Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mitsubishi Uni M5-552

I’ve wanted to buy some MP’s from Jetpens for some time now. Saving some money aside, I was able to take advantage of their free shipping by buying 3 pencils altogether. The first pencil that I picked was this Mitsubishi Uni 552 for drafting. I chose this because I haven’t bought drafting pencils with metal grips for a while and I think metal grips are cool.

Like most drafting pencils, this one has a .4mm non retractable tip which is typical of most drafting pencils. It has a very nice and light knurled metal grip. It also has a red plastic lead indicator that you can turn to choose lead type.

I like the smoke black plastic barrel. It seems to give the pencil that drafting look and feel. Stamped on the side is the 3 diamond logo and name of Mitsubishi followed by uni in small letters, 0.5 MS-552. The short metal pocket clip is thin on the side but wide on the front. It’s plain except for the word JAPAN engraved on the metal part that wraps around the barrel.

The pencil also features a nice metal cap that can be removed to reveal a small blue eraser. The eraser itself is inside a metal casing holder with a cleaning needle for clearing jammed leads. The lead advances by clicking the top.

My first impression when I first picked it up was that it was very light considering that it had a metal grip. I’ve held others like the Alvin and the Berol but they weren’t light like this. I do like it though. The circumference of the barrel is just right for my hand. And I love metal grips. They have that high end look and feel that distinguishes them from cheap blister packed, over the counter or hanging on the shelf mechanical pencils. Writing with it, you can really make thin lines and it feels like using a .3mm lead.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, writing was very comfortable and the grip felt great to the touch.
Design suggestion – I like to see a spring mechanism in the lead so you can advance the lead by pushing it down on paper.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pilot The Shaker

Another awesome pencil from Pilot. I called in the order after I saw it in an online catalog from a local art supply store. It took about a week before they called me about it and I picked it up that weekend. The lady at the store asked about why it was called the Shaker as I was paying for it. She smiled in disbelief when I answered that it was because the lead can be advanced by shaking the pencil besides clicking.

The pencil has a smooth black plastic finish with orange accents and a grip diameter slightly bigger than the body. It has a pointed conical tip with a sliding sleeve that makes it pocket safe. Speaking about pockets, this has a soft, flexible wide metal pocket clip making it easier to slide into a shirt pocket sleeve.

I liked how the ribbed plastic grip is more than an inch long which makes for effective gripping when writing. Its stylish and has a great look to it. However I do prefer rubber grips over plastic since I have a heavy hand and I find it more comfortable.

I noticed how far the grip is from the tip. At more than an inch away from the bottom end of the grip, the balance, angle and control isn’t as good when writing. The farther away my fingers are from the tip, the less control I had in my writing and I’ve broken quite a few leads when I wrote. The picture on the left is a comparison with an Alvin Grippy.

The cap can be removed to reveal a small white rubber eraser which covers the lead compartment. I like how the cap has a wide top which felt very comfortable when clicking.

Clicking and shaking are the ways for the lead to advance. Shaking was quite effective in advancing the lead and I didn’t have any issues while I was using it.

Use for – Drafting.
Like it? – For drafting, yes but for general writing, no. The grip was a bit far from the tip which felt out of balance.
Design suggestion – Move grip closer to tip and redesign the grip to be more comfortable.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Uni Shift 1010

After seeing this pencil on Jetpens, I knew I had to have one. I finally had a chance to get my hands on this plus 2 other pencils and take advantage of their free shipping on orders over $25.00.

The first thing I noticed when it arrived was that the tip was retracted.

So I held the barrel with my left hand and with my other hand twisted the metal grip counterclockwise in which you will feel a click. This releases the lock from which you can slide the barrel up to expose the tip. This pipe lock has a spring action when you let go of the grip which brings the barrel down to retract and protect the tip. Twisting it further, you'll feel another click which locks it into place. It was pretty cool, very unique and definitely a great addition to my collection.

The tip was needle shaped which makes the 0.5 mm lead appear very thin when writing. It's perfectly balanced to the front which lessens fatigue when writing. I used this pencil for about 2 weeks and I must say that it's very comfortable to write with. This pencil solves the problem of needle tips breaking when dropped (unless of course the tip was showing when dropped) and it also helps makes it safe for shirt pockets.

The 1 ½ inch metal knurled grip is long and perfect for gripping. The black plastic barrel complements the metal accents of the grip and the pocket clip very nicely. To advance the lead, you simply click the top cap. The cap is removed to reveal a small black eraser . The eraser can be pulled out to add more leads to the pencil. The cap has a hole on top just to give it that unique distinct design.

Use for – Drafting and drawing.
Like it? – Yes, the shift pipe lock design is very unique among drafting pencils.
Design suggestion – Eraser could be a little bigger but I don't use it anyway so not a big deal.