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A Brief Review - The Tiscribe Fountain Pen From Urban Survival Gear

tiscribe urban survival gear cnc titanium brass copper

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#1 Jamerelbe

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 16:02

In June of 2015 (I think it was) I first became aware of a new pen project being launched on Kickstarter.  Kelvin Verrett, the guy who designed the pen, describes himself as a “Mechanical Engineer working in Aviation” who uses his spare time to “create innovative products in my small CNC Machine Shop”.  This was his second Kickstarter project - but it looks pretty certain it won’t be the last.

 

As anyone who was watching the project will know, the original design was for a short (4.45in) pen, machined on his CNC lathe, that would be suitable for everyday carry.  Backers could choose from titanium, copper or brass bodies (with a titanium clip), and decide whether they wanted a fountain pen, or a pen that would accept Space Pen / G2 gel pen / Parker pen refills in the barrel.  Various other options became available as stretch goals - including a lanyard cap option, the capacity to buy extra tips, and the option of buying a longer bodied pen (5.45in length). 

 

One of the things I really enjoyed about the Kickstarter was the ongoing communication - all the way through, Kelvin was providing entertaining updates on his Instagram channel, that kept us up-to-date with design changes and improvements, stretch goals, and (during construction) the various delays and challenges that he had to overcome.

 

By the time the campaign had ended, I’d changed my order several times - settling on a titanium and a brass pen, both the original (shorter) size, plus a lanyard cap, plus an extra brass tip to accommodate a Space Pen refill.

 

I don’t want to write a lengthy review - just a few details, a few comments, and some pictures - but let me say up front I was really pleased to receive these pens a couple of weeks ago. The titanium pen is still in my possession, while my teenaged son is putting the brass version through its paces.

 

Without further ado, a picture first of all:

 

hgi6n8b.jpg

 

The pen is beautifully machined from solid titanium rods.  The cap and barrel have slightly different diameters (10mm vs 9.5mm), making this a farly slender pen.  Capped, the pen is 114 mm long; uncapped it’s only 107mm - which means the end of the barrel only just extends beyond the webbing of my hand:

 

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I purchased the pen to be a portable pocket pen, and it fits the bill for that purpose admirably - I worried the extra inch might make it too long to sit comfortably in my pocket, but that would be an option for anyone wanting to order a slightly longer pen.  It’s perfectly comfortable for me to write with - but better suited to shorter note-taking sessions, rather than writing a multi-thousand-word essay!

 

By way of comparison, here’s a picture of how the titanium and brass TiScribes (capped) line up against a few other pocket pens - a Kaweco AL Sport, a Stipula Passaporto, and a TWSBI Diamond Mini.  

 

kGXYrPT.jpg

 

These pens all post, of course, so are longer when deployed for writing - but again, the TiScribe is just long enough (for my medium-sized hands) to write comfortably.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I ordered my pens with an optional extra lanyard cap (no clip) that would allow me to carry it around my neck, plus a brass “pen tip” to convert to a ballpoint / gel pen:

 

vyiOaVt.jpg

 

The threads that hold the cap onto the barrel are nicely machined, and ensure a tight seal.  The threading between the grip section and barrel is reversed, so that the barrel doesn't accidentally unscrew when you're trying to uncap the pen - the unintended consequence of this is that if you try to overtighten when recapping the pen, the barrel begins to unscrew... but that's better, I think, than exposing the cartridge / converter when you're wanting to write!

 
Looking inside, the 'standard' size pen takes short standard international cartridges, or the Monteverde mini-converter - the larger ("full-size") version will also take a full-length cartridge converter.
 
czID92z.jpg
 
The threads that hold the cap onto the barrel are nicely machined, and ensure a tight seal.  The threading between the grip section and barrel is reversed, so that the barrel doesn't accidentally unscrew when you're trying to uncap the pen - the unintended consequence of this is that if you try to overtighten when recapping the pen, the barrel begins to unscrew... but that's better, I think, than exposing the cartridge / converter when you're wanting to write!
 
When Kelvin first conceived of the project, his intention was to supply the fountain pen version of the pen with Kaweco nibs - given the volumes eventually involved, he was able to source his nib units directly from Bock (060 size), with standard Bock branding:
 
HDORqow.jpg
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You could easily swap in a Kaweco nib unit, though - and I'm pretty sure the smaller nib units Goulet Pens sell for the Karas Kustoms Fountain K will fit too!
 
I'm not sure much else to say about the pen - other than to say I'm really pleased with the purchase!  I understand Kelvin is making a few minor adjustments to the design, and planning to release version 2.0 sometime soon - you can keep up with developments on his Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/one2tencnc/) or on his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/CNC2Live).
 
If you have any questions, I'm happy to try and answer them - feel free to leave comments below!


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#2 The Blue Knight

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 16:38

Never saw the original project. However I have to say it's impressive his level of commitment 27 videos :yikes: Impressive to say the least. 



#3 Jamerelbe

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 21:40

Never saw the original project. However I have to say it's impressive his level of commitment 27 videos :yikes: Impressive to say the least. 


Yep, it was a fun journey, following through from design to implementation. Waiting to see what comes next!

#4 jet9

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 02:48

Thanks for your review and photos! I also backed this pen and I have the short titanium version. It has become one of my favorite pens - I have smaller hands and it is the perfect length and diameter for me. It was a fun project to back because of the videos and am curious to see what he does next.



#5 Jamerelbe

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 03:52

Thanks for your review and photos! I also backed this pen and I have the short titanium version. It has become one of my favorite pens - I have smaller hands and it is the perfect length and diameter for me. It was a fun project to back because of the videos and am curious to see what he does next.

 

My pleasure - and I agree, it's a great final product, very glad I bought in.  My 13yo son has the brass pen I purchased for him (originally as a Christmas present, but oh well, you know what Kickstarter projects are like!), and he's pretty pleased with it too.

 

I forgot to include a writing sample - not that my handwriting is *remotely* pleasing to the eye - but thought I should put one up anyway.  Ink is Pilot Blue-Black, paper is Rhodia lined...

 

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: tiscribe, urban survival gear, cnc, titanium, brass, copper



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