This project's funding goal was not reached on February 7, 2014.
About this project
Airfoil, aviation inspired, breathtaking design
Airfoil is a beautifully detailed twist pen inspired by engineering design in aviation. This pen boasts a bold industrial design that will stand out from the crowd. Each pen is assembled by hand, tested, and carefully inspected. Titanium models are partially hand crafted. All models feel cold to the touch, and substantial due to the metal construction."The Airfoil is definitely a conversation starter. The 7075 Aluminum is nicely machined, and the red anodizing looks good too." - Ed Jelley
Standard features of the Airfoil 7075 Series
Standard features of the Airfoil Titanium Series
- The MonteVerde® Ballpoint Cross® Type Refill provides strong, smooth writing.
- Medium point ballpoint
- Soft Roll™ low viscosity ink provides smoothest writing experience possible
- Premium quality large capacity metal refill
- Nickel silver tube and tip for free flowing, smooth writing
- Precision engineered in USA
- Compatible with others brands of refills, Airfoil takes a D1 type refill, for example Cross 8513-2.
- Simple maintenance. No tools necessary. To change refills simply slip off the airfoil frame assembly & unscrew the refill cartridge.
- Unique twist mechanism body. Airfoil frame & end cap is the dial used to adjust the pen tip.
Assembled with nitrile gloves and individually inspected.
The Standard Pen Models
Airfoil 7075 Sleek Silver
Airfoil 7075 Silver - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Clear anodized & scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
What is clear anodizing? (Clear anodizing increases the hardness of the parent material & reduces scratches)
Airfoil 7075 Jet Black
Airfoil 7075 Black - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Bead blasted & anodized in black. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil 7075 Lux Red & Jet Black Trim
Airfoil 7075 Red W/ Black Trim - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Bead blasted & anodized in red & black. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil 7075 Lux Pink & Silver Trim
Airfoil 7075 Pink W/ Silver Trim - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Anodized in pink & clear. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil 7075 Jet Black & Silver Trim
Airfoil 7075 Jet Black & Silver Trim- Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Anodized in black & clear. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil 7075 Sports Red & Jet Black Trim
Airfoil 7075 Sports Red & Jet Black Trim - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Anodized in sports red and black. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil 7075 Sports Red & Silver Trim
Airfoil 7075 Sports Red & Silver Trim - Precision CNC machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. Anodized in sports red and clear. Scratch resistant. Inner column is plated in 24K gold. Carefully assembled & inspected by hand.
Airfoil Titanium Edition
Airfoil Titanium Edition - Precision CNC machined from grade 2 Titanium. Polished to a beautiful finish. All exterior parts except for 24K plated inner column & stainless steel bolt are crafted from solid titanium. Scratch resistant. Partially hand crafted, carefully, assembled and inspected by hand.
Airfoil Black Titanium Edition
Airfoil Black Titanium Edition - Precision CNC machined from grade 2 Titanium. PVD coated in black to a beautiful finish. All exterior parts except for 24K plated inner column & stainless steel bolts is crafted from solid titanium. Scratch resistant. Partially hand crafted, and carefully assembled and inspected by hand.
The Airfoil Titanium Series Collection
Airfoil 7075 weight: 36 grams or 1.3 oz.
Airfoil Titanium edition weight: 52 grams or 1.8 oz.
Comparison variable: Bic mechanical pencil: 6 grams or 0.2 oz.
If this Kickstarter project reaches $150,000 in funding I will offer 24K gold plated bolts as a free replacement option of the stainless steel bolts for all backers who have ordered a pen. Post Kickstarter it will be featured as an add-on option for around $9.00.
I see limited quantities on all of the rewards, will there be more? To try and set as realistic deadlines as possible, I've limited the number for the various rewards. If the demand is greater than expected I'll add more (not including the early bird specials).
Follow us on Twitter @masterstrokepen
Comparison to other high end pens
Material Description: Metal, it is coated in a Premier Monochrome Titanium PVD, and may not be solid titanium.
Why are my pens lower in cost? I have lower factory overhead and operating costs. In order to achieve market penetration I need to price myself extremely competitively and I lack brand recognition as a start up. I also believe in fair value, any nice pen, unless made of precious metals and stones, should not cost more than $250 unless there is an extremely unique aspect or feature to offer.
The Airfoil Story
Anyone that appreciates the quality and prestige that comes with unique pens will have heard of the Mont Blanc line of writing instruments. I felt however, that although their quality and craftsmanship is legendary, their design has fallen victim to knockoffs, it is no longer original to the untrained eye.
I sought to develop a writing instrument that was contemporary, could boast extraordinary detail, was inspired by American ingenuity and achievement, was durable, avoided high pricing, and above all looked and felt great.
My design journey began by looking at past pen projects on Kickstarter, specifically the titanium pens. I thought many were great, but conservative in design, some over priced, perhaps someone could introduce something radical, something new, that looked different and stood out.
The focus I decided on, was to differentiate my pen design by redesigning the body. Most pens have a plain tube, I wanted a design that utilized curves, had depth, structural strength, and was easily recognizable from common pen designs.
This was my very first pen design & prototype. Unfortunately the weight distribution was very poor & aesthetically, the pen was not very appealing. I chose to ditch this design and head back to the drawing board.
But that still wasn't enough. It needed inspiration. Personally, I feel that America has given us an unprecedented amount of opportunity in terms of careers, experiences, and education. I wanted this writing instrument to represent America at its finest, so I turned to our unparalleled aerospace industry.
The Brain Storming Process
I have always had an appreciation for aircraft design and personally like how wing struts are occasionally incorporated in architecture. This pen I decided should have the same, a triple pointed star of sorts using wing struts. The tip should also resemble the shape of the forward section of jets, so I included a bullet design. On the aft side a tip that resembled a jet engine housing I felt would be most appropriate and would be different. The pen, since it would be on the high end, needed to feel substantial. Light pens feel cheap and are easily thrown aside. A heavy pen would command more attention and care. Aluminum and titanium became the material of choice for the forward and aft sections. Using those alloys would also allow me some room to adjust the weight distribution for the best balance. Finally I had just received the opportunity to make Koa wood pens using twist pen kits and was very pleased with the simplicity and quality. To reduce the complexity of this project I decided I would use the exact same pen kits as the internal components of this design.
So one late night I made a very rough sketch
Then dedicated myself to a CAD jamming session. The render of the first design I was surprised came out much nicer than I had expected.
The next step was to make a prototype. I needed to feel the pen to make sure the size & balance was perfect as well as ensure that utilizing the pen kits would be a possibility.
So for about a week I worked to machine the components of the pen. After some careful machining I was able to assemble the very first prototype, and I was pleased with how well it functioned. The "twist" mechanism was indeed a pleasant "wow!" factor.
Working prototype 2
After contacting many machine shops, (over 40 machine shops) I finally found one that was willing to make the pens, it took some convincing and a good history of doing business with them to secure the agreement. They sent me a quote for various quantities of the pen components and I finally took the plunge wiring my money to have the very first production prototypes made.
I was completely ecstatic to hold the product in my hand. I ended up carrying it around with me testing it out for a week. Both versions felt great, they were lighter than I had expected, had great balance, and were unlike any pen I had every held or seen. After an extremely careful analysis of the prototypes I decided to make some minor changes and ordered eleven more prototypes. I would need extras to send to media sources. I also set to render my CAD models in various colors. After sending out RFQs (Request for Quote) to many plating, polishing, and anodizing companies in the U.S. I settled on black, red, pink, clear anodizing, PVD coating, electropolishing and 24K gold plating.
I felt that I had a product that I could start a business with, and so Masterstroke was founded. Now, I turn to Kickstarter to help me jump start my business and make these pens a reality. A large amount of funding is required to take advantage of economics of scale and make this an affordable product.
Establishing The Supply Chain
To produce this project all elements of the supply chain needed to be set up prior to launch.
I have already set up a manufacturer of the pen components, packaging box, gold plating, electropolishing, PVD coating, and expected lead times for each stage of production.
Early February: Successful funding
Mid-Late February: Funding is available for me to use from Amazon Payments. Order all components.
Early March: Pen kits & ink cartridges arrive, send out tubes for gold plating.
Late March: Machining & anodizing finishes, gold plated tubes arrive, assemble Airfoil 7075 models and begin shipping. Roll tap titanium job 1.
Early April: Send out titanium job 1 parts for coating. Finish sending out Airfoil 7075 pens. Roll tap titanium job 2.
Late April: Polished & coated titanium job 1 parts arrive, assemble & ship out. Send out titanium job 2 parts for coating.
Mid May: Polished & coated titanium job 2 parts arrive, assemble & ship out.
To ensure continuity of business operations I also ran countless accounting scenarios based on funding level achieved and found if I meet my minimum funding goal I will be able to purchase enough ending inventory to fund business operations post Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges
Everything is set up and ready to go once funding is complete. In fact, I've already completed a run of 100 production Airfoil 7075 pens, primarily as marketing tools.
The biggest challenge will be hand tapping the titanium parts. Practice on scrap titanium has been completed to reduce any delays due to in house machining.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Absolutely! Instead of just multiplying your pledge amount, message me what quantities you would like and I'll check how much money I can save you on shipping.
Yes! Prototypes are currently in production. Clips will be available in black and silver anodize for $5, in titanium for $20 and available for all pen backers.
I've found four quality refills, all of which can be purchased online. Airfoil comes standard with a Monteverde refill. These are all D1 type refills.
The Platnium BSP-100S Ballpoint 0.7mm Black or Blue Ink.
Cross 8513 Medium Ballpoint in Black
And, the Zebra Sharbo X Gel Ink 0.4mm Black, Yes, I found Gel Ink!
Yes, The plater in California can do it! I will offer black nickel and chrome colored nickel plating as a free replacement option in place of the 24K gold one.
I'd like to offer these pens at a competitive price and sell these on my website post Kickstarter. To do that I need to invest in large volume. If I were to make 100 pens, the cost would be tremendous, there are just way too many setup fees. At a quantity of 500 or a 1,000 however, I can keep costs down while still saving my profit margins to invest in desired ending inventory after Kickstarter. I'm also offering several different options and colors to try and appeal to as many backers as possible, this too is extremely costly to do in small quantities.
- (45 days)