A Minimal Mechanical Pencil that will Last a Lifetime 2.0

We've upgraded with a solid metal interchangeable mechanism and the ability to swap your lead size to fit any project.

Andrew Sanderson Design November 15, 2017 at 11:17 am
Pledged of $5,000 goal (USD)
Days Left
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Bakkoo Backer Reward Preview:

Bakkoo backers will get extra add-ons (erasers, stylus nib, cork case and mechanisms).

View This Project On Kickstarter



I designed the first Modern Fuel mechanical pencil because I couldn’t find a mechanical pencil to use for my design work that didn’t look like something I used in high school. I believe I succeeded in the visual design and appearance with version 1.0, but there was something left lacking in its mechanics that I knew I wanted to perfect in a second version.

The Modern Fuel pencil 2.0 comes from my determination to perfect the pencil inside and out, which I couldn’t have done without all of the helpful feedback and support I received from the folks that backed me the first time around. I owe a big thank you to them for that.

Making heirloom-quality stationery is what I do. The Modern Fuel pencil 2.0 is a tool that will help you achieve and create great things not just because of its design, but also its reliability, dependability and the ownership you feel when it arrives.

It’s important to me that you as the new owner of my pencil know who I am and that I’m committed to keeping your pencil alive for many generations. Please add any questions or thoughts you might have to the comments page and I will get back to you personally.

Teardown: 100% metal parts -- apart from the eraser and o'ring! Any mechanism fits any 2.0 pencil body
Teardown: 100% metal parts — apart from the eraser and o’ring! Any mechanism fits any 2.0 pencil body

Improvements Made from Version 1.0:

  • The 2.0 pencil body houses any of the three mechanism options: simply add on more mechanisms and enjoy the ability to change up your lead size depending on what you’re working on
  • A custom designed 100% metal internal mechanism (no plastic parts)
  • New material options: titanium, copper, bronze and stainless steel
  • Additional lead options: 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and 0.9 mm
  • Perfect balance: each pencil is tested for weight balance from end to end before being assigned its unique serial number
  • Retractable tip: no more tip damage
  • The only bronze C52100 mechanical pencil out there: this bronze is typically reserved for high-end watches
  • A unique serial number hidden inside each pencil
  • O’ring seal between the cone and the main body: keeps the cone from coming loose
  • Hidden screw system that holds the pencil together: an Allen key is provided for disassembly
  • Optional metal eraser plug: for those that would like to remove the eraser altogether for an even sleeker look

Things that Haven’t Changed:

  • Seamless look: blended by hand to appear as one single piece of metal
  • Designed and engineered to last a lifetime
  • Quality guaranteed: if you have any issues, send it back and I will fix it or make you a new one. Simple as that.
  • Machined from one solid piece of metal, resulting in incredible strength and durability
  • Using the same engineering and inspection standards used in aircraft engineering
  • Testament to U.S. manufacturing and design
Left to right: titanium 0.5 mm, copper 0.9 mm, bronze 0.7 mm, stainless steel 0.7 mm
Left to right: titanium 0.5 mm, copper 0.9 mm, bronze 0.7 mm, stainless steel 0.7 mm

How is it so different from other pencils?

I have taken the same high standards I used in my career in aircraft engineering and applied them to the design of a mechanical pencil.

I only use the highest quality metal. These metals are normally found in high-end watches, not pencils. No rolling, stamping or pressing is used. Instead, the pencils are machined down from one solid piece of metal making them incredibly durable.

U.S. Manufacturing
The same highly skilled American machinists that have been making airplane parts for generations are making this pencil.

Heirloom Quality
We use the same approach that is taken when designing and manufacturing a luxury watch. The result is a product that is so well made and long-lasting that it’s considered a classic.

The Guarantee
We’ve designed the MFD pencil to last a lifetime, but we know things can still happen so we back it up with a very simple policy: if you ever have an issue, send your pencil back and we will fix it or make you a new one.

‘Buy Once’ Philosophy
I’m a believer of buying one quality pencil instead of hundreds of plastic ones. A little less plastic floating around has to be a good thing.

Design Principles
When I decided to design a pencil for myself, I knew I wanted the finished product to:

  • Have multiple purposes/configurations: one single pencil body that can house any lead size and also function as a stylus
  • Appear sleek on the outside no matter what is going on in the inside: the MFD pencil hides the intricate workings of its mechanism entirely inside
  • Not reveal how it was made or put together from first glance
  • Be a blank canvas that fits into any environment/style

It’s pretty widely accepted that minimal design in buildings can bring peace to your life and workspace.  I hope that the pencil can have that same effect, if even in a small amount.

I’ve realized that the design principles above have been with me long before I ever even heard the term ‘minimal design.’ But after running across architect John Pawson’s work and learning more about the minimal design philosophy, I found that I completely identify with it in my design process. I am very proud to say that John Pawson bought two Modern Fuel mechanical pencils and that they now have a place on his desk. He was kind enough to share the words below about them (thank you, John).

Read-Worthy Reviews

The pencil has been reviewed by people I admire in the pen and pencil world. Click on the logo to read the full review.





Testimonials for the Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil 1.0

John Pawson, Architect
“Apart from enjoying the pencils daily as design tools, there is pleasure in contemplating an object that must clearly contain many intricate parts, but appears as a single piece of milled metal. The pencil’s body has the sleek utility of a bullet or a dart, with this formal simplicity reinforced by attenuated proportions and the absence of any visible joints.

They sit on my desk like a series of ingots, reminding me of the metals we use in building. From the heft of each pencil in the hand, one gets a sense of the individual character of each metal: the density of the brass brings to mind the cast solidity of a submarine propeller shaft, while the aluminium is featherlight like the skin of an aeroplane wing.” 

Seamless design
Seamless design


Rain Noe, Core77 Senior Editor
“What most impressed me about Sanderson’s design is how he endeavoured to hide the seams. It really does look like the conical tip and the shaft are one solid, machined piece.”

Josh Bloomgarden
“I received my pencil yesterday and it’s even more wonderful then I had hoped it would be – incredible design, beautiful and far and away the best mechanical pencil I have ever owned or for that matter ever seen – thanks so much.”

Perfectly balanced
Perfectly balanced

James Gifford
“Modern Fuel has a fantastic mechanical pencil that I truly believe will ‘last a lifetime.’ I’ve bought several, both for myself and as gifts. The reactions that people have when they see/receive them is always a joy.”

Edward L. “A very, very well made mechanical pencil. Well balanced and solid, not like the cheap plastic units out there.”                                                                                        

Gear Hungry
“Incredibly strong, not to mention stunning.” 

We have teamed up with Kickbooster so that you can earn rewards for helping me spread the word. Click the image below to learn more.


Stretch Goals

I am working on new stretch goals! Please stay tuned.
Stretch Goals Reached:
$120,000 (wow!) All add-ons will reduce in price: Eraser plug: reduced from $12 to $8 each Additional mechanisms: reduced from $12 to $10 each Engraving: reduced from $20 to $18 Cork case: reduced from $10 to $8 each Eraser 20 pack: reduced from $10 to $8 Stylus 9 pack: reduced from $10 to $8

$80,000 Each pencil will come with 5 more erasers and 3 more stylus nibs. That should keep them going for you for a good bit longer.


Each pencil comes with:
1 x mechanism (options: 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, or 0.9 mm)
1 x removable clip
1 x clean out rod for removing blockages
1 x cork case
1 x tube of lead (12 sticks)
1 x Allen key for disassembly
1 x Scotch Brite pad for upkeep
1 x pack of stylus tips (3)
1 x pack of extra erasers (5)

Length: 145 mm (5.7 in)
Diameter: 9.5 mm (.375 in)
Weight: 27.5 g (.97 oz)
Lead options: 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm

Length: 145mm (5.7 in)
Diameter: 9.5mm (.375 in)
Weight: 47 g (1.66 oz)
Lead options: 0.5 mm , 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm

Length: 145 mm (5.7 in)
Diameter: 9.5 mm (.375 in)
Weight: 47 g (1.66 oz)
Lead options: 0.5 mm , 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm

Stainless Steel
Length: 145 mm (5.7 in)
Diameter: 9.5 mm (.375 in)
Weight: 42 g (1.48 oz)
Lead options: 0.5 mm , 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm

Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel

Stainless steel’s excellent resistance to corrosion and staining and low maintenance is why it is the most used material in the high-end watch industry — making it a great choice for a pencil. Your stainless steel pencil will keep its clean sleek look even in the harshest environments. The pencil is not too heavy, but heavy enough to feel the heft of quality. The pencil will not dull or patina over time. It is very easy to take care of and will become a trusted member of your life.

Tellurium copper
Tellurium copper

Copper is one of the few metals that occurs in nature in directly usable metallic form as opposed to needing extraction from an ore. Copper on its own can be soft and dent easily, so by adding tellurium we make it stronger and easier to machine. It also offers natural antimicrobial properties for those worried about germy hands. Copper will patina over time.

Phosphorus Bronze C52100 (CuSn8)
Phosphorus Bronze C52100 (CuSn8)

This may be the first time this bronze has been used in a mechanical pencil. It has been used for centuries to make ship fittings and seafaring equipment and more recently found its place firmly in the high-end diving watch industry. It has a vintage-like matte patina, which differs from pencil to pencil depending on the owner’s environment and lifestyle, making each pencil beautiful in its own right. Its most outstanding property is its ability to resist corrosion even in seawater. Bronze weighs about 10% more than stainless steel. It reacts with oxygen, which results in its distinctive patina.


Titanium is as strong as steel but 45% lighter, all while being unaffected by metal fatigue and cracking. These are the main reasons why titanium is used for parts that spend thousands of reliable hours in the air inside jet engines. Not only is it strong and light, but it has great corrosion resistance. It really is an incredible material. And because it’s so tough, it takes longer and more tools to cut it — hence the added cost.

Pencil with clip
Pencil with clip



These optional add-ons can be added to your pledge using the survey I will send out after the campaign ends:
  • Additional mechanisms: $12 each
  • Engraving: $20
  • Cork case $10
  • Eraser plug: $12
  • Eraser 20 pack: $10
  • Stylus 9 pack: $10
Pencil with plug. Your plug will match the material you chose for the pencil body.
Pencil with plug. Your plug will match the material you chose for the pencil body.


Engraving can be added using the survey I'll send after the campaign ends
Engraving can be added using the survey I’ll send after the campaign ends

Huge Thank You’s

As always I have to thank Christine Chan of Moth to Flame for bringing the video together. Another huge thank you to Alan Thatcher for capturing the machine shop footage in Chicago. To the gentlemen at Wrightwood Precision for their hard work and a keen eye. To everyone that backed the first campaign and made this possible. To Max from John Pawson for forwarding my email, and to John for taking the time to reply. To Ed Jelley for his amazing photographs. And last but not least, to Catherine Sanderson (The Wife) for her support and extra photographs.


If you work somewhere that’s cool enough to write about a mechanical pencil, please check out my press pack.

This project is promoted by Jellop, a direct­ response online advertising agency specializing in Kickstarter campaigns on Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.

Risks and challenges

This is my second mechanical pencil campaign, but there are always a few bumps in the road when turning an idea into a product you can use and love. I feel that I have set a realistic timeline, and the images you see are of the first samples of the pencils. I am working with people I truly trust and that I have done this with before.

I will always be clear and transparent about what is happening and why. Please check out the Comments (http://kck.st/2yyfF01) and Updates (http://kck.st/2fJbsPf) pages from my previous campaign to see how I like to do things.

If you have any specific concerns or questions, please add them to the Comments page ( ) for all to see and I will be more than happy to answer them. If certain questions come up frequently I will add them to the FAQs section of the campaign page. Thank you for your trust and support.

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