Mark Two: A Minimal and Durable Pocket Pen

Created by Dan Provost & Tom Gerhardt

Mark Two is a custom machined, all-metal pocket pen small enough to take with you, but extends to a full length when in use.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Shipping Update
about 2 months ago – Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 09:39:50 PM

Greetings Backers! 

By now, almost every US backer should have received their pens. There are about 10 or so that haven’t shipped yet, but those will likely ship this week. If you ordered a Panobook or Glif or Cosmonaut along with your pen, those are currently backordered and will ship separately when they are back in stock. 

Last week, we shipped 200 pens to our UK warehouse, which will cover about half of the international backers. They should arrive in about a week or so, and will take a couple days to process and then ship. In the coming weeks, we hope to build up more inventory to send another shipment to the UK warehouse that will cover the rest of the international backers. We are so close to the finish line! 

A few folks have asked about ink refills. We don’t yet have the refills for Mark Two for sale on our website, but will once we put the pen itself up for sale, after finishing all the Kickstarter orders. 

Thanks for sticking with us, we hope another project never takes this long again! But it feels good to finally be rounding the corner and seeing the finish line in the distance. 

Until next time, 

Tom & Dan

Shipping Update
4 months ago – Sat, Jan 29, 2022 at 05:48:48 AM

Greetings backers!

We wanted to briefly come up for air to give an update about where we are, shipping wise. Here’s the latest:

  • So far, we have shipped pens to 502 backers.
  • All of those backers are in the United States, and it represents half of all US backers and over 1/3 of our overall backers.
  • Our families were hit with Covid and / or other childcare needs, which significantly slowed shipping for a period of a couple weeks. But we are ramping back up, and hope to attain a clip of shipping roughly ~200 pens a week.
  • This means, if we are able to maintain that shipping speed, all Kickstarter orders should be shipped to backers (or on the way to our international warehouse) in the next five weeks.

This feels pretty good, and a good target to shoot for! We appreciate the continued patience, as always.

Folks who have already received their pens seem to really be digging them! We have noticed some confusion about how “posting” is meant to work (flipping the body around to use in writing mode), so we made a little video that shows a complete walkthrough of the pen and how that all is supposed to work.

That’s it for now, looking forward to getting things wrapped up in the next month or so. When you receive your pen, let us know on social media (Instagram, Twitter), we love to see when they arrive for folks!

Until next time,

Tom & Dan

It begins!
6 months ago – Thu, Dec 09, 2021 at 05:52:04 PM

Greetings Backers!

Yes, it’s true, shipping has begun! Albeit, a very small batch (64 pens), but a milestone nonetheless! Let’s see where we’re at with everything:

  • So far we’ve received about 300 coated sleeves and clips back from our Cerakote guy. They look good, and we have begun the process of assembling them, which involves screwing the clip on, then press fitting the magnet inside. We are still honing our process, and we’ve encountered a couple small problems, but they are fixable. We are just currently working out how to best fold the fixes into our assembly process.
  • As for the PVD coating of the bodies, we ran into a bit of a snag, but are currently working on a fix. The PVD process is basically magic and happens inside a chamber under a very high vacuum. This vacuum pulls out and vaporizes any impurities in the parts, so if any are present, it can cause issues with the PVD coating not adhering in places. We are discovering this is happening to many of the body parts. Our supplier is working on a solution that has worked in the past for this exact problem, which is to first heat the parts past the PVD temperature, then do the coating. We’ve PVD’d parts many times in the past (like the knocks on the Mark One), so we were surprised to encounter this issue, but we are hopeful their solution will do the trick. We should know more in a couple weeks. Some of the parts turned out perfectly fine, which is why we’re able to ship this initial small batch.
  • Our manufacturer just finished another batch of parts, which will be more than enough to cover all the Kickstarter orders, and they are on the way to us (estimated to arrive tomorrow). So, as expected, the delay on those won’t actually delay things overall; the coating process is the current bottleneck.

All of that is to say, there are still some tweaks to work out as we figure out these processes, but boy does it feel good to get some pens out the door!

We will update again next month after the holidays, at which point we will have hopefully made a good sized dent in the shipment queue. We will be posting assembly images and videos to our Instagram, find us there if you are interested in following along. We hope everyone has a lovely holiday break, and, as always, we can’t thank you enough for sticking with us.

Until next time,

Tom & Dan

Just look at these beauties.

Update
7 months ago – Sat, Oct 23, 2021 at 02:26:56 AM

Greetings Backers!

We’ll get straight to it, we’ve received Mark Two parts, and they are awesome! We haven’t received all of them yet (more on that below), but enough to get rolling with coating, assembly, packaging, and shipping.

Here are the details:

  • The order we placed with our manufacturer was for 4000 sets of parts (we generally order about 2X the number we need for Kickstarter, so we have inventory to sell after we fulfill the Kickstarter preorders). So far, in hand, we have: all of the clips (4000), all of the magnets (4000), 1400 sleeve parts, and 1400 body parts (and all of the packaging, ink, etc. that we’ve had for a while).
  • The reason they haven’t shipped all of the sleeve and body parts is they made a mistake during the polishing phase that unfortunately means those parts need to be remade again (pain). However, we are optimistic that won’t actually slow the current timeline down too much, or at all, because we are going to be busy processing the parts we already have, which will take some time. We only need about 1500 parts to fulfill all of the Kickstarter backers, so we are only a little bit short. They should be able to ship the parts in batches so we are not waiting for the entire run to be complete.
  • We have already shipped 400 sleeves to our Cerakote guy in Dallas, and 400 bodies to the PVD place in Pennsylvania. We did not ship all of the parts we have because we want to do a “trial run” first to make sure the process is sound and QA is good before we coat everything.
  • While we are waiting for the parts to be coated, we can begin assembling the silver bodies that do not need to be coated with PVD.
  • When the parts arrive back to us from being coated (in 2-3 weeks likely), we will inspect them, and if everything is good, we will give our coaters the go-ahead to coat the rest of the parts we currently have.
  • At that point, we will be able to assemble, package, and ship the first batch of Mark Two pens to our very patient backers!

Assembling, packaging, and shipping will be a little slow going at first, as we work through all the quirks of figuring out how to do things efficiently. But once things get rolling we should be able to go pretty quickly. We plan to share a ton of photos, videos, and timelapses of the assembly and packaging steps on Instagram, be sure to follow us there.

What this all means is we will likely BEGIN shipping pens to backers towards the end of November. Keep in mind, it is going to take several weeks to get every single pen shipped, but it is nice to now have a solid target in place.

You may be wondering when that means you are getting your pen specifically, and unfortunately we don’t really have an answer to that. We will ship the pens in batches based on doing it as efficiently as possible, and it has nothing to do with your backer number or how quickly the filled out the Backerkit survey or anything like that. We can say that folks based in the US will likely receive their pens first, because international backers requires the extra step of sending to our UK warehouse first.

Anyhow, we hope you all are excited. While we would love to have every single part, it feels great to be so close to the finish line. As we’ve said before, we think this pen will be worth the wait.

Thanks as always for your support and patience. Until next time!

Tom & Dan

Mark Two bodies.
Mark Two sleeves.
Magnets.
Clips.

Update
8 months ago – Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 07:36:57 AM

Greetings Patient Backers! 

It’s been a while. Our manufacturers took about twice as long as they estimated for the remade parts (of course), but at long last, some good news: the machined parts are complete! We have received a few parts from the production run, and they are fantastic. Everything is correct, all errors have been fixed, and the polishing is awesome. We couldn’t be happier. So, where do we go from here?

  • The manufacturers need to finish cleaning and packaging all of the parts. This should take less than a week. We are very particular about how clean the parts are when we receive them, to have one less thing to deal with once we get them (sometimes parts will have oil or other residue from the manufacturing process, which isn’t a problem in some cases, but we definitely don’t want that).
  • After that, the parts will be shipped to us. We are shipping by air, at great expense, to speed things up. There might be some delay getting the parts onto a plane, as international freight is very backed up right now. Just the state of the world at the moment, nothing we can do about that unfortunately. But once in transit it should only be a few days of shipping time.
  • Once the parts arrive, we will immediately check them to verify everything is good, then send all of the sleeves and clips to our Cerakote guy in Dallas to have them all coated with black Cerakote. Additionally, about half of the bodies will be sent to the PVD place to receive the black PVD coating. The other half will remain raw polished steel.
  • While the parts are being coated (it should take about 4 weeks), we can keep ourselves busy by assembling all of uncoated bodies, which basically means adding an o-ring to the cone piece, inserting the ink refill and spring, and screwing the two parts together.
  • When the rest of the parts arrive back from the Cerakote and PVD places, we can start assembly, packaging, and shipping!

Whew. It feels good to be on the other side of the manufacturing part of this process. 

In other news, we just charged the credit cards for any add-ons you might have added to your order on Backerkit. So if you saw a charge or got an email from Backerkit, that’s what it was. We will also be locking addresses soon, so if you need to change or verify yours you can do so here: https://marktwo.backerkit.com

Lastly, we plan on sharing A LOT of assembly action on our Instagram, and perhaps even trying some live streams, so if that interests you, you can follow us there. 

Thanks again for your continued patience. It feels really good knowing that you all trust us and are allowing us the time to get it right. We think you’ll be rewarded with a truly awesome pen. 

Until next time! 

Tom & Dan

Production parts!
Mark Two, assembled.