About this project
Brad Dowdy over at The Pen Addict took a look at a pre-production mk1 and provided some great feedback:
“You nailed it.” And it's “... one of the few metal pens I have used where you can actually post the cap and write comfortably.”
"Just an all-around great pen."
Watch for Brad's full review on The Pen Addict
We are passionate about creating beautiful, intricate, and functional machined components for everyday use. We loathe the disposable plastic items that have become commonplace in our culture. We are on a mission to reverse this trend by creating durable, long-lasting, and affordable consumer products that can be used and admired for generations. Consistent with these goals, we are proud to present the Sunderland mk1 Pen.
What makes the mk1 different?
The Sunderland mk1 has several unique features that make it worthy to add to any serious pen collection or be the start of a new one.
The Patent Pending Thread-On Cap:
Our market research indicated that most pen enthusiasts prefer a screw-on cap; however, having exposed threads on the grip can be unsightly and uncomfortable to hold. To solve these issues, we designed the threads to be hidden inside the tip of the pen, unexposed to the user.
The Machined Clip:
There are a lot of nice pens available, but most use a formed sheet metal clip. We really wanted to avoid using stamped sheet metal parts on a high-quality pen, so we put extra effort into the design and manufacturing of the clip on the mk1: It is machined from a block of aerospace grade, 17-4 stainless steel. This is the same material commonly used for jet engine components. The clip was designed to take advantage of the extreme strength of this material, while maintaining the flexibility required for a functional clip.
Designing the clip around a machined component gave us the opportunity to add features that are both decorative and functional. The clip flute adds style and was also used to help tune the stiffness of the clip.
Where will the mk1 be manufactured?
We manufacture all seven major components for the mk1 at our small shop in Pennsylvania. The only items not made by us are the clip retaining pins and the included Pilot G2 cartridge. The plating and anodizing processes are performed by local Pennsylvania vendors.
We take pride in being a small business that is capable of manufacturing precision parts in large volumes. You can be assured that each component will adhere to our strict tolerance and performance standards. Each component coming off the machines will have been personally produced and inspected by me.
What colors and finishes are available?
The mk1 will be available in three finishes: Electroless Nickel, Anodized Clear, and Anodized Black.
How was the design finalized?
We made a lot of prototypes! Pictured below is a small fraction of the prototypes we produced.
We spent a lot of time getting feedback on each of the prototypes. All of the feedback was used to determine the optimum design elements for the Sunderland mk1.
What cartridges can be used in the mk1?
The mk1 accepts Montblanc Rollerball and Fineliner cartridges, as well as the popular Pilot G2 series of cartridges. Each pen includes a black Pilot G2 in the 0.7mm size.
How are the cartridges retained in the mk1?
There are no springs in the mk1 to retain the cartridge. Springs may result in a 'spongy' writing experience, especially when a shorter cartridge is used. We designed the mk1 to utilize the screw-in ability of the Montblanc cartridges, while also providing a rigid mount for the Pilot G2 cartridges. There are no parts to swap or screws to adjust. Simply remove one cartridge and install the other. The Montblanc screws in and the Pilot G2 drops in.
How will the Kickstarter funds be used?
The funds raised by this campaign will be used to design and manufacture the tooling required to produce the mk1 in volumes that will make it affordable. We have produced prototype tooling to manufacture an initial run of 30 mk1’s in the final design. This tooling has proven that the tooling design is sound; it just needs to be scaled-up for higher volume production.
- Closed Length (cap in closed position) - 5.2 inches (131.6 mm)
- Body Length (without cap) - 4.9 inches (123.8 mm)
- Posted Length (cap on body) - 5.8 inches (148.5 mm)
- Weight (with Pilot G2 cartridge) - 0.8 oz (23.0 g)
- mk1 Cylindrical Elements - 6061 Aluminum
- mk1 Clip - 17-4 Stainless Steel
- mk1 Clip Retaining Pins - 301 Stainless Steel
- Electroless Nickel Plating
- Anodized Clear
- Anodized Black
Each mk1 will come in a gift box with our own custom fit foam insert. We purchased the tooling to cut the inserts out in-house, and the boxes are made in the USA!
Montblanc, Pilot, Rollerball, Fineliner, and G2 are copyrighted and or trademarked by their respective parties and are used for informational purposes only. They have no affiliation or sponsorship with Sunderland Machine or the Sunderland mk1 pen.
Risks and challenges
The risks for this project are minimal. I have been designing and manufacturing precision components for most of my life. I have made numerous prototypes and have worked through the issues. All of the parts are machined in our facility. The only outsourced processes are the anodizing and plating. The companies that are performing the finishing are well established and respected for their quality. All final assembly and inspection will be performed in our shop.
The only other challenge would be containing my excitement for creating these pens!
I thoroughly enjoy creating finely machined components, and I hope this passion is evident when you're holding your new mk1 pen!
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