SQ1 EDC Pen by RNG

28 02 2017

Better lit picture pending either the return of the sun or the revival of my scanner

Have we had a lot of Kickstarter pens designed around the Fisher Space Pen refill? No offense to any creators if we have, but I can’t remember many if any that caught my eye until I saw the Shipwrecked finish SQ1 sample on the Clicky Post‘s Instagram feed.

Caption typed by my dog: Q`1

This was something different. This was all thumbs up and a basket of yes. And at the Kickstarter special price of two for $40, I didn’t even have to choose between my two favorites. Ryan did a good job of communicating and updating throughout the project process, and a good job of getting product out (estimated delivery October, actual ship November)–especially for a one-man show machining some quality pens.

In my Kickstarter experience, you only earn the right to complain about the project timeframe if it’s been so long you forgot you even backed the project. Lookin’ at you, Fidget Cube.

The bodies of the SQ1 are all 6061 Anodized aluminum or stonewashed aluminum (I opted for a black and an olive drab green anodized), with four cap material/finish options (polished brass, polished copper, and then the two I chose: brushed copper and shipwrecked copper). In spite of reading how long the pen would be (5″ long, with a 5/16″ diameter), the thing itself in my hand was smaller than what I’d expected. Unless I actually measure and draw out a scale representation, I never really have an accurate conception in my mind of how big a Kickstarter pen will be.

But I guarantee, even with reference images including normal every day objects, my mental sization will be inaccurate

The aesthetic is a simple but satisfying arrangement of circles and lines – dimpled lines of circles for the grip, circles carved around the ends to create a visual of lines, all on the straight-line cylinder of the pen body. I like that the cap isn’t flush with the pen body; it makes the grip more comfortable as there isn’t a step down between the pen body and the nose cone, and it gives the pen a stylized matchstick look.

I’m going to end up looking at actual shipwrecks some day and probably be very disappointed that the colorations aren’t as pretty as this

But the biggest draw for me is that gorgeous shipwrecked finish. Every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped, and then some. The steampunky brushed copper looks great too. I’ve had both pens knocking around in bags for some time now, enough so that the anodized body of the black pen shows a bit of wear to it, but the finishes on the end caps look as good as the day I got them. I appreciate whatever protective or magical force has accomplished that, because I would hate for those beautiful patterns to get worn off.

The nose cone isn’t shipwrecked. Magic, or conspiracy??? ConsPIRACY ???? Arr.

Speaking of wear, here’s the wear I mentioned on the body. In dim lighting it’s hard to find but in sunlight, it’s visible. As long as I’m not losing my shipwrecked finish, then the more character the merrier. My only complaint for these pens: the threading on the nose cone. The cap doesn’t easily catch onto the threading. I have to take care and pay attention to make sure I’ve got it right. If anyone reports stripping the threads after a hasty or drunken recapping of the SQ1, I won’t be surprised.

Please write responsibly

I considered taking off points for the slight complications involved in freeing the refill. You have to unscrew the back end, then take a 1/8 allen wrench (not included) and insert it to unscrew the set screw, and then you can shake out the refill. But the set screw holds the refill perfectly and firmly in place. And if you’ve ever assembled or at least thought very hard about assembling any piece of IKEA furniture, then your toolbox probably already has an allen wrench or two drifting along the bottom with every spare mismatched nail you’ve encountered in your adult life. It wouldn’t be worth increasing the price of the pen to include one. My only beef here is with the cap threads on the nose cone (the threads on the back end to post the cap don’t have the same problem).

Pairs well with a rugged Field Notes and/or a gin & tonic

Though I haven’t actually reviewed the Space Pen itself yet, I’m not going to get into that this time. The short of it: it’s not a Jetstream, but it never said it was. It writes in all manner of environments, as would befit an EDC pen. Would I hand write a novel with it? No. Jot the jotty sort of jots one would expect of an EDC pen? Gladly.


The RNG website isn’t ready for selling yet, but at time of writing there are a few SQ1 pens available on the RNG Etsy shop.

United P2: Pocket Pen

7 02 2015
Time to kick another starter!

Time to kick another starter!

What I have here today is a prototype model of the United P2 Pocket Pen that just launched on Kickstarter. I’ve spent a few weeks throwing it in pockets and bags, I’ve showed it off to nearly everyone I work with, I’ve lost it for almost a week in someone else’s car before finding it again, and I’ve scribbled my fair share of notes with it. Now, my memory is a bit hazy, but this just might be my favorite compact ballpoint pen.

Aluminum body. Stainless steel cap. Machined awesomeness

Aluminum body. Stainless steel cap. Machined awesomeness

It looks part lava lamp, part minimalist rocket. It feels fantastically smooth to the touch, the finish some kind of mix between metal and silk. I’ve left it unprotected, free to jangle against keys, pocket knives, coins, and yet still I can’t find any signs of a scratch yet. I haven’t tried chucking it across a roughly paved parking lot or tried dropping it from the top of a five story building, but I’m not sure I’d want to. I like this pen too much to take the abuse quite that far.

I was worried about a small cap on a pocket pen, but it works

I was worried about a small cap on a pocket pen, but it works

The cap (machined out of solid 17-4 stainless steel bar stock) and its locking grooves are machined so precisely that when you push the cap on, air has nowhere to go, thus requiring the hole in the top of the cap. When you pull the cap off, the air being sucked back in as you pull makes a little pop! when the cap is free. The result is a very secure cap that is nevertheless easy to remove and incredibly fun to play with.

If you grip your pens at the very absolute tip of the pen, this might be a problem, but everyone else will be okay

If you grip your pens at the very absolute tip of the pen, this might be a problem, but everyone else will be okay

Not sure what I was expecting the first time I pulled the cap off, but this wasn’t it. This was something altogether strange and different. This looked like a candle, with the writer’s flame of a ballpoint tip. I was a bit skeptical. But then I followed the groove of the pen and was pleasantly surprised with the result.

I need to work on having a more photogenic grip

I need to work on having a more photogenic grip

For my hand, the prototype is the perfect size. The weight of the pen gives it presence in the hand, but the comfortable way it’s balanced makes the weight almost unnoticeable. The refill included, a medium Schmidt, is nice and smooth in its own right. But the United P2 is designed to take a D1 refill. You know who makes a D1 refill? Do you?! UNI BALL. THE ANSWER IS JETSTREAM. THE ANSWER IS I CAN HAVE A FANCY LITTLE JETSTREAM REFILL POCKET PEN AND A CHOIR OF PENLY ANGELS SHALL SING ABOVE MY HEAD. Ok put that thought on pause. Brad Dowdy has discovered (as I did once he pointed it out and I tried swapping the refill) that the Jetstream refill is too skinny. I HAVEN’T GIVEN UP YET. RESEARCH MUST BE DONE. But I’ll have to come back to this. I’m holding out hope.

UPDATE from the inventor himself:

“Also for the record, the production pen WILL accept all D1 refills. Currently the prototype doesn’t accept some refills because the coating thickness is a little too thick which in turn made the hole size a touch smaller than it needs to be.”


Everyday carry approved

Everyday carry approved

Tweaks are already planned for the production run vs. what I have here in the prototype. The pen will be a little larger, both in length and in diameter. Personally I’m fine with the prototype size, but I have medium sized hands. It would be nice, down the line, to perhaps have “large” and “small” size options for the United P2. No one size will be perfect for everyone, but it would be nice to have a choice. I worry that a larger pen wouldn’t fit nicely in the pockets of my fitted jeans. The production run pen will also have a smaller cap hole, which I didn’t have a concern about either way. Finally, the production run will have the press fit cap on the back end of the pen flush with the pen body. It sticks out so slightly on the prototype that I didn’t even notice until I saw this improvement listed, but that update is a good idea. Don’t know when I’d need to stand the pen upright, but just in case.

There are still 28 days to go and already the United P2 has reached its (admittedly easy to attain) funding goal. The makers of this pen have successfully completed a Kickstarter project before (a small brass spinning top that looks really cool and I really want one now, thanks a lot research). If you’re interested in this pen, hop onboard.

United P2: Pocket Pen by Dylan Polseno on Kickstarter