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The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, February 7 2014 11:11 PM UTC +00:00
pledged of $50,000pledged of $50,000 goal
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, February 7 2014 11:11 PM UTC +00:00

Design update & reviews that are really worth 5 minutes to read

Posted by Grant Takara (Creator)

Hi everyone! 

I made it a goal to not post an update more than once a week or so, but the latest developments I feel deserve your feedback. 

First of all, here is a render of how I plan to take care of the "sharp fins" problem. I'll be adding a chamfer to both surfaces of the rib (the top that touches your hand, and the bottom that may touch your hand). If the manufacturer can do a round instead I'll opt for that. In addition I will also add a chamfer or round to the edges that surround the body, just so everything is as nice to the touch as possible. 

Beveled or chamfered fins
Beveled or chamfered fins

Second, my last two reviews are up and both authors are amazing writers. The Everyday Commentary in particular graciously accepted my pen on short notice due to its unique design and tested Airfoil for 14 days. Tony, the author, crafted a really stellar review and highlighted everything he experienced with Airfoil. He does grade products with a candid and fair opinion though, and has graded products that were junk with junk scores. If you have the time, his is definitely the review to read. 

The Everyday Commentary Airfoil Review 

The Clicky Post Review 

In summary, the sharp fins were the biggest annoyance to all the pen reviewers, but as I stated above I'm working on that. I've also manufactured prototype clips and will update you on how well those work. All reviewers confirmed that the balance of Airfoil is surprisingly quite well, and a majority confirmed that although this looks like a fat puppy, it's really not that bad (think of writing with a big sharpie I suppose). A very common comment was how satisfyingly smooth and silent the twist mechanism is, which I'm very glad they noticed, that is a pet peeve for me personally (being a mechanical engineering student). 

Lastly, here is where I really need your input as what people comment here will determine how I structure my relaunch (not to be a downer again, but just being realistic). Basically, I'm trying to make the confusing pledging a much simpler process. 

Clips: Should I just include them as standard for Airfoil and not as an Add-On? If backers choose to remove them on their own it may not work since it shifts the center column 0.063". In short, I can make the pen or without a clip no problem, but if you want it interchangeable there will be a larger gap in the center column. 

Engraving: Some backers and in the review of The Clicky Post, they stated that the engraved logo looks a bit cheap I suppose, too flashy and too generic. Should I change the font to a more unique one? Italic or print (I like italic personally)? How would you want the engraving? Subtle and not white? Smaller?

Special engraving: Do you want a KS engraved on the endcap (small of course, maybe a quarter inch in width and height, and this would be before the anodizing so it won't be white). 

Hope to hear from you all soon! Your input has really really helped me cater this project better to backers. I've learned so much from everyone's comments and feedback. 


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    1. Grant Takara 3-time creator on

      Hi all!

      The prototype clips came in, I'll add an image to the current project when I have the time, been playing catch up with school work. They of course are not the final clips, but function wise, they do the job. I might make them a bit thinner (currently 0.063" thick) so the bolts have more thread engagement in the body of the pen itself. Also, after using them, I agree with the general opinion that the clip is a must. Therefore I'm leaning toward not including a spacer. It should simplify things as well (length of bolts for assembly, pledge options, etc).

      Thank you for the input and kind words!

    2. Missing avatar

      Lance Hayashi on

      Grant...clip is a must for me. Pen will go to meetings, in the field, around the office, in my pack etc. so I need to secure to keep from getting dropped or lost, yet easy and quick to retrieve. In my opinion, labeling on clip is way to go since it would be visible to all who wish they had one when in pocket and in use. Everything else you're doing with the pen rocks!

    3. Michael Lee on

      Grant...I'm in no matter what you decide to add or subtract from the pen. It's way too cool on its own! Can't wait to get my mitts on one!!!

    4. okester

      Really quickly - re: the visionnaire: You can read more about why it was so cheap here:… Well, the link is dead, but it essentially showed the same pen at alibaba for a cheap $/each bulk cost. So Morgan fleeced the unknowing masses, or something like that. And tangent - see Celine's comments in a related project: So Grant - you don't need to wonder why he priced his pen so low - he didn't do much more than resell a cheap bulk generic pen.

      Anyway, I don't mind the design (minus sharp edges) as it is. However, if you wanted to entertain ideas, then the option of providing a spacer in place of the clip sounds neat.

      Engraved-before-anodized probably would look good with an italic script. +1 for "Airfoil" on the clip, but then one wouldn't see it if the clip was removed. If "Airfoil" was in the current location, then that wouldn't be bad either. "Masterstroke" around the endcap might look good as well.

      I think it would be cool to have some distinctive special ks edition engraving, but not if it detracts from the design. Are there interior surfaces that could be engraved to indicate that it was a first ks edition pen, which is only seen when one wants to find it? Not sure if that's possible. Had a similar idea for something like that for the Bradley timepiece, to put something distinctive on the inside of the watch back (but it wasn't considered, lol - unsolicited remark, that one)...

      Anyway, I'm sure whatever you come up with will work well. :)

    5. Grant Takara 3-time creator on

      These are all very helpful and great comments, for those who haven't put their input in yet, please do!

      From what I've read so far the logo is a definite must change. I'm learning toward Airfoil engraved (colorless) on the clip, and Masterstroke engraved (also colorless) on one of the fins. It will be really small, but I suppose some people really like those subtle details.

      As for the spacer I think that is a great suggestion! I'll be working on that, I don't think that should be a problem. At least that way it gives backers the option to keep the clip or take it off. That being said, I don't think I will be applying light Loctite to on the bolts, just so people don't shear them when configuring their pen to their tastes.

      As for the Visionnaire project, I was absolutely stumped as to how he could price it so low, since I have been doing some research into fountain pens (which I probably won't venture into for at least a year), and some of the comments weren't that great. I'm glad that Airfoil passed all the reviewer's critique without any fatal blows. The Kickstarter model should only be an improvement compared to the prototypes they reviewed.

      Definitely going to contact Sporty's and see what I can work with them on, thank you for the suggestion!

    6. GBAllison on

      Wow ... typing on not-enough-sleep: You have an amazing design, your innovation and creativity are off the charts. Whether it's this go-round or a re-launch, I'm there.

    7. GBAllison on

      Thank you for including us in these thought processes of yours. You have an amazing design, you innovation and creativity are off the charts. When it's this go-round or a re-launch, I'm there.

      Clip: I want the clip, too. But for those who like to play, adding a spacer would certainly be a nice option. But if ya gotta go with one or the other, I vote clip.

      Engraving: I hate to say this, but I agree with the too flashy and too generic. However, I'm fine with the "Airfoil" engraving--because it says something about the pen itself. It's the big giant "Masterstroke" engraving that seems out of place. @Graham hit the nail on the head--small and subtle. Airfoil-by-itself does it right, white is fine with me if it's just Airfoil, and I love the extended lowercase "f" in the italics. If you're gonna do the whole logo, then no-white is better.

      KS Engraving: For me, that's would be a negative. Maybe on a different pen it would be cool, but frankly, this pen is a showpiece. It's a statement pen. It's built to last. Nope, not a fan of KS on the top.

      Hope this helps! This is an amazing and stunning pen.

      P.S. Have you thought about contacting Sporty's? They're the absolute premier gift shop for pilots and other aviation-philes. They're especially targeted at people who have an interest in the big retro engineering marvels--like the big Pam Am clipper ships and such. This pen is gonna hit 'em right where they live. A match made at 19,000 feet.

    8. Callan Stroud on

      The above look like a great set of improvements to the prototype of what is an already-stunning design. My two cents regarding the above would be:

      Clip: I personally would like a clip as I use them all the time but it is not essential. Ian's idea of a spacer/clip option sounds like a winner if such a thing is possible.

      Engraving: I would put the engraving small and subtle, and preferably not white (engrave into the metal and then anodise over the top?). Location wise the clip is good for the 'Airfoil' text, and I'm not sure there is a good place to put a word as long as masterstroke (if pressed, I'd put it in small text circumferentially just above the clip). The other option would be to design yourself an 'M' logo that symbolises masterstroke and put that at the tip of the clip ± the airfoil text.

      I guess the other place you could put the entire masterstroke word would be down one of the outward-facing surfaces of the foils. You could fit the entire masterstroke: airfoil text there without issue but again I'd steer clear of white engraving - text engraved into metal just looks classier and this is going to be a classy pen.

      KS engraving: I'm neither here nor there on this. If it were to exist I'd put it somewhere out of the way as not to spoil the smooth lines of the pen (which after all, is something of the aim of the design).

      Great design, I'm keen to hear about the relaunch, and good luck!

    9. Missing avatar

      Graham on

      HI Grant
      You are not going to please everyone, you have a top product and have taken steps to improve it. I do agree with the logo issue, it cheapens the pen, subtle and elegant is needed. I unfortunately backed the visionnaire fountain pen project the only thing he actually did well was the pens branding. Just my 2 bobs worth, keep having fun.

    10. Ian Stearns

      It's great to hear that you have a design change to deal with the sharp edges, that's what this is all about is improving upon testing. I really like the idea of the clip being removable so that we have an option but understand that it might leave a gap, can this be filled with a spacer or an O-ring? If for any reason this project does not make its goal I certainly would like to be notified on the relaunch

    11. Grant Takara 3-time creator on

      I forgot to add, on the relaunch, I'll also offer the aluminum pens at a single price, none of this multi-color is more expensive stuff. I've also bought a scale and found a more accurate price for postage. $20 is a nice cushion for me, but it's not fair to international backers. I'll probably set it closer to $15 which is about the price for shipping a 10oz box. Best to make the project pricing as homogeneous as possible.