Pentel

A Look at Pentel’s orenznero PP3002

In a recent blog post I introduced the new Pentel orenznero, also called PP3002, its model number (for the 0.2mm version).

As you probably know nero means black in Latin and Italian – and, surprise surprise, the orenznero is black. Nero is also oren, as in oren(z), spelt backwards. Pentel seems to try to emphasise this fact by not using capital letters and the o on both ends of orenznero is stylised as, what looks to me like, a lead in a pencil sleeve viewed from the top.

Thanks to Yumiko I got one just after it was released in Japan. Altogether I paid just over £30 (~$36;35).
Here are my observations regarding this pencil after a week of use.

 

Transporting this pencil

First off: transporting this pen.

You can’t make this pencil pocket safe very easily. It is possible to retract the sleeve, but you have to push the sleeve/pipe really hard into the body of the pen, for example with your fingernail.

It’s also not a great pen to transport in pen sleeves/pockets/slots [1]I am trying to clarify here as very different things are called a sleeve.. If you try to put this pencil in a pocket where the pencil’s sleeve or pipe will touch the material of the pen slot (think of something like the Nock Co Hightower)  the lead will forward and possibly break in your pen slot.

Materials used

The Orenznero looks beautiful. Especially on photos where you think it has something of the allure of the Rotring 800.

The Orenznero next to a Rotring 800

In reality, the Orenznero feels much cheaper. The body is made from plastic, but it is nice to touch plastic with a little bit of a texture.

The surface has a bit of a texture (enlarge picture to see)

Handling

The original Orenz is a great pencil. It felt as if Pentel revived an old friend of mine, the Staedtler Microfix.

Top to bottom: Staedtler Microfix, Pentel Orenz and Orenznero

In my previous blog post about the Orenznero, I talked about the history of the sliding sleeve pencil and about alternatives, including very cheap alternatives from Faber-Castell that cost less than a tenth of what I paid for the Orenznero.

Grip section to the left

Well, I have to say that the Orenznero feels, of course, better and is better made, but because the original or classic Orenz was so good I somehow expected that the Orenznero represents a quantum leap for auto advance pencils. This is not the case! It is, however, a nice pencil.

The Orenznero will work great is you hold it vertically, but if you write at an angle the sleeve will not glide back properly as it does with the classic Orenz, so if you don’t use light pressure when writing your graphite lines on the paper will get very thin or will even disappear as the sleeve will cover them. The force needed to slide the sleeve starts very low, like a classic Orenz, but the more the sleeve is pushed into the body the more pressure you need, in the end up to 0.3N.

A picture from an old blog post to illustrate this

Advancing the lead with a click and using the Orenznero like a normal pencil is not an option as it will advance too much of the 0.2mm lead – it would break. One thing to add, the Orenznero is very comfortable to write with hand has a nice centre of gravity in the front half.

You can see the centre of gravity where the pencil is balanced

Conclusion

It’s a nice pencil, but it requires a bit more pressure to write with. This is off putting in my case, as I am not so keen on pens that subconsciously make me change my writing habit (in this case to make me press harder when writing), something that might turn into the behaviour I use with other pens, too.

Just because it is such a nicely designed pencil I will use it a bit longer though, at least for now.

Mass-carved & Microfabbication??

References

References
1 I am trying to clarify here as very different things are called a sleeve.

Pentel Orenz 0.5

Another Orenz post.

I bought this Orenz from eBay seller Morgan’s Direct for £4.99 (~$7.30; €6.50).

Pentel Orenz 0.5 mm

0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and the Mannish Line

You might have seen my Facebook post about the recently released 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm version of the Orenz and about the Orenz Mannish Line that will be released in June.

The Mannish Line has some interesting colour combinations. Very tempting.

The UK packaging
The UK packaging

The Orenz in 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm doesn’t seem to be available in Japan. The one I bought was the official UK version, but made in Japan, of course.

The UK Orenz on Silvine Memo Books
The UK Orenz on Silvine Memo Books

The sliding sleeve

The 0.3 mm version of the Orenz needed quite a bit more force to slide the sleeve than the 0.2 mm version, see the sliding sleeve table for more information. This made me think that the 0.5 mm version will need even more force to slide the sleeve, but to my surprise that was not the case. While the 0.3 mm version needs more than 0.1 Newton, the 0.5 mm version needs only about 0.1 Newton. That’s still more than the best 0.5 mm pencil, the Staedtler Microfix S, but as far as I know, this is the best value for a pencil currently in production. Using different leads might result in different values, but both the 0.3 mm and the 0.5 mm version of the Orenz were tested with the original leads they came with.

Great centre of gravity
Great centre of gravity

Vitals

Weight: 10.4 grams
Length: 14.5 centimetres
Diameter of the grip section: ~8 millimetres
Force needed to slide the sleeve: ~0.1 newton

This blog post has been brought to you by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
This blog post has been brought to you by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Conclusion

Overall: it’s a fantastic pencil. Pentel’s pencil designs are very polarising for me, I either love or dislike them, but the Orenz has a design I really love, unlike the P20x series liked by many, but not me.

It’s a shame that this pencil is only available in black. Pentel, please release it in other colours, too.

Pentel Orenz


Price and exchange rate: May 2016.

This mechanical pencil has been added to the sliding sleeve table.

More about the Orenz can be found in these Bleistift blog posts: Pentel Orenz 0.3Peanuts Orenz 0.2The sliding sleeve and the Pilot Color EnoWhy did the sliding sleeve disappear?

…or at The Pen Addict, I Liek Pencils, One Lone Man

…and at Lexikaliker, who was probably the first outside Japan to write about this pencil.

You can read more about Georg Christoph Lichtenberg at Wikipedia.

The notebooks in the photos are Silvine Memo Books.

The Orenz - just beautiful

Pentel Orenz 0.3

Another blog post about my stationery adventures in Shanghai.

Orenz #4

This time I want to show you another mechanical pencil I bought: The Orenz in 0.3.

This is my fourth Orenz now, but the first one in 0.3 mm. I guess you might say I’m overdoing it a bit, but it is a really nice pencil, so I couldn’t resist trying out the 0.3 mm version.

This one has English packaging
This one has English packaging

Expectations

When I bought it I had certain expectations.

Hypothesis 1: The 0.3 mm will need more force to slide the sleeve than the 0.2 mm version.

This is based the assumption that there is a bigger area of contact between lead and sleeve and between the sleeve and the rest of the body, which would result in more friction.

Hypothesis 2: The Orenz in 0.3 mm will need less force than the Staedtler Microfix S 0.5 to slide the sleeve.

This is based the assumption that there is a smaller area of contact between lead and sleeve and between the sleeve and the rest of the body, which would result in less friction.

Orenz 0.3
The background is a tribute to Lexikaliker

Price and colour

I bought the black version for 50 元  (~$7.60; £5.20; €7) from Shanghai Jiajun Craft Gifts Co. Most stores on FuZHou Road charge 55 元, but one or two charged 50. I bought mine in one of the cheaper shops. Some of the Orenz in the shops had the Japanese packaging, some had the English packaging.

On the web I have seen a gorgeous dark green version of the Orenz, but I’ve only seen it online so far – it wasn’t available in any of the shops I visited, so in the end I bought the black version because I didn’t like pink and I already have the white and blue versioning 0.2 mm.

Well, I wasn’t keen on the black version when I bought it, but now I started to like it. With the right light the shiny black surface can look really good.

The Orenz - just beautiful

What about the sliding sleeve?

So what about the force needed to slide the sleeve.

Hypothesis 1 was correct. When I checked I had to use 1 dN – 2 dN to slide the sleeve, certainly much more than what is needed for the 0.2 mm version.

To my surprise Hypothesis 2 was not correct. I had to use more force to slide the sleeve of the Orenz in 0.3 mm compared to my Staedtler Microfix S 0.5 77305.

To qualify this point: Other Orenz and especially other Microfix might behave differently. Some leads might have a slightly different diameter than others, which might result in different numbers when testing the force needed. Plus: my Microfix was bought in the 1980s, Staedtler stopped selling them in 1988, so maybe it got better with time. On the other hand, maybe Staedtler just did a stellar job with the Microfix and created a sliding sleeve that is unsurpassed by modern pencils.

Other items I bought in the shop

Other items I bought in the shop include an Indonesian Castell 9000 and a 12B pencil from Lotory.

Other items I bought there
Other items I bought there

I have added the Orenz 0.3 to my sliding sleeve table.


Prices: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

The background of the first photos is a tribute to Lexikaliker, who kindled my interest in the Orenz – just that my background isn’t a Tenugui, but a Furoshiki – in my case a non-woven wrapping sheet from Muji.

I have discussed the Indonesian version of the Castell 9000 in a previous blog post.

To see the Orenz in its full beauty please open the Orenz images (the first three) in a new tab/window.

 

Peanuts Orenz 0.2

Today: another Orenz related blog post.

Vintage Peanuts Snoopy Pentel Orenz

Vintage Peanuts

Cover of the Atari VCS 2600 Snoopy cartridge
Image © probably Atari

My new Orenz reminds me of a summer probably about 30 years ag when I was playing Snoopy and the Red Baron [1]I still remember the title screen music (borrowed from a friend) on my Atari VCS 2600. Around that time I also had a red, mechanical Snoopy pencil [2]Now that I think of it I think it might have been a Zebra pencil, but I am not sure. The pencil should still be in my mother’s house so I’ll check next time I’ll be there.. I even think that the Snoopies printed on that pencil were quite similar to the ones you can find on the Orenz.

I bought this ‘Vintage Peanuts – Snoopy’ pencil from a Taiwanese eBay seller and paid £11.65 (~ $18; €16.35) – £8.15 for the pencil and £3.50 for postage.

A use for the Orenz

Like all Orenz pencil it is great for someone with small handwriting or if you need to make small annotations in documents.

Vintage Peanuts Snoopy Pentel Orenz

 

Price

This is actually my third Orenz. My blue one arrived in a letter from America, thanks to Shangching‘s generosity and my white one was bought from Amazon for £4.23 (~ $6.50; €5.90).

Vintage Peanuts Snoopy Pentel Orenz

 

 

Peculiarities of 0.2mm leads

Unfortunately there is one of the problems you will find with 0.2 mm leads that you probably won’t encounter with more traditional mechanical pencils. When I got the white Orenz and tried to use it for the first time the 0.2 mm leads are so light, the static charge of the plastic barrel made them stick to the inside barrel of the pencil and it wasn’t possible to get the leads to forward the normal way. In the end I had to take a lead and feed it though the sleeve / front of the pencil. Once that sleeve was used up the pencil was clogged up, too – but it was then possible to unclog the pencil by disassembling it. Not great, but still much better than the kind of mess I experienced with a Rotring Newton.

0.2 mm leads, stuck to the barrel because of a static charge
0.2 mm leads, stuck to the barrel because of a static charge

 


Price: January 2015 (white Orenz) / October 2015 (Snoopy Orenz)

Exchange rates: November 2015

As usual, please click on the images for a larger version or open in a new tab for a really big version of the image.

You can read more about the Orenz in this blog post about sliding sleeves and this blog post about the force needed to slide a sleeve.

You can read more about the Peanuts 60th Anniversary Moleskine in this blog post.

You can find reviews of the Orenz at Lexikaliker (Google Translation), The Pen Addict, One Lone Man’s Pens and Pencils and So I Herd You Like Pencils.

The cover of the Atari VCS cartridge has been taken from Wikipedia, where it has been provided by user NBATrades. I believe that the use of the cover falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1 I still remember the title screen music
2 Now that I think of it I think it might have been a Zebra pencil, but I am not sure. The pencil should still be in my mother’s house so I’ll check next time I’ll be there.

Pentel Ain Clic

After seeing my link on facebook about the effects of erasers on paper [1]Sorry, I didn’t find an English, only  a Dutch and a German version of the paper. you must have guessed that the next post is about erasers, so today: a belated blog post about the Pental Ain Clic, an eraser in a pen shaped holder [2]Previously reviewed at East…West…Everywhere.. There are strong links to the recent Temagraph blog post: More or less the same eraser is also available under the Temagraph brand.

Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)
Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)

I don’t own the Temagraph version though, so my blog post is based on the Pentel Ain Clic version, which was sent to me by Fudepens.com, where it currently retails for €4 (~$5.50; £3.30). If you like their products: they do ship internationally and orders over €30 get free international shipping.

Pen Erasers Overview
Different erasers in pen shaped holders.

Shape

The main difference, compared to other erases that come in pen shaped holders, is that the eraser core is triangular. This means that you usually end up having a ‘corner’ of the eraser left when you need to erase small, tricky traces of graphite – a bit like Kokuyo erasers, just not that extreme. The problem with the round eraser sticks is not so much that the area you end up erasing is too big (the end of the stick ends up, more or less, in the shape of a half sphere. If you think of a ball lying on the ground, the contact area with the ground is very small), the problem is more that the point where you erase is difficult to control, because it is difficult to see where the eraser will make contact with the paper. This is where the triangular shape comes in handy, but the pointy corners you see in the picture will of course round off, too.

Pentel Ain Clic
New and unused, let’s try it out next….

Materials

The body of the Ain Clic eraser is made in Mexico, while the eraser itself is produced in Japan and is composed of PVC and DINP. Just a warning, the P in DINP stands for phthalate, which you might have come across in the news. In the EU DINP is banned in toys and childcare articles that children can put into their mouths (see European Directive 2005/84/EC [3]http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/glossary/def/dinp-di-isononyl-phthalate.htm ). This eraser doesn’t seem to be marketed at children, but I would keep in mind that it contains phthalates and would keep it away from children (or adults tempted to put it in their mouth). It might also be advisable to put the eraser crumbs in the waste bin ,instead of just blowing them off the paper, so they don’t end up on the desk or floor.

The Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick 528 50, used in the comparison, did contain phthalates in the past (as shown in the paper about the effects of erasers on paper), but the current product specification sheet shows that the Mars plastic, which is also PVC based, is now phthalate free. I hope Pentel will change the Ain Clic in the future and will switch to a more ‘human friendly’ plasticiser.

Pentel Ain Clic

Performance

The Ain Clic doesn’t only look good, performance-wise it’s also very good.

When just erasing with a single stroke (maybe more suitable for artists) performance is not too good, but when repeatedly moving the eraser across the graphite to be erased (which, I would think, is the standard way of doing it) performance is great. With repeated movement graphite doesn’t stick to much too the eraser and the eraser dust will roll up into strands – I like erasers where the dust rolls up like that.

Comparison
Comparison on Banditapple 3G paper. The shaded areas were erased using eight strokes (Mars left, Pentel right)

Conclusion

Overall a great and good looking eraser, but the use of DINP is a black mark against it and the eraser shouldn’t be given to children.

I use pencils and erasers for writing, where I don’t need to eraser very fine details, but I can imagine this being an eraser very suitable for artists.


I would like to thank Fudepens.com for the Pentel Ain Clic, which I got sent for free. I don’t think the fact that I didn’t pay for the eraser influenced my opinion of this eraser in any way.

 

I would like to thank Pentel USA and Staedtler for the additional information they have provided about their erasers.

 

The photo of the Temagraph eraser is © Fila. I believe that the use of the photo shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

 

I bought the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick at Granthams, a local art supply shop. I paid between £1 and £2 for it, but I can’t remember how much exactly.

 

Price (for the Pentel) and exchange rates: April 2014.

References

References
1 Sorry, I didn’t find an English, only  a Dutch and a German version of the paper.
2 Previously reviewed at East…West…Everywhere.
3 http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/glossary/def/dinp-di-isononyl-phthalate.htm