Mitsubishi Uni M-552 drafting pencils

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Mitsubishi Uni M-552 drafting pencils

The Mitsubishi Uni M-552 is another inexpensive drafting pencil.

Lightweight at about 12.5g, they come in five lead diameters. I bought all five. I may soon regret this, as the 0.4mm pencil does not have refills available in Canada. On the other hand, it’s not too often that I’ve found myself saying that I need a 0.4mm pencil for a particular purpose.

The tip, grip, clip, and cap are metal, and the barrel is plastic.

The lead advances by clicking the cap. A thin plastic ring, the pencil’s only colourful element, is the pencil’s lead grade window.

The grip, very lightweight, screws off of the plastic barrel (see photo). Why a removable grip? I’m not sure, but if the idea was to make available a choice of grips to suit individual preferences, that would have been an excellent offering.

Mitsubishi Uni M-552 drafting pencils

The grip superficially resembles that of some expensive drafting pencils – which is probably the intent. But it doesn’t at all have the smooth feel of the Staedtler 925 95, for example. In fact, I found the 552 quite unpleasant.

It seemed to be a pencil that had a lot of attention paid to the cosmetics. Unfortunately, the looks don’t achieve much in person, and I would rate it lower than the A120 – though there is a 0.4mm version, if that is important to you.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

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Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

As well as woodcase pencils, the Craft Design Technology brand offers item 16, a 0.5mm drafting pencil.

The pencil is made for CDT by Pentel.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

The white plastic barrel is distinctive, with lettering in black. I’m not exactly sure what the tip, grip, and clip are made of. They appear to be another type of plastic, though finished to look like metal.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

At approximately 15.5g, it also feels substantial, and there seems to have been some effort exerted in creating a very comfortable balance and grip.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

The design seems much more evolved than the micro, for example, yet it’s still a usable and functional pencil. I tend to think the white will get discolored over time, but maybe not – Pentel probably knows what they are doing.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

At ?1,890 , there is some “design premium” in the price compared to similar plastic drafting pencils.

The lead grade window (in the cap) goes from 3H to B, but I’ve been using 2B. Who decided that 3H needed the space more than 2B? I didn’t mention it, but the 925 95 (featured last week) has a window that goes from 2H to 2B.

Craft Design Technology drafting pencil

The pencil is pleasant enough, and the design and colour scheme would be the main selling points. The pencil is packaged with a cardboard box, and could make a nice gift.

Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

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Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

While I didn’t mind the Pentel 120, the Mars micro was not to my taste. Drafting tools are supposed to be Staedtler’s turf, so I thought I would try something else from them. A little bit of research indicated that the 925 95 series is highly regarded, though sometimes tricky to find.

The inner workings of Staedtler Inc. aren’t known to me, but it’s clear that their division in Japan seems to produce some good stuff – like the 925 95.

Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

The entire pencil, except for a plastic end-cap indicating lead diameter, is metal. A push advance drafting pencil, it is suitable for many tasks.

Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

It is a ferocious and scary instrument. Never mind pocket-safe. It’s not safe, period. At 21g (approximately), with an untapered tip (as well as sleeve), it could be used for nefarious purposes.

Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

The pencil has two special features: A lead degree indicator, and the capability to adjust the lead advance mechanism.

The lead degree indicator is okay, with the window changed by holding the metal cap portion, and rotating the plastic portion. But, if you ever find that you fiddle with the cap, the setting is easily lost.

The advance adjustment is a rotating ring below the cap. From the point of view of the cap, clockwise rotation causes the lead to be dispensed in decreasing amounts. The range seems to from about 1.5mm (counterclockwise extreme) to too small for me to measure (clockwise extreme). If you care about how much lead is advanced per click, you may like this feature.

The clip is looser than I might expect – though while clipping the pencil to documents, it was the easily removed cap that I feared might become lost.

The grip felt very comfortable to me. While always a personal preference, the 925 95 seems to offer a very nice fine milled knurl.

Staedtler 925 95 drafting pencils

The weight is in the grip, and this somehow makes sense.

The best recommendation I have is to replace the default lead with the Lead Cup winning Ain. That really made the pencil excel, producing rich, dark lines.

So where can I get the 0.7mm version?

Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils

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Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils

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.

Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils

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.

Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils

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.