The BigiDesign Ti Arto Pen is touted as the most refill friendly pen and when it was announced on Kickstarter last year, I was all in from the moment they said go. As the queen of refill hacking, the idea of having a pen capable of accepting 200+ refills without having to do any manipulation, adding spacers or doing any other kind of hoodoo is my idea of the perfect pen. BigiDesign built the Ti Arto out of titanium and uses a clamping mechanism reminiscent of the locking chuck on your favorite power drill to clamp down and hold your refills in place. Freakin’ brilliant, if you ask me. The rear of the pen has a step down which allows the cap to be posted and seated lower on the pen, making it comfortable and well-balanced.
Everything else about the pen is simple and understated. The clip is smooth with the “Ti” etched into it. There are subtle rubber rings in key spots to help the cap seat and stay locked tight. It doesn’t look all that dissimilar to their Ti Post design but that’s okay. It’s the inner workings of this pen that are what I was excited about. And the clean lines of the design are good so there was no reason to mess with that anyway. I do prefer how the pen looks when its posted over when its capped however.
But the true test of this pen was could I really fit all the endless refills I had in my stash into the pen? I took a handful of the refills from my copious collection to represent the various sizes and configurations and put the pen through its paces. The nice thing about the locking mechanism is that if you prefer your refill to sit in a certain position, you can adjust it just “so” by tilting the pen and refill at a downward angle while twisting the chuck closed with the refill extended to your preferred length until the chuck is tight. If you want it to extend a little more or a little less, just loosen the chuck and shimmy the refill in or out to your preference and re-tighten until you are satisfied.
It might take a few tries to get your your technique down but after you do it a couple times and try writing, you’ll find your sweet spot and you’ll be off.
As you can see, I tested gel, ballpoint, rollerball and fineliners of varying widths and colors all in the span of an afternoon.
I even went to wide ballpoints and needlepoint tips. I went so far as to put a Cross mechanical pencil insert in, just to prove a point, though advancing the pencil leads would prove to be a bit cumbersome. However, if you found a pencil with a knock mechanism… could be kind of fun!
Here are all the writing samples from the pen refills shown above. Obviously, this is not 200+ but it certainly shows the range and potential of the Ti Arto. I’m curious if all the refills I tested are actually on the BigiDesign list? The simple news is that ANY refill on my Epic Refill Guide will fit in this pen… and then some. So… that’s good news, right?
I bought this pen with my own money and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.
6 comments / Add your comment below
I backed the Kickstarter and I’m kicking myself for only buying one. This pen is the perfect gift for pen addicts who have a favorite refill that is stuck in a crappy barrel. Also you could carry one pen and multiple refills to suit any situation. Now if I could only get it in black.
This pen is not only ultra versatile, but almost indestructible, making it perfect for those into EDC. It’s relatively thin profile makes it easy to carry in your jeans pocket without much of a bulge or worrying about it breaking. I agree with Anissa Jones: they need to make one in black!
I have been using this pen at work since I received mine from the Kickstarter campaign and it’s simply one of the best pens I’ve ever owned. I also agree with Anissa – should have purchased more than one. It’s fantastic.
Had this pen (or is it a Holder ?) for a while, and the problem I have is choosing which refill to load….
Brilliant concept, brilliantly executed.
The main problem ? No black option
Maybe they’ll introduce a black finish in the future?
Fantastic pen. As soon as it arrived, I appreciated it for what it was, and ordered two more at the Christmas discount. One went for a friend’s 80th birthday present (together with a motley assortment of refills), and I have a list of three more people who will be getting one this year. So far, I’ve only found two refills that don’t fit: the 1948 Sheaffer ballpoint, and the current Parker rollerball (both too wide). Anissa is right: you can never really have too many going at once.