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The specialty pens folks would like you to use in the shop get pretty amusing — take the Inka pen for instance. For $13 you can get the Inka Pen made from 304 stainless steel and carbon fiber with a pressurized ink cartridge (like those in the Fisher Space Pen), allowing the pen to write wet or dry at any angle or on rough wood. The integrated PDA stylus is just the equivalent of a laser. Are they serious? You could buy an entire box of square shop pencils for that.

A Viton o-ring seals up the closed pen (3.15″ long and 0.375″ diameter). If you’re in a hurry, you can just pull it apart and you have a stubby pen. When it’s fully assembled, it’s 5″ long. It fits the hand well, and the stainless gives it a nice heft.

For a crack-smoking $40, you can pick up the Inka Special Titanium version that weighs in at only 0.45 oz. Or again get a shop pencil that they often give out free at the local home center with the purchase of 50 cents or more.

Inka [Manufacturer's Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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7 Responses to Inka Pen

  1. Bill says:

    I own an Inka and carried it daily for a couple of years until I switched cellphones. I found having it small, light-weight pen tucked into my cellphone holster was very handy.

    The pen is designed for, and primarily marketed to, the Every Day Cary cround, those who think the Boy Scounts were on the right track with “be prepared” but didn’t take it to it’s natural conclusion. The shop crowd really isn’t its intended audience.

    It’s a great pen for its size. I can attest to the fact that it does write in the rain very well, but I’ve switched to a less expensive pen that performs just as well and is a more comfortable size.

    Now, understand I’m not one of those fanboys that gets upset when someone doesn’t see things my way, but I am confused with your laser remark. Unless they’ve changed their site significantly they don’t equate the PDA stylus to a laser. In fact, I’m not certain anyone in their right mind would as they are two completely different things.

    You’re right, though, this is an easy product to mock, but it does have its place and time. Just not in the shop.

  2. Ted says:

    To be a true TM fanboy quote it should have been more along the lines of “Sharks, with fricken lasers!” ;)

    We all have our own slant on tools and mancessories. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to carry a $110 Benchmade knife (after breaking any number of cheap Chinese Gerbers) as my everyday pocketknife, others would think that’s it’s a silly extravagance. I understand the thought process behind “I can get 47 gajillion shop pencils for the price of…” but I carry and use a fancy retractable Pilot fountain pen because frankly it’s really cool and I like fountain pens. Rational, no, real, yes.

    I think the Inka is cool, I just wouldn’t buy it because it’s a rollerball.

    t

  3. Brice says:

    I carry a fisher bullet pen, my current one runs about $22. Which is right in line with an Inka. I don’t spend much time in the shop, I work out of my truck. Today I programmed a VFD, checked rotation on two fans and a compressor, piped up an H2S and LEL detector, and did a quick and dirty test and balance. In that time, I ran into oily rags, tar, and lots of dirt. My pen marked PVC pipe for cutting, labled wires, and scribbled on plans. Of those, a pencil can only do one. I too, carry and expensive knife, which most office workers say is way to frigging big (4″ blade). Sure didn’t feel to big when I was using to pry a 10hp motor into place. Shop pencils are great for woodcutters, to bad nothing in the industrial environment is made out of wood anymore.

  4. Discobubba says:

    While its not quite as nice, as durables, or waterproof I’ve been EDCing a Zebra F-301 Compact I got from WallyWorld for like $4-5. So far I haven’t needed it to write on any tough surfaces, odd angles, or wet. Nor have I ever needed a Stylus for a PDA (Don’t most devices that require one have built-in holders for such?). I took the clip off mine and carry it on my somewhat large keychain. But you could easily fit it in a lot of places. Either using a keyring, or the integrated clip.

    I find it incredibly useful. Can’t even say how many times I’ve taken it out either for myself or others when a pen is needed. The stubby size is fine for short bits of jotting something down, but it too can be slid into its holder for more length. I’ve also never had a problem with it coming loose or falling out.

    Tho I have yet to run out of ink for it, once I do I’ll probably pick up a Space pen refill. Apparently all ya need to do to fit it in is drill the tip a little larger.

  5. ajds says:

    I carry the Fisher Clip-o-matic military pen. You can find it for ~$10.
    http://www.goldspot.com/prodView.cfm?partno=M5BC

    I like it better than the bullet design because it is a one handed operation. It still has the write anywhere advantages- plus made it is sturdy and solid.
    I think spending a little more on a pen makes sense in one respect- I keep track of a thing if I’m more invested.

  6. I wrote a review of the Inka, and compared it with Fisher pens, a few years ago:
    http://www.dansdata.com/inka.htm

    It works perfectly well, but I think it’s a bit fiddly to use. And I wasn’t impressed when I discovered that although the Inka people take pains to never mention the Fisher pens and rave on about how their pen is super-amazing and nothing like it has ever existed before, they actually actually buy their ink cartridges FROM Fisher :-) .

  7. John R. says:

    I’ve had an Inka (titanium) for about 4 years on my key chain. Can’t imagine not having it there.

    BTW Dan, Inka doesn’t use Fisher anymore because of smudging and periodic leakage failure. They use Schmidt from Germany which all the top pen brands in the world use.

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