My name is Brian Fellhoelter. I’m a Toolmaker from Arizona and owner of KnifeWerks, LLC. Some of you may remember me from my previous project, the TiBolt Pen. Others may know me from the other things that I make: Award Winning Pocket Knives, Pens, Whistles, Bottle Openers, Belt Grinders and various other tools and gadgets. Many of them can be seen by visiting www.Fellhoelter.com.
I’d like to introduce you to my newest project and my second Kickstarter offering - I call it the TiBolt ReLeaded. It’s an American made, Titanium, Bolt Action Pencil.
It is based on the bolt action mechanism I came up with several years ago, and it is designed to compliment the TiBolt Pen.
The bolt action is becoming a pretty popular mechanism, with many folks using it lately in one form or another. You may already be familiar with it. If not, you are in for a treat!
Now, let’s get down to what I am making, and what I am offering.
First, the TiBolt Pencil is 100% Titanium. Everything is Titanium except the Internal Pencil Mechanism, the Spring, the O-ring, and the Stylus Nib.
The Body? Titanium.
The Tip? Titanium.
The Bolt? Titanium.
The Ball and Shaft? Titanium.
The Custom Torx Screws, Cap, Pocket Clip, and even hidden parts? You got it, all Titanium.
If it can be Titanium, it is.
Why? Because Titanium is a light but strong material and is simply cool, that’s why. It may be an expensive and difficult material to work with but I make a lot of things out of Titanium even if they don’t need to be. All the Titanium parts of the TiBolt Pencil, with the exception of the body, are Grade 5, 6AL-4V. The body itself is Grade 9, 3AL-2.5V. It’s tougher to work with than the Grade 1-4 commercially pure stuff, but all the cooler for it.
Diameter: 11 mm (7/16”)
Length: 139 mm (5-15/32”), Stylus Nib adds 3 mm (1/8”) to Length
Weight: ~42 g or 1.5 oz
Finish: Bright Stonewash
Second, one of the great options for the TiBolt is to add a Stylus Nib to the end of it. Made from capacitive silicone, the Stylus Nib works great on the touchscreens for your tablets and smartphones. It works a lot better than my fat fingers do, that’s for sure. The Stylus Nib is held in place with the pocket clip screwed into a hidden Titanium carrier. This carrier doesn’t need to be Titanium as you can’t even see it, but it is.
To add lead to the pencil, simply unscrew the tip, remove the back cap from the mechanism and refill it with more lead.
The TiBolt Pencil is American Made.
All the work for the TiBolt is being done right here in the USA. This is important to me as I am a big fan of keeping America employed. Not only is it American made, it’s made by my friends and I, in our own shops.
I know the folks making the parts for this project, some of them for many years and through many other projects. They and their employees are good at what they do. These are production shops with scalable capabilities to produce hundreds or even thousands of pencils.
Steven Kelly, the owner of the screw machine shop that is making the round parts is a Kickstarter Creator himself!
Check out his successful campaigns HERE, and HERE.
George Palagonia is my go-to Titanium supplier for this project, and all of my other day to day projects.
We have a good, solid, conscientious team assembled ready to build your TiBolt Pencil. We have already worked out the bugs that are within our control on the TiBolt Pen. We will use those lessons and techniques in the manufacture of the pencil.
The Stylus Nibs, some raw materials, and the Pencil Mechanisms come from overseas since I am unable to source them locally. I am constantly searching for USA suppliers though, so if one ever turns up, I will make the move there too!
Why Am I Here on Kickstarter?
A project like this requires a pretty substantial outlay of money to get off the ground, more than I have on hand.
A successful campaign allows me to order materials and machine time in a significant enough quantity to get the pricing down to a reasonable level. I have already ordered a big chunk of the material out of pocket. This leaves me with a need for more capital to pay the machine shop!
In anticipation of success, I have already got the ball rolling. The first 100 TiBolt Pencils are already done and sitting in my shop, ready to be shipped! I wanted to make sure that I had a foolproof manufacturing system in place before the campaign this time, so I paid big bucks to run a prototype batch. Good thing too, as I have several thousand dollars just in prototyping the springs. It took several tries to get the springs where I wanted them.
I will be shipping the Early Backer TiBolt Pencils right after the campaign ends. Once I hit a 90% response rate on the surveys, I'll get these out the door. Pencils that are pledged after the first 100 will come later. How much later depends on how many more are ordered. I have to have tubing manufactured for the rest of the Pencils.
Fortunately, I designed the TiBolt ReLeaded to use many of the same parts as the original TiBolt Pen.
The Clips, Screws, Balls, and both Caps are the same, they can be used on both the Pen, and Pencil. The bodies are cut from the same Titanium tubing.
Since demand for the original TiBolt Pen is so high, I have been able to pre-order a lot of material already. Tubing being the big one, as it has a pretty long lead time. If the project is successful, material is already on order, and I will just use it for pencils, placing another order to keep the pen supply flowing.
Shipping is planned for late September to early October. I will update the project regularly, to keep everyone informed of progress. While I aim to BEAT these delivery dates this time, I don't want to over-promise, and under-deliver like so many projects do… I pride myself in delivering on what I say, so it bothered me to no end when I missed my dates with the first Kickstarter campaign. So much so, that I made sure that my second campaign, on a different website, came in early.
Based on my experience with the TiBolt Pen, I now have a more robust and reliable manufacturing plan in place.
Here's my plan.
Risks and challenges
I have been diligently working for 2 years now to overcome the challenges associated with a project like this.
From supply, to manufacturing, to fulfillment.
In the last year, I’ve taken my shop from my garage to an actual industrial building. More machines and capabilities are are on the way.
I’ve negotiated with, and proven the capabilities of the shops that will be manufacturing the various TiBolt parts and verified their capabilities to make hundreds, even thousands of parts in a timely manner.
We can do it, and have proven it by making several thousand TiBolt pens since our successful Kickstarter campaign!
The main risk I see would come with overwhelming success.
This brings some specific challenges, mostly getting the raw material in our hands.
I have the tubing for the bodies of these TiBolts custom made, so we are at their mercy on timing. And it takes 8-12 weeks to get the material!
I am very determined to meet my deadlines, so things like this can become a challenge.
In anticipation of this, I ordered enough material to make about 2000 pencil/pen bodies already, it is due in my hands at the end of June.
We can, and will, make the rest of the parts with standard, locally sourced material, well in advance of the bodies coming.
This means within a short time of the campaign ending, we can have the bulk of the manufacturing complete, just waiting on tubing.
Then, it's just a matter of finishing those parts, and building your pencils!
- (27 days)