Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pentel Graphgear 1000 PG1015 Mechanical Pencil Review

Pentel Graphgear 1000 PG1015 Mechanical Pencil Review

“That’s a pretty strange looking pencil” was the first thing I thought when I saw the Pentel Graphgear 1000. Actually its almost a little bit science fiction sort of looking with that metallic body, big clip and grip section.


So first off, how does that grip section feel? It’s a fine diamond cut surface with little elliptical rubber inserts. Obviously this is an attempt to try and get the best of both worlds, and I’m pleased to say it’s reasonably successful. It doesn’t feel like an ordinary rubber grip, yet still has a bit of softness about it when you are holding the pencil.

Then there is that massive pocket clip. Actually they call it a document clip, a reference to how you can clip it to a thick sheaf of papers. It is a powerful spring loaded clip that will grasp about 15 sheets. Pentel advertise this pencil in their drafting section rather than general section. To me the document clip implies a general office or writing type pencil, but the name, the look and the features are very draughting or graphic art orientated, so perhaps they are aiming for a sort of cross-over pencil; general office and technical work?

This is a vanishing point type pencil, with a push top ratchet lead advance mechanism. Similar to a ballpoint pen, pushing the top button first pushes out the tip section with its 4mm lead sleeve. Further operation of the top button advances the lead like a normal push top ratchet pencil. The mechanism only advances a very short length of lead each time. Once out, the sleeve is a fixed sleeve, but operating the document clip automatically retracts the tip section for pocket safety and to stop the sleeve getting bent as it’s carried around. It’s a very serious ‘wham slam’ spring loaded retraction system! Actually I wasn’t totally happy with this vanishing point mechanism. There is a very slight amount of movement in it, and particularly when you first start to write I felt like it was catching on the paper with the first tiny little wobble. Also with the tip extended, the grip is a fair way back along the pencil so it might not suit those who like to hold their pencil right down close to the tip.

There is a small eraser under the top button. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but not that much. Occasional use only! There is a lead hardness degree indicator just at the top of the grip section. You can select to display 2B through to 2H. You have to unscrew the very front of the tip section just a little, which loosens the grip section so you can rotate it around to show the desired hardness grade in the window.

My Graphgear 1000 is 0.5mm, but there are also 0.3, 0.7 and 0.9mm options, distinguished by different coloured rubber inserts in the grip section. The main section of the body is aluminium tube, but it’s got an unusual roughened but shiny surface finish. Printed in black on the body is “GRAPHGEAR 1000 Pentel PG1015 Japan 6C .5” so you get the full story! Overall I would say this mechanical pencil is built to last, to give you many years of solid reliable performance, but I’m not sure I would recommend it as a general writing pencil. I think it’s more suited to being a technical pencil that also does a bit of general office work.
  • Best Points – The vanishing point, the unusual looks and the document clip if you are the type who likes to clip your pencil to a folder of notes as you walk to a meeting.
  • Not So Good Points – The very short lead advance is a bit annoying when you have a lot of writing to do.
  • Price Range – Low / Mid.
Dimensions – Length 150mm, diameter 10mm at grip section. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.

67 comments:

AdB3 said...

Excellent review. I really enjoy using mine, currently a .4mm (the omitted size, also the ballpoints) because I seem to have lost my shiny new .3mm :-( One problem that only happens occasionally is that when removing cover you actually pull the whole eraser out (and usually all your lead falls out) but it doesn't happen often enough to outweigh its smooth feel or unique features. I have to agree with you on the wobble of the tip, but its very slight. And the lead advance seems fine, but I use smaller sizes than you (I hate .7 and destroy .9s on sight) Also I must commend Pentel's customer service, when the plastic internals on my .3mm broke at the threading they replaced it free of charge and even sent me a return envelope.

New Mechpen Fan said...

I just got the Graphgear 1000 in the mail today. First mech pencil I've ever bought and I'm extremely pleased. The grip is fantastic. I thought the rubber pads would get in the way of the nice cut metal but they don't. They mesh perfectly, and the distance of the grip from the tip is perfect for me.

There isn't any wobble in the sleeve on mine. I hope that it doesn't start up with use.

When I pulled the cap off for the first time the eraser came with it, but it isn't happening anymore.

I was worried about buying an expensive pencil without being able to try it out first, but this thing is perfect in my opinion.

khh1138 said...

Just figured out how to change the lead hardness indicator on my new 0.3 -- but am having trouble getting the last bit of lead out of the tip. It's not advancing to the next lead. Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

There is one design flaw with the graphgear, The plastic part near the hardness display breaks of easily. This happened to me and a engineer colleague of mine.

Peter Mc said...

Mine just broke, too, for no apparent reason.

Otherwise, it was a great pencil. I mourn it.

Oh ... I did have one other complaint. The eraser sometimes came off with the cap, and I'd end up spilling the leads out.

Leviatan said...

I've had two, I used them for mechanical drawing (ideas, before going to the CAD) and both of them broke at the same pint; the thread in the mid plastic part. I tried to glue it, but no success.

Using good quality aluminum outside... why use cheap plastic inside? I think it's a major design fault :-(

Chris. said...

I love this design, but I had to return my (0.3) pencil to get the lesd changed.....
Now it's back, I still can't get it to accept new lead. Does anyone have any suggestions? Such as where can I aquire a stiff wire with a diam <0.3?

Arizona Adventurer said...

Chris, once upon a time, all Pentel pencils came with a wire stuck into the eraser, for just such a problem. I've not purchased a mechanical pencil for quite some time, as I had a pack of 10 retractable tip Pentel 0.3mm, in a size just slightly larger than the current Classic. They're packed in a box after my last move, and will likely be a welcome find in a year or so :-)

But it does seem though the practice of including the wire was lost. Maybe a guitar string?

ducky said...

theres is also a .4mm green like adb3 said. I have currently 4 graphgear 1000, in size .3,.5,.7, and .9. 3 is has black lead, 5 has green lead, 7 has blue lead, and 9 has red lead. I would pick up the .4mm one if any lead manufactor decide to make a colored lead at that size =(... also you can get the .5mm colored lead at jetpens.com took me a long time to find such a site that sell a .5mm colored other than red and blue

Ed said...

I've used two of these (a 0.5 and a 0.7) for the last year or so. In many ways I loved them, as they appeal to the engineer in me, but both failed the test of durability. For such a pricey pen with more metal than most, you'd expect them to last like a nice pen. Sadly on mine the clip mechanism went - they just got more and more weak and/or wouldn't click into place any more. Hobbled a long for a while, but eventually one literally pinged itself apart in the middle of a meeting, dropping its little metal entrails around the room. Great pencils, for as long as they last ...

Kevin said...

Not exactly on story, but same family - Graphgear 500 - has anybody noted strange long marks running along the plastic body of this pencil. I thought I had a dud and then I saw a GG500 on Gunthers site http://www.blift.de/main.php?g2_itemId=320 and saw these similar marks. Definitely very off putting. By the way the Graphgear 1000 is a lovely pencil but to conserve the severe retract mechanism I put some pressure on the lead advance button to dampen/soften the mechanism.

kiwi-d said...

Hi Kevin
I believe the lines will flow lines from when the plastic was moulded. Often quite hard to get rid of in some colours, particularly metallic greys, etc.

Anonymous said...

I just got a bunch of .9mm pencils and this one is one of my favorites. It has a real solid feel (I've had none of the previously mentioned problems: eraser/lead, wobble, plastic,..).

I was weary about spending $20+ on a mechanical pencil, but I'm glad I did.

It's also a well balanced pencil for pen tricks: it's long, slender, has a good weight that's evenly distributed, and has a retractable tip.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite pencil. I hate to spend so much on a writing utensil, but it's worth the money. I lost it one day, now I'm buying it again. Once I got this - I stopped writing with pens.

I never noticed any wobble (as your review mentions) when I was writing.

Also, eBay has it for cheaper than $20.

Anonymous said...

Ed commenting on 31 Decemeber may like to take note of this. My new GG1000 from JetPens in 0.4 has a upgraded/redesigned pocket clip - same style as the other but it now pivots on an Axle (or pin) arrangement which appears far stronger than the other design with the thin strip of steel. It has the bonus of being more attractive and cleaner when looking from the side without the thin steel strip. I'm not sure whether this is just on the 0.4mm but I'm yet to see any photo online of this new clip design. For those that haven't tried 0.4 it really is a good size and definitely fits well between 0.3 and 0.5. Problem is of course is the difficulty in buying 0.4 leads. I'm using Pilot Neox ENO which are on a par with Pentel AIN. By the way it was a fellow commenter at JetPens that pointed out this new design.
2 1/2p

sosikwiddit said...

Hello everyone! Sadly, I just had my vehicle stolen, and my entire collection of pentel pencils went with it. :o( I had all of the Graphgear 500's & 1000's... event he 0.4 sizes... Anyway, just as a heads up to anyone who's thinking about purchasing the Graphgear 1000's for the first time, or again, or to replace a broken one... go to website: www.dickblick.com They pretty much have art stores all over the U.S. That is where I purchase mine a bit cheaper... $13.55 each and if you sign up for their free membership card, I believe you can get an additional 10% off at checkout. Just an F.Y.I., if you like these Graphgears, you might also want to check out these other pencils I own... The Zebra Tect 2way 1000's and the Uni-ball Shift Pipe Lock Mechanical Pencils for Drafting!

Anonymous said...

So it is 2009 and I am wondering if there are any comments regarding the breaking of these pencils after a short time. Was this something that was improved after initial problems?

Anonymous said...

How do you replace the lead when it runs out ? auto feed from within ?

kiwi-d said...

Lead refills via the usual way. Auto feed new leads from the lead magazine, and refill the magazine by removing the top button.

Anonymous said...

The price has been mentioned several times. I am not sure what you consider "expensive" but PenCity.com has this pencil for $11. Not too pricey in my book.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased a 0.7 that has the redesigned pocket clip mentioned above. (The 0.9 I bought at the same time still has the older clip.) The clip still feels "massive" as Dave says in his review. It does not open quite as far (the clip only opens to be parellel with the the barrel), but its not like I've ever needed it to open that far anyway. I was annoyed by the change, but if others were having their clips fail, perhaps this will be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I went thru 2 of these in the last 7 months. The clip keeps breaking off rendering the pencil useless. Once I got the second one, i was extra careful with the clip to make sure it didn't break again. same amount of time from the first one; it broke. This is an awesome pencil except for the clip breaking.

Anonymous said...

where do they sell them

Anonymous said...

I purchased a .5 from Jetpens the other day and received it today. The one I received does indeed have the new clip. As it turns out I have amassed a small collection of mechanical pencils. Though my favorite at the moment is a Rotring 600, this Graphgear might just find it's way to the top of the list. For one, the Graphgear is pocketable. I plan to have it on me at all times which makes it useful when I need to use it. Secondly it is easy to replace if needed for a small cost. I can't say the same for my Rotring. Lastly, it has a metal sleeve which the eraser and metal brace fit into making it an actual useable eraser. I have a Superpromecha with a plastic sleeve which results in the eraser and brace to slide into the barrel as the plastic flexes with pressure. All in all, the Graphgear is promising.

Anonymous said...

I have recently bought this pencil in a .5 and I am very happy with it at the moment, I only hope it that any of the problems that have been said happen. One thing ive noticed which isnt really a big deal is that the plastic sticker that shows the lead hardness comes off very easily and im forced to be very careful with it now.

Anonymous said...

I recently bought one of these in 0.5mm and got it in the mail just today. What else can I say about it than the fact that it's superb! By the way, I think those plastic stickers that you're referring to are actually UPC labels and meant to be removed once you own the pencil.

Anonymous said...

i had my graphgear 1000
as a common writing pencil.
until it broke the paper clip thing to hold it up
and it now doesnt werk:(

Anonymous said...

I just got a 0.7 in the mail. It's a great pencil. i have not discovered any flaws and i hope i don't after some use. There is a plastic upc label, but if you twist the grip of there also is small lead indicator sticker that's supposed to stay.

Anonymous said...

Dave-if I remove the upc sticker will there be residue?

Kiwi-d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiwi-d said...

Residue - don't know, probably, but the residue should be easily removed by an eraser like Staedtler Mars Plastic as commented on elsewhere in this blog.

sandysimwl said...

Mine broke at the black band aft of the rubber grip area. Is it repairable or a goner?

Sandy

Kiwi-d said...

You would need to check with Pentel.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review ! I am so tempted to get one from Pentel's online store. As an audit associate, I am only allowed to use pencils. This will make a great tool for filling up those nasty draft accounts.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what everyone uses to get the residue off their pencils after removing the barcode.

Kiwi-d said...

A fairly firm eraser like Staedtler Mars Plastic does a really good job of removing the sticky gunk residue from labels.

Michael Dow said...

My 0.5 won't feed lead. I've tried to see if there is a blockage and stripped the pen competely but no luck. I doubt I've used it half a dozen times. It is a few years old I just got so sick of it not working but after stumbing across this website decided to see if I could get it going again. Or does anyone know where i can get it repaired in the UK?

Anonymous said...

This is a trick you can use on all labels, stickers, etc. - use the label you just took off, to 'dab' at the remaining residue. Stick it on, pull it off, repeat. Usually there's enough adhesion left on the original sticker to remove all traces of the residue. And it's clean too.

Anonymous said...

Rubbing alcohol or acetone can be used to remove the residue. Be careful, though, as it can also potentially remove ink and paint as well.

The trick from the poster above is a good one too.

Anonymous said...

I just bought this with the new pocket clip (the one that pivots). Another great pentel product in addition to the Kerry that I also have. The next one to get is the P205.

Peter Hosey said...

I think I've detected a pattern within Pentel's model numbers, at least for the Graphgear pencils.

1. The last digit is the lead diameter. This becomes obvious when looking at multiple Graphgears of different diameters; if you look at the .3 mm version of this pencil, for example, I expect you'll find its model number to be PG1013.
2. The next-to-last digit indicates whether the pencil has a grade indicator. 1 has it; 2 doesn't.
3. The remaining digits are the number of hundreds in the model name. The Graphgear 1000 is PG10xx; the Graphgear 500 is PG5xx.

I figured out #2 yesterday, by discovering that the Japanese Graphgear 500 pencils at Kinokuniya have grade indicators and are PG513, PG515, etc., whereas the 0.5mm US Graphgear 500 pencils at Ralphs don't and are PG525.

Some quick Googling suggests that there is not a PG1025 to round out the set. :-)

Looking on JetPens, I see they only have the PG52x, not the PG51x. Now I'm thinking maybe I should go back to Kinokuniya and snap one up.

Anonymous said...

Got my Japanese version GraphGear 500's from Kinokuniya. I prefer this model to the US ones with the GraphGear 1000 style buttons and no lead indicator. I don't know why there is a different edition for the US market - doesn't make much sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I moved onto this pencil from the staedler 925 recently for one reason - the eraser. I really like the 925 for several reasons but it's such a hassle that there are no good universal standards for eraser sizes and the 925's are so rare and/or expensive. If I want to just go to any store a quickly grab a refill I essentially need a pencil that uses Z2-1 size. The only place I could find 925 eraser refills - jetpens - charges a ridiculous $5.25 for a 5-pack so I resorted for a while to taking a razor blade to larger erasers to make my own refills, but this got irritating after a time.

Anyways, this graphgear 1000 is nice. I like the lip at the end of the end cap that lets me use my teeth to remove it easily and that the part of the interior that the cap holds itself against is metal. Makes it seem more durable... unlike the 925 which has a plastic interior that I was convinced I'd eventually wear down by removing and replacing the eraser cap. The rest of the body also seems quite durable, and the vanishing-point is handy since I carry the pencil around with me a lot and don't like the idea of having to have some kind of protective tote bag just to guard the tip. BTW, the wobble is essentially non-existent and I'm pretty picky about silly little details like that.

There are really only two main issues I have with the graphgear 1000 and both have to do with the grip. The first is simply that it is too thick. The thinner the grip, the finer and more precise the lines I can make, which is something I desire. The 1000's grip, as compared with the 925, is fat (by millimeters I'm sure, but noticeable). The other and most irritating issue is the grip is very non-grippy. The knurling sucks. You can have a pretty tight grip on the thing and still have your fingers slip around. And the rubber 'grips' are anything but. Fingers slide over them effortlessly and they might as well not even be there for grip assistance. No doubt this is largely just a subjective preference, but I like very rough grips such as on alvin draftmatics that essentially are impossible to lose your grip with, although they might be slightly abrasive. I would rather have the abrasiveness and build up calluses to deal with it than have a slippery grip.

Anonymous said...

I was complaining earlier about the grip on this pencil being far too slippery for my tastes... just figured out a way to solve that. You can unscrew the top of the pencil, remove the grip, and then go in and easily remove the rubber insert. This leaves the little holes all around the grip open and allows the fingers to sink in a bit and find a much firmer grasp. Just be careful when removing the rubber insert in case you don't like the 'modified' way. I advise carefully pulling it out with tweezers after inserting firm paper at key points around the interior to prevent the rubber from snagging where it normally protrudes into the grip.

QPH said...

I just got this pencil and totally love it. It's definitely the best pencil I've had (even though this doesn't mean much since this is the first pencil that is > $2 that I've bought). I hope it will last. Do you have any comment about how durable it is?

Librum said...

Just FYI, a damp washcloth is all it took to get the sticker residue off, nothing too fancy. Great pencils, Amazon tends to have them for a decent price.

Anonymous said...

Just got one of these!!! My favoorite so far. I LOVE the combination of rubber and metal. I complained in an earlier post elswhere that I was not crazy about metal grips but liked the technical look. This gives me both! The UPC sticker comes off clean and leaves a bit of residue that comes off with a bit of wiping with a finger. No problem. My Staedtler took a bit of WD-40 to dissolve the glue because of the finish on the metal. This one is a snap to clean.

I do not work in the technical field so a bit of "flash" is real cool. Great for meetings. Not as stark as the Staedlter, which I also like. This seems heavier as well. I will put it on the scale and post later.

The vanishing point makes me feel safe. I woild carry this in a suit pocket and feel comfortable. Draughting points are so much nicer for daily writing.

Nice tip to remove the rubber. It, the rubber, seems fragile. One could custonize the coulor (correct spelling? LOL) with any kind of tape under the metal. This is a fun pencil.

What do I buy next???
This compulsion is taking over my life! Not really. But it's fun.

RPB

Kiwi-d said...

Hmmm, Staedtler 925 25 ?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that's the Staedtler I mentioned above. Should have said the number. I like it. Not as much as the GraphGear 1000. I might try a Pilot. But I don't see any reviews. An Ohto seems interesting as well. I got a hankering to stick with the top 10 draughting pencils. Your people seem to know their stuff.

RPB

selic said...

Hi I write review of graphgear 1000 ^^!!

http://selic.pe.kr/1168220758

Rot Ring said...

Looks nice!
Is there an English version too?

Elena said...

I can't figure out how to load the lead!!! Can you please help me with this? Thanks!

elena@evigilfarinas.com

Archy said...

These are my pencils of choice ^-^

Sunny CA said...

I discovered this pencil next to the cash register in a Dick Blick art supply store when purchasing poster board and markers, so was happy to see it on your list of favorite pencils. It is my current favorite. I love it! (Former favorite was Rotring Core mechanical pencil in orange). In answer to questions, the UPC sticker is easy to peel off and using it for an hour or so afterwards ends up getting rid of the residue from the sticker. The lead hardness indicator appears to be permanent.

My first Pentel GraphGear 1000 was stolen from my desk as a school teacher (in a terrific upscale neighborhood) within 2 weeks of purchase, so I went back to Dick Blick and bought a replacement the same day. Now I ALWAYS keep it in a closed drawer when it is not in use all the way to the front of the drawer where it can't be seen by a person who casually opens the drawer. I just ordered 2 more online as I can't bear the thought of being without one and I got the last .7 in stock at my local store and now worry that this one may also be stolen. It is "too nice" for a school setting, really, but I want to use it all the time so at the moment plan to just have more than I need.

I have had none of the mentioned troubles with the .7 size, and the blue is really pretty. Mine looks perfect despite heavy use and is mechanically flawless. WONDERFUL!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dave about the Wobble. I have inspected numerous GG 1000's and they all have it. You won't always feel it but as you rotate the pencil to keep an even point, you will write at the right position for it to wobble.

Initially I was very disappointed but there is an easy fix. Remove the cap and wrap the stem with a ribbon of tape about 2-3mm wide. It completely fixes the problem.

Anonymous said...

I love mine! Its 0.9mm. The con is that the grip is a bit slippery! For writing (specially long texts) the pentel graph gear 1000 is a little fatigable.

brandon giles said...

When i actually try to move the tip it does maybe a fourth of a millimeter but when im just writing/drawing , i cant tell it's moving,and other than that,the pencils perfect.I got it cause in school,when we have long writing assignment,my hand always starts hurting,but when i purchased this nothing started hurting i highly recommend this pencil if your just drawing,school work,or even the office.This one is perfect for all three.

Anonymous said...

Got this one today in the 0,3. Tried to google around, but still can not find a way to change the lead indicator. Help please.

Kiwi-d said...

Have you read this article and tried what it says?

Anonymous said...

Yep sure I read the review, but the tip did not at all seem like it was turnable, so I was afraid to break it. With a lot of force I managed to unscrew the tip, and be able to change the lead indicator.

The pencil...well I will have to use it for some days, to really try it out. Not sure it will be my fav pencil, but it will get a chance.

Great site you have...it started my 0.3 addiction, and always look around. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Actually I have seen an 0.4 version (green) on the web.

Anonymous said...

Count me as another user whose Graphgear broke at the threads on the plastic inner mechanical part. Not dropped or handled roughly. It seems that it may be a design flaw, and no way to contact Pentel to get a replacement part that I've found. Were this part also metal, the pencil would last considerably longer, if not a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had any issues w/ the eraser coming out with the cap, but I've noticed lead-feed problems. When I'm down to just a little bit of lead, I'm used to just feeding the next stick through and using it to advance the stick that the pencil is no longer advancing until it's down to a pittance; this doesn't really let me do that.

This is my first metal pencil though; before this I used Papermate Clearpoints for years. World of difference using a heavier pencil, provides some relief from my carpal tunnel as I'm not pushing as hard.

Anonymous said...

For the residue, I just scrubbed really hard and fast with a towel.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pencils. Lost the cap to the rubber the other day, contacted Pental and the next day a replacement arrived. Great service.

Anonymous said...

For everyone complaining about parts breaking: Pentel offers a lifetime warranty on this pencil, so all you need to do is mail them the broken pencil (address at their website) and they should replace it for free.

Anonymous said...

Just use a new graphite bit. Use it like a gun cleaning rod or something.