Mark Three: A Minimal and Durable Mechanical Pencil.
Created by Dan Provost & Tom Gerhardt
Mark Three is a custom machined mechanical pencil with a ceramic based exterior coating for long lasting durability.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
24 days ago
– Fri, Feb 24, 2023 at 10:03:31 AM
In the last update we talked about having a hiccup with the Cerakote coating process, and hoped it will be the only one. Well, no such luck, sadly.
When we began assembling pencils with the copper end cap, we noticed the coating was starting to come off in a subtle and strange way. We sent the end caps back to our PVD supplier to have them recoated. We were supposed to have them back by now, but the second attempt at recoating failed, so they are taking another crack at it. This isn’t concerning to us; it’s happened before with our pens and they eventually get it right, just frustrating because of the time delay. They are telling us they will be able to ship them back to us on March 1st, assuming this third attempt goes well.
So, we’ve basically been in a holding pattern for the past few weeks. The Cerakote bodies are also taking longer than we’d like, though we are expecting a big shipment of those next week. Our plan is to assemble pencils in their entirely except the end caps, and then pop those when they arrive.
So far we’ve shipped about 150 domestic orders, and another 100 international orders should ship in the next few days. Knocking on wood that once we get the bodies and knocks it will be quite quick to get the rest shipped out.
Thanks as always for hanging in there!
Tom & Dan
2 months ago
– Thu, Jan 12, 2023 at 11:27:02 AM
We had been knocking on wood that production had been going smoothly, with no major hiccups. Well, we finally hit one! Thankfully, we got it figured out and are back on track. Here is what happened:
We sent the bodies to our Cerakote guy in Dallas to be coated. This is the same guy that does our Mark One bodies, which is similar in size but not exactly the same as the Mark Three body. They thought that they had everything figured out in terms of how to mount the bodies properly to be coated, but they discovered after running a batch that they were getting some “ghosting” around the end near the back opening. So, it took some trial and error to get the correct fixtures set up to eliminate this problem. Thankfully, it now seems to be resolved, and we just received the first batch of 300 bodies. They look great! We've started to assemble pencils and it's going smoothly so far.
So as they continue to coat the rest of the bodies, we can work on getting the pencils assembled, packaged, and shipped to backers! We are thinking the first small batch will ship by the end of next week, and we will be doing rolling shipments for the next several weeks until we get everything shipped.
We just locked the addresses in Backerkit, with a 48 hour notice. You should receive an email about it, please verify that your address is correct. If not, you can follow the link in the email to update it.
That’s it for now, thanks for hanging in there. We suspect this will be the last and only hiccup along the way.
Until next time,
Tom & Dan
4 months ago
– Wed, Nov 30, 2022 at 09:04:38 PM
Greetings Backers! We hope everyone who celebrates had a restful Thanksgiving. Got another good Mark Three update for you:
Last we spoke, we were coordinating shipment of all the production parts to us. They all arrived safely, and we have sent the bodies off to our Cerakote guy and half of the end caps to Pennsylvania to be PVD coated in copper.
Our Cerakote guy should be sending us the first batch of bodies this week (!), which means in theory we could start to begin shipping pencils to backers in the next couple weeks (!!!).
As is usual for a project like this, it’s going to take several weeks to get every last Mark Three shipped, so we appreciate your patience. We do rolling shipments as we assemble them rather than waiting until all ~1000 pencils are done before shipping. And FYI, your backer number has no bearing on when you might receive your Mark Three, we batch shipments based on the coated parts as they come in.
On that note, we are going to be locking addresses in Backerkit, and charging credit cards if you ordered any add-ons. You should receive an email from Backerkit to confirm your address is correct; if it needs to change there will be a link to edit it.
That’s it for now! We’ll try to post some assembly process photos and video to our Instagram If you want to follow along there.
Until next time,
Tom & Dan
5 months ago
– Thu, Oct 13, 2022 at 12:07:47 AM
Greetings backers! Time for our monthly update, and we’ve got a good one for you. Let’s not bury the lede: the machining phase of the production parts is complete! Here is the breakdown of where we are at and the next steps:
We received a set of production samples, and thoroughly checked them all. See a short video of Tom doing that here. All the parts are to spec and look great.
As mentioned, the production parts are complete. We are just coordinating the freight shipping, customs duties, etc. before we can get them shipped.
Once the parts arrive here, we will immediately send all the bodies to our guy in Dallas to add the Cerakote, and half the end caps will go to Pennsylvania to be PVD coated in copper.
While those parts are being coated, we will prep the mechanisms, which basically just involves putting o-rings in the right places.
The lead advancers, erasers, and packaging have all been ordered and are either en route or in process.
Things have gone remarkably smoothly so far, but we aren’t counting our chickens just yet. That said, we think delivering well before the June 2023 estimate is probably likely :)
In the update next month we should be able to give a decent estimate for timeline for deliveries. In the meantime, hope everyone is enjoying some fall weather.
Until next time,
Tom & Dan
7 months ago
– Tue, Aug 30, 2022 at 04:24:43 PM
Tom and Dan here with our first Mark Three project update, and it’s a good one. Just yesterday we received the first samples of Mark Three parts from our supplier. Typically when we receive the first samples for a new product, there is something wrong that needs to be corrected, but amazingly, these parts are great! There is only one tiny change we are going to add to the end cap piece, but we don’t need to resample for that revision because it is so minor. So we have approved the parts, and they will begin production ASAP.
We expect them to take 4-6 weeks to complete the full production run, but it is not unusual for things to get delayed for any number of reasons these days, but that’s a decent ballpark if things so smoothly. They will send us production samples as the run is going so we can approve parts as they make them.
A wrench can always get thrown into the plans (like when we had to basically remake every part for Mark Two), but things are going as smooth as they possibly could right now. Knock on wood. I guess third time’s a charm.
Aside from that news, be on the lookout for the Backerkit survey to be arriving in your inboxes this week. This survey is how you tell us your mailing address, and the color Mark Three you’d like. You will also be able to add-on additional stuff, like more Mark Threes, or our other pens (Mark One and Mark Two) and our notebooks. All of the writing utensils are discounted on Backerkit, so we highly recommend taking advantage of this. The email from Backerkit will have the subject “Response Needed — Get your reward for Mark Three: A Minimal and Durable Mechanical Pencil.” If you are moving soon, still fill out the survey, you can always edit it later. We will send an email reminder when we are ready to “lock” the addresses and begin shipping.
That’s all for now! Hope everyone has a good week.