About this project
The Totem Pen series combines a high-quality writing tool with different types of spinning tops. Just unscrew the cap and spin the top.
The pen trilogy consists of three different pens: Tippe, Totem and Teetotum. All pens will be manufactured and assembled in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Do you spend a lot of time in meetings and conference calls? So do we! During the conference, you make notes but often you need to keep your hands as well as your mind occupied. A Totem Pen facilitates both of that.
The Tippe Pen is based on the Tippe Top, which was patented by the late Danish Engineer, Werner Østberg, back in 1950.
When spun, the Tippe Top tips from its normal position to the stem.
This behaviour is not intuitive, and many physicists, e.g. the Nobel laureate Niels Bohr, took a great interest in the top.
The Totem Pen features a spinning top suitable for the detection if you’re dreaming or not. According to modern mythology: If the top continues to spin, you’re dreaming. If it stops, you’re not. Totem Pen can stand on its own as shown in this photo (and briefly in the video).
The Teetotum Pen is based on an ancient Roman design where a die is combined with a spinning top.
Need to make a decision? Just assign a possibility to each side of the Teetotum and spin it.
The Totem Pens will be milled out by our American manufacturing partner in Ann Arbor, Michigan, using state-of-the-art machines and highly skilled workers. It is entirely made in aluminum alloy 6061 and with an anodized coating AA10 so that the parts will keep their metallic surface finish for many years.
The Totem Pens features a Pilot G2 refill cartridge for optimal writing comfort and easy replacement. These are available at nearly any office supply store in a variety of ink colors and tip thicknesses. If we reach funding goals, we'll poll people to determine the included cartridges (blue, black, fine, very fine, etc).
The Pens have a diameter of 10mm. The dimensions shown here are for the current prototypes. We may do some minor changes as we move along. We already know that we want to increase the diameter of the Tippe Top a few mm to make it easier to spin.
The prototypes shown were manufactured in Atlanta, Georgia. All production pens will be manufactured in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
We need to manufacture a certain minimum amount of pens to get the unit cost down to a reasonable level. We also need to purchase G2 refills; as well as assemble, pack and ship the finished pens to our backers.
It started with the idea that we needed something to do with our hands during teleconferences. A spinning top was the whimsical side, a pen was the practical side. From there, the idea of joining them was born.
We sketched out the basics, and used those sketches to create 3D models. After some searching, we found a great supplier to cut out the prototypes based on the 3D models. These are the examples you can see in the video.
Based on these prototypes, we've refined the designs for greater spinability and better fit for the cartridges. Next step, hopefully, is the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign and a move to production.
So, which type are you?
Thanks to Hans Ekström, Curitiba, for finding the video location in Passauna, to Dr. Richard Cohen from MIT, Boston, for the use of the scientific paper on the physics of the Tippe Top, and to the Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen, for the use of the photo of Pauli and Bohr. A special thanks to Duco for the video and the identity.
Risks and challenges
We have already designed and manufactured the first prototypes - and have successfully tested their 'spinnability'. Minor details need to be optimized before going into real production. We work with excellent American manufacturers of high precision CNC milled parts. We believe that all elements of the project are manageable. If we get many more backers than expected, of course there may be bottle necks in delivery and distribution, but we’ll serve our backers on a first backed, first served basis.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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