The ICENI fountain pen aims to bring unique designs and personalisation to the affordable fountain pen market, whilst maintaining top brand quality and functionality.
With the use of advanced laser sintering manufacturing technology, and the help of you here on this campaign, this can be made into a reality.
So let me introduce you to the ICENI fountain pen...
A key feature of the ICENI fountain pen is the range of unique styles which come as standard. These styles are built into the structure of the pen; meaning each style has its very own look and feel.
These structural patterns would be difficult, if not impossible, to create at an affordable price using many traditional manufacturing technologies. However, in this project each pen is manufactured one by one, allowing for endless possibilities.
The styles are called Hex, Grid, Arboretum, and Executive; you can select any of these styles for your pen when you pledge for any of the rewards in this campaign.
However, unique styles are not the only feature designed to make the ICENI fountain pen stand out from the crowd; for those who want something even more special, the ICENI can also be personalised with custom initials and colour schemes. These personal inials are embossed onto the base of the pen, replacing the logo.
The initials themselves can be in one of seven different colours, to suit personal tastes. Personalised initials and colours come as standard in any of the 'custom edition' pledges. If you do not want personalised initials or colours, the pen is available as a 'classic edition' which has the logo on the base instead.
In addition to the unique aspects already discussed, the ICENI fountain pen also has a number of more traditional features to make it functional, versitile and easy to use.
1 - INK - Accepting both international cartridges and ink converter, makes the ICENI fountain pen versatile. The cartridges simply 'plug in' for a quick and easy start up, while the converter allows for a huge range of bottled inks to be used. I personally recommended using a converter - in my opinion, it really adds to the fountain pen experience.
2 - NIB - The nib is steel and made by Schmidt - experts in the field. This means the pen has a professional quality nib section, from a proven and reliable brand. As standard the nib comes in a medium size (European), but fine and broad versions are available, and will be included in this project as a stretch goal if there are enough pledges. The nib is small at 6.1mm to make the pen easy to use for those who do not have much experience with fountain pens - with a grip position closer to a ball point.
3 - CAP - The pen also has an easy to use snap cap, which is secure and easy to use. The cap has an integrated clip which fits seamlessly into the design.
In order to make this project successful and the ICENI fountain pen a reality, I need help from you to gain the funding required to produce the pen at an affordable price. So take a look at the rewards outlined below (and to the right of the page) and pledge to support this project!
So let's get a bit more technical. The ICENI has be designed to be have ergonomic dimensions, but also materials to complement them. Below can be seen the major dimensions of the pen, which are similar to many existing fountain pens. During testing, I found these dimensions to offer the perfect combination of ergonomic size, whilst retaining material strength.
The design also utilises several materials for their aesthetic and functional benefits.
The Body - the main body of the pen and cap is created from a nylon based powder, which is sintered (melted) together with a highly accurate laser. The laser will draw a cross section of the pen, before more powder is added, and the next cross section drawn on top of that. Gradually this builds up the final completed component. I find the best way to imagine it as layers of paper being cut to a shape, and then being stacked; with enough sheets of paper, eventually you`'ll have a three dimensional product. To get an idea of the layer size, each layer of powder is as thin as 0.06mm in height! This process is called `selective laser sintering` or `SLS` for short, and is essentially a type of 3d printing. After being produced in this way, parts have to be cleaned, and dyed to give them their colour.
The material used in this process is a type of nylon powder, and when sintered into the finished product has a slightly granular feel to it, almost like stone. There are several other advantages to the material in relation to this project, including its strength and impact resistance. Unlike more traditional fountain pen materials such as acrylic, the ICENI is far less likely to crack if dropped or stepped on. The nylon is also lightweight, which in the fountain pen world can be seen as good or bad depending on who you talk to... personally I prefer lightweight fountain pens as they feel more similar when held to a more commonly found ballpen or rollerball. As I wanted this pen to accommodate those new to fountain pens, as such I decided a lightweight material was appropriate for this reason.
The section (grip) - this is made from a more traditional resin. The key reason for not making the section from the nylon material (which the body is made from) is due to its porosity. The section resin is not porous, which means it will not be stained by the ink, and will retain its look even with regular use. This is important as the section can get ink on it, such as when filling the pen using a converter for example. If it was made from nylon there would be a strong possibility the nylon would be irreversibly dyed by the ink.
A number of metals were also considered for this component, but the resin was selected as more appropriate because it is also lightweight, and worked well with the body to create a balanced pen.
The section and body of the pen are joined by a metal friction fitting. Which enables a threaded fastener to be used to join the pen (or open it when changing a refill). This is an easy process and friction fitting means no glue is required. Threads have not been designed directly into the body as the nylon could wear and so become loose over time - to ensure longevity, metal has been used.
The ICENI fountain pen is the result of a large amount of design and development work. This has involved evaluation of existing designs, and concept sketching, through to mechanical design and CAD modelling.
Throughout this design process I have been testing parts and creating numerous prototypes; just a few of which can be seen below. These have been revised a number of times to refine everything from fit to form.
The prototypes have also been useful in refining the manufacturing process to yield good quality parts at affordable prices. In addition it has been possible to test the finish of the pens, and potential for stretch goals - such as nib variations and even alternative pen body colours.
Risks and challenges
Having already successfully completed one Kickstarter project, and experience in delivering projects in the past, I believe I can deliver the same results with this project.
I have planned out a realistic project timescale to action this, but should any surprises occur (such as with external suppliers), I have included contingency time. This means I have put an expected shipping date of January 2016, but I am realistically hoping to ship them in time for Christmas!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)