Intrigued: The Contribute Project via Kickstarter

Grey Contribute Pen & Hardwood Box

Earlier this week, Dustin Faddis sent me a heads up on his current Kickstarter project. A pen made out of concrete. CONCRETE. At first I was confused, because when I think of concrete I think “sidewalk” and “oh so heavy” and a few other things that have nothing in common with a pen. But as I watched Dustin’s Kickstarter video, I became intrigued (but was still a little confused). Because my brain is stuck on that heavy-as-lead type of concrete, my inner three-year old came roaring out and a bunch of questions popped into my head. So I emailed my questions to Dustin, who did a great job of clearing up my confusion.

Grey Contribute Pen with magnetic cap and back

I asked, first, about the weight. I mean, mobsters are forever talking about putting someone in “concrete overshoes” so wouldn’t a pen made out of concrete weigh a ton? The answer is no. Dustin has engineered this concrete to be both light AND extremely strong. The pen, with refill, weighs 1.6 ounces. By comparison, a Retro 51 Tornado weighs around 1.1 ounces while the PHX-Pen weighs 2.1 ounces, so the Contribute Pen falls squarely between the two. Lightweight concrete. Who knew? (Oh, yeah…Dustin knew.)

I also asked Dustin if he could describe what the pen FEELS like to hold. How is it to grip? Is it cold or warm to the touch? How’s the balance? (Am I annoying?) Dustin offered this response, “The pen is very comfortable to hold. There’s a soft and smooth feel to it, yet it nicely grips your hand–not slippery, although the finish is polished and smooth.” He also says that the pen material adapts to ambient room temperature and conducts some body heat.

As for balance, Dustin describes the pen as resting nicely in hand, with maybe a slight weight to the back, but nothing pronounced. He is currently experimenting with different spring plungers (stainless steel vs. aluminum vs. brass) to see if this shifts the balance at all, but offers that the pen maintains a light touch on paper, and offers the right amount of heft and balance.

Contribute Pen & Hardwood Box

The Contribute Pen takes a variety of refills, including my favorites…the Pilot Hi-Tec-C and Uni-ball Signo DX. I asked him about the “snugness” of the various refills, because there’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting refill. Dustin confirms that they are, indeed, snug, and are held firmly in place by the spring plunger. The pen’s cap, tip, and back are magnetized with Neodymium magnets, which adds another layer of coolness to this pen.

My last question had to do with the project’s name…The Contribute Project. What’s the significance? Well, due to Kickstarter project guidelines, Dustin has to be somewhat vague about what this means. So let’s just say that there IS meaning behind the name, and that I’m sure you’d endorse his vision.

He also said, quite graciously, that I WASN’T annoying. Which is cool, because that shows that Dustin is as much a stickler for detail as I am. Maybe more. At least when it comes to engineered concrete.

In addition to the pen, The Contribute Project also includes Hardwood Boxes (for holding the pens) and assorted Buttons (use your imagination!), details of which can be found on the project’s Kickstarter page.

Buttons from The Contribute Project

The Contribute Pen & Buttons

Pledge levels on Kickstarter range from $5 to $150. Pen rewards start at the $55 level. There are only 15 days left to fund this project, as pledging closes on Monday December 10th. So if, like me, you’re a fan of unique pens, head over to Dustin’s Kickstarter page and check out the video, more photos, and more details.

Concrete? Yes, concrete.


Notes: All photos courtesy of Dustin Faddis. I am a backer of this Kickstarter project.


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