Polyetherimide (PEI), trade name Ultem, is an amorphous, amber-to-transparent thermoplastic with characteristics similar to the related plastic PEEK. Relative to PEEK, PEI is cheaper, but is lower in impact strength and usable temperature. Because of its adhesive properties and chemical stability it became a popular bed material for FFF 3D printers. Ultem is a family of PEI products manufactured by SABIC as a result of acquiring the General Electric Plastics Division in 2007, developed by Joseph G. Wirth in the early 1980s. Ultem resins are used in medical and chemical instrumentation due to their heat resistance, solvent resistance, and flame resistance. – source Wikipedia. We’ve been machining pens from industrial thermoplastics for quite some time. In fact, the first pen we released via Kickstarter had a very small run of Delrin (Polyoxymethylene) pens made for some very early backers. When we designed the Vertex, we went out of our way to make a list of non-traditional thermoplastics we might. Delrin and Makrolon were the first two that made it into production with our Delrin pens, and our move from acrylic grips to polycarbonate grips. Ultem was just below Makrolon, and though a few other pen makers have beat us to it where this material is concerned, we think it makes an absolutely stunning Vertex.
The Ultem Vertex is currently a special release pen fully machined from natural polyetherimide (Ultem). Natural Ultem is a nearly transparent amber (more on the yellow-amber side). It is slightly lighter than our Delrin pens, weighing 16.3 grams (0.57 ounces) without a nib or converter as opposed to 18.1 grams (0.63 ounces) for Delrin without a nib or converter. Ultem is a “hard” plastic closer in composition to polycarbonate whereas Delrin is a “softer” plastic that has self-lubricating properties and somewhat of tackiness to its surface. Our Ultem Vertex is machined from solid PEI rod stock; bodies, caps, and grips. We’ve utilized several new machining techniques and custom tooling during the machining process to better ensure the transparency of the material is on display while minimizing tool marks. While Ultem can be polished to a high shine, we’ve opted for leaving the parts unpolished by taking them through a progression sanding from 200 grit down to 2000 grit and not conducting any finish polishing. This process leaves the parts with a nice subtle texture that is easier to grip. During our testing, the polished pens were quite slippery and didn’t feel as comfortable especially during long writing sessions. We have maintained the standard Vertex form and functionality including the Vertex box, though we’ve curated a custom graphic for this release. Thanks again to Ishmael, one of our collaborators, we have laser-etched graphics on the lid that feature the molecular model of polyetherimide along with a “breaking bad” type branding. On the reverse are our standard instructions laser-etched for quick reference. The Ultem Vertex ships with a matching Ultem grip section, so no grip section options for this release. When purchasing you will be prompted to select a nib option. Ships with a Schmidt K5 converter, two Monteverde black cartridges, and a plastic pipette if you prefer to eyedropper your pen.
The Vertex is our second release in our Signature Series which is built around using plastics and other resins as the main parts of the pen. From the beginning, we wanted to create something that looked, felt, and functioned differently than other pens on the market. The Vertex’s basic design is that of a classic eyedropper pocket fountain pen. It functions with only four parts: a cap, barrel, grip, and nib. Simply add ink to the reservoir, and you can happily write pages of notes before you need to refill. Eyedropper pens can be tricky and messy, and we wanted to eliminate some of those concerns. During the engineering phase, we implemented designs of custom-fit o-rings to eliminate the need for silicone grease to seal the grip and nib areas. We wanted a smooth transition from grip to barrel, so we moved traditional breakpoint from the section back, and using a third o-ring in the cap adapted slip cap functionality for the pen. The longer grip section allows for the use of an “ink window” with transparent materials which adds a little flair to the pen. The Vertex looks and feels streamlined and aerodynamic with soft tapers, a cigar-shaped body, and a concave cap top; the Vertex is at once futuristic and reminiscent of the classic lines of Parker and Sheaffer pens. The Vertex is the latest step in our Design.History.Technology influenced Signature Series.
Comes standard with a Bock polished steel nib, with upgrades in titanium and 14k gold when in stock. The #6 nibs units are manufactured by Peter Bock in Germany. Also included with each pen is a 2 ml soft pipette and 2 black Monteverde ink cartridges. Each pen is designed and machined, by us, in the USA.