Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pentel Tri Eraser ZE15 Stick Eraser Review

Pentel Tri Eraser ZE15 Stick Eraser Review

Sleek, shiny, black and white. My countries national sporting colours, how could I not like that? Putting my obvious bias aside, I do think it is a fairly good looking item.

The Tri Eraser has a triangular-ish body, and a triangular eraser core. The core sides are about 8mm in length, and the total length of the eraser core is about 122mm, of which about the last 15mm is effectively unusable as its held in the mechanism.

The triangular body is quite comfortable to hold, and it certainly isn’t prone to rolling around on your desk. There is an integrally moulded pocket clip on the top section. The core is advanced mechanical pencil push top ratchet style by pushing down the white end section. The mechanism feeds fairly well, but not as precisely as a mechanical pencil. Replacement eraser cores are just fed in through the triangular hole in the top of the end section.

By holding the eraser at about a 45 - 60 degree angle and rotating which side of the triangle you use you can keep some sharpish edges and small sections available to do some detailed erasing.The core is held fairly tightly by the mechanism but if you push down strongly the core will slide back up into the body. This is a bit of a problem if you press down hard whilst erasing as the core can slide back up into the body. Obviously this is most pronounced when holding the eraser vertically, but even when held at about a 45 degree angle to the paper it can slide back up under heavy hand pressure and vigorous erasing. I don’t want to make more of this matter than is necessary. If you are doing a small to medium amount of erasing, erasing a precise area, etc then you should not have any problems. It is really only if you are erasing a large area with heavy hand pressure that you may run into problems with the core pushing back up into the body.The Pentel website makes no mention of what the eraser core is or isn’t made from, but I found some shopping websites that claim it is latex-free and others that claim PVC-free. It’s clearly not latex but other than that, who knows? I have recently been doing a little Googling on non-latex eraser compounds and from plastics raw materials manufacturer’s sites, research sites, patent websites, etc its clear there are a lot of different non-PVC materials used. EP/PP (ethylene/polypropylene copolymer), styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene block copolymers, SBS/PS (poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene) blended with polystyrene), and SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) are just some the fancy names you will find mentioned as eraser compounds. It’s also now clear to me that a few of the erasers I have looked at and thought were vinyl probably weren’t.

During my review time I felt that the erasing power of the Tri Eraser was reasonable but not exemplary. Certainly I felt that it did not erase as well as my benchmark, the Staedtler Mars Plastic. Being a relatively small core eraser the waste of the Tri Eraser did not tend to twist up into long strands, so I always had a bit of eraser dust to clear up afterwards. On then to the official test, Tri Eraser versus Mars Plastic, with 0.5mm HB grade mechanical pencil lead and 4B grade Staedtler Mars Lumograph woodcase pencil lead.

From my preceding comment, I expected Mars to perform better than Tri Eraser on the official test. I was wrong, so I’m not sure where that leaves my original gut-feeling that it wasn’t as good as Mars Plastic. Basically the official test was a draw, both doing an equal job of erasing the HB and 4B lead. There was one difference though, which you can see in the photos. Note how Mars tended to smear the lead more than Tri Eraser. Some might claim this means Tri Eraser actually won the official test! I’m tempted to think this smearing is partly to do with the size of the eraser. The compound of the smaller Tri Eraser rubbing off the main body quicker, thus leading to less smearing?So, I’d suggest you consider the Tri Eraser next time you need something erased.
  • Best Points – Triangular core shape keeps a fine edge.
  • Not So Good Points – The core sometimes sliding back up into the body.
  • Price Range – Economy.

Dimensions – Length 125mm, triangle side length 13mm.


Anonymous said...

Dave, I have the same eraser ZE15 but it is called the AIN Clic ZE15 so again different marketing. You're right about the advance mechanism being a bit iffy. By the way mine is a Violet colour.

2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Interesting. So Pentel have two branding strategies going. Like their leads I suppose with some countries having Ain and some staying with Super Hi-Polymer.

Ralrara said...

I saw in korea just like this one.
It made by Xeno. not Pentel.

This product is better than Mars??

kiwi-d said...

Hi Ralrara.
Do you have a link to the Xeno one?
Better than Mars? Well that's the question. I didn't think so when I was using it by itself, but when I compared the two directly together, side by side...maybe it is. Certainly it's no worse.

Ralrara said...

Xeno..... I can`t find there site link.
they haven`t link.,,,,

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, like 2 1/2p's mine is also branded Ain. I set my Papermate Black Pearl aside in favor of this Pentel last night and have concluded that the core erases very well whatever substance it is. I did not compare it with the Mars but was satisfied that the core is made of a very effective material which had little trouble in removing Hi-Uni HB pencil marks on Spectrum Mutli-Use copier paper. As you noted it leaves dust, not strings.

I think the engineers got the ergonomics exactly backwards though. The three-sided profile of the stylus makes for a comfortable fit in one's hand but at the considerable disadvantage for a precision eraser of presenting the downward side of the rubber to the paper and not a corner. Because one's natural tendency is to turn the eraser ever so slightly in the hand to take advantage of its very sharp corners the ergonomic advantage of the grip is thereby diminished. Even worse, once turned the corner of the core being applied to the surface is obscured from view and one must be very careful not to erase in error. No biggie on a puzzle but it could be a real setback on a drawing.

My guess is that over time the business end of the eraser will wear into a shallow pyramid (one will still be left to guess where the point is). I think Pentel would have been better served by using a much narrower triangular core, but reversing its orientation within the body of the pen so that a corner is downmost and not a side. The ergonomics of the grip would be preserved, but usefully so.

Barrel Of A Pencil

Anonymous said...

Great point about the ergonomics Barrell - very observant and proves you are actually using your stuff and not just looking at it like some of us :) For really fine precision work theres nothing that beats the rectanglular core Tombow Mono Zero 2.5 x 5mm pen eraser but its not so good for general applications - too small. Back to the Pentel - I slice mine with a knife occasionally to modify the point shape.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Apologies Barrel
and rectangular
my spelling is atrocious. 2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Hi Barrel. You make some excellent points, no pun intended. However I generally found the sides of my the pyramid worn on the eraser tip to be OK for my purposes. Guess its all a matter of how much precision we each desire. Definitely did turn the eraser a little in the hand to sometimes get a point of the triangle, but I only turned it a little and didn't have too many vision problems. Again, all a matter of how precise the erasing job at hand is. Appears I'm a bit more rough and ready than yourself.

Andrew said...

I have one that looks like this only purple and is Pentel Ain branded. I bought it at the Kinokuniya Stationery Store in the Japantown district of San Francisco. I use it for my bedtime crossword puzzles and find it quite decent but not quite as a good as a Mars Plastic.

Time Waster said...

I've been using Paper Mate (erase it) s
Bought a buncha of them on ebay they still make it similar design but they are round instead of triangular. They also work with Pentel Clic erasers.

Anonymous said...

Pentel Ain Clic ZE15 Japan - Sanseido Bookstore in LA, $2.50.

1) Awesome erasing vs. the round Pentel standard as well as vs. Mono Zero. Really easy to erase the marks clean with a lighter touch, smooth feeling, and easy going. Never feels like you're pressing too hard or using it too rough and will rip the paper.

2) Doesn't gum up like the Mono Zero and Tombow round erasers that use their 3.8mm refills - just standard eraser debris. The problem with Mono Zero and the like is that they designed it to minimize the eraser mess left behind - it just stays mostly attached to the tip as one used part as you erase, but this gets bigger as you erase more, thus increasing the area you're erasing (defeating the point of the small Mono Zero eraser tip). Ain doesn't do this and the more you erase, the more eraser debris/dust particles you'll have - just blow/brush it off like any ol'school eraser naturally. Tip never expands in size due to still attached used eraser debris.

3) Still hate the fact that if you press hard, the eraser won't stay in place and will be pushed into the body. Will need to 'modify' it somehow. But, looking at the thing, it's clearly made to be cheap - just two pieces of injected plastic - outer and inner body.
(Then again, it may be a Pentel thing - you'd think in their pencils, after all these decades, they'd come up with something that holds the tiny mechanical pencil erasers better than a simple metal collar that never holds the eraser firmly enough when you press hard.)

4) No real 'give' or play! yea!
Unlike the Mono Zero, the Ain has no movement backwards of the eraser head into the body as you press down to erase. This is a good thing!
The bad mono zero eraser tip does go back into the body as you press harder, and despite the 'single' click is all you need idea. You really need two or three clicks for the Mono Zero eraser to stick far enough out so when you use it, it doesn't compact back into the metal tip & body. Plus, the refills are expensive$$ for the half-eraser + half-plastic stick it is (yep, they don't even give you an entire tiny mono zero eraser!! =o)

5) Given that it's pretty much better than all of the other erasers I've tried (except the rectangular stick Fruits Eraser from Japan - which erases very nicely as well), the Pentel Ain is my FAVORITE!

In my usage, I need some larger character erasing, some smaller area erasing. Thus, I can use the tip for the latter, and then use the erase tip perpendicular to the paper for the former - thus wearing the tip down enough to use the corners again when I need them. Don't really have a problem with wearing the three tips so much that I can't use them effectively to erase tiny areas in my usage.
(You can see the crazy Japanese logic behind this eraser actually! And yes, Asians would immediately 'get' this idea because they've learned ink brush writing since little, so it's 'natural' to hold an eraser stiff upright.)

Andrei said...

I recently bought this stick eraser and besides shape and looks, which are great, I found that the consistency of the eraser is a bit hard for using while drawing. Some sketches made with 4B and 6B showed me the limits of the Pentel Tri Eraser. Was a different experience when used with some harder lead grades, like HB, H or F. The mechanism seems a bit fragile, or is my impression. Still, better than the Mapped stick eraser that I had before. I have to try a Mono now.

ThirdeYe said...

I bought two of these, and is anyone else having issues with the retracting mechanism not working properly? If I pull the lead out to get it started, it works, but if I push the lead back in, it stops working again until I pull it out manually. It does this on both of them I bought.

Sapphire said...

I think only the Mono truly retracts.
All the others I've tried do what you describe - I don't think they're meant to be retractable.

Anonymous said...

Exactly the same by MILAN: