Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil ReviewI am writing this review of the Papermate Clearpoint mechanical pencil at a ramada (an un-walled shelter) along a hiking trail in Glendale, Arizona. I have hiked about a mile and a half and I am overlooking Pinnacle Peak road about 20 to 30 feet below. To get to this ramada, I walked across a substantial pedestrian bridge connecting two small mountains in the Park and spanning the road below. I have been to the top of one of the mountains, about 350 feet higher than my current location, on the other side of the road. However, it is heading toward a dry 90 degrees [Fahrenheit] and I am not hiking any higher than this today. The hillside vegetation is greener than usual for this time of year due to a number of recent rainfalls and the trim on the two Clearpoint pencils that I am using to write this review matches the color of the landscape. The trim on the 0.5 mm pencil is dark green whereas the trim on the 0.7 mm is a much lighter and brighter green. The exterior surface of the pencils, excluding the trim is crystal clear plastic, exposing the inner mechanical workings.
These pencils are inexpensive side-button activated models with retractable conical tips and large twist-to-extend erasers. The largest visible component within the pencils is the white plastic lead tube with a funnel at the top, along with a prominent y-shaped component that transfers the horizontal force from the button to a downward vertical force toward the writing tip. When the tip is retracted, the first press of the button releases it. About 1 mm of lead is released with each subsequent press. The retractable tip, itself, is a metal tube ending in a cone where the lead is released.
Below the long rectangular button is a contoured indented surface surrounded by rubber grip lines connected to a ring just above the bulging plastic cone at the bottom of the pencil. Most of the plastic clutch resides within a short metal tube except when the button is pressed to extend the lead. The aperture to the lead tube within its funnel entrance can hold approximately a dozen leads in the 0.5 mm model, but ten would probably be more appropriate to minimize jams. I have 8 leads in the 0.7 mm and it appears to be a rather tight fit.
The top third of the pencil consists of housing for the eraser well and twist mechanism and plastic clip. This is connected by a raised vertical ridge under the clip into a slot in the front of the main body of the pencil. The slot allows the housing to snap into the main body of the pencil once the pencil has been filled with lead. The connection seems to be quite sturdy. I have dropped both of these pencils on tiled floors on several occasions with no visible damage to the surface and without the eraser housing separating from the rest of the pencil. On the other hand, I have seen a number of these models with broken clips. The eraser material is Papermate’s common Tuff-Stuff polymer and the eraser is held in its cylinder at the top by a plastic apparatus with two prongs that squeeze the eraser in a viselike fashion. The “knob“ for twisting the cylinder to extract or retract the erase moves the two prongs, which are connected at the bottom, along an inner spiral rail within the eraser well. Did I mention that the Clearpoint is transparent?
This lightweight pencil is suitable for long periods of general writing, but its appearance makes it inappropriate for a formal office environment.
- Best Points: Pocket safe, Large Eraser, Inexpensive, Seeing what makes it tick.
- Worst Points: Potential Breakage of the Plastic Clip, Limited Lead Capacity, Inexpensive Appearance.
- Other Points: I find the contoured ergonomic grip with its ridges very comfortable and the hard rubber grip components seem to be quite durable.
Thanks Bob. I see the Glendale park has ravens – they might fancy a nice bright shiny Clearpoint so might pay to keep your Clearpoints close at hand.
Note:- This article text by Bob, schematic drawing by Bob, all other images by Dave.