Mechanical Pencils

Main Question or Discussion Point

Good evening

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am a pencil sort of guy - mechanical pencils to be specific. However, I have met with disappointment after disappointment when trying to find a specific brand that will outlast the punishment experienced at the bottom of my bag. I've tried Staedlers, Bics, Papermates... most of your department store brands. Yet after awhile, the clicking mechanism just stops working, or the eraser head falls out, or the clip snaps...

Can anyone nominate a superstar performer?
 

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DaveC426913
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Good evening

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am a pencil sort of guy - mechanical pencils to be specific. However, I have met with disappointment after disappointment when trying to find a specific brand that will outlast the punishment experienced at the bottom of my bag. I've tried Staedlers, Bics, Papermates... most of your department store brands. Yet after awhile, the clicking mechanism just stops working, or the eraser head falls out, or the clip snaps...

Can anyone nominate a superstar performer?
I am fond of mechanical pencils too, being a sketcher and one who likes detail.

My take: Who cares if the clip snaps or the eraser falls out? As long as it keeps dispensing lead, I'm golden. I use a proper artgum eraser to erase.

As for the clicking mechanism failing - are you sure? I know that sometimes it will click but not dispense teh next lead. Give it a shake, stand it upright - and keep clicking. Eventually the next lead should "engage".
 
Danger
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I never go anywhere without a .5mm pencil. I use a separate eraser 'pencil'. After trying just about everything on the market, and had them break in my pocket, I just said to hell with it and bought a 5-pack of Bic pencils. That was over 5 years ago, and I still have 2 left. Go figure... the cheapest thing on the market lasts the longest. :rolleyes:
 
Astronuc
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I keep mechanical pencils in my pocket or clipped on the collar of my T-shirt, unless I'm doing something physical like lifting logs, and then I make sure I'm not wearing pens or pencils. I have spare mechanical pencils in my desks.

I think I had Pentel which was nice, but somewhere along the way, I lost it. :rolleyes:

Now I have Mon Ami (Korea) which is nice, but it's plastic, and would probably break. I've had metal mechanical pencil which seem pretty durable, but I didn't like the grip because it was too smooth.

I use pink erasers which I keep in my pocket, and spares in my desks.
 
Danger
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Ah, yes... Pentel. I used them for draughting (4H for construction lines and 2H for final). They're great, but I found that the 'nibs' bent in my pocket so the lead couldn't feed out. I should point out that I keep my pens and pencils in my front pants pocket, so that problem might not occur with more 'geeky' types who keep them in a shirt pocket. :tongue:
 
Evo
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Good evening

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am a pencil sort of guy - mechanical pencils to be specific. However, I have met with disappointment after disappointment when trying to find a specific brand that will outlast the punishment experienced at the bottom of my bag. I've tried Staedlers, Bics, Papermates... most of your department store brands. Yet after awhile, the clicking mechanism just stops working, or the eraser head falls out, or the clip snaps...
That's why they are disposable. :biggrin:

I use mechanical pencils instead of pens at work. I usually am given a dozen mechanical pencils at a time by the clerk. I've used cheap ones and I've used extremely expensive ones and I don't find much of a difference. The very expensive ones might last longer, but what I look for is comfort and find that the cheaper ones win out there.
 
Math Is Hard
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Love the Dr. Grips from Pilot! :!!)

http://p.office1000.com/vp1/36170PIL.jpg [Broken]
 
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http://www.artstuff.net/images/mh3660.jpg [Broken]

Japanese Zebra pencil. Lasted 4 years and still going strong.
 
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Evo
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http://www.staples.com/sbd/img/cat/enl/s0048752_enl.jpg

I gotta give a vote for the Papermate PhD Ultra (make sure you get the Ultra, not the regular). You can buy them at Staples for like 6 or 7 bucks. I bought my first one three or four years ago, and it was still working beautifully until I lost it a few months ago. I have bought others since then, and I love them :smile: The pencil is very solid (look at the barrel: it is one piece! and the grip is built right in, so it will never slip out or move on you). The eraser is very nice in my opinion (quality erasing, and it is like 1.5 inches long, and the replacements are easy to get). It has a great grip, and a very nice feel, imo :wink:


This is the Ultra: Staples link to PhD Ultra



This is the regular: http://www.papermate.com/sanford/consumer/papermate/jhtml/product/product_detail.jhtml?attributeId=SNATT40171&currentType=SNTYPE004&nextType=noValue&categoryType=SNTYPE001&categoryAttributeId=SNATT10012&resetAttribute=SNATT20068&resetType=SNTYPE002 [Broken]

The regular is not bad, but the Ultra is the real deal. I used the regular about 5 years ago, I think. I know the grip will eventually wear out and will start to slip and move on you. Also there are too many moving parts: everything can twist off on the barrel, which just means there is more to break (as opposed to the Ultra with its solid barrel).

edit.. Friday night, posting about my favorite mechanical pencil... what the hell has my life become :cry:
 
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I don't like those big ass ones, but my dad sure does. Old joints I think...For me its gotta be .5 mm. I second Cyrus choice of the Zebras they are sweet, and not very expensive.
 
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ZEBRAS are the shizzit. And I second Danger's separate pencil eraser. The one I use is basically a mechanical eraser. You 'click it' and the eraser gradually dispenses.

Cyrus, where do you get those Zebras?? Mine look way different. I am intrigued.
 
DaveC426913
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I buy the Bic ones by the dozen. Anything more expensive just disappears next time I pick up my sketchbook.
 
Well I'm trying out both the zebra and the pentels, both of which are performing admirably thus far. The PhD ultra looks like a fine tool, but I don't think I'm ready for something quite that intimidating this early in my academic career.
 
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Pilot is good, though I lost them a lot as many other people have them too (they just take it for their own). I have an unknown brand of mechanical pencil but I'm still using it.
 
Astronuc
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I like the skinny mech pencils, not fat ones.

I also tend to use pens - razor points.


Actually I do most of my work electronically since my handwriting tends to be illegible - even to me sometimes. :rolleyes:

I think too fast.
 
Hootenanny
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I keep mechanical pencils in my pocket or clipped on the collar of my T-shirt, unless I'm doing something physical like lifting logs, and then I make sure I'm not wearing pens or pencils.
Lifting logs? I had no idea you were a closet lumberjack Astro!
 
Chi Meson
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I have had the same pencil for over 10 years; it was made in Japan. It is a Berol CA7 XL, 0.7 mm.

(the "XL" means it has the extra features such as passenger-side air bags and automatic defrosters).

I prefer 0.7 mm leads, but that's just me. (I'm heavy-handed, and the 0.5's break too easily)

Edit:
Still available, but probably made in China now.
http://cascade.birddogsw.com/ItemForm.aspx?item=DFTBER+CA-7&Category=b51cd200-dbcc-48e4-88ac-0edad767158e &ReturnUrl=Categories.aspx?Category=b51cd200-dbcc-48e4-88ac-0edad767158e
 
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Astronuc
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Lifting logs? I had no idea you were a closet lumberjack Astro!
I have some old (unhealthy or dying) trees on the property, which I need to cull. The previous landowner planted trees too close together.

Chi Meson reminded me of Berol. I prefer 0.5 mm. They don't break if one keeps the graphite short, so that the stress field is predominantly shear rather than bending.
 
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Hootenanny
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I have some old (unhealthy or dying) trees on the property, which I need to cull. The previous landowner planted trees too close together.
Ahh right, do you have a really big axe and a checked shirt? :wink:
 
Astronuc
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Ahh right, do you have a really big axe and a checked shirt? :wink:
I have checkered shirts - with pockets - for pens and pencils. I'm looking for a nice double-bladed axe.


Even my T-shirts (well most of them) have pockets. :biggrin:
 
turbo
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Pilots are OK for .5mm pencils. The cheapest versions don't last for me, but I have a nicer one that I've had forever. Give it a light click and it feeds lead - give it a heavy click and the entire tip retracts into the barrel (much safer if you're going to keep one in a pocket!). It also has a rotating ring with a window in it that you can twist to expose hardness numbers so you can remember what kind of leads it's loaded with. For larger lead, I have an old Scripto, and for the very large soft lead (2 mm) that's great for sketching, I have a Caran d'Ache Fixpencil. It's very old (at least 25-30 years), simple and rugged.
http://www.leadholder.com/lh-draft-cda-fixpencil.html
 
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Moonbear
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Love the Dr. Grips from Pilot! :!!)

http://p.office1000.com/vp1/36170PIL.jpg [Broken]
[/URL]

Those are what I use too! (Apparently other people I work with like them too, because they seem to disappear on me :grumpy:...I think I need to check my boss' desk, he's a notorious pen thief.) I have used their mechanical pencils and rollerball pens for a few years now and love them (I still have two of the originals, though others have wandered off and been replaced...I keep a set at home, a set at work, and a set in my bag to travel). Recently I tried their "Center of Gravity" ballpoint pens...it's now my favoritest pen EVER! :approve: It's so comfortable to hold and balanced and incredibly smooth writing. I just wish they weren't all these bizarre colors.

The cheap plastic mechanical pencils will break quickly...that's why they're cheap and sold in packs of 5 or a dozen, because they don't last long. Sometimes you can refill them a few times and get them to last, but often they just jam up. But, almost any others that are sold individually for a couple bucks can last a long time...if you see a nearby display of replacement erasers for the brand you're buying, you probably have found one that's meant to last a little longer.

Of course, none is going to survive well if you're tossing them in the bottom of a backpack under 20 lbs of books. Use a separate pocket for your pencils, or get a hard pencil case to protect them (that'll make it easier to find them and know how many you have when you pack your bag for the day anyway...no showing up to an exam thinking you have a pencil and realizing you left them all on your desk).
 
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BobG
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Danger
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I once designed a nice little pen that fired a single .22 Magnum round. Can I count that as my favourite? (Since there was no ink in it, I could just as easily call it a pencil. :uhh:)
 

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