Dixon Ticonderoga SenseMatic- 0.7 Back
The Dixon Ticonderoga SenseMatic is a self-feeding mechanical pencil. It looks a
lot like the Dixon Ticonderoga- enough for me to fool everybody I showed it to. It
could potentially be confused for a regular pencil and get sharpened, but I knew
I bought a back of four for $3, at first mistaking them for regular pencils and
almost buying the Papermate Advancer instead. However, the Advancer is not
refillable, so that is a big bummer. Anyway, each pencil contains one long piece
of B or HB lead (the length of the pencil). At first glance, it doesn't appear to have
any buttons, even a way to remove the eraser. It turns out that the eraser and
metal ring is on its own plastic plug. Grasp the whole assembly to access the refill
It feels plastic, but it is not noticeably bendable, reasonably good quality. There
are no seams along the tube.
Its supposed to be a refillable mechanical pencil that "clicks" itself, like the
Okay... the package says to just write, and to tap the pencil tip on the paper when
refilling or after breaking lead. So I take out a regular piece of paper, and start
madly scribbling. It works! The lead did not break once, nor did I have to push
anything. However, If you draw an endless line without lifting up the pencil once in
a while, the lead does shorten, and you will have to tap it. The grip is just like
regular hexagon pencils- nothing fancy.
This pencil is better for people who write in print, but people who write in cursive
still have to space between words, so it shouldn't be a problem.
The only thing you need to know to use this pencil is how to write. If you have oily
fingers, you may have a little trouble holding this pencil.
Now for the test: school.
I spent the whole math class trying to race with the teacher on who could write
faster. The pencil kept up. One classmate was frustrated with the "endless" lead
when I asked him to try it. It is not liquid, I promise.
The eraser on the pencil is slightly rougher than the great one on the Dixon
Ticonderoga, but erases just as well.
The secret to the pencil is in the tip, the little black thing. It's sort of like a one-way
valve for the lead. When it is pressed in, it slides in, over the lead, but when it
pops back out, it pulls the lead out with it. So if you kept pressing the tip only,
(not the lead, only the black sleeve) you could eject the entire lead. Another thing
is that you can manually pull out the lead, but not push it back in.
It is supposed to be a refillable pencil, but it seems to only like the full-size leads.
Along the tube are guides which only let you put in one long lead. When you put
in the full-length, it seems to stick out a little, but push it in with the eraser
assembly, tap it a little, and it should work.
But I have never seen refill Full-Size leads. So what about the regular-length?
Well, this is were it gets problematic. The wight of the lead alone is not enough to
pull itself into the feeder in the tip. So you'll be tapping it madly, but shaking it and
hearing no rattling. You can put in two short peices (only 1 length) and push it
into the hole. Or, you can unscrew the tip, catch the lead that falls out and
manually slide it into the tip.
The lead probably won't break when you're tapping the pencil like crazy and
shaking it, but when you unscrew the tip it can. There's this little "claw" inside the
tube that tries to hold onto the lead when you pull it out. Also, I found that it is
hard to tell when you are out of lead, plus you cannot reach it externally when it is
out of lead. You will have to unscrew the tip and push it out with another piece or
the eraser assembly.
The package says it advances "just enough" lead. So if you write the correct way,
at an angle, you would eventually wear away the tip. The lead would contact the
paper, but so would the plastic tip.
However, I noticed that the mechanism started to lose it's grip on the lead.
Eventually, the pencil got too spongy on the paper and drove me nuts. I couldn't
figure out why it happened.
All in all, it is an innovative pencil that will have you wondering, "how does it
work?" I would pick it over the Advancer because it is refillable.