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Ask Slashdot: The Search For the Ultimate Engineer's Pen

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the mightier-than-the-mouse dept.

Technology 712

First time accepted submitter Laser Dan writes "I'm an engineer (robotics) who can't seem to find a pen that satisfies me. Most of my writing is just temporary "thinking notes" on random bits of paper, like diagrams, flowcharts, equations etc, but pens always seem to have one or more of the following issues:

1. They write too thickly — I write very small, and when I start adding extra details to diagrams it gets even smaller. A line width of about 0.2-0.4mm would be good.

2. The ink bleeds, making the lines thick and unclear.

3. The ink is slow to dry or the tip grows blobs of ink, causing smudges everywhere.

4. The first line drawn is not fully dark, as the ink takes a short distance to get going.

5. The lines drawn are faint unless you press hard (I don't).

I have been given several fancy pens (Parker etc) over the years but they all suffered from problems 1, 3 (blobs), 4 and 5. I'm considering trying a Fisher space pen, but it looks like even the fine cartridge writes rather thickly. Have any fellow Slashdotters found their ultimate pen?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yes (5, Funny)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837817)

It's called a pencil.

Re:Yes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838077)

What kind of engineer needs to ask hundreds, or thousands, about what type of pen to get?

That said, from the description, a sharpie ultra point would meet his needs of being thin, not having to press hard, dries instantly, and doesn't blob.

Re:Yes (1, Interesting)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838107)

A Pentel 0.3mm mechanical pencil with an HB lead is my personal favorite writing instrument.
For pens, I buy either a Pentel Energel 0.5mm or a Pilot V5 series.

I bought a box of Japanese-made 0.3mm gel ink pens about 10 years back at an office supply store that was closing down but can't remember the brand name to save my life. When they ran out I never could find them again. They were some of the best I've ever used, but if you dropped one (even capped) you might as well throw it away. The tips (I think they were ceramic) were that fragile. Beautiful lines, though.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838121)

Push too hard and the lead breaks even more so for a mechanical pencil.

Mechanical pencil (5, Insightful)

baffled (1034554) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837819)

Added benefit: clean revisions.

Re:Mechanical pencil (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837887)

Pentel .5mm with B leads for me, thank you very much.

Re:Mechanical pencil (1)

kolbe (320366) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837913)

Was just going to say this... I gave up on pens for some of the reasons the original poster mentioned. Beyond that, I carry a writing surface around or dictate things with my phone... just in case I forget to bring a pencil or pen.

Re:Mechanical pencil (2)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837923)

I came in here to say exactly that. Get a .3mm "drafting" pencil, and you'll have the cleanest, most reliable lines you've ever seen. You can also get different hardness leads to suit your preference of pressure.

Skilcraft U.S. Government, Black, Fine Point (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837825)

Anything less would be uncivilized.

Re:Skilcraft U.S. Government, Black, Fine Point (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837889)

Those are fantastic and reliable, but they're not fine enough for engineering drafting

Pencil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837831)

You're looking for the wrong tool.

why ink? (2)

kallen3 (171792) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837833)

0.7mm pencil

Re:why ink? (5, Funny)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837911)

Apparently 0.7mm is too thick for Mr. Writes-Really-Small.

I'd recommend a 0.2mm mechanical drafting pencil, but there's an even simpler solution: don't write so damn small.

As a bonus, your notes won't look like they were written by a serial killer.

Re:why ink? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837929)

Ugh. That's like being in kindergarten and coloring with the fat crayons.

0.5mm pencil is the only way to go.

Re:why ink? (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838079)

He asked for a linewidth less than 0.5 mm so a 0.3 mm pencil with a very soft lead would probably be what the poster wants.

Pilot V5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837835)

Can't think of a better pen than the Pilot V5

Re:Pilot V5 (5, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838133)

Can't think of a better pen than the Pilot V5

I'll second that - the Palm Pilot V was great for taking notes. Once you learn Graffiti.

G-tec = answer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837837)


Why a pen? (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837839)

If these are just temporary notes on just scraps of paper, why not just use a mechanical pencil? Line isn't thick, doesn't bleed, and can be seen pretty easily.

Consider a pencil (2, Informative)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837841)

My mechanical pencil of choice is the Pentel Graph Gear 1000. Well worth the money, the one I have now has lasted me over 3 years, which is not bad compared to other pencils/pens that would have clips snap off or otherwise get lost within a year.

Re:Consider a pencil (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837943)

No amount of mechanical quality of your pencil will prevent it from getting lost.

Re:Consider a pencil (2)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837963)

Not necessarily the mechanical quality, but the relative cost has kept my pencil from being carelessly lost. I check that it's nearby more than I check for my wallet or phone.

Zebra F402 (1)

ProfessorDoom (82503) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837843)

It may not work for you but I really like the Zebra F402 and have used them ten years without unhappiness.

Pilot Hi-Tec Pens (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837845)

Try these, thank me later: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pens [jetpens.com]

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837847)

Try a pencil. It has none of the problems mentioned.

Wrong tool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837849)

A sharp pencil is what you want.

Pilot Finelinfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837851)

Pilot Fineliner works for me.

COPIC (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837853)

Try Copic Multiliners, they come in very small nib sizes, and they've always performed well for me. They're designed for inking illustrations(ie, comic books) so they're fairly high-quality. Available at your local art store.

Mechanical pencil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837855)

From the sound of it, a mechanical pencil meets what you're looking for. Except for the whole ink part, I guess. I like 'em though.

Inkless Metal Pen (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837857)

This should satisfy your needs: Inkless Metal Pen [vat19.com] . I have one..... Somewhere in the mess of my desk. It works really well! I haven't had any long term results yet, seeing as I don't know exactly where it is, but I love(d) it!

Felt tip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837859)

Does it have to be a ball point? If not, look at art supplies for a good soft tipped lining pen

Bic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837861)

Bic Clic, they stop when they run out (and absolutely no amount of scribbling will get them going), and not before, and write fine and clean, don't bleed. A slight problem where the paper/ink creates a small mess on the end of the pen, it is visible though, and easily fixed.
Google only finds them in New Zealand and Australia.

Re:Bic (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838015)

You can find Bic Clic Stic pens on amazon and ebay. They're my wife's favorite as well.

Space Pen (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837867)

I like the look of a gel pen better, but the space pen has too many advantages, for direction, temperature, durability, and good design (I have one of the 'bullet' ones that when capped is half size. You can run them through wash *and dry* cycles and they still work and don't ruin your clothes.

Re:Space Pen (1)

AKAJack (31058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837921)

I agree. At least try the Space Pen and see if it meets your needs before you run out and buy a dozen different things to frustrate you even more.

Gel pens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837871)

I like the Pilot G-2 0.5mm gel ink pens for the exact same reasons. Even when using recycled paper, there is very little bleed and the small point makes your tiny writing legible.

Re:Gel pens (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838123)

Another vote for the G2 .05

Papermate (3, Interesting)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837873)

No joke - I've settled for those cheap papermates. They rarely clog, don't bleed, and don't give me any guff. The line thickness might be tricky but worth checking out.

My wife is an artist and is crazy particular about her tools. She also swears by them and was who got me into using them.

Re:Papermate (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838033)

I like Papermate myself. Pencil is not permanent which can be a problem for some work, but for figuring is probably the best answer here

The no pressure bit screams fountain pen with high quality ink. Hook up with one of the writing implement forums. Be amazed at what some people think of writing utensils.


Pilot V5 RT (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837875)

Pilot V5 RT. It's the 0.5 mm Pilot V5 Rollerball in a clickable package. Ink looks great, dries much more quickly than gel ink.

Re:Pilot V5 RT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838097)

fuck yeah good call. been using these religiously since 2005.

Does it have to be ballpoint? Or even ink? (1)

Karloskar (980435) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837877)

What about an Artline felt-tip if it needs to be ink? You can get 0.2mm ones, and they are great. Or, if it doesn't have to be ink, my not a mechanical pencil? No bleeding, no ink-lag, and you can get nice dark 4B refills.

The Ultimate Engineer's Pen is a Pencil (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837881)

Try using a Kuru Toga 0.3mm or 0.5mm --- the lead rotates so it is always sharp. Uni-Ball just released them in the U.S. (or you can buy imports from Japan).

Fisher space pen, with #PR4F ink cartridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837891)

I've been using one for years and have been completely satisfied with it.

I found a pen review site! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837893)

Im finding myself with the same problem! I googled around and found this site: http://penaddict.com/blog?category=Drawing+Pen

I'm at home it's too late to buy and try. Anyone wanna see if these reviews are legit?

Pilot Hi-Tec-C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837895)

I first experienced these pens on trips to Japan, where 100yen got a pen of any of a myriad of colors, with bold, sharp, extremely fine line quality. They have excellent feel. I also write small and find these pens a joy. The are offered in widths as low as .25mm, so the tips can be a little fragile. But they are not expensive pens, so the it's not such a terrible thing to drop one of these and ruin the tip.

When work stopped sending me to Japan, I sought out friends to bring them back for me. Now, they are commonly available from internet re-sellers.

I recommend these Pilot Hi-Tech-C pens very highly, and fail to understand why Pilot doesn't market them in the my country ( U.S.A) directly.


Pilot G-2 0.4 mm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837897)

It has none of the problems you mention.

It's Halloween (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837901)

Dip a quill in your blood.

Pentel RSVP (3, Interesting)

adonoman (624929) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837903)

Pentel RSVP - fine, very smooth, and very fast. I've never used a pen that glides like these do - plus they're fairly cheap.

Zebra Sharbo X (1)

astralagos (740055) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837905)

I wanted a gel multipen, since all the multipens I've found are ballpoint and I find ballpoint ink annoying. I'm currently using a Zebra Sharbo X from jetpens, which is basically a build-your-own-pen kit. You can get ink refills which use either ballpoint or gel ink, with a size from 0.4 mm up. The form factor is also the same as a standard pen. The basic set can be a bit pricey, but I've found it very good.

zebra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837907)

Every nuke in the navy has to take logs for at-least six hours every day and its common knowledge that if you don't use a zebra 700 series you are being a lazy POS.

Gel pens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837909)

Try them out. They seem to roll better than a ballpoint pen and have the ink feel of a felt-tip pen. My handwriting went from unreadable to tolerable.

The other thing to look for is tips that don't float too much at the exit of the pen. I find a bit of give is better than none, but too much and you lose control of the writing.

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pens (2)

penguinbroker (1000903) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837915)

These pens are fantastic. They come in a variety of thicknesses (.25mm and up), are super smooth, don't bleed, and are relatively affordable. Highly recommended. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pens [jetpens.com]

bic pen for her! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837919)

bic pen for her! LINK! [cnet.com]

Re:bic pen for her! (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838075)

I tried writing with one of those Bic pens [wikipedia.org] , but the ergonomics were so bad it left me with a burning sensation.

Old tech... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837925)

Fountain pen, custom cut tip, no-bleed ink. You can be a fine, as you want when you're making your own tip for a pen that way.

As a pen whore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837937)

I don't know about pen feel (I like a triangular metal case I got when I picked up my CPAP machine, it was one of those business-promotional items), but contained the far and away grand champion of pen cartridges thus far, the Schmidt Ceramic Roller 888. I am a pen whore, and I ordered a dozen of these bad boys as soon as I found them online.

Kohinoor Drafting Pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837945)

When I was in grad school (physics) I had a set of drafting pencils that I used to take notes and even to do problem sets. I usually used the 0.5 mm tip, but also had a 0.3 mm one for really fine work. I used black india ink and unlined white paper. I loved the way it looked and the way the india ink flowed on the paper and the way it was permanent once dry, even standing up to a bit of water on the paper. It wouldn't work for left handers, but with a little practice it was beautiful. No blobs, clean lines, and only a light touch required. Nowadays I barely right anything as almost all my work is on keyboards. However, I still like to take notes using a fountain pen.

Go felt (3, Insightful)

grimsnaggle (1320777) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837953)

Micron felt tip. I'm also an engineer and it's what I use to scribble.

Sakura Pigma Micron pens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837957)

archival ink, waterproof, fadeproof, multiple colors, comes in .2mm - .5mm ( my favorite is the 05 / .45mm)

Pilot Precise Grip Extra Fine ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837961)

... is about the best I've found.

Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel-Ink Pens (1)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837965)

Lots of colors, nice, erasable (don't leave a smudge after erasing). Fine and ultra-fine tips.

I don't know how long each cartridge lasts though.

start looking here. (3, Interesting)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837971)

if you can't find it in this or another search of the same site, i think you're out of luck: http://www.jetpens.com/search?q=pigment+ink [jetpens.com]

i don't know exactly what the difference is between a fiber-tip pen and a "pigment ink liner," but the latter go down to 0.05mm (that's not a typo, i really mean 1/20th of a millimeter). they are fiber pens, so they don't have a ball feed, which should be good news for your other requirements.

i stole a 0.1mm a few months ago and apparently destroyed the tip just by writing delicately (and i do have some experience with extremely fine pens), so you'll have plenty of use for that light touch of yours.

if you want something more artistic in your off-time, i've heard that experienced chinese calligraphers can control their brush pens to where they can write essentially with a single hair. might be a fun hobby.

Re:start looking here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838007)

sorry, that misses a few. use this too: http://www.jetpens.com/search?q=pigment+liner [jetpens.com]

Pen Connoisseur (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837979)

I've tried nearly every pen out there, including the technical pens for Koh-I-Noor. I've found that the pricier pens are usually just better looking, but few if any are more reliable than the cheapest Bic pens. I believe this is due to R&D and manufacturing capabilities.

That said, I prefer fine line pens as well. Since i find refillable pens too messy (ink blots, clogs, cleaning between refills, etc.) my favorite pens for the last several years have been the felt tip pens, the Sakura Microns 005 for fine lines, and 05 for a hearty thick line. They have archival ink and it's very dark, about as black as possible and dries instantly. All my engineering undergrad notes are on white archival paper and written in this ink, looks very nice and doesn't fade. The tip is something like a specialized felt tip but it never spreads, and I've yet to have one dry out before I lose it. Best of all they're relatively cheap at around $3 each and available at any art store.

I've searched for the perfect technical pen since I was a kid, and since I've found these I've used them consistently for several years now.

Have you considered a combination of (3, Insightful)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837983)

Zoloft and cognitive behavioral therapy? There have been a lot of advances in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder over the years.

Pentel Slicci 0.4mm (1)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837989)

I originally came across the Pentel Slicci 0.4 mm in the stationery department in Tokyu department store, in MBK center, in Bangkok, Thailand. I bought a few then. I have since stocked up by mail order.

The line is as fine as a Pilot Razor Point, but not scratchy, and the tip is a ball tip as opposed to the Razor Point's fiber element, which can be broken if you drop it on a hard floor.

As far as I know, the Slicci is not available retail in the United States. Mail order through the Web, or eBay, seem to be your only options. (Or fly to Bangkok...)

They also make a 0.25 mm version, but I find that the line from that one is too faint and it feels scratchy.

That was easy (3, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#41837991)

A quick google search turns up this:

Sakura Pigma Micron 005 Marker Pen - 0.2 mm - Black

It's not a pencil, it's crazy thin, and (being a marker pen) should have none of the problems listed. The comments suggest that it's not good for people who write with "a heavy hand" which suggests that you won't need to press down very hard.

I think the Smithson 5.78 might be the ticket... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837993)

But seriously -- If you're working for a company that does engineering, use your computer. Your pen is for taking notes in meetings, and unless you work for...I don't know...an imaginary company, they'll provide pen and paper adequate for this task.

Fine Line Sharpie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41837999)

Best cheap felt tip I've found

Ask slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838001)

Is the 'ask slashdot' barrel really this low? "My ink pen has problems" Seriously?

Zebra (1)

spinster (84103) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838003)

Zebra Sarasa 0.3 or 0.4mm retractable gel ink pen sounds like the pen you are describing.


Consider a Technical Pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838005)

I depends on if you want to deal with the mess.


Some brands that are currently still made are Koh-i-noor or Staedtler.

Some other options are



Software pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838009)

As a software engineer, I have the same need. I've been using Pilot G-tec C4s for the last 10 years and have yet to find a better pen:

If you're using to using xterm on your Macbook Pro Retina (obviously running linux) and enjoy those single-pixel thickness fonts, they do a 0.2mm variant.

Uni-ball Signo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838017)

Best pen I have ever used.... In fact, I like model 207. Cheap, no bleed, different points available... In fact, I filled up three notebooks in a few weeks learning Morse code, copying random characters. Great pen.

seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838021)

who fucking cares about your pen?

Sakura Micron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838023)

I really love the Pigma Micron series from Sakura (http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival). They come in lots of colors (including black, blue and red) and may sizes. I prefer the "01" size (0.25mm) for fine writing. There is even 005 model (0.20mm) but it really requires a nice paper to use effectively. Quite thin. Plus, they're cheap, about $2/pen. The other option is the venerable Rapidograph pen although it takes some loving care to maintain. The 5-0 size is *very* small. When mine used to clog I'd swirl the nib in a drop of coffee....

Another option if you enjoy fountain pens (and don't mind disposable pens) is the Pilot Varsity (http://www.artsuppliesonline.com/catalog.cfm?cata_id=1746). Kinda fun.

I used to use fountain pens because I love the tactile act of writing on fine paper. However, I now try do do everything electronically. When I still need to write I now use an Adonit Jot (http://adonit.net/product/jot/) on my iPad. :) It really works.


Not The Space Pen (2)

stuporglue (1167677) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838025)

I have a Fisher space pen and it writes well enough, but it globs occasionally and is thicker than the average ballpoint.

I don't currently own a technical pen, but I agree with the guy who posted a link to some. Technical pens are where it's at for that sort of thing.

Montblanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838027)

I use a Montblanc ballpoint pen, expensive, but very nice to use.

Pilot G2 0.38mm (3)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838031)

Not perfect, but they last and have ready supply of replacement ink, all the great colors... Just need pocket protector.

Only looking at half the problem.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838037)

Regarding complaints 1 - 3: I'm afraid you also have to consider the other side of the equation. The paper absorbs the ink, and it's grain and texture determine how the line is presented. If you're going to be picky, you need to use quality paper, matched to the task. Those loose pages you grab out of the printer tray are clay burnished to be mechanically fed at high speed, and are intended to be embossed with thermoplastic toner, or ultrasonic sprayed ink.

Levenger (0)

gavron (1300111) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838045)

Levenger. Fountain or roller-ball. (not to be confused with "ballpoint").

Good news: your question has been answered.

Bad news: once you get addicted to great pens (no, "Parker" is not on the list) you will spend $$$$$$$!!!

Other good news: if you communicate properly then your friends and family can accessorize you for holiday/birthday gifts.

Tucson AZ
P.S. For the person who said "Pencil"... pencils are for people who make mistakes.

Tried a decent fountain pen? (1)

microbread (2651139) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838053)

TWSBI Diamond 540 - super fountain pen, not too pricey and is essentially airtight so the ink doesn't evaporate. It also comes with tools to fix just about every part, including a little bottle of lubricant. http://www.twsbi.com/product.php?id_product=10 [twsbi.com] Noodler's Bernanke Black/Blue - virtually instant drying on most paper. No joke, you can write a line and waggle your finger over it trailing after the pen and it simply won't smudge. http://www.inknouveau.com/2011/02/noodlers-bernanke-black-and-blue-fast.html [inknouveau.com] Fountain pen will give you nice smooth flow, the nibs go down to 0.2-0.3mm should you need it.

Zebra (1)

bwen (675669) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838057)

I like the Zebra 301 and 402. The 701 is more expensive with the same ink cartridge. For documenting charts all day, its the only pen I use. It doesn't bleed, no blobs, pretty consistent line. Its not expensive either.

Uniball Vision Micro (2)

Rydia (556444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838071)

While I prefer the larger tipped version, I've used the micro before and it has a nice, clean small line. Great line of pens in either size.

Artline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838085)

Artline 220 Super Fine 0.2mm in various colours.

Biggest problem for me is keeping them as most of my colleagues constantly walk away with them....

Gel Pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838091)

If a pen with gel ink doesn't satisfy you, no pen will. I like the Pilot G2, but there are many options.

Also, have you thought about a felt-tip pen? That would solve most of your problems, although I don't know how well it would handle your "write small" requirement. FWIW, Quentin Tarrantino uses "Flair" pens for all his scripts.

Pentel Gel Ink (1)

aitsu (592587) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838103)

I would highly recommend these. The cost vs. quality is superb. In the many years that I've been using them for everything from home shopping lists to design amendments, I cannot recall a single time one has ever failed on me. The only times they didn't deliver were when I was stupidly trying to write on a glossy or otherwise unsuited surface.

http://www.pentel.com/store/hybrid-technicatm-gel-pens [pentel.com]

Nothing beats Bic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838105)

I have the same criteria as you. Have used Bic Classic Fine [bicworld.com] for years. Very happy.

Zebra F-301 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838109)

I can't believe the Zebra F-301 isn't on here. Everything about that pen is fantastic.

The old Franklin Covey Quad pen (1)

coldmist (154493) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838115)

I have used them for 20+ years now, and I still love it.

Search for 'quad pen (franklin,yasutomo)' on eBay.

I use black for most notes, blue for TODO items, and red for reminders.

I don't use the pencil much, but it's a 0.5mm.

The tip is fine. Maybe the only issue would be #5, but it's not any worse than a regular ball point pen. It hasn't been a problem for me.

A little spendy, but my current one is going on 15 years.

Consider a Fountain Pen (1)

crmanriq (63162) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838119)

Lamy Safari - with either the Fine or Extra Fine nib.


Pick a stand out color for the pen (I picked yellow so I can find it amidst my desk of infinite crap.

You can either go with the pre-filled cartridges that just pop in, or you can get a converter that allows the pen to suck ink out of an ink bottle.

In either case, the ink flow is immediate and consistent. It feels more like you are depositing ink onto the paper than you are rolling a gummy ball around.

It's geeky, and practical at the same time.

If you want a cheap way to check out fountain pens before spending $30 or so, then just go to Walgreens and pick up a Zebra FP fountain pen. It's a fine point, and will give you a cheap introduction to see if it's for you.

Lamy multifunction pens (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 2 years ago | (#41838135)

I'm sure you all have seen those cheap pens with multiple colors, German manufacturer Lamy used that concept and produces pens with 2, 3 or 4 functions.

I have the 4 functions one, currently black ink pen, red ink pen, mechanic pencil and PDA stylus (not of much use anymore... fortunately one can put another ink cartridge instead).

The pens are metallic ball point cartridges, because they have to fit in a very small space the ball point is small, producing neat writing.

uniball SA-A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838139)

A cheap, standard ball point, but it [uniball.com.au] works well for me.

Sharpie Pen Fine Point .3mm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41838145)

I used to have similar problems, and I'm picky about my pens. I just don't like cheap ballpoints because they scratch, so I looked for something like a felt-tip that didn't smear or blob. I find the Sharpie fine point pen absolutely perfect. Never have any issues with it. Can't use anything else.


Should work for what you need. Ink doesn't bleed as long as you don't push too hard, which you say you don't, and it's fully dark with a delicate push. No blobs.

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