One thing I really enjoy is a solid pocket pen. I love how compact they are, portable, and the fact that they go from a small pen to a "normal" size pen when in use is fun to see from a design standpoint.
On Instagram about a month or so ago I stumbled across a maker I'd not yet heard of before called Vision Metal Design, but when I first saw the pen he was planning to release on Kickstarter I was pretty enthusiastic about its launch.
Vision Metal Design is run by a long time machinist, Robert Shirley, out of Ohio. He has been making and selling a popular extendable X-Acto knife holder for awhile now, but decided to venture into the world of pens. What he came up with he called the LP-5.
At a glance, the LP-5 may look like your ordinary pocket pen size, but in reality it is much, much smaller. Even shorter than the Kaweco Liliput which is saying something...
I knew this was a project I was most certainly going to back (in titanium), but Robert and I also discussed reviewing the LP-5 on the blog to give a closer look at them (and some opinions). Many thanks to him for sending me a few of the sample prototypes to check out and share.
One thing I like about the LP-5's aesthetic is that it has some texture and character, but not overly done. It has sort of a machined part appeal, but we're not going for all-out tacti-cool like some we've seen.
Initially, the LP-5 was slated to be designed for only the Lamy M22 ballpoint refill, most notably found in the Lamy Pico, but after some additional feedback and designing, Robert also created an alternate version which takes the D1 style which greatly expands the options available to go into the pen, but without sacrificing the ultra compact size he's shooting for.
To remove the refill, the conical tip of the pen unscrews which allows it to be exchanged. The M22 fits snugly into the pen barrel, while the D1 is at this point suspended in the pen and held in place with a spacer. Robert mentioned that these will be a metal part in the final versions, but for prototyping a Delrin material is used.
It really is impressive just how small this pen is.
Below is a shot I sent to a friend of the LP-5 alongside some of my other pocket pen favorites, and the others dwarf it in comparison.
While the LP-5 may take cues from "pocket pens" in general, I feel that it has a really unique take on it, and is quite innovative which is sometimes a rare thing to see.
Closed, the pens come in at under 2.75" (roughly 7cm), and then extend to nearly 5", a comfortable writing length.
The grip section of the pen has two sets of threading: one set nearest the tip to secure the pen when closing, and the second set just over a design "bump" in the pen (with decorative lines to match the overall aesthetic) to allow the cap to post and extend the length of the pen.
For added grip, the section is also machined with grooves to make it easier to hang onto.
Like any pen with exposed threads like this, there is always a risk of dropping it on a hard surface which could mash or mar them and make the parts no longer connectable.
The pens come in four different material options: brass, copper, titanium, and aluminum. And, for the Kickstarter campaign these are incredibly reasonable in price starting at $35.
I was able to take a closer look at the brass, copper, and titanium versions and they all have their own appeal. Generally, I opt for aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel pens as I like the color (and then also avoid the brass and copper "smell" that comes with age out of preference), but the brass and copper versions feel great in the hand, and for being so small, only weigh a bit over an ounce.
I must admit, I really, really like this pen and wish Robert the best as his campaign is wrapping up. Definitely check out his campaign and back if you love pocket pens (and always looking to add more). I'd love for this pen to succeed as I feel it is a solid addition to the EDC market.
Thanks again Robert!