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$4,860 pledged of $70,000 goal
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$4,860 pledged of $70,000 goal
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About this project

At this time I am making my pens on a very old (1930s) and well-built manual lathe. I love the thing. Every time I use it, I think back to what it must have been like when it was new. Lathes such as these were a staple in shops everywhere. The smokey and oil filled atmosphere and the sound of the humming from them all…ah the industrial revolution.

These lathes were used all over the world. The machines were used in every type of industry, in schools, home workshops and large manufacturers. They were used where the finest accuracy was required. Much of their success was due in part to trained and skilled machinists. At least 75 percent of the schools and colleges in the United States were using these lathes. Fast forward to today, CNC machines are just as common.

I would like to begin to utilize the technology of today and begin making these pens the CNC way. To do that, I need your help. I have found the right machine and have configured the tooling and programming and am ready to take my pens from levers and hand wheels to computers and controls but it’s all just a dream without your help. I have made a nice variety of rewards for those of you who are kind enough to make a pledge and help me get to the next century.

To be clear, this kickstarter is for equipment, a CNC machine with tooling to be exact. The goal level is set to the best of my calculations to cover the cost of the machine, tooling, and material...my time is free and I am not looking to collect the cash and hand off the work to a machine shop. All the money is being invested into the business.

Take a look at the rewards and please help me get one of my amazing pens in your hands.

Please note: The pens shown below in the pictures are the pens I've made by hand, they are a representation of the pens that will be produced from this campaign. The pens you will receive as backers will be made by the CNC lathe and will look even better. 

To read more about me - click on "see full bio" on the right.

These are two similar looking pens designed to be carried two different ways.

On the Go: Utilizing the Fisher Space ink refill, the Keychain Pen can be carried on your keychain and ready, the moment you need it.

Anywhere you want: The Field Notes pen is designed to be carried in a pouch or sheath and it can be used anywhere you like...at work, at home, in your car...anywhere.

Take a look at the pictures to see the difference.

How many times have you been in a situation where you needed a pen but one was not available?

Chances are, more than once. Well that doesn’t need to happen. I have designed an EDC (keychain) pen that can be with you at all times. I have designed it where there is no need to remove it from a clip or split ring on your keychain to use.

Will be supplied with D-1 style Fisher Space Ink refill (see reward for colors).

The size of the Keychain Pen:

0.35" (9mm) diameter

3.25" long closed, on keychain

2.94" long open 'in-use', off the keychain

With a similar design to the Groovy Keychain Pen, slightly different ascetics and of course, larger, the Groovy Field Notes pen can be carried in a leather field notes pouch (like the one I have shown from Craft and Lore), in a sheath with all of your other EDC essentials; flashlight, knife, etc., kept in your back pack, pocket, at the office, on the job site or anywhere for that matter…  

Will be supplied with a D-1 style Ball Point refill (see reward for colors).

The size of the Field Notes pen:

0.40" (10mm) diameter

3.63" long closed

4.0" long open 'in-use'

Please note: I have created several reward combos in addition to single rewards, if there is something you want that is not represented, please contact me and I can add the reward you want. 

**For copper or brass only -  just add $5 to your pen order and specify that you want a Patina finish**
**For copper or brass only - just add $5 to your pen order and specify that you want a Patina finish**

Other Pen Pictures...


Risks and challenges

The main challenge:

Making a pen or any small object to look and perform like it should, you need precision. While I can hold pretty amazing precision on my manual lathe it's a labor of love. It takes me anywhere from 4-6 hours to make one but to get them to you, I need to make more than 6 per hour. I need help to do that and the only way is to use a CNC lathe.

Using a CNC lathe is beneficial in these ways:
1. Precision. Using a CNC lathe I can maintain and improve that amazing precision.
2. Speed. I can get your pen to you faster than making them by hand.
3. Repeatability. I can make pens the same exact size every time in case you want to mix and match.
4. You will know that these pens are being made by me in the USA and not a middle man or a job shop.
5. Future design. Having a CNC will allow me to make more unique and amazing pens.

Other manufacturing challenges:

Deep hole drilling and thread turning on a manual lathe are a couple of the more time consuming processes. Inspecting and measuring throughout the creation of a pen is another as well as going to a different machine for drilling cross holes. These time consuming process can be done faster and more efficiently on a CNC lathe.

Packaging:

To save you money, I will be packing these pens in tubes that can be re-purposed for something else. I am providing you with and awesome pen, not a package destined for the recycle bin.

Size:

Finding the correct size for an EDC (keychain pen) and a pen for a field notes pouch or sheath was a process in itself. I worked up a bunch of designs after many pondering thoughts and then made them real. The only way to truly see how something feels and works is to hold it and use it. Designs can seem flawless on paper but sometimes there is just something a bit off or needs to be slightly adjusted or refined. Then, even after all of that pondering, designing, machining, holding and using I handed it off to get non-biased opinions – after all it’s not for just me right? I’m happy to say that it was 99% received well and only needed some minor tweaking.

Materials and finishes:

Choosing the right material is very important and is part of the design process. For the aluminum pens I have decided to use 7075 over 6061. While both are excellent materials and both machine well, I wanted an aluminum that would take everyday abuse a little better. Looking at the info below you can see the 7075 is the stronger of the two. Tensile, yield, fatigue and shear strengths are all much higher for the 7075 but for a pen would either type work? Of course 6061 and 7075 are both great choices for pens, but it’s the Rockwell hardness (higher number – harder material) that pushes me toward the 7075 reducing the effects of everyday use. For a reference, common steel (1018) not heat treated has a Rockwell hardness of B71 while aluminum 7075 is B87 and aluminum 6061 is B61.

The two other materials I am offering the pens in are Brass 360 (Rockwell hardness B78) and Copper 145 (Rockwell hardness B48). While these are both softer materials then the aluminum 7075, they cannot be compared to one another due to varying look and feel you get from brass and copper. Brass and copper will patina naturally over time. However, I can add a forced patina for you - just add $5 to your pen order and specify that you want a Patina finish.

The ink refill:

One of the main challenges for using these D-1 ink refills is, how to keep them from falling out. Part of the challenge is also to be unique, to bring my own...and to the best of all of my research I have accomplished that.

Personal Note: This is my first kickstarter campaign and I have done my best to explain my purpose and describe my product. Also, I have tried to make my video the best that I can with the equipment that I own. I am not an actor, performer or a broadcast expert in any way.

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    One Groovy Keychain pen in aluminum 7075 with split ring and Fisher Space ink refill. Weight 0.4 oz. (Please specify blue, black or red ink color)

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    One Groovy Keychain pen in brass 360 with split ring and Fisher Space ink refill. Weight 1.1 oz. (Please specify blue, black or red ink color)

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    One Groovy Field Notes pen in aluminum 7075 with a D-1 ball point pen ink refill. Weight 0.6 oz. (Please specify blue, black, red or green ink color)

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    One Groovy Keychain pen in copper 145 with split ring and Fisher Space ink refill. Weight 1.1 oz. (Please specify blue, black or red ink color)

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    One Groovy Field Notes pen in copper 145 with a D-1 ball point pen ink refill. Weight 1.9 oz. (Please specify blue, black, red or green ink color)

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Funding period

- (45 days)