Makerset is a new company from the folks at Machine Era Co. According to their site, the purpose is to focus on their passion for writing tools.
I remember when Makerset launched the Kickstarter campaign for the Field Pen Compact in early 2018. I thought the pen looked nice but thought it was too small, so I didn’t back it. I am a big fan of the original Machine Era Co. pen, so I couldn’t resist when Makerset reached out asking if I wanted to check out their latest offerings. Even though I was sent these pens for free, that didn’t affect my thoughts on the pen.
There is no doubt this thing is small. How small? Kaweco Lilliput small. The Field Pen Compact is 4.12 inches/10.4 cm long, the Lilliput is 3.8 inches/9.7 cm capped and 5.0 inches/12.6 cm posted. The Field Pen Compact is not much longer than a capped Fisher Bullet, as you can see in the comparison photo above. This makes it a perfect size for clipping to a notebook or notebook/pen case combo, or throwing in a bag for jotting down quick notes. Surprisingly, I don’t have any issues holding the Field Pen Compact. The top of the pen rests in the webbing/area between my thumb and index finger, and I have found it very comfortable to hold. I know this will not be the case for those with larger hands.
The Field Pen Compact is available in brass and stainless steel. Both the brass and stainless versions are nicely balanced, with the majority of the weight being at the center of the pen. Unlike with some other metal pens, the brass and stainless pens weigh pretty much the same. The brass is 1.3 oz, and the stainless is 1.1 oz. The weight gives the Field Pen Compact some heft, but I think that’s a good thing with a pen this small.
The Field Pen Compact ships with a D1 ballpoint refill and the weight of the pen means you don’t have to apply as much pressure to write with the stock ballpoint refill. The stock refill is a Schmidt-Mine 635 refill, the refill in my brass pen has been more finicky than the one in the stainless pen, with hard starts being the most common problem I’ve had. The refill writes fairly smoothly for a ballpoint refill, and lays down a dark, consistent line. The fact the pen takes a D1 refill means there are plenty of refill options available.
The click mechanism is one of the smoothest, and quietest mechanisms I’ve used. It is as smooth as the Schmidt mechanisms used in many machined pens, and just as quiet, that also means it very easy to deploy the refill. The size of the pen is perfect for throwing in your pants pocket, but I would do so with caution because of how easily the mechanism moves. The mechanism is partially made of plastic, and Makerset guarantees the mechanism for life. This was mentioned in the Kickstarter campaign but isn’t listed on the product page, so before writing the review I reached out to Makerset and they confirmed the lifetime guarantee.
The Field Pen Compact is a pen that I think is hard to categorize. It is the perfect size for a pocket pen, but the mechanism is so smooth and quiet that it would be easy to unknowingly deploy the refill and possibly ruin a pair of pants or shorts. Because of this, I have been using the pen as I would a regular size pen. For me, this means clipped to my shirt pocket at work or in a pen sleeve in my pocket at home. The small size makes it perfect for quick notes, but the pen is so well balanced that I think it could be used for longer writing sessions, especially if the stock ballpoint refill was swapped with a gel refill.
As I said earlier, I didn’t back the pen on Kickstarter because I thought it was too small but was excited to try it out. I thought using the pen would confirm my thoughts on it being too small. I never expected to enjoy this pen as much as I have. This pen is going to be small for a lot of people, but if you have smaller hands, don’t overlook this pen just because of it’s size. Thanks again to Makerset Co for sending these pens for me to review.