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When you’re a kid, the writing utensil you use day in and day out is probably chosen more for its fun factor than for anything else. Case in point – when I was in junior high, I had oodles of those colorful gel pens that were so popular in the 90s, along with one or two fluffy pens with feathers on top. However, once I got to high school, teachers were a little less amused at grading homework that had been completed in all colors of the rainbow, so I switched to pens with only blue or black ink; however, someone did gift me a pen that wrote in blue ink but had a smiling pig on top and little extendable arms wearing boxing gloves on the side.

But the older you get, the more you leave the fuzzy, colorful, pig punching pens in the past and start to appreciate pens more for their functionality and quality of ink more than anything else. But, this doesn’t mean that nice pens can’t still be veritable works of art.

TypeONE (Black, Silver Grey, display; dots are carmine red)

3D printing makes it easy to customize daily use products like pens. Rein van der Mast, a Dutch technologist and designer, is capitalizing on the technology, and using it to disrupt the way that fountain pens – the most elegant of all writing utensils, in my opinion – are made.

van der Mast, who was one of the jury members for the Additive Manufacturing Challenge in 2016, just introduced the TypeONE, a fountain pen that happens to be 3D printed. But, the TypeONE pen also has a unique, patent-pending surprise – what the designer is calling the world’s first 3D printed titanium nib on the end.

“The pen is made in a rather traditional way, because even though most tools have become digital, they still have to be guided by human hands,” van der Mast explained. “In addition, the finishing and adjustment of the 3D-printed nib is done manually by craftsmen with great care.”

When it comes to 3D printed fountain pens, van der Mast knows what he’s talking about. He developed his first one back in 2013, and followed up this creation with a 3D printed fountain pen nib in 2016.

The 3D printed TypeONE fountain pen has been brought to the commercial market by 3Dimensions, which is a partnership between van der Mast, owner of renowned fountain pen shop La Couronne du Comte Dennis van de Graaf, and Bart Koster, a pen distributor who owns Promo2000 – the umbrella name for promotional printing gift webshops.

As previously mentioned, the nib of the TypeONE fountain pen is 3D printed in titanium, and has already been confirmed by several fountain pen collectors as being “very pleasant to write with,” according to the 3Dimensions website. van der Mast’s approach to 3D printed nib manufacturing is fairly innovative, as the nib’s raised edges and slit help to evenly distribute the ink every time the pen is used. The 3Dimensions logo on the side of the TypeONE is also 3D printed out of titanium, while the other visible parts of the pen are 3D printed out of strong, durable PA12 plastic material.

The 3D printed TypeONE fountain pen is currently available in two versions – silvery grey and black, both of which have a sparkling effect from the small aluminum particles that fill the PA12 material the pen is 3D printed in. For the more serious fountain pen collectors, you can also purchase a 3D printed display for the TypeONE, which is made up of a non-uniform 3D lattice structure.

In an effort to emphasize what van der Mast refers to as “the small-series-character” of the 3D printing process, 3Dimensions will only be fabricating a small number of each version of the pen – just 99, to be exact. Each limited edition pen will have a unique serial number 3D printed in its barrel, making it a lovely addition to any fountain pen collection.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

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