A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
We are designers and there is no limit to the time we can kill in a stationery store or tool shop. And, like most of the other designers we know, there are barely two of us who have the same preference in pens.
That's why we created the Pen Vise, a beautifully designed pen whose mechanism, inspired by old-school hand tools, lets you take your pick from among hundreds of makes and colors of refill.
Pen Vise + Pen Case, the perfect combination
Our partners at Angle have custom-designed a pen case for the Pen Vise. This first batch is a limited reward at exceptional value for this level of craftsmanship. For more pics and details, please see our update #4Pen Vise + Pen Case, the perfect combination.
Business Partners: The Pen Vise + Asterope Card Case Set
Pen Vise is now available as a set with the Daga Asterope business card case in Titanium or Brass. Made, like the Pen Vise, in Japan's hub of metalwork and hand craftsmanship, Tsubame Sanjo in Niigata prefecture, the Asterope card case offers another unique approach to everyday items.
To learn more see update #7 Business Partners: The Pen Vise + Asterope Card Case Set
The Pen Vise is a unique take on a familiar every day object, a functional accessory that is both beautiful to look at and rewarding to use. When you add your favorite pen refill, it comes alive.
Its mechanism is inspired by a pin vise, a craftsman's tool for holding drill bits and other tools for close-up work. The mechanism could not be simpler and it is naturally robust.
The pin-vise mechanism and open shaft design make loading, changing, retracting and adjusting the tip length of your chosen refill simple and quick. Swapping between different refills takes seconds and in normal use there is never any need to completely unscrew or disassemble the pen.
To keep things as pure and simple as possible – no cap, no extra mechanism – the retracted tip is held in place by the same vise-grip that holds it in place for writing and drawing.
We are hard at work on a definitive list of refills that fit the Pen Vise. Here is the template we are using, for you to check against your favorites.
Your choice of refill is framed in the simple, geometric lines and surfaces of the Pen Vise. Its silky finish, finely machined grip and generous curves make it comfortable to hold and use for long periods.
The choice of materials and minimal design also make it very light and well-balanced. Not including the refill, the total weight of the Pen Vise is just 30g, a little over an ounce.
The open shaft not only shows off your choice of refill and simplifies retracting, loading and changing refills, it prevents the pen from rolling around your work area or falling off your desk, eliminating the need for a cap or clip. This gives it an ideal mix of both purity of design and user-friendliness.
The hole in the top of the shaft is the finishing touch to the design, balancing the simplicity of the shaft against the machine aesthetic of the grip. It also adds to the adaptability of the Pen Vise: with your favorite lanyard or carabiner you can wear your pen or attach it to a bag or belt.
The shaft and grip of each Pen Vise are machined from solid A2017 Duralumin, an aluminum alloy with strength similar to steel. We worked with the craftsmen at Maruyama Manufacturing to create the pen's unique form, which is not possible with simple lathe-work alone.
The silky finish is by Sankyo Kaken, who sand-blast each pen by hand followed by anodizing to give a hard surface in a choice of Matt Silver or Satin Black.
Metalwork factories and machine shops have a special atmosphere, and we love to spend time with the craftsmen who can bring our ideas to life in front of our eyes. The people at Maruyama Manufacturing, Sankyo Kaken and MGNET are always ready to go the extra mile to make designers' ideas into reality. We ♥ Industry!
The original idea behind the Pen Vise has not changed since the first thumbnail sketch but it has been through months of development and a series of prototypes before we were completely happy with its form and function. Each stage required new sketches, new 3D CAD data and another prototype to learn about the function and ease of use of the pen.
We tried stainless steel, slimmer aluminum versions and a "monocoque" design with the vice mechanism in one piece with the shaft; we tried loading and unloading the refill from one side only and separating the shaft into separate pieces. Finally we fixed on a combination of a duralumin shaft and grip with a phosphor bronze vice mechanism.
Duralumin is a hard aluminum alloy originally developed for aerospace applications. It is used where light weight and high strength are a priority, such as in airplanes and race vehicles.
We use phosphor bronze for the vice mechanism because of its natural springiness and resistance to both corrosion and metal fatigue.
After the basic proportions were fixed, the final process was to smooth the contours in the grip area and refine its machined surface for maximum comfort. We have spent hours using the prototypes ourselves and are confident that the Pen Vise comfortable to use for any job and has the quickest refill change you will find.
MGNET, Maruyama Manufacturing and Sankyo Kaken are based in the Tsubame Sanjo area of Niigata in Japan. Tsubame and Sanjo are two neighboring cities which together comprise the home of metal craftsmanship in Japan, a unique mix of traditional hand workmanship and the most advanced machining and forming processes. The skill of the craftspeople and centuries of accumulated knowledge in metalwork draws brands from all over the world.
Daga is our brand for creating products that we want for ourselves.
The Pen Vise is the first Daga product to be offered on Kickstarter. Until now our marketing scope has been limited to a few shops in Japan and the Daga shopping site... in Japanese. Kickstarter connects us to the wider world and the success of the Pen Vise will be followed by more Daga projects.
In Japan natural forces are always a consideration. We are 100% certain of our partners' ability to make and supply the Pen Vise on time, but an earthquake, typhoon or flood could make their job interesting, if nothing else.