Inka Pen

Dec. 25th, 2010 11:50 pm
bquinlan: (Default)
[personal profile] bquinlan
I recently posted a writeup on Fisher's pressurized ballpoint cartridges. Here's a clever and useful pen that comes standard with a Fisher multipen cartridge.

Inka Pen

The Inka Pen is unlike anything else I've seen. It is about the diameter of a normal pen (3/8" or 10mm), but when closed it's only 3.2" (81mm) long. There's a hole through one end for a split ring. That makes it ideal for attachment to a keychain, purse, belt loop, or zipper pull.

The writing portion of the pen is a 3" stub that is held in place by an O-ring. If you attach the split ring to something you can simply pull sharply on the other end and you'll have a short but perfectly-functional pen ready to go. That "quick draw" is great for short tasks like signing receipts or jotting on sticky notes. When finished just push it back into the tube.

What separates the Inka from other short pens is that you can re-arrange the components to form a full-sized pen. You just have to unscrew the two end-caps and screw the writing portion into the storage tube. It takes less than 30 seconds to assemble or put to put away. The full-length configuration is comfortable, well-balanced, and sturdy.

Every Inka ships with a Fisher pressurized cartridge, which adds even more to its versatility. It will write at any angle, on almost any surface, and under nearly any conditions. Inka sells strange-looking refills, but you can actually take apart the "refill" that comes with the pen and replace just the ink cartridge portion with any standard multipen refill. Of course, I would recommend replacing it with another Fisher, but you do have the option of using whatever cartridges you prefer.

Even the apparently mundane aspects of the Inka Pen are high-tech. What appears to be plain black plastic is actually carbon fiber. The steel (or titanium) tube is CNC machined, then hardened, rather than being cast. All of which makes for an extremely tough pen. And it comes with a lifetime warranty.

The standard steel version should be more than adequate for most people, but if you work in a highly-corrosive environment, or just need the lightest possible pen (0.45 oz or 13 g), a more expensive titanium version is also available.

Finally, any pen that takes replaceable ink cartridges is more environmentally-friendly than a throw away. Inka does more by using 100% recycled packaging.

I have carried an Inka attached to my vest or my bag since they became available around five years ago. It is probably my most frequently used pen and has performed flawlessly. For less than $20 the standard version is a bargain.
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