A recent trip to a local university provided a chance to visit their engineering supply store, where I picked up some Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils. They were one of two brands sold, along with the competitor Staedtler Mars micro.
The pencils come in four versions, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9 mm. While I have various 0.5 and 0.7 mm mechanical pencils, the thin 0.3 mm and thick 0.9 mm varieties aren’t familiar to me, and seemed like they would be fun to play around with.
The pencils have a metal tip, rubber grip, plastic body and cap, and metal clip. The lead is advanced by clicking the cap. The cap also lifts off to reveal a very tiny eraser.
The internal mechanisms have some variations – the length of lead dispensed by a click corresponds to the diameter of the lead, with a click of the 0.9 mm pencil dispensing the most lead, and the 0.3 mm pencil the least.
The grip looked like a seasonally appropriate winter tire to me, and I liked it. It was comfortable and grippable.
After a few days of trying them out, I think they are a nice set, and a reasonable and inexpensive introduction to the category.