* Prices may differ from that shown
I am a first year Architecture student and this set of 3 pens and accessories was on my list of required supplies to start the year. I was warned that cheaper alternatives were available but the quality of these pens meant that these were the recommended pens. --The pens-- The set comes with 3 pens, with nibs of 0.25/0.35/0.5mm. The 0.5 and 0.35mm run smoothly and steadily across paper but the 0.25mm can be a bit scratchy and jumpy. However, once you get used to the pens, the 0.25mm can be used as easily as the others. One key thing to note about using the pens is that they are only suitable for use on tracing paper because if used on normal paper they get clogged by bits of paper after being used for a while. The ink cartridges lasted me a year of doing technical drawings and are relatively cheap to replace. As long as you put the lid back on when you are not using the pens, you will not risk drying them out which can be a problem because undrying them is quite an inconvenience. --The rubber-- The rubber is good quality in its typical purpose of erasing but when doing technical drawings on tracing paper you undo mistakes by scratching off the ink and then rubbing over the scratch to smooth it over before inking over again. The rubber works very well for this and smooths over the scratched paper effectively. --The pencil-- The 0.5mm pencil works well and comes with a good number of spare leads. The rubber on the pen is good for erasing small errors but runs out quickly. --The compass attachment-- This doesn't work without buying the rotting compass so is a bit pointless with this set on its own. --Pen holders-- These enable you to cap the pens quickly as you use them and are able to click onto something to be positioned conveniently, however i couldn't find anything that this adaption actually clicked into so they were a bit pointless. This is a very good set and I would recommend for anyone wanting to do technical drawings, the only draw back is the price.
I bought this set because I had an idea that this type of pen was the most professional thing for the sort of detailed black ink drawing and comic illustration that I do.The three Rapidograph pens are the main attraction--I didn't think I'd make use of all of them regularly, but since I wasn't sure which width tip I'd prefer--.25mm, .35mm, or .50 mm--this seemed like a good value way to try them all (The pens cost about £20 each on their own). The investment paid off because I actually use all three pretty often. The .25 is my personal favourite, as it's great for fine detail and delicate-looking stuff, making accurate lines hardly thicker than a hair. However I do find that the line it makes is so fine that sometimes my (cheap) scanner doesn't pick it up very well! The .35 has a bit more of a practical, all-purpose air. And the .50 is well-suited to slightly bolder things like poster lettering outlines. The set comes with three capillary cartridges. The cartridges are pretty easy to put in the pen...with some, uh, very CAREFUL force. The ink is a good, proper black-black and dries quite quickly although care should still be taken for a fair few seconds (and of course about an hour before erasing, just in case of smudging....) Wonderfully, if water is dropped on it once it's dry it doesn't smudge at all. Although when I draw in pencil first and use an eraser after using pen, the pen can look a little 'rubbed out' too unless I'm careful, and I have to go over various bits to sharpen the pen line again. It all works out in the end though. When I have taken these pens on holiday I have found them not to be affected by changes of temperature like other pens can be, but they can leak just a little into the lid when being carried around a lot, but its not that messy and the screw-on lid has meant these pens have never leaked into my bag. Athough I invariably get spots on my hands when changing the cartridges (holding tissue around the pen helps), these are otherwise very clean cartridge-type pens--no spots on the carpet from shaking them (and no need to shake them unless they've been out of use for a while), no blobs of ink on my drawings. You can buy packs of three replacement cartridges for around £3. They're available in specialist independent type art supplies shops (or online). If you don't see them on display, ask behind the counter, that seems to be where most Rotring supplies usually live. The real strength of these pens is that they work like very good fineliners but with a more consistent thickness/quality of line, and they are refillable--no more falling in love with the nib of a disposable pen and having to chuck it away (half way through an important drawing) when the ink runs out, only to find that type of pen has been discontinued. Rotring also make a very similar pen to the Rapidograph where the nib and cartridge are attached and have to be replaced, making refilling it much more expensive. I'm also of the opinion that it takes a while for nibs to adapt to their owner, so I prefer this version. I'm left-handed, and perhaps for that reason, or perhaps carelessness, my relationships with ink pens have tended to be quite short lived because at some point they have simply stopped working. These Rapidographs have lasted for at least 5 years now and the ink flow has been hassle-free. Once or twice I've bought a small sachet of a clear Rotring pen cleaner, which is mixed with water to wash out the pens. I don't know what the contents of this stuff is, but since the sachets were about 50p I didn't mind buying it, although I haven't seen it around in a while... I did manage to snap the tip of the .25--I'd dropped it onto a wood floor a number of times over the years, and on some of these occasions it had stuck straight into the floor like an arrow! It became a little bent but lasted for a good while after that, working pretty much as well. But then it speared itself into something again and snapped altogether. I asked at the counter in the local art supplies shop and was provided with a new nib for £13.77...pretty much the cost of a whole new pen, but then, apart from the plastic shell, it pretty much IS the pen. I do think I got my money's worth out of the prior nib, these pens are no problem if handled with care. As well as the Rapidographs there is a pen/pencil eraser--pencil side very nice, 'pen' side useless and inexplicable as always. A 'pen station' which I found a bit weird and useless unless my pen lid had rolled off somewhere. A very good automatic pencil with enough leads to have lasted me up until now (probably because I go in and out of using it, finding automatics too fine most of the time, but very good for technical stuff). A device which makes it possible to attach your Rapidograph to a compass, if you perhaps have a more suitable compass than my trashy plastic one. A nice burgundy plastic tray in which to handily store all of the above (and any other pens and such that are otherwise strewn about your desk). It benefits from foam heels that stop it from falling off your desk.
Three Rapidograph pens (0.25/0.35/0.5mm) Tikky fine lead mechanical 0.5mm pencil and leads Ink/pencil eraser 3.5/4mm compass attachment Three Rapidograph ink cartridges