Okay, that’s not the real name. But this pencil sharpener did communicate an enthusiastic futuristic sensibility to me. Or at minimum, a recollection of the brilliant and sublime villain in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001, A Space Odyssey.
This reflective red orb is quite interesting by itself – even before knowing what it is. Being able to sharpen pencils is an extra feature.
Made by Panasonic, this is the PinPoint KP-006A/B. It is a battery operated pencil sharpener, made in Thailand. Purchased by mail order, the shipping and battery (4 AAs, not included) cost was greater than that of the sharpener itself.
Opening it up revealed a disappointment – it seems to be, in essence, a cheap plastic sharpener, rotated around by battery power. The problem is – the blade will soon become dull. What then? I have no idea where the correct replacement blade could be found – it may or may not be a “standard” size – and even then, it looks to me like some fairly good small part manipulation skills would be needed to make the exchange. I hate the idea that this sharpener, which has many merits, is in some sense “disposable”.
The operation is extremely simple. Put the pencil in – and it sharpens. For someone with hand motor problems, or a need to sharpen many pencils, it seems like a very good solution. The only operational downfall is that there is no stop mechanism – it will keep sharpening the entire pencil if you let it!
Shavings accumulate in a removable plastic drawer. It may slightly mark up the pencil’s finish.
Overall, my feelings are mixed. The PinPoint seems like a great implementation in terms of design and user interface. Yet – we know that blades dull, especially with tough basswood pencils. I’ll try and report back sometime in the future about how it fares over time.