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.
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.
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 complain1.
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.
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.
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
- 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. [↩]