3D printing

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 complain1.

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

  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. []

Designing a 3D printed pen 2

…just a quick follow up to yesterday’s blog post about Staedtler’s 3D-printed pen.

Staedtler’s app needed to design the 3D printed pen is (currenlty) only available for the iPad. When I got my hand on an iPad another problem came up. You can only get Staedtler’s app from the German Apple App Store. I did manage to get access to the German App Store, but it wasn’t not easy, so I thought I make a quick video of how the process of choosing/designing your pen looks like – for those unable to try it out themselves.

Here’s a look at ‘designing’ a Fusion-Line pen.

In the YouTube comments Julie Paradise pointed out that the difference between the  M and the A (beginner) nibs is that A nibs

…have the tipping of the nib shaped differently, more “forgiving” to rotating the pen while writing instead of having a smaller “sweet spot”.

Here’s a look at ‘designing’ an Icon-Line pen.

I guess we’ll see many more 3D printed pens in the future. As a start in this new era Staedtler’s Fusion and Icon-Line seem rather good.

Staedtler’s 3D printed Pen

I just noticed that Staedtler let’s you design your own pen in 3D. They will then 3D-print it and send it to you.

What a great idea.

Image © Staedtler

Image © Staedtler

As far as I can tell this service is currently only available in Germany and you need an iPad to design the pen.

PS: For Staedtler’s web sites you can’t leave out the “www.”, so staedtler.de will (currently) not work. You can find the page for this pen at https://www.staedtler.de/de/produkte/staedtler-3dsigner/.


I believe that the use of the image shown, taken from Staedtler’s web site,  in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Erasers, pencils and 3D pens 6

I just found out that Erasers are ‘an instrument of the devil and should be banned’. That came as a surprise.

Not only did erasers turn out to be evil, apparently you can summon demons with pencils.

Come on, what’s going on with British newspapers this morning‽ No need to sell stories in such a sensationalistic way.


Since we’re talking about surprising things anyway: I was also surprised to find out that 3D pens are very cheap now. You can now get one for under £30 / under $45. I think they started out costing more than three times that. Of course the more expensive ones might be better, but I wouldn’t know – I haven’t tried any.