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The Airfoil Click pen is inspired by aviation design. Crafted from titanium, Al, nickel, 24K gold, & SS. For gel & rollerball ink.
The Airfoil Click pen is inspired by aviation design. Crafted from titanium, Al, nickel, 24K gold, & SS. For gel & rollerball ink.
327 backers pledged $26,407 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$26,407

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In February, Airfoil: The Aviation Inspired Twist pen, was successfully funded and raised nearly 10K. But, it wasn't quite finished yet. I had many requests for gel & rollerball ink compatibility. So I invested a lot more into research & pen mechanisms and redesigned the internal structure of Airfoil to accommodate refills that people wanted. 

In summary, Airfoil is back except, slimmer, streamlined, silent all metal click pen mechanism imported from Germany, & compatible with several gel & rollerball ink refills. 

Airfoil is a beautiful unique click pen inspired by engineering in aviation. Crafted from grade 2 titanium, aluminum, nickel, 24K gold, and stainless steel. 

What did expert pen bloggers think?
What did expert pen bloggers think?

My Pen Needs Ink "The Airfoil Click came to me with tight tolerances, a smooth finish without being slippery and a really smooth click mechanism." Bob, My Pen Needs Ink

The Clicky Post "I 100% provide a stamp of approval on this pen and I absolutely love just how unique a piece it is.", "In addition to receiving this prototype I will also be backing the project." Mike Dudek, The Clicky Post

The Everyday Commentary "For me, this is a no brainer--its damn gorgeous." Tony, Everyday Commentary

The Pen Addict "I'm really impressed with the prototype Grant sent me. If I was forced to pick nits I would like to see the barrel seam connect more flush between the two halves, and the edges on the grip ridges could be softened just a bit, but overall this is a solid product." Brad, The Pen Addict. Thanks for the feedback Brad, I will be working on addressing those! 

Ed Jelley "The pen has some really interesting lines and it is definitely a unique design." Ed Jelley, Ed Jelley

The Inkdependence "likely to please those who want some weight to their writing instruments. It's also manufactured really well, without any gaps or loose parts." Mike, The Inkdependence

Airfoil Click, streamlined, aviation inspired, captivating design  

Airfoil is a beautifully detailed pen inspired by engineering design in aviation. For those who pay attention to the details around them you may notice the ribbing to the framework on planes, the end cap to the engine housing on jets, and the distinct curves and differences in surface area associated with generating lift, hence the name Airfoil.

This pen boasts a bold sleek industrial design that will stand out from the crowd. To create each pen requires a complex machining process. Many machining operations on a CNC lathe operate off of two axis. For CNC mills many operations operate on 3. Airfoil Click however, is carefully sculpted from the stock with 4 axis, that's 4 orientations the machine must move the part to carve out the body geometry. Like many components in modern jets, Airfoil requires a complex manufacturing process to create the unique shape while preserving performance. Each pen is assembled by hand, the threads lubricated for a smooth jewelry-like silent assembly, tested, and carefully inspected. 

In addition to the overall streamlined design, here is a brief highlight of some of the details inspired by aviation design. 

Forward section resembles the nose cone of fighter jets with three grooves for grip.
Forward section resembles the nose cone of fighter jets with three grooves for grip.
Body resembles the "Airfoil" geometry of aircraft wings that incorporate Bernoulli's principle to generate lift. In addition, 5 drilled holes mimic weight reduction techniques used in aircraft frames.
Body resembles the "Airfoil" geometry of aircraft wings that incorporate Bernoulli's principle to generate lift. In addition, 5 drilled holes mimic weight reduction techniques used in aircraft frames.
Aft section of the pen resembles the jet engine housing of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
Aft section of the pen resembles the jet engine housing of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
Compatible with at least 4 different types of popular refills
Compatible with at least 4 different types of popular refills
Only the MB and Uniball use the longer spacer, the G2 and Schmidt use the shorter spacer. See "Spacer options" below for more details.
Only the MB and Uniball use the longer spacer, the G2 and Schmidt use the shorter spacer. See "Spacer options" below for more details.

 Compatible with the following:

  • Pilot G2 gel ink
  • Mont Blanc rollerball ink
  • Uniball Signo 207 gel ink
  • Schmidt SCR 888 rollerball ink
  • Schmidt SCR 5888 rollerball ink
  • Schmidt Safety rolling tube 5285 extra fine
Components included with each pen
Components included with each pen
  • Tip
  • Body
  • Schmidt Safety Ceramic Rollerball 888 (medium or fine) black ink cartridge imported from Germany. 
  • Custom spacer
  • Spring
  • Center column (in natural brass, or plated in nickel or 24K gold)
  • Clip
  • 2 stainless steel button head bolts 
  • All metal silent push mechanism imported from Germany 
  • Custom Masterstroke pen box
  • Double cardboard shipping box. No padded envelopes here for shipping. Your pen will be protected well. 
Simply unscrew the pen at the center, just like a Pilot G2 pen.
Simply unscrew the pen at the center, just like a Pilot G2 pen.

The most effortless Airfoil pen available. Aluminum is the lightest metal offered and perfectly reflects Airfoil's inspiration from aviation design. Plus it just has that nice sleek contemporary tone.

Natural aluminum w/nickel styling
Natural aluminum w/nickel styling
Natural aluminum finish w/24K gold styling
Natural aluminum finish w/24K gold styling
Anodized matte red finish
Anodized matte red finish
Anodized matte blue finish
Anodized matte blue finish
Anodized matte grey
Anodized matte grey
Anodized grey w/ stainless steel clip
Anodized grey w/ stainless steel clip
Anodized matte black
Anodized matte black
Anodized black
Anodized black
Color comparison
Color comparison

Available finishes

  • Natural machine finish (reflects aviation theme the best)
  • Anodized matte blue
  • Anodized matte red
  • Anodized matte black
  • Anodized matte grey
  • Anodized grey
  • Anodized black

Available clip options

Clip comparison as requested by a potential backer, better picture coming later when I'm not using my living room fluorescent light. From the left: stainless (working on a spring tempered buffed version), matte black, and matte natural aluminum.
Clip comparison as requested by a potential backer, better picture coming later when I'm not using my living room fluorescent light. From the left: stainless (working on a spring tempered buffed version), matte black, and matte natural aluminum.
  • Clear anodized natural matte aluminum
  • Anodized black aluminum
  • Stainless steel (Please add $1, *working on a 301 spring tempered, buffed, then laser engraved version. Bottom line is it will be nicer and cleaner than the prototype above. Will be continually posting updates)

The same metal that the turbines in jet engines are made from. Titanium has a distinct color and an unfamiliar heft to it, unlike more common alloys such as stainless and aluminum. You don't see as many titanium products as other metals due to how hard it is to machine (it's kind of like machining stainless, except harder and more deceptive, it doesn't conduct heat well, putting stress on the cutting tool) and the price. Entirely machined from grade 2 titanium. 301 spring tempered stainless clip free alternate option to grade 2 titanium clip. Stainless spring clip will be buffed. 

Titanium with natural machine finish
Titanium with natural machine finish
Electropolished finish. Please add $15 to pledge.
Electropolished finish. Please add $15 to pledge.

Available finishes

  • Natural machine finish
  • Electropolished (please add $15 to pledge)

CNC precision machined from brass then plated in 24K gold by a jewelry company in California. The clip is made from stainless steel. All perks and options included in the Airfoil Gold Edition reward package (for example, options for the bolts, center column, and push mechanism). *note surface finish isn't silky smooth, machined lines show. Weight is 3.1oz (89g). Airfoil logo and limited edition quantity most likely engraved on clip and body of the pen. 

All available options 

Center Column Styling 

  • Natural brass 
  • Nickel plated 
  • 24K gold plated 

Bolt Styling 

  • Stainless Steel 
  • Nickel plated 
  • Black nickel plated
  • Black oxide
  • 24K gold plated

Push Mechanism Styling 

  • 24K gold plated
  • Or regular (the nickel finish)

Every pen comes with two stainless steel bolts standard and a silent push mechanism. However, I can add another level of customization to really brighten up your Airfoil pen.

From the left: stainless, nickel plated, 24K gold plated
From the left: stainless, nickel plated, 24K gold plated
From the left: 24K gold, black nickel, nickel, and stainless
From the left: 24K gold, black nickel, nickel, and stainless

Bolt options

  • Stainless steel (free, standard)
  • Black oxide (matte black finish, may rust over time, free)
  • Nickel plated (Please add $2 to your pledge)
  • Black nickel plated (Please add $2 to your pledge)
  • 24K gold plated (Please add $3 to your pledge)
Push mechanism options (No nickel plating offered, I think Schmidt plates them in nickel or zinc already. 

  • 24K gold plated (Please add $4 to your pledge)
Center Column Styling Options (All included in price, free)

  • Natural brass 
  • Nickel plated 
  • 24K Gold plated
Some people like to have a pen that gives them options, for example, interchangeability with several ink refills. On the other hand, some people know what refill they want and just want to pen ready to go, no loose parts. I will include these options in the survey. The spacer included will be a custom Delrin spacer. The reason I chose Delrin over aluminum is due to its great machinability and its chemical resistant properties. Aluminum might begin to react with the push mechanism over the course of its 100 year life time. Delrin won't, and will keep your pen clean. 
2 Custom length spacers. Pressed or non-hackable versions will be available in the survey.
2 Custom length spacers. Pressed or non-hackable versions will be available in the survey.
  • All spacer options are included in price (free)
  • Option 1 Default: Non-Hackable for Schmidt and Pilot G2 (Schmidt refill provided). For those who only want to use Schmidt of Pilot G2 refills. Pressed spacer for Schmidt and Pilot G2 (Default). You want your spacer to stay on your pen and know you want the above refills. No hassles or loose parts, this pen is ready to go and will always be ready to go. 
  • Option 2: Non-Hackable for Mont Blanc and Uniball Signo 207 (no refill provided): For those who only want to use Mont Blanc and Uniball Signo 207 refills. Pressed spacer for Mont Blanc and Uniball Signo 207. You don't want the Schmidt refill and will replace it with the MB or the 207. You also don't want any loose parts, so you've opted for the pressed spacer option. No hassles or loose parts, this pen is ready to go and will always be ready to go.
  • Option 3: Hackable (Schmidt refill provided): You like to try different refills, or perhaps aren't sure which refill you want and don't mind swapping parts out to do so. Provided are two spacers with bores loose enough to switch them out. The longer spacer is for the Schmidt and Pilot, the shorter for MB and 207, you decided which refills suits your preference and modify your pen for just that. 

Early October

  • Successful funding
  • Send out surveys
  • Order pen mechanisms, center column tubing, refills, springs, spacer material, & bolts. 
  • Collect survey data
  • Obtain quotes for final production quantity
  • Prep pen boxes (left over from my last project)

Mid October

  • Money is transferred to my account
  • Begin production
  • Laser cut box inserts
  • Pen mechanisms, refills, tubing, springs, spacer material, and bolts arrive
  • Ship out components for plating. 

Early November

  • Plated parts arrive. 

Mid November

  • Machined parts arrive
  • Assemble aluminum & titanium pens & ship out
  • Ship out remaining titanium stock for eletropolishing.

Early December

  • Electropolished pen parts arrive. Assemble and ship out. Hopefully all in time for the holidays! 

Back in February over a hundred backers made the first version of Airfoil, a twist pen possible. During the campaign I had many people ask me if the pen could take rollerball or gel ink, if it could be thinner, or even a click pen. So I went back to the drawing board and sculpted the material in CAD. 

Originally I was just going to make this version of Airfoil, thinner and a click pen. And it would've cost me about $50 each if I made 200 of them. I thought that no matter how beautiful the finish, that enough people would pay $75+ for that. 

A more manufacturing friendly design was necessary. But how to do that without losing some of the design features of Airfoil? Here's what I did end up doing. Cutting down the number of parts, removing as many threaded holes as possible, designing the parts to be as automation friendly as I could while preserving the design, and taking advantage of commercially available parts. It brought down costs a little bit. And this is what I finished with. Airfoil Click.

Airfoil Click Design Stage Render
Airfoil Click Design Stage Render

 The first prototypes. 

Why is the delivery date set to December when your production plan anticipates shipment around November? There is always a small chance that things don't go to plan, delays can happen. As a result I've just set the anticipated delivery date to December. It also gives me the option to ship via USPS First class if I'm on schedule or USPS Priority if I'm running behind. A deadline with some buffer always creates additional customer delight if backers get their pens early.

I see limited quantities on everything, why? To be realistic. I'm confident that I can produce around 700 pens by December. I'm not too sure about 1,000+ (I'll be really lucky in the first place if I can hit that) and will probably create new rewards with extended delivery dates. This gives me more control and the ability to meet my goals as accurately stated as possible.

Being honest about the product: No one likes bull crap or false advertising. One step that I take to ensure this is to send my pens to reviewers so you can hear from a third party the pros and cons without any filtering from my personal bias.

Now that I've just mentioned a bit about transparency...where are these made?
I wish this was all made in America, except for the German parts, because stuff made in Germany always gets a good rep. I approached 40 machine shops, local, and on the west coast and no one gave me a bid. Most of them didn't respond, and the reason is I'm a bit of an ambiguous customer, most work with people face to face or with established companies. I'm stuck in the middle of the Pacific. The other reason is making these type of complex pens is a pain in the butt and they can't charge the higher prices like they can with actual industrial parts. So I turned to Alibaba and received some bids from machine shops in Shenzhen within 24 hours. Anyhow, here is the breakdown. 

  • Pen body: China
  • Schmidt SCR 888 rollerball ink: Germany
  • Push mechanism: Germany
  • Bolts: USA
  • Box: China & USA
  • Spring: Purchased in the USA
  • Center column: USA
  • Nickel & 24K gold plating: USA
  • Assembly, testing, shipping: My house in the USA
  • Custom spacers: USA, I'll be making these myself. 
  • The origin of Airfoil Click is starting to look a bit like a melting pot. 

Post Kickstarter Airfoil Prices: Airfoil Click may retail for the following approximate prices. For this Kickstarter the reward prices are very very close to future wholesale prices so now is the time to get the best deal possible :)

  • Airfoil Aluminum: $75, subsequent anodized models may go for a higher price
  • Airfoil Titanium: $150
  • Airfoil Electropolished Titanium: $175
  • Airfoil 24K Gold plated: Debating if I should sell for $250+ or choose to keep quantity limited for exclusivity. 

Risks and challenges

Everything is set up and ready to go once funding is complete. This is my second kickstarter pen project so I've done this before. The process is familiar to me already. I've produced hundreds of custom pens and am very confident that this project should not run into any catastrophic problems.

In my previous project my backers were very pleased and impressed with the execution of the rewards and the final product. I hope to raise the bar with this project.

The success of this project depends heavily on sharing this project. Every blog or social networking makes a difference, so please share! Thank you for your support.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU (or in Hawaii we say Mahalo) for supporting the Airfoil project. Plus, you get to see behind the scenes how a really young entrepreneur creates a product from concept to production to distribution.

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    Pledge $52 or more About $52

    Early Bird: Airfoil Aluminum. Receive the Airfoil Aluminum Edition with a natural or anodized finish + Schmidt rollerball black refill if selected. Domestic shipping included. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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    Pledge $57 or more About $57

    Airfoil Aluminum Edition. Receive the Airfoil Aluminum Edition with a natural or anodized finish + Schmidt rollerball black refill if selected. Domestic shipping included. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $104 or more About $104

    2x Airfoil Aluminum Edition. Receive 2 Airfoil Aluminum Edition pens with a natural or anodized finish + Schmidt rollerball black refills if selected. Domestic shipping included. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Airfoil Titanium Edition: Receive the Airfoil Titanium Edition pen in a natural or electropolished finish (add $15) + Schmidt rollerball black refill if selected. Domestic shipping included. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $177 or more About $177

    1x Airfoil Titanium Edition + 1x Airfoil Aluminum Edition. Receive 1 Airfoil Titanium Edition pen with a natural or electropolished finish (add $15) + 1 Airfoil Aluminum Edition pen with a natural or anodized finish + Schmidt rollerball black refills if selected. Domestic shipping included. Please add $15 for international. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Airfoil Gold Edition: Receive the Airfoil 24K Gold Plated Edition pen + Schmidt Rollerball black refill if selected. Receive all perks (styling options such as custom bolts, plating for push mechanism) free of charge. Free domestic and international shipping. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. (International shipping may not be delivered by October, but definitely by November).

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2x Airfoil Titanium Edition: Receive the 2 Airfoil Titanium Pens with a natural or electropolished finish (add $15/pen) + Schmidt rollerball black refills if selected. Domestic shipping included. Color & styling options will be included in the survey after funding. International backers may not receive the pen by December.

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Funding period

- (25 days)