It’s been a few days since the last post. Despite this quiet period, the blog just had the busiest day on record. I’d like to say thank you to Selectism, whose link sent many (no doubt well dressed!) visitors this way.
Today we’re going to look at the Uni Style Fit. The Style Fit is an inexpensive multi-implement writing system known for a vast array of refill types and colours. Here is an official Mitsubishi Pencil Co. press photo showing the lineup. I count 16 body and 103 refill choices! 102 of those refill choices are pens – a wide range of gel diameters and colours, and a smaller ballpoint selection. There is also a single pencil refill – 0.5mm Nano Dia HB lead.
Though there are many multi-pens on the market, they typically have a set configuration – two ballpoints and a pencil, for example, or three ballpoints – which can’t be changed.
What is really interesting about the Style Fit is that you can put in any combination of the 103 refill types. This made me think that it could be configured as an inexpensive multipencil. I ordered a 3-refill body (all of $US3.00 at Jstationery) and three pencil cartridges.
I changed one cartridge to red lead and another to green.
There seemed to be very little tolerance in the cartridges, so replacing the leads required a steady hand. (see below)
The mechanism seems complicated, yet is reasonably practical. The clip is also a lead selector, and two other spokes also function in this capacity. I attached the graphite cartridge to the clip, and the red and green leads to the smaller spokes. You select a lead by sliding the appropriate clip or spoke. This in turn extends the cartridge. The cartridge will lock in place, and the lead is extended by making smaller clicks of the clip or spoke.
Overall, I’m pleased. While admittedly a bit of a novelty, it is also an inexpensive and functioning red-green-graphite multipencil. There is some rattling noise inside the pencil, and it doesn’t exactly look like a luxury writing instrument. Yet at this price point, neither consideration seems important. Also available in single and 5-refill bodies, there are a lot of possible uses for such a customizable item.
Update (March 14, 2010): I had mentioned the challenge of replacing the default lead inside the cartridge. This was based on attempting to reload a stand-alone cartridge. If you first place the cartridge in the pencil body, replacing the lead becomes simple.