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Problem Statement

posted Jan 2, 2014, 1:04 PM by Taylor Peterson   [ updated May 20, 2015, 12:47 PM ]

   Bill of Materials


Personally, I do not like having caps on my pens (too easy to lose, two hand operation, etc.) and as such want a retractable pen. That said, traditional "clicky" pens annoy me with their noise. The only way I could think of making a quiet retractable pen (that could still be worked with one hand) was with a "bolt action" mechanism. Turns out that this design has been up and coming with the Kickstarter crowd and several versions have been made previously. For example, the TiBoltThe Bolt, and the maxmadco retractable pen

However, all of these are rather expensive (>$50) and might not be work well with the cartridges I prefer. As well, I am not a fan of certain characteristics of each: the TiBolt's finish looks too rough and the pen itself seems a little bulky (see this comparison of it to the maxmadco); the Bolt's mechanism seems like it would be finicky/not very satisfying; the bolt on the maxmadco looks a little tacky given that it's just a screw. 

Given those concerns, I think it would be preferable to design my own pen. Of the three, I like the maxmadco one the best (I'd probably buy it and replace the bolt with something similar to the TiBolt if it cost about a third of what it did). 

Design Requirements

  • All components save the ink cartridge must be made of metal
  • The pen must have a retractable design
  • The pen must have a functional clip
  • The ink cartridge must be replaceable 
  • All components must be manufacturable using HMC facilities
  • The pen should be approximately 5 inches in length
  • The pen should weigh approximately 1.5 ounces
  • The user of the pen should be awestruck