as the Bullet Pencil - ST, minus the stylus tip. TT stands for "Traditional Tip" or tactical tip. The tip is solid aluminum minus the conductive stylus tip. This is for those of you that don't need the stylus tip.
Ancile - ST
A scaled down, minimalist version of the Bullet Pencil - ST. This device protects the pencil point and works as a stylus. The Ancile - ST is designed to work with a full length Palomino Blackwing wooden pencil. The Ancile - ST is crafted from aerospace grade aluminum and works as a protective shield for the Palomino Blackwing by sliding over the pencil to protect its point. The cover is equipped with a replaceable stylus tip. The Ancile - ST can be used as a stylus, on-or-off the pencil.
NEW! 8/20/14 - All backers that pledge for the ANCILE level reward and above will receive a random Titanium page marker clip which was a $5 reward in my last Kickstarter campaign.
1 ANCILE - ST: Aluminum pencil shield and stylus. 2 spare nibs. In the US this reward is offered with a Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil included. To keep costs down for international shipping, the ANCILE - ST will not come with a pencil.
1 BULLET PENCIL - TT: Aluminum bullet pencil WITHOUT STYLUS. Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil, cut and sharpened including one refill.
1 BULLET PENCIL - ST: Aluminum bullet pencil and stylus. 2 spare nibs and a Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil, cut and sharpened including one refill.
1 BULLET PENCIL - ST / TT COMBO: Aluminum bullet pencil and stylus. 2 spare nibs and a Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil, cut and sharpened including one refill....AND one TT pencil tip.
- Design: Prototype design complete. Final refinements TBD.
- Material selection: Complete. I will use aluminum.
- Prototyping: Complete. I have manufactured a working prototypes which are shown in the photos.
- Raw material sourcing: Vendors have been identified and quotations are secured for the materials.
- Machining: This will be done in my shop. Lead time will depend on the success of the campaign, but I have adequate capacity to handle it.
- Finishing: The Bullet Pencil - ST and Ancile -ST will have a machine finished surface. This is a process that will be done at my shop.
- Packaging and delivery: I will do this operation with the support of my family and friends will ship promptly. Alternatively, there is a locally owned and operated copy/print/mailing shop where I can get additional support if necessary.
Shipping Goal: I have limited this funding effort to 30 days. With successful funding I am targeting October 2014 as the ship date for all rewards.
Use of Funds:
Funds will be used for; raw materials, in-house machining, finishing materials, stylus tips, packaging materials and shipping costs. Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
This project is low risk as I have worked through many of the design and fabrication challenges already. Real prototypes are shown in the images here. If the project becomes massively over funded it could push back the delivery date. With that said, anyone who pledges to my project can do so with confidence as I have a history of promptly delivering quality rewards.
It should also be noted that at the time of this project launch, I am just finishing up a campaign for Titanium Clips. http://kck.st/1oFzd5m The Titanium Clip project will be overlapping a bit with this project. I am confident, however, that I can successfully manage both projects in parallel. I have taken steps to reduce risk by staggering the reward delivery periods.
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