Friday, October 01, 2010

Platinum OLEeNU

Platinum OLEeNU Mechanical Pencil Mechanism

Rather than reviewing a mechanical pencil, in this post I’m reviewing a mechanism.

In August 2009 Platinum Pen of Japan announced the release of their OLEeNU range of mechanical pencils. So, what does OLEeNU mean? Well I don’t really know, but the English language version of the Platinum website says “‘OLEeNU’ mean that the lead is not broken easily when you drop off the pencil or take writing.” I’ve also been told that it means “unbreakable”. Anyway, let’s forget about the finer nuances of the translation, the effective meaning of OLEeNU is abundantly clear. It is a mechanism that, amongst other things, claims to significantly reduce lead breakage caused by shock to the pencil, for example if the pencil is dropped to the floor. It essentially does this by having a tube which supports the lead in between the chuck and the sleeve, thus reducing the chance of a lead break between the two. Check it out.
platinum oleenu pecnil mechanism

See how the lead is unsupported between chuck and sleeve in this ordinary non-OLEeNU mechanical pencil.
normal mechanical pencil mechanism

So, personally I don’t have a lot of trouble with this sort of lead breakage, but recently I received a parcel of pencils from overseas and…you guessed it…every single pencil had a broken lead in its tip. The parcel and the pencils were all outwardly undamaged, but clearly somewhere along the way they had taken a right beating. So, OLEeNU popped into my mind. Would OLEeNU mechanisms have made any difference? Time to head on down to the mechanical pencil test laboratory.

Movies involving animals frequently carry a disclaimer along the lines of “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie”. Well, I’d like to say “No mechanical pencils were harmed in the writing of this blog post” but that be would a damn lie. The pencils involved in this article were treated harshly and may never recover from their grievous injuries. Those of a delicate disposition or squeamish nature should read no further.

Right let’s get down to business. It’s pretty simple, I’m going to get three mechanical pencils and do bad things to them to see if the lead breaks in their tip and sort out the tough guys from the wussies. The three guinea pigs are

three test pencils inc oleenu
Top to Bottom: Pentel Fiesta, Platinum OLEeNU MOL-200, and Paper Mate Flex Grip Elite.
I loaded each pencil with the same brand of 0.5mm HB lead. I’m not going to say which brand, suffice to say it’s a brand that I don’t think has particularly good strength. Before each test the lead was advanced until it just emerged from the sleeve and then carefully pushed back in so it was flush with the end of the sleeve.
Now then, let the games begin.

I held all 3 mechanical pencils horizontally and dropped them simultaneously onto the concrete floor of the test lab. They hit the deck and bounced freely. A total of five drops were carried out with the drop height randomly varying between “waist high” and “shoulder high”. The results were convincing. The Fiesta lead broke in 4 of the 5 drops, the Flex Grip Elite broke in a different 4 out of 5, and the OLEeNU didn’t break in any of them. I won’t bore you with the details of a few more pencil crash and bangs around the lab because the results are just more of the same. The champion is clear.

platinum oleenu mechanical pencil mol-200

I’m the type who takes all these claims of “super new and improved” with a big dose of cynicism, and regard most such claims as little more than marketing department dross. This time though I believe the advertising is true, the product performs as claimed, the lead in an OLEeNU mechanical pencil really “is not broken easily when you drop off the pencil or take writing.” It may not be unbreakable, but it’s getting close.


Dwscamel said...

It's impressive to see a mechanical pencil innovation that actually works as advertised. Credit to Platinum on this one :). Also, that Pentel Fiesta looks pretty tempting; I've had the same mechanical pencil for almost a year now and I think it's time for some new ones. Will a good old Pentel Sharp 207, a Fiesta, or a Platinum OLEeNU join the team next? Haha I love that on this blog, questions like that aren't horribly ridiculous. Entertaining as usual, thanks Dave.

Michael J Corry said...

It also claims to use more of the lead. Did you notice a difference there?

Julian English said...

I actually held one of these yesterday. But not the version that Dave has and reviewed. A fellow from work got one from JetPens for $15, I'm guessing it is the higher end version of this pencil.

I can't speak to the mechanism, the most important thing. But for $15, I found the overall look of the pencil a little cheap. I think I'd rather have one like Dave reviewed. I'll assume it costs less then $15.

Henrik said...

Very entertaining, thanks Dave. BTW the Pentel e-sharp from 2001 claims the same "epoch making" mechanism. At least according to Pentel :-)

I think I'd rather ask for an e-sharp, than an OLeNU! What a name.
Thanks for the effort - nice to see it really works.
Regards Henrik

2nd_astronaut said...

Haha, cruel Dave *evil grin*

I have a OLEeNU and even didn't know about this feature! I only read, what Sapphire mentioned: the lead saving effect.

BTW: I am _not_ going to repeat this scientific experiment in my "test lab" -- I totally trust in the diligence of Prof. Pencil Dave :-)

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Folks.
Glad you seem to have enjoyed the article.
In this post I was only checking the lead breakage claim, hence my somewhat obscure comment in the beginning about the mechanism claiming "amongst other things". I believe the lead usage maximizer is their standard Zero Shin type system as on many other pencils.

Kiwi-d said...

Henrik - is your comment re e-sharp in relation to the lead usage maximiser or lead breakage?

Henrik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henrik said...

(sorry, some errors corrected):
My source is the Pentel e-manga: "Every product tells a story". I think the claim is mostly on reduced remains. (from 15mm down to 3.5 mm) but also a stronger pencil point technology.
regards Henrik

razide said...

Great work Dave. A very informative article.
Like Mythbusters but without the ads or fuss. I wouldn't mind seeing some slow motion videos of the drops and closeups of you smiling as you check the damage.

Did the mechpencils tested tend to land on their points or horizontally ?

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks razide. Good question. I made sure they only only landed essentially horizontally.

Anonymous said...

Ole!! Is this a spanish pencil??

Dan said...

“is not broken easily when you drop off the pencil or take writing.”

What!? Am I the only one that think this is some of the worst grammar I've ever seen? LOL
What was that quote supposed to say?

Kiwi-d said...

Well English isn't their first language, and they don't really export much to any English speaking countries....

Lexx said...

Why that mechanicalpencil remembers me Uniball? *-*

Anonymous said...

I noticed these at Jetpens some time ago and wondered whether there was any credit to their claims. Glad to hear they do perform.

The mention of Mythbusters made me smile. Anyone want to build an air cannon that fires mechanical pencils? Could a ninja could throw a mech pencil hard enough to pierce the skull? Let's find out!


Kiwi-d said...

Don't tempt me dude, don't tempt me.

PointFour said...

Cult Pens have the MOL-1000 version, which looks upmarket from MOL-200;

Hisham said...

Guess I am late to the party. Just myself one of these Oleenu. Barrel feel a little flimsy unlike the Pocheno from the same maker but I do like the fact that the clip is easily removeable making it a good pencil to park in pencup on worktable. It is definitely a pencil that I can recommend with its leadsaving feeding system. Pity that it is not widely available with platinum lesser presence in our neck of the wood (Malaysia). Got mine from Daiso, came with a freebie ballpoint.
I do wonder whether they are still being made or is Daiso just selling them to clear stock old stock. Maybe I should get a few more for gifts.