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  1. In yesterday's mail, I received my long awaited XS Pocket Pen from @Enssodesign - a Kickstarter project from much earlier this year. Product fulfilment was delayed by several months due to a hold-up with Bock nibs (who've been giving some of their customers a horror run in the past 12 months or so) - but I finally received notice about a week ago that the pen was on its way, and... a week later, on the other side of the Pacific (and/or the Atlantic?), here it is! [Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review - I joined the Kickstarter campaign early on, paid 'full price', and waited in the queue for my pen to arrive like everyone else!] First Impressions The pen arrived in a simple black box - which had unfortunately gotten a little crunched in the mail (I'm looking at you, Australia Post!). Thankfully, the contents of the box were undamaged - as also were the two optional clips that came with the pen (I only ordered one?!). The pen itself is tiny elegance - less than 10cm long, roughly 10mm diameter, with 12 facets - and the most discreet branding on the barrel. I'm not going to follow my usual format - haven't got time to do a full-on review - but wanted to get some pictures out there ASAP. That said, let me start with some tech specs: Length of pen capped = 95mm Length of pen uncapped = 93mm Length of pen posted = 133cm Weight of pen (incl cap) = 28.9g Diameter of barrel = 10.5mm Diameter of grip section = 9mm I opted for the brass version of the pen - though it's also available in raw or anodised aluminium (black and silver). The aluminium pens would (I *think*) be a bit lighter, but at 28.9g the pen feels comfortable in my hands. Ensso sell these pens with the Bock 060 nib unit (essentially the same configuration as for a Kaweco Sport pen) - but I opted to order a Titanium nib (at extra cost), which only comes in the longer 076 size. Carlo (the designer and proprietor of Ensso) felt that the shorter nib looked better on these pens, but I'm happy with the sleeker lines of the longer nib. My measurements tell me that the tip of the longer nib will only *just* fit within the cap (with maybe a 0.5-1mm clearance) - but it *does* fit. The cap of the XS is designed to slip on and off - and is held securely in place by a rubber o-ring (or washer) at the base of the grip section. A matching washer is fitted into a groove on the end of the barrel to allow the cap to post for more comfortable writing. I'd usually say a 9mm diameter grip is a little on the thin side for me (not *too* thin, just on the limit) - but this feels great in my hands. The generous length of the posted pen (133cm is pretty good, especially for a pocket pen!) means I can hold it back a little further, so that my fingers straddle the 'step' between grip section and barrel. So far, this seems the most comfortable position for me - though others may prefer to hold it closer to the nib. I can't offer much commentary on the writing experience at the moment - I'm using a Kaweco squeeze converter, which *just* fits the barrel, and filled the pen with Diamine (Cult Pens) Deep Dark Orange. The nib was a little dry at first, but is getting wetter as I continue to write. There's no skipping or hard starting, though, and the nib feels smooth on the paper - I'll give the pen some time to "settle in" before I try making any adjustments to increase the flow. Full marks to Ensso - I understand they manually tested (and if necessary adjusted) each nib before sending out the pens. The clip, as I mentioned earlier, was an optional extra - and had to be installed by the buyer. I opted for the chrome version (on the advice of Carlo), and it looks good on the pen. Given the small size of the pen, I'm not sure how well this will clip into my pockets anyway - but at least it serves as an effective roll stopper! I'll give myself some time to decide whether I want to keep using it, or whether to ditch it. One final photo - a comparison with some of my other pocket pens. Top is the (now discontinued) Karas Pen Co Fountain K Mini; then the original TiScribe from Urban Survival Gear (another Kickstarter pen); and at bottom, an acrylic Moonman Wancai. I like all of these pens - but the top two are only really serviceable as "jotters" for taking quick notes. They don't post, and are too short to use comfortably for long writing sessions. The Moonman Wancai is more functional in that regard - but there's a fairly big step up from grip section to barrel, and the need to unthread and rethread the cap to use it posted is a downside compared to the XS. On the other hand, it's an eyedropper fill pen, which means it holds an impressive amount of ink. Final thoughts There *are* some obvious downsides to this pen - and I want to be up-front about them: small ink capacity (cartridge or Kaweco squeeze converter only), the thinness of the grip section (if you're accustomed to a wider girth) - and the o-ring at the end of the barrel looks like it'll need to be replaced periodically. I'm finding that when I push the cap over the o-ring, it tends to shave a little bit off the top. Hopefully this will settle down before the entire O-ring disappears! (Ensso provide two spares, and tech specs in case owners need to source their own.) That said, in the *very* short time I've had with this pen, I'm really impressed. It feels lightweight but substantial, and very easy to deploy. The design and manufacture of the pen are first-rate. It's a great size for carrying in a pocket, and a *really* decent size for writing (when posted). I think this is going to edge out my other pocket pens for the time being, as the convenient carry pen of choice. Thanks to Ensso for making this happen - I was a fan of the Piuma when it came out (though it was a larger pen that filled a different niche), and I'm an even *bigger* fan of the XS!
  2. Theroc

    Ensso Italia On Kickstarter

    Ensso is launching the Italia on Kickstarter. Similar in size to the Piuma and available in aluminum, brass and titanium. Also available are titanium and 18kt gold nib upgrades. Unlike the Piuma, the Italia has a clip. I personally think it's their best looking pen yet. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2072772343/italia-fountain-pen
  3. Wancher has launched a kickstarter for a series of fountain pens with the name Seven Treasures. They are made from Bakelite and feature Shippoyaki; Japanese Cloisonne artwork. Current super early bird reward is at $240 for the basic version with steel nib and plastic feed. Black ebonite feed is an aditional $30 Red ebonite feed is +$50 Gold nib is +$130 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wancher/seven-treasures
  4. Just over a weekend ago I received an update from Ensso pens, advising me that they'd just launched a new Kickstarter project. Having backed (and very much enjoyed) their Piuma last year, I was right on top of this project too: a very reasonable 'start-up' price for what looks like a great EDC pocket pen. I have no financial interest in Ensso (other than as a backer), but one of his collaborators on the latest project (username caiello) has posted something about it on the "USA - North America" forum. As a new member of the forum, he's not able to post in Market Watch - so I've agreed to do so for him. The project is already well over the minimum level for funding (nearly US$50,000 for a $5,000 goal), but for the price/discount I'd say it's well worth checking out! Link to the project is below - to comment on the original post go to https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/333317-xs-pocket-fountain-pen-by-ensso. ================ Hello FPN friends, I am an architect and product designer and recently designed a pocket fountain pen for Ensso- a Los Angeles-based writing instruments brand. This pen was conceived with mobility in mind. It is one of the smallest fountain pens in the world, but it grows into a regular size pen when posted- making it ideal for everyday carry. In addition, the cap is secured by o-rings, allowing a fast uncapping. The XS has twelve facets that prevent it from rolling down your desk and it is available in several aluminum and brass finishes. It is equipped with #5 Peter Bock nibs made in Germany and it uses standard international ink cartridges or small aerometric converters. The XS is available to pre-order on Kickstarter at 50% off from the future retail price. I hope this is a good place to inform the FPN community about the design if not, I would appreciate if you could point me in the right place. I am looking forward to hearing your comments.
  5. Last days for a very small campaign on indiegogo for a new model based on our Carbon T The link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/noire-by-lr-drawing#/ a review of the pen you can find here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/328936-the-newest-pen-from-venvstas-the-t-noire/
  6. It seems no one posted this news so allow me to present new kickstarter fountain pen project: Trilogy Pens ZERØ I believe the design is quite nice but I can't find any info concerning the pen dimensions. What are your thoughts on this one?
  7. dsmallc

    Robert Oster Hippo Purple Ink

    I don't generally write about inks, but I like to post daily instagram entries, each featuring a different ink. I've never met the woman behind this ink, but she's a good pen buddy of mine via the interwebz. Recently she started a Kickstarter project for a new Tomoe River notebook made with the heavier 68 gsm paper. There are still 15 days to go in the project (see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2016143253/hippo-noto-a-hippo-size-tomoe-paper-notebook?ref=project_share if you're interested.) I'm a dedicated journaller, but what intrigued me most was that she somehow got an exclusive ink from Robert Oster to complement the notebook. There's a good story behind the name of the ink: Hippo Purple and the notebook: Hippo Noto, and the ink turns out to be just perfect for that. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample of the ink associated with this project and it turns out to be exactly the color of a hippopotamus. I seriously can't draw, but even my little sketch, filled in with the ink, is really reminiscent of all the hours of nature videos I've watched with my daughter. I should have tried to draw in a river and some rushes, or something, but such as it is, I thought I'd post my pictures of the ink. I'm sure there will be many better reviews when the project ships, but here's an early look. I've included the chromatography strip I made, which has a surprising rainbow of colors behind the brownish purple. There is a lot of shading in this ink, though I don't detect a lot of sheen. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the notebook to go with it.
  8. Hi Everyone! I am writing to introduce our product launching today on Kickstarter. It's called the "Lattice Cubed"; a 3D printed titanium pen. We are a husband and wife team passionate about 3D printing technology and design. Please take a look at the link below, give feedback, and ask any questions you would like. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1578987527/the-lattice-pen-3d-printed-titanium-art?ref=c8oyfl We hope you like it! Thanks for the FPN support! Ryan from SALVO
  9. Hi All, Just wanted to introduce you to the latest version of STYLOS - Titanium: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2026090977/stylos-titanium-ink-fountain-and-rollerball-artlin What makes this version special is that I've created "universal nib holders" which can accomodate a variety of different nibs from different manufacturers. And, of course, I can add more nib holders to the project in the future. Catalogue: http://metaxas.com/stylostitanium_2016.pdf warm rgds, Kostas Metaxas www.metaxas.com
  10. This pen arrived in the mail today, and I'm not even going to pretend this is a thorough review - I just wanted to get some pics up there, for those of you who might be thinking of grabbing one of these down the track. This is one of four Kickstarter pens I've backed in the past 12-18 months - the 'Nexus' and 'Nova' from Namisu, the 'TiScribe' from Urban Survival Gear... and now the 'Gist' from Tactile Turn (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eimim/tactile-turn-gist-simple-fountain-pens-that-really/). It's hard to say which is my favourite - but I've gotta say, straight out of the box I'm really impressed with this one. Speaking of which... here's a picture of the box: http://i.imgur.com/2yCxjOD.jpg And a picture of the pen still inside the box: http://i.imgur.com/Uh26Wht.jpg I opted for the full polycarbonate model of the pen - it was also available in brass, copper, bronze, steel, damascus steel or titanium... or in polycarbonate with a metal grip and finial. The pen came with a #6 Bock nib, a 1.1mm stub - but as optional extras I ordered a stainless steel grip and a Fine #6 nib (these were packed in a separate plastic container). Also included in the packaging was a 'thank you card' that includes a 25% off discount for pens purchased via the Tactile Turn website: http://i.imgur.com/oROuT77.jpg The following measurements come from the Kickstarter Campaign page: And here are some comparison photos - with my Lamy 2000 and Safari pens: http://i.imgur.com/XrIipvZ.jpg http://i.imgur.com/CraWsV0.jpg The pen is a little shorter than the Lamy 2000 - 11mm shorter, to be precise - but other than that the pen has a very similar profile. The big difference, of course, is the nib - where the Lamy 2000 sports a 14K gold hooded nib, the Gist employs a Bock #6 nib, in a nib assembly that's readily replaceable or interchangeable. A couple of slightly blurry close-ups (sorry, I don't have a proper macro lens!): http://i.imgur.com/mg2BMGC.jpg http://i.imgur.com/7FHrBLk.jpg The Gist takes standard international ink cartridges - and comes with a good quality cartridge converter installed: http://i.imgur.com/Z5JhDmT.jpg So, what's my experience of writing with this pen so far? (1) The pen is really cool-looking - I love the all-black polycarbonate body, and the ridged finish makes it extremely 'grippy' so it won't easily slip between the fingers when writing. The stainless steel grip section, likewise, allows for firm grip. (2) It's extremely light-weight (~19g with the full polycarbonate body - I haven't tried the stainless steel grip section yet), but very well-balanced and comfortable in the hand. The grip section tapers down from 11.5mm near the threads to 9.5mm nearest the nib, which is a great fit for my hand. (3) The pen easily assembles and disassembles - the acme threads for the cap are smooth and ensure a good seal when the pen is capped; the thread securing the grip section onto the barrel is much finer, and I think there's a good chance the pen could be 'eyedroppered'. (4) The fine stainless steel nib is a true fine, and writes very nicely. I've got a few pens now that use the same Bock #6 nib assembly, and like the fact that they're so readily interchangeable. (5) The pen is equally comfortable to write with, posted and unposted. How the Gist holds up over time remains to be seen - but first impressions are very favourable. Will try and provide some updates as I 'break the pen in'. Would love to hear from others who jumped on board the Kickstarter campaign - but wanted to get the ball rolling... One last shot - a short writing sample: http://i.imgur.com/FgEmcCq.jpg
  11. Hi FPN, I thought you might be interested in my latest Pen design for Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2026090977/stylos-color-fountain-ink-pen-the-ultimate-gift warm rgds, Kostas Metaxas
  12. As usual, I have no affiliation with this project, I'm just passing along information: Tacticle Turn Gist
  13. I have gotten some really nice pens from Kickstarter and Indigogo in the recent past...and found this--FPLO--Fountain Pen-Like Object---the other day. Seems to me to have merit--what struck me was the potential to do wine journal entries using the wine you are drinking to do the entries--and yes, I know one could use a glass-nibbed dipper..but hey, let's get creative... Also, yah, I am still kicking around. I just don't spend much time here. Got me one of those...job-things...full-time regular. No more contract stuff. Benefits. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/173263176/winkpens-write-with-wine-juice-or-tea-get-creative?ref=nav_search Have no idea how to make this link into its video thingee...so guess you will have to cut and paste...think the young lady has a great idea...let's give her a hand... Bill Wright Former renegade FPN feller... Now reformed and returned...
  14. I'm keen to keep this review a little shorter than most, and let the pictures do the talking. I don't remember where I first heard of the Kickstarter project that was launching this pen - it was probably on FPN - but I was intrigued by the promise of a fountain pen with a 'minimalistic' design, the prototype looked sleek, and I'd never backed a Kickstarter project before, so... I dived on in. Deciding I wanted a Titanium nib - and that the matte finish of the nib might not go so well with the brushed aluminium option - I ordered a black anodised model. Several months later - the project was massively oversubscribed, slowing production times significantly! - the pen finally arrived in the mail, and I have to say I was impressed by pretty well everything bar the envelope it shipped in. The pen came in a stylish, simple black box - with the extra bits and pieces I'd ordered in their own individual plastic snap-lock bags: http://i.imgur.com/xgeu09m.jpg In addition to the pen itself, I ordered two converters, a Titanium Fine nib (the pen came with a stainless steel Broad), and a black leather pouch - you can see them all in the picture above. Initial Impressions I already had a fair idea of what to expect from the Kickstarter web page - but it was still a pleasant surprise to see how sleek and simple the pen looked inside the pen box: http://i.imgur.com/oeLETUr.jpg The matte surface of the pen looks great, and makes it fairly 'grippy' in the hand - slipping off the cap revealed a #6 Bock nib: http://i.imgur.com/1IbGYNm.jpg I normally prefer my pens to come with clips - that wasn't an option with the Nexus, but honestly, so far it doesn't bother me. I won't be able to carry it in my top pocket - but inside the pouch it fits well enough in my side trouser pockets... Construction and Quality Everything about this pen screams quality - it's been expertly machined and anodised, the threads are smooth and the tolerances tight. The design of the pen is very simple - a small cap screws onto the body of the pen - the threads are at the top, rather than the bottom of the grip section, meaning there's no chance you'll find yourself having to hold the pen on the threads. The joins between cap and grip section, and between grip section and barrel, are imperceptible, making for a very classy integrated look. http://i.imgur.com/PzWcHMV.jpg http://i.imgur.com/EBbkubF.jpg To give you an idea of the size of the pen, here it is sitting between a Lamy Safari and a TWSBI 540: http://i.imgur.com/K7WAkDs.jpg Weight and Dimensions Capped, the Nexus pen is 142mm long; uncapped it's still a fairly comfortable 135mm; the pen weighs in at 29g, including cartridge converter (the cap is about 3.5g), which makes it feel fairly lightweight. The ribbed grip section varies in diameter from ~13mm (closest to the nib) to ~14mm at its widest point, which in my hands feels really good. It's possible to get the cap to sit on the base of the pen - but over time I think it would mar the finish if I kept trying to ram it on, so I won't be posting the pen as a general rule. Given the pen has no clip, I thought it would be a good idea to pay the extra for a black leather sleeve - the pen just fits, so that the top of the cap sits *almost* flush with the top of the sleeve (I'd have been happier if the sleeve were 2-3mm longer - but it's not a big issue! It'll do the job of protecting the pen's finish in my pocket...). The pen is weighted really well, and sits comfortably in the hand - it makes it a pleasure to write with! Nib and Performance I swapped out the stainless steel B nib for the Titanium F nib before inking up - the surface of the nib is a kind of dull grey, almost charcoal colour, which seemed to attract the ink I was using (J. Herbin Rouge Hematite) and proved a little harder to wipe clean than stainless steel: http://i.imgur.com/eZzUaPO.jpg http://i.imgur.com/137CPM9.jpg I was delighted with the performance of the Titanium nib: it seems to offer a little more 'feedback' than stainless steel, but glided across the page nicely and laid down a solid line of ink without gushing. The titanium material allows the pen to flex a little under pressure - but it's not designed to be a flex nib, and I wouldn't want to push it. Definitely worth the price, though - this is my first titanium nib! The stainless steel B nib I bought with the intention of getting it ground into some kind of stub. Not sure whether I'll bother - it's a lovely nib, writes beautifully smoothly and lays down a very wet line of ink. http://i.imgur.com/6MFG7gs.jpg I was pleasantly surprised to see how much line variation I could coax from the nib: http://i.imgur.com/g7stsVv.jpg Filling System and Maintenance The design of the pen is very simple; it's easy to swap nibs in and out for cleaning. The pen takes international standard cartridges (long or short), and the cartridge converter I purchased along with it was very good quality. No complaints here! Cost and Value I got in early with the Kickstarter project, and snared the pen for £23 (~$US35 on current exchange rate), plus £25 for a titanium nib, plus £10 for the pen sleeve - with shipping thrown in. Cost through the namisu.com website is now £26 for the pen, plus £30 for a titanium nib - but I reckon it's still a pretty good price. This pen is uniquely and innovatively designed - I don't know whether they'll continue to manufacture more, or whether this was a once-of, but either way I'm glad I bought in! I'm interested to hear from anyone else who's purchased the pen - feel free to add comments below...
  15. This is an interesting article I found on Wired.com Apparently there's a Kickstarter for a learning pen that helps people with their writing and spelling. http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/linux-pen/ I appreciate that they have a fountain pen top, but I don't think I'd ever want to use one. Thoughts? Tom

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