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Gain more control and accuracy when designing

07 October 2016

A graduate from the University of the West of England launched the first magnetically-controlled pencil to help gain more control over technical drawings.

Image courtesy of HribarCain
Image courtesy of HribarCain

Ashley Hribar-Green, a former product design technology student, will see his high-end answer to the mechanical pencil hit the shelves later this year after his company raised £80,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.

He is hoping the patent-pending creation, named Magno, will be the first in a long line of products developed and sold by his company HribarCain.

The first class honours graduate invented the system with colleague Matthew Aston Cain after growing frustrated at the lack of precision offered by traditional mechanical pencils they use as designers working at technology giant Dyson.

After developing their innovative magnetic technology, which will give architects, engineers and designers more control and accuracy with their technical drawings, the pair sought to finance their venture through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. They shattered their £10,000 target, attracting £80,000 from more than 2,000 backers in just two months.

Some 5,000 Magno pencils are now production in China and will go on sale later this year. Billed as a product unlike anything else on the market, the 2mm lead pencil has a free-moving magnet concealed within its aluminium body which can be moved back and forth to adjust length.

Design engineer Ashley said, “in our jobs, we use mechanical pencils every day and one thing we found frustrating was the fact you only have an incremental action to dispense the lead - you have to adjust the length of lead by hand all the time. As designers, we have a strong passion to innovate products where design has become stale and we believed there was a better product to be designed. What we’ve created has a quick mechanism which propels the lead in the smoothest possible way, and gives you ultimate control over the lead’s position.

“Overall it took us a year and a half to create. We experimented with the mechanism by putting a magnet in a brass tube and went through tens of prototypes to make sure it was exactly right. It’s a product which appeals to everyone from architects, engineers, designers and illustrators to professionals like chartered surveyors who are simply recording data.

As part of the crowdfunding campaign, backers were promised a discounted Magno pencil in return for their donation.

To watch a video of the pencil in action, click here.

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