Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Render K Aluminum Custom Machined Pen

The Kickstarter project that got the Render K custom machined pen going had a $3,000 goal and an estimated ship date of Feburary 2012. By the time the project was funded, there was 1,061 backers and $69,088 raised! Needless to say, they had a lot of pens to make, so it wasn't until May 26, 2012, that the $40 pledge level (my tragic pledge level) arrived in my mailbox!
Render K
Features:

Body Material: Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum
Trim: Stainless steel clip
Origins: Made in USA
Length (capped): 5"
Barrel diameter: 1/2"
Weight: 1.1 oz
Barrel design: Rounded, smooth, micro striations.
Fill type: Pilot Hi-Tec-C refillsParker compatible refills, Fisher Space Pen refills.

The Render K arrived in a thick plastic bag, along with a spring, a spacer, a short piece of polytubing (for fitting other refills), the pen itself, and some instructions. It was all wrapped in kraft paper, and secured in a cardboard box for shipping. There was no damage whatsoever to any of the parts upon arrival and I think the packaging was just fine! Installation was a cinch - no instructions were necessary. I grabbed an olive green Pilot Hi-Tec-C, popped the refill out, and put it into the Render K, followed by the metal tip. It was in working order in a matter of seconds.
Sealed Render K

Packet Contents
Render K pens start out as a solid piece of metal (whether it's aluminum or brass, but in our case, aluminum) and all parts are machined by KarasKustoms. The pen is thickest at the top of the cap, where there is a deliciously fun knurled top. The body tapers towards the end of the pen, and both ends are flat and smooth.
Render K
Side view
Render K Cap
Clip is securely attached to the cap.
Render K Ends
Lovely ends!
The cap is threaded with triple-start threads, meaning you don't have to have all the threads lined up in only one possible orientation, so it's easier and quicker to close. As such, the cap threads on/off in 1.5 turns. The aluminum body is anodized to prevent damage, and will not require much in the way of maintenance over time. If the pen needs to be cleaned, it can be wiped down with a soft cloth, using mild detergent or alcohol, but will never need abrasives or harsh chemicals, nor should you use these as it can damage the surface.
Threading
Inner cap threads
Open
Armed with an olive green refill. 
The Render K has one of the most - pardon my language - badass clips I have ever met on a pen. It is solid, secure, and serious about its job. I will never worry about snapping it off or it being too loose and sliding off whatever it's clipped to. This thing is so snug, it'll stick to one paper or fifty papers equally well.

As for refills, I can tell you for a fact: the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refills obviously fit the pen body perfectly.
Render K Hi Tec C Refill
Pilot Hi-Tec-C: an empty body but a happier refill!
Parker compatible refills fit with the help of the provided spacer and spring.
Render K + Parker
This is a Monteverde refill but it is Parker compatible. 
For those who prefer the micro tips (or regular tips) of the Uni-ball Signo DX, you can do a tiny easy hack to get the refills to fit the Render K body.
Render K Refill Hack
Top refill: Pilot Hi-Tec-C, bottom refill: Uni-ball Signo DX refill. Note the Signo DX refill is slightly longer than the Hi-Tec-C. This is where you should shave off a little bit for the Signo DX to fit in the Render K body!
If you don't like gel ink pens, and prefer ballpoints, the Pilot Acroball refill fits without any hacking - just use the spacer and spring provided. The nib tip will be very slightly recessed but not to the point that it will affect your ability to write or your comfort. 
Acroball Render K
Something that is very unique about this pen, aside from the fact that it's custom machined and can fit several different refills is that there are no logos or branding on the pen body anywhere. Some people may dislike this but I think it makes this pen truly belong to the owner.

How does it write? Well, depending what refill you're using, it'll vary. Using a Pilot Hi-Tec-C, it makes the Hi-Tec-C even better to write with. Combine the smooth ink and crisp tip with the beautiful, sleek, perfectly weighted body of the Render K and you've got one heck of a fun ride. Or write.

Little Things to Love
KarasKustoms makes these pens in the USA, so that means less shipping and resources transported, which is more energy efficient! I was also very pleased to see that KarasKustoms recycles all excess produces from the machining process!

KarasKustoms guarantees their products against manufacturing defects, too.

Something to Think About
I started to wonder if the threading around the middle of the barrel where the cap screws in would affect my grip and become uncomfortable. Lucky for me, I don't grip my pens so high so it didn't get in the way, but of course every person's grip varies. If you hold your pens tightly high up, you'll probably find the threading to be a problem.

Another thing: the cap does not post securely - it can rest on the back of the pen but should not be pushed down. KarasKustoms suggests clipping the cap to your page or something while you write. I usually post my pens out of habit and was surprised to find this pen was comfortable to use even without the cap posted. I just wonder what to do with the cap when it's not in use. Just to test, I did gently post the pen while writing and it actually stayed on top without a problem. Assuming you don't write at a sharp angle, the cap will likely stay in place while you write. Be careful though.

Another Render K Review
From The Pen Cup

Price
KarasKustoms - $45.00
Pilot Hi-Tec-C Refills

Overall
You should get a Render K because it's really cool, it can take a bunch of different refills, and it is sexy, sleek, and shiny. Seriously, this is a downright unique and mysterious pen. I LOVE IT. I couldn't say it any more simply!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.