Monthly Archives: August 2016


Pencil Pot Of The Month – August 2016

Description: A pencil pot that looks like a wheelie bin

Price: £2 (~$2.63; €2.35) for a black or a red one

Material: Plastic

Wheelie bin pencil pots

Wheelie bin pencil pots

Further information: Seen in a Tiger store. Tiger is a Danish retail chain. I’ve bought stationery there in the past. In one of his videos TJ Cosgrove mentioned that he is using their notebooks, but I haven’t tried those yet. While in the shop anyway I bought their copy of Google Cardboard for £3.

Some other stationery they were promoting

Some other stationery they were promoting


Price and exchange rates: August 2016


Pencil production on TV

This wood will become Wopex material

This wood will become Wopex material (Image © Pro7)

Earlier this month I was in Germany and was lucky enough to have been part of a Staedtler factory tour in Nuremberg.

Sharpening the pencils

Sharpening the pencils (Image © Pro7)

Staedtler’s pencils are actually made or assembled in Neumarkt, but the leads are from Nuremberg, so even though I wasn’t able to see the pencils being made I was able to see how the leads are being made there …but more about this another time.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 16.20.24

(Image © Pro7)

I am mentioning this because Mr Rüdel, who showed us around, told me about a clip from a TV programme that has recently been filmed in the factory. You can watch it here. It’s about Staedtler’s pencil production. Unfortunately the clip is in German only and if you live outside Germany it might not play form that web site and you might need to use some tricks to get it to play, but I’ve added some screenshots to give you a rough idea what the video is about.

Mr Rüdel making pencils as a medieval craftsman

Mr Rüdel making pencils as a medieval craftsman (Image © Pro7)


I believe that the use of the image shown in this blog post, taken from episode 191 from the 2016 season of Galileo, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Staedtler’s 3D printed Pen arrived

Here’s a quick follow up to my previous blog posts about Staedtler’s 3D printed pen.
Staedtler 3Dsigner

A while ago I designed a 3D pen and ordered it from Staedtler. I paid €23.89 (~$31.40; €28), that’s €19.99 for the fountain pen and €3.90 for postage. When I arrived in Germany earlier this month it was already waiting for me, but I only had a chance to look at it now that I am back in the UK.

Staedtler 3Dsigner

Here’s a quick look at some points I want to mention:

  • In reality the cap doesn’t look as oversized as I thought it might.
  • I ordered an M nib, but got an A nib. Luckily I got the right handed version, which is the one I need.
  • The printed text doesn’t align as shown on the photos.
  • You can see from the surface structure that the body of this pen is 3D printed. This adds to the charm of the first 3D printed pen from a big manufacturer, I think you should be able to see it.

Staedtler 3Dsigner

The wrong nib might be a one off problem, so I’ll just disregard this as a simple mistake. I am sure Staedtler would send me an M nib if I’d complain [1]As far as I know they’re quite nice to their customers. They’ve certainly always replied to my emails, but other companies haven’t..

In the designer software the text is on the side

In the designer software the text is on the side

The text on the real pen is much lower

The text on the real pen is much lower

The printed text being lower than shown on the iPad is more of an issue for me. It means that whatever you print is resting on the hand, between thumb and index finger when you write. In case of your own name, like in my case, I prefer it not being visible – so it’s fine for me, but the point is that what you get is not the same as what you see when you design the pen – it’s not WYSIWYG.

You can see from the surface that it's 3D printed

You can see from the surface that it’s 3D printed

For some pens, like the Lamy Safari, front and body can be screwed together in two ways – so that the logo is on the top or on the bottom. The Staedtler 3Dsigner front and body can only be screwed together in one way, so the text you printed will always end up in the same place.

Not everything is 3d printed - the logo for example isn't

Not everything looks 3d printed – the logo for example isn’t

Recently I took part in a factory tour at Staedtler where I asked a few questions about this pen. I also saw the room where these are assembled (but it was empty when the factory tour took place). My understanding is that Staedtler would like to make these 3D printed pens available outside Germany, too, but getting them to the customers on time doesn’t seem to be a trivial problem. I hope they’ll be available in the UK and other countries soon, too.

 


Price and exchange rates: August 2016

References

References
1As far as I know they’re quite nice to their customers. They’ve certainly always replied to my emails, but other companies haven’t.

William Hannah’s dotted grid paper

William Hannah paper

A few weeks ago Scribble sent me a sample paper pack containing paper sheets from many different companies, all carefully prepared (‘hole punched’ and the corners rounded) so that they can be used in Atoma, William Hannah or similar disc bound notebooks.

On more than one occasion I have stated how good Atoma’s paper is. It is basically in a class of its own – but with United Inkdom having a closer look at William Hannah’s notebook I thought it might be worth having a closer look at the paper that comes with the William Hannah notebook – different sheets of W.H. paper were part of Scribbles sample paper pack.

Printed on consumer equipment?

Let me start by saying that the William Hannah paper is rather unusual, at least the dot grid version is: It contains printer steganography. The best reason for this I could come up with is that the paper is prepared (cut, punched and the corners rounded) in very small batches. So small that consumer printing equipment might have been used to print the dot grid pattern. That would explain the yellow dots from the printer steganography as well as the fact that the purple used for the purple dots is made up of red and blue areas, i.e. the colour is mixed. [1]I assume that if you would do this big style you would use the colour you want to use instead of mixing it in your printer. The dots are also reflective, like colour laser printed documents, unlike inkjet printer printed documents.

Depending on your screen the yellow dots might or might not be easy to see

Depending on your screen the yellow dots in the picture above might or might not be easy to see

Regarding the printer steganography: you can certainly see repeating patterns. I don’t have the time at the moment or I would try to decode the pattern using the EFF’s instructions.

Paper quality

I find the paper to be of good, but not exceptional quality. In terms of darkness and roughness, it seems a tiny bit worse than the good Boise Offset Smooth 50#T “Whitewash” white paper you can find in the Field Notes County Fair edition, but it is certainly no match for Atoma’s paper.

If I had a William Hannah notebook I’d be happy with the paper that comes with it, just to keep things simple.  It is good paper, but depending on how happy you are to go the extra mile it might be worth experimenting with refills from other brands.

Violin plot comparing William Hannah paper with previously tested paper

Violin plot comparing William Hannah paper with previously tested paper


The violin plot was done using the same parameters (1.5 Newton force, etc) as the paper comparison in this blog post.

You can read more about William Hannah at United Inkdom and Scribble’s blog.

Atoma’s ruitertassen notebook, which is similar to William Hannah’s notebook can be seen in a previous blog post.

UPDATE: A year after this blog post I met David Round, the man behind William Hannah at the Northern Pen Show.

References

References
1I assume that if you would do this big style you would use the colour you want to use instead of mixing it in your printer.