An industrial designer has created a pen which never runs out of ink – especially if you’re writing with a large glass of red on your desk.
The WINKpen is currently trying to meet a modest Kickstarter goal of $47,000. “WINK” is branding for “wine as ink”, and Portland, Oregon entrepreneur Jessica Chan has experimented extensively with writing with booze.
“In essence, the WINKpen was born from the desire to create a sustainable alternative to something that many of us use in our daily lives,” Chan told Business Insider.
Regular pens go dry before you’re halfway through a packet. Expensive refillable pens have a habit of disappearing soon after you leave your desk.
After about a year and a half in development, Chan now writes with her glass-nibbed WINKpen.
When she’s running low on ink, she simply dips the nib in a glass of wine, twists to refill and returns to work.
Or beer, which Chan used to create a tree sketch which is one of the WINKpens Kickstarter perks.
“Yes,” Chan confirmed. “Beer varies depending on how concentrated and dark it is.
“Stouts for example have worked for me as an underlay (similar to water colour or marker colour wise). I have sketched plenty with beer…!”
Chan’s other favourite “inks” are soy sauce and beetroot juice.
“They’re very vivid and beautiful colours,” she says.
The secret is in the glass nib which rotates between an angled tip for calligraphy and a conical tip for finer penmanship:
“The glass replaces the metal tips and ball-points in traditional pens, removing the risk of corrosion and making it easy to clean. Spiraled grooves in the glass nib elegantly feed ink to paper while also boasting a beautiful aesthetic.”
Chan says she personally “hasn’t loaded it with anything that is an absolute no go”.
“Dependent on type of fluid is how vivid it shows up,” she says.
“I would avoid anything that is too thick as the funnel is very thin on the inside of the coupler. Same applies to avoiding juices with chunks.
“If beer is too carbonated also, that could affect the flow if you get a bubble — so something to be cautious about as you’re sketching.”
It’s a fairly lo-tech solution to an eternal problem. The pens are joined by several rubber O-rings, so they can be pulled apart and easily cleaned when needed. Together with the spiral nib, an elastometer lining the inside of the pen also helps control beetroot juice splatters.
“It’s engineered to be able to handle very viscous inks,” Chan says, “and slow fluids down enough so that you are writing with it normally.”
It’s also a creative’s dream, as experimenting with all the fluids in your kitchen cupboard can produce some wild results, right?
The price of the pen on Kickstarter is currently $US60 for US buyers, or $US85 outside the US to cover shipping.
Chan hopes it will stay at that price point if it gets into retail stores. Because the tips and the housing of the pen are glass, there is chance they’ll break if your kid chucks it on the ground, but nibs will be able to be bought separately. They’ll also come in varying colors and styles.
Check out WINKpens at Kickstarter.
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