Project image
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$2,611
pledged of $75,000pledged of $75,000 goal
19
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 11 2012 12:39 AM UTC +00:00
$2,611
pledged of $75,000pledged of $75,000 goal
19
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 11 2012 12:39 AM UTC +00:00

About

Getting an iPad changed my life. I took it everywhere, used it everywhere. And I didn't just use it for fun; I found ways to use it for work, in my teaching, managing my projects, and so on. One thing I wanted to do right off the bat was use it to contain my lecture and research notes. But, I found that writing (longhand) text of any length was really, really hard with my finger. Why use longhand, you ask? Well, I'm a physicist, and the things I write typically have a lot of math in them. Math symbols aren't available on the iPad virtual keyboard (or other keyboards, for that matter), and while solutions to that problem exist, it's easier just to write longhand. Also, I often find that I want to include sketches or figures or whatnot in my notes, so having something approximating a pen and piece of paper is useful.

Anyway, doing that with the finger is hard. And annoying. So, I wanted a stylus. I was pretty disappointed with the stylus market at the time. Everything was flimsy, or felt cheap, or looked cartoonishly bad. I wanted something that was designed as well as my iPad. I wanted a writing instrument that worked as well on paper (the app) as it did on paper (the substance). I wanted a writing instrument that could be as casual or as formal as I could be. I wanted a writing instrument that was durable, and beautiful, and functional. I couldn't find one. So, I thought, "Hey, I'll make one."

Early Ilex prototypes
Early Ilex prototypes

Making a stylus is easy. Making a durable, and beautiful, and functional stylus is challenging. Fortunately, I had a solution to that problem: get my brother involved. He's a mechanical engineer/designer, and has more than a decade of experience designing products and bringing them to market. So, not only did he know about how to put the design together, he also knew how to talk to suppliers, line up manufacturing, and work through all of the tricky details that lie in between an idea and an implementation.

We put our heads together, and worked for a little over a year on designs, and finally came up with something we think is pretty amazing. And, we want to share it with the world. We call it the Ilex (pronounced "eye-lex"). It's an everyday carry pen and capacitive touch stylus that is modular and customizable. If you prefer fountain pens (like I do) you can configure one that way.

Ilex with fountain pen end
Ilex with fountain pen end

If you'd rather go with a ball point cartridge (like my brother) you can do that.

Ilex with ball point pen end
Ilex with ball point pen end

The pen is machined out of aluminum, and anodized for a superior finish. The design and ergonomics are great. It feels good in your hand, and it looks good in your pocket.  This is something we think you'll be happy to have, and happy to show off to your friends. Rugged enough for everyday carry, beautiful enough for specialized use.

It will take the combined effort of several different makers to manufacture the Ilex.  Our wooden case is being made in Arkansas.  The pen parts are divided up between 3 manufacturing shops in Washington, the body, cap and pen tips are made in one using a combination of CNC lathe and machine work, the finishing, etching and anodizing is done in another and lastly, a sheet metal shop will be stamping, forming and finishing the pocket clip.  All other components are off-the-shelf and will be purchased in bulk from their respective suppliers: the spring, fastener and O-rings are from California, the fountain pen nib and pressurized ball point pen are from Germany and the stylus tip is from China.  Assembly, packaging and shipping will be handled by assembly and fulfillment services in Washington. 

We're at the point now that we have a working prototype (shown in the photos above), and we've mapped out our manufacturing plan.  We've obtained quotes from all of the different makers and the amount of money required for the setup and first production run is considerable. This is where you come in. If you click the "support this project" button to the right, you can help us get closer to making this project a reality, and you'll be able to pre-order your own Ilex. We've got a variety of levels of support listed there, with appropriate premiums.

Thanks for reading our story.  It has been a long road to bring the Ilex to this point.  We are both very pleased and satisfied with the Ilex and we want to give others the opportunity to own one. 

Thanks for your support.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Ballpoint Ilex: One Ilex with ballpoint pen end and German made pressurized ink cartridge delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box. Domestic (US) shipping included.

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    2 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Fountain Ilex: One Ilex with German made fountain pen end and standard euro fountain pen ink cartridge delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box. Domestic (US) shipping included.

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    4 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    The Decider: One Ilex body with both the German made fountain pen end and the ballpoint pen end. This also includes the German made pressurized ink cartridge and a standard euro fountain pen ink cartridge. All this delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box.

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    5 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    International Shipping of:
    Ballpoint Ilex: One Ilex with ballpoint pen end and German made pressurized ink cartridge delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box. International (outside US) shipping included.

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    0 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    International Shipping of:
    Fountain Ilex: One Ilex with German made fountain pen end and standard euro fountain pen ink cartridge delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box. International (outside US) shipping included.

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    0 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    International Shipping of:
    The Decider: One Ilex body with both the German made fountain pen end and the ballpoint pen end. This also includes the German made pressurized ink cartridge and a standard euro fountain pen ink cartridge. All this delivered to your door in a handsome wooden box. International (outside US) shipping included.

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    5 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)