PLiM iPad Stylus for Designers and Artists
PLiM is a precision engineered all metal iPad stylus that allows fluid movement and gesturing for sketching.
Why create yet another stylus?
My daughter is studying fine art at A Level in the UK and uses her iPad to record ideas and sketches. After trying a few different types of stylus it was clear that nothing available suited her fluid drawing style. I decided to create a stylus that met all of her requirements.
- All metal construction for durability (teenager)
- Precision engineered 0.05mm for accuracy
- Extra long handle for use with hand on desk
- Etched and anodised solid aluminium shaft for a solid feel
- Removable o'rings for grip and styling
- Rotating tip can be used with a ruler
- Angled tip to allow use with stylus horizontal to the iPad screen
- Works without additional pressure from the user for shading
- 6mm diameter permanent stainless steel tip
- Tip protectors provided to avoid marking screen protectors
- Looks cool and feels good in the hand
- Washable: just in case you drop it
- UK machined shaft and tip assembly
- Telescopic transparent plastic case
- Assembled by hand at home
- Can be used for writing due to the fluid movement of the tip
- Very light at 13.5 grams
I have tried to keep the price as low as possible to make the stylus affordable. Every stylus is assembled, tested and packaged by hand.
- 1 x18ga barbell eyebrow piercing (one 3mm ball removed)
- 1 x 6mm diameter 130mm long solid aluminium rod
- 6 x o-rings in red or black
- 1 x 6mm stainless tip base (+/- 0.05mm)
- 1 x 6mm stainless tip cap (+/- 0.05mm)
- 5 x glass cloth 6mm discs (4 spares)
- 1 x transparent clear plastic case
- A lot of patience
Getting it together
- Remove both ends of barbell and threadlock one end back on
- Snap tip foot and cap over remaining ball using watch back press
- Bend 18ga piercing shaft to approx 90 degrees
- Roll o-rings onto shaft and locate in machined grooves
- Screw assembled tip into pen shaft and threadlock
- Polish tip face with 3000 and 5000 grit
- Wash and dry tip
- Apply glass cloth disc to tip face
- Package individually with spare o-rings and tip protectors
The first prototypes were created in one corner of my garage using fairly crude tools including hacksaws and wire cutters; the production versions are precision engineered on 6m long lathes turning the shaft and tiny stainless tip components. It is really satisfying to see an idea come to fruition especially when all development work is (literally) carried out in house.
Over 30 changes were made to the original design taking into account function, aesthetics, materials, mass, component manufacture, ergonomics and cost.
Sourcing materials and components is always a lengthy process especially for small batch production. The key to the affordability of the PLiM relies on the use of the stainless steel eyebrow piercing in the stylus tip; this was stumbled on by accident when watching TV. The use of nitrile (black) and silicone (red) o-rings for the grip also avoids over engineering the solution.
One dilemma remained; how to protect the the iPad touchscreen. All of the PLiM tips are hand polished and cleaned; but after reading huge amounts of feed back for other flat faced stylus I came to the conclusion that the only way to remove the risk would be to design the tip to work on a touch screen with a screen protector fitted at all times. As the whole stylus is constructed of metal it has no problem registering on a touch screen even with a screen protector fitted. The glass cloth tip protectors are to reduce marking of the screen protector to an absolute minimum and they do a really good job of this. They also allow the tip to glide on the screen protector by reducing friction.
Why can't I fund the PLiM project from outside of Europe?
This was a difficult decision for me as clearly I would like to attract as much funding as possible. As with any project funding I could find myself significantly under or over subscribed and I wanted to ensure that I don't struggle to meet orders if the PLiM project proves to be popular. If things go to plan I would be able to launch the PLiM world wide in early 2014.
Just in case you were wondering what the stainless steel keyring looks like
The PLiM stylus should always be used on devices with a screen protector fitted at all times.
Risks and challenges
With regards to the risks; they are minimal as I already have sufficient components to make the first 1000 units. I have 20 fully assembled retail ready PLiMs to ensure that everything fits together and works just fine. The funding will enable me to continue with assembly, purchase packaging and get the first 1000 units anodised in Silver and Titanium Blue. I can order additional parts very quickly if necessary as I have a good working relationship with the precision engineers and suppliers in the UK.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)