Clever Technology Joins Old Technology
April 25, 2015 2:36 PM   Subscribe

 
This is an awesome idea, very clever and very thrifty. Now if only I could manage to keep pencils long enough for them to become stumps, instead of just losing them after like the third use.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Except, glue. Which I never have around.
posted by Samizdata at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love this! And then I thought about the last time I managed to use a wood pencil long enough for it to be sharpened down to a stump. Or that if I was really concerned about waste I'd be using mechanical pencils instead. But I love it anyway.
posted by phooky at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2015


If I had this I would spend all day making the longest pencil I could.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:55 PM on April 25, 2015 [32 favorites]


I love these answers to questions no one was asking. (However, this would be a great way to build full-sized pencils from the stubby ones on loan at Ikea.)
posted by Dip Flash at 2:56 PM on April 25, 2015


what kind of hellish existence is this where (a) you are so destitute that you need to frankenstein mutilated pencils into new ones (b) you are experiencing abject poverty yet can afford arts and crafts (c) you're not sniffing the glue?

what kind of text could possibly be so important that you would put yourself through all of that as you're probably dying of hunger and boredom? your suicide letter?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [39 favorites]


@foci:

SO DARK.
posted by raihan_ at 2:59 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many salvaged pencils it would require to recoup the cost of the device.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:03 PM on April 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


I understand how the utility of this is not immediately obvious, but if it were used on art pencils that are either expensive or hard to find, I can see how it might be practical. Especially for broke art students.
posted by TedW at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


This is like the roach blunt of pencils.
posted by Gymnopedist at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


WHO'S LAUGHING NOW, Skandia mini-golf? Who. is. laughing. now?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:09 PM on April 25, 2015 [28 favorites]


I understand how the utility of this is not immediately obvious...

It's this era of industrial plenty that we live in - - a frontier settler in the 1800's or a parent of school-age children during the Great Depression would have grasped it immediately.
posted by fairmettle at 3:15 PM on April 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


In the future, we will only solve the problems that no one ever had.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 3:15 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have the sudden urge to go to Argos.
posted by Solomon at 3:16 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


fairmettle: "I understand how the utility of this is not immediately obvious...

It's this era of industrial plenty that we live in - - a frontier settler in the 1800's or a parent of school-age children during the Great Depression would have grasped it immediately.
"

Or the whole 9 foot pencil crowd. (Which does have some appeal to me.)
posted by Samizdata at 3:25 PM on April 25, 2015


Johnny Wallflower: "I wonder how many salvaged pencils it would require to recoup the cost of the device."

This was my first thought. My second thought it would be fun to join together little stub pencils like they have at the library next to the card catalog to write down call numbers. Then I realized that libraries probably don't have little stub pencils anymore because they don't have card catalogs anymore. That brought on an odd wistful feeling.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Not to knock down a neat idea, but wouldn't some sort of (non-disposable) pencil stub holder be a better solution to this problem?
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:27 PM on April 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


Came here to make a really awesome human centipede joke which would have been so good that it would have broken the MF record for comment faves. Then I saw the tags. Thanks for nothing, quin.
posted by the webmistress at 3:30 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


You still have to glue it? Why doesn't it carve threads into the pencils so you can screw them together? Or a knob on the end of the second pencil, so it can stuck like a cat shoving its head through fencing?
posted by aaronetc at 3:31 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was so jazzed about a year ago when one of my pencils got down to 5th Grade Stub status for the first time in like 40 years. I think I took a picture of it.
posted by rhizome at 3:33 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


This pencil machine is seriously in Australian Toilet-Swirl Reverser territory.
posted by rhizome at 3:36 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


My second thought it would be fun to join together little stub pencils like they have at the library next to the card catalog to write down call numbers. Then I realized that libraries probably don't have little stub pencils anymore because they don't have card catalogs anymore. That brought on an odd wistful feeling.

We've still got 'em here, next to the computer catalogs so that when you've found the record you're looking for you can write the call numbers down and find the books on the shelf. I'm glad you had an odd wistful feeling, though, misplaced as it was.
posted by carsonb at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


what kind of hellish existence is this where (a) you are so destitute that you need to frankenstein mutilated pencils into new ones (b) you are experiencing abject poverty yet can afford arts and crafts (c) you're not sniffing the glue?

Teacher in a deeply underfunded elementary school? I used to spend my Saturday nights reading reviewed of pencils on Amazon so I could order them in bulk using my own money because my students' families couldn't afford school supplies.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:43 PM on April 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's a neat device, but it seems like the simpler solution would be a holder than holds the shorted pencils, but still allows them to be pulled out to be sharpened. And no glue!
posted by jonathanhughes at 3:51 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


We used these to use up every last bit of our expensive colored pencils in pre-Photoshop art school.
posted by jamaro at 3:56 PM on April 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


Agree that in sober reality, a pencil stub holder would probably be more practical and effective. It wouldn't need glue, for one. But I imagine that this was designed basically for fun, just because someone had a clever and elegant idea that they wanted to make real--not because anyone actually needs this thing.

To the extent that it actually exists in the real world (I am not 100% convinced that it is actually possible to buy one of these, at least for now) I see it more as a whimsical object, bought more for the pleasure one might derive from using it than out of any real need.

It's a toy, essentially, but an interesting one and one that serves to remind the user that waste is undesirable, that economy is a virtue. There are many worse reasons for something to exist.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


If jamaro’s cheap and cheerful version doesn’t float your boat you could try something a little fancier — a steal at $30!
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know those colored pencils that have red on one end and blue on the other? With this, I could make my own versions, thereby halving the number of colored pencils in my pencil bag while still keeping a full range of colors available. Further, I could customize the color combinations between different styles of colored pencils and have the pastel version on one end and the primary version on the other.
posted by malthusan at 4:10 PM on April 25, 2015 [17 favorites]


I was looking at it as just a neat piece of engineering or a entertaining toy, but malthusan's idea is brilliant.
posted by quin at 4:15 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or a knob on the end of the second pencil

So...like a wizard's staff, then?
posted by yoink at 4:16 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I just had a serious flashback to 90s children's television in the UK. That's a chindogu (as seen on It'll Never Work). Fantastic!
posted by topynate at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Step 1, get one of these

Step 2, go to Ikea and get a ton of their tiny pencils

Step 3, unlimited free pencils
posted by hellojed at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gaaaah! I'm gonna die unless I can figure out what song was covered in that video! I wanna say the original lyric was "yesterday...."
posted by sourwookie at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2015


Dr Dracator

Not to knock down a neat idea, but wouldn't some sort of (non-disposable) pencil stub holder be a better solution to this problem?


Well, a roach clip is, for all practical purposes, a better solution to the roach problem. However, which sounds more exciting?

We'll have to put this in a roach clip

guys let's make a roach blunt omg

I rest my case. This is a good invention.
posted by Gymnopedist at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2015


Isn' t this why they invented mechanical pencils?
posted by 4ster at 4:50 PM on April 25, 2015


  Step 2, go to Ikea and get a ton of their tiny pencils

They're made of really terrible wood, and are almost impossible to sharpen. It would not be a joyful writing experience.
posted by scruss at 4:55 PM on April 25, 2015


The Russians would just use a space pen.
posted by Poldo at 4:56 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The: "It's a toy, essentially, but an interesting one and one that serves to remind the user that waste is undesirable, that economy is a virtue. There are many worse reasons for something to exist."
That's unfortunately the only real reason for this toy to exist as far as I can see, but I'm not convinced this is the right message. My first thought on seeing it was that it's an incredibly expensive (financially and with regard to resources) way to extend the life of a cheap-to-produce item that is biodegradable anyway (unlike this device).
posted by dg at 5:04 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the library where I work we do still have the irritating tiny little pencils, because even if you're living in the future and finding everything on the computer, you may still need to write down the call number of the physical item. I hate those little pencils.
sourwookie, I had thought it was the lovely, truthful, and oh so horrible to listen to "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. After further listening, I'm not so sure.
posted by evilDoug at 5:14 PM on April 25, 2015


next generation math grenades.
posted by b1tr0t at 5:47 PM on April 25, 2015


Isn' t this why they invented mechanical pencils?

Seriously. No topping perfectio---

*spills un-pick-up-able leads all over the place*

FUCK
posted by Sys Rq at 5:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


what kind of hellish existence is this where (a) you are so destitute that you need to frankenstein mutilated pencils into new ones

It's called elementary school, where the students commit all kinds of atrocities to brand new pencils... I need to buy this, is there a purchase link I'm not seeing?
posted by Huck500 at 6:16 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


This isn't a whole new device. It's an add on to a pencil sharpener, so it's not as though it's a dedicated pencil extending device. And I can see an artist/art student (or, now that people have mentioned it, a teacher) wanting to extend the usability of wooden pencils.

On another level, too, there is something very deeply satisfying about maintaining and repairing common objects, as with kintsugi, or with just using something familiar until it pretty much disintegrates. People always give me crap when I repair my shoelaces and stuff like that, but I'm like, NO, I feel sorry for YOU! So there!

sourwookie, the song sounded familiar to me too, but according to the Google translate of the site the music is from, that song is called "Bossa Nova Cafe-style acoustic guitar music." (Ha! It does sound like At Seventeen a little at first.)
posted by ernielundquist at 6:35 PM on April 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think the more practical solutions are a given, and this is still a great use of pencils.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:05 PM on April 25, 2015


Especially IKEA pencils, which I steal by the handful.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:06 PM on April 25, 2015


A lot of mefites steal pencils.

It's a sin to steal a pin, folks.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:13 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I used to work for a big pharmaceutical company in bulk insulin manufacturing. One of my hobbies was stealing other companies' pens from the doctor's office and using them at work. It was fun and, as an added bonus, it slightly annoyed my boss. There were very strict rules for GMP documentation, even specifying which kind of pens could be used. Only regular, medium point ballpoint pens with blue or black ink was allowed, with a very strong preference for black ink. Rollerballs, other colors and even gel inks were completely unacceptable. The stolen pens were always regular, medium point ballpoint pens, usually with black ink. I figured that was because they had to follow the same FDA documentation rules that we did, but I never verified whether that was true or not.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:40 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


And thank you malthusan, for reminding me of this salient argument from Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun:

The fact of the matter was that Eleseus had found a stump of coloured pencil the engineer had left behind, and started to run after him and give it back, but the big men with their long strides were already far up in the forest. Eleseus stopped. The idea occurred to him that he might keep the pencil—if only he could! He hunted out little Sivert, so that they might at least be two to share the guilt, and the pair of them had crept in under the floor with their find. Oh, that stump of pencil—it was an event in their lives, a wonder! They found shavings and covered them all over with signs; the pencil, they discovered, made blue marks with one end and red with the other, and they took it in turns to use. When their father called out so loudly and insistently, Eleseus whispered: "They've come back for the pencil!" All their joy was dashed in a moment, swept out of their minds at a touch, and their little hearts began beating and thumping terribly. The brothers crept forth. Eleseus held out the pencil at arm's length; here it was, they had not broken it; only wished they had never seen the thing.

PENCILS ARE IMPORTANT.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:49 PM on April 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd be happy just to find a manual pencil sharpener that works. I use good pencils (Mirado Black Warrior) and any manual pencil sharpener just suck the lead out, leaving a hole which I then have to drill down on to get to lead, repeat until you get lucky...
posted by falsedmitri at 8:23 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


2012. All of the bosses had black Palomino wood-body pencils behind the ear, with flattened erasers and leatherbound notebooks.

2015. None of them are here, I, with my Pentel 0.9mm Twist-Erase mech pencil, and more intense and obscure 2mm lead-holders, and ill-gotten Skillcraft lab notebooks? Doin' fine.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:26 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Years ago you could buy a pencil that was all stubs, about 12 of them; they were made of plastic and clicked firmly together. Each segment had a nicely pointed piece of graphite glued into it, and when the one at the bottom started giving too broad a line, you'd unclick it and add it to the other end, exposing a fresh point.

I have a couple somewhere.
posted by jamjam at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I imagine that the guitar music was so terrible because the guy was playing it with his toes while he glued his pencil together.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:59 PM on April 25, 2015


The fact that you sharpen the second pencil and then stick it into the hole of the first one and glue it shut inside so that the carefully sharpened tip will never be of use to anyone really, really bothers me.

On the other hand, this video reminded me that I recently bought a Rite in the Rain notebook that requires an expensive pen I didn't buy...but pencils also will work. Score!
posted by librarylis at 9:01 PM on April 25, 2015


Tsunago $14

Pencil Extender, five pack $3.87

I'd be happy just to find a manual pencil sharpener that works.

Kum 400-1K Magnesium Alloy Metal 1-Hole Steel Blade Wedge Pencil Sharpener
I paid 89 cents at my local art store.

Personally I prefer to whittle a pencil point with a pocket knife. Contact me if you would like me to provide artisanal pencil sharpening services, which I can provide much more cheaply than David Rees, and I have been doing it since before he was even alive.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:03 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fact that you sharpen the second pencil and then stick it into the hole of the first one and glue it shut inside so that the carefully sharpened tip will never be of use to anyone really, really bothers me.

It shouldn't, as you can just keep sharpening past the glue point. It's a continuous pencil.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:16 PM on April 25, 2015


Or, use the inserted-point sharpener to sharpen the nub, too.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:18 PM on April 25, 2015


Years ago you could buy a pencil that was all stubs, about 12 of them; they were made of plastic and clicked firmly together.

Stacking point pencils! I loved those but you were totally screwed if one of the stubs got lost because that would cause too much slack in the pencil barrel to be able to write with the remaining leads.
posted by jamaro at 9:53 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


What happens to the sharpener blade when you sharpen through the glue?
posted by logopetria at 10:06 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Years ago you could buy a pencil that was all stubs, about 12 of them; they were made of plastic and clicked firmly together.

Yes, those things were sharp as shit. Also, maybe, denser? Like thumb tacks, another casually deadly children's toy from the olden days.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:11 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Way too much glue.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Problem solved!
posted by TDavis at 10:38 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah I'm confused by the admonition to only use wood glue. That stuff, at least what we get in the US, wouldnt bond the graphite, and then you'd have this awkward transition when you get to the internal joint. You could use superglue, but that also may have problems bonding to the lead/graphite. Fletching cement seems like it would have potential but either way there's still going to be a micron or so of adhesive between the leads that will either fall away, or cause the lead to not mark properly on the paper. I guess in addition to the cm or so of material lost in the joinery process you'll also have to accept another .1mm or so loss due to lead transition. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has a suitable solution to this problem. It may not surprise anyone to know that I could never use those stacking nib pencils that jamaro linked to as every time I left one sitting around unattended one or another classmate would invariably steal one of the cartridges, rendering it useless.
posted by mcrandello at 10:54 PM on April 25, 2015


(Of all the bullying I got, that maneuver somehow was one of the shittier ones. It's not like you could buy the invidual points at the school store or anything, you had to go waste 75¢ on a whole pencil.)
posted by mcrandello at 10:58 PM on April 25, 2015


Back in the old days when I was a 2D animator and had shoe boxes full of Mirado Black Warriors about 2" long, a thing like this would have been super helpful, at least psychologically. I hated to throw out good pencils, esp. when there was always a threat that the company would change the lead or go out of business or whathaveya. And those Prismacolors-- they were EXPENSIVE! I would have been in heaven with a meter long frankenstein non-photo blue! The pencil holders were okay but uncomfortable, and they tended to just snap in half a lot. It's easy to just toss a yellow hb, but if you're using really soft or hard leads, you don't want to waste a third of a pencil.

Okay, I'm off to polish my walker and sample some Werther's Originals now. Get off my lawn!
posted by biddeford at 11:42 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Solomon: At least in London, Argos has replaced the paper-slips-and-golf-pencils system with tablets built into the tables!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:26 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there another hole for chopping off the eraser that he didn't show? seems like a pretty important step here.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:19 AM on April 26, 2015


seriously in Australian Toilet-Swirl Reverser territory

Don't knock 'em til you've tried 'em, mate.
posted by flabdablet at 12:09 PM on April 26, 2015


jenkinsEar: "Is there another hole for chopping off the eraser that he didn't show? seems like a pretty important step here."

The majority of Japanese pencils don't have erasers.
posted by Bugbread at 8:37 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I attached one of these to a pencil sharpener would I have a perpetual pencil machine?
posted by rankfreudlite at 5:47 PM on April 27, 2015


Bugbread: "The majority of Japanese pencils don't have erasers."

Do they not make mistakes?
posted by double block and bleed at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2015


Perhaps a better question is Who made that built-in eraser?
posted by carsonb at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2015


double block and bleed: "Do they not make mistakes?"

They use separate (stand-alone) erasers.
posted by Bugbread at 1:21 AM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


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