MARKSMITH Titanium | The Best EDC Marker You'll Ever Own

Created by Daniel Bauen + Microfacturing

Carry the world's first titanium retractable permanent marker every day to make a bold statement on surfaces that a pen can't write on.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Production Marksmith Videos
over 2 years ago – Fri, Jun 18, 2021 at 01:26:51 AM

Enough reading, I made some videos for you.

Watch this video to see the appearance and function of the final production Marksmith.

Watch this video to see how we are inspecting, assembling, packing, and shipping them out to you!


Daniel and Team Engineerable

Gr5 MARKSMITH Have Arrived!!! Make Sure Address Is Up To Date!
over 2 years ago – Tue, Jun 08, 2021 at 09:37:23 PM

And they are fantastic! Everything I have ever dreamed of! Well worth the wait!

The MARKSMITH Gr5 titanium markers landed at our shop today, and we've been inspecting and assembling them. They are perfect. The machine shop has done an excellent job. The inner bore is cleanly machined and the motion of the bolt slide is smooth. The strive for perfection was worth it.

YES! There are actually Marksmiths in those boxes!

The Marksmiths arrive as empty titanium shells. We add the cartridge, inspect for cosmetics and function, test the action and add an additional cartridge in the box.

Throwing in the gloves at the end of a long day of assembly and inspection

Just a short update. We're going to start shipping these in a few days.

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Daniel and Team Engineerable 

Gr5 MARKSMITH Are On Their Way To Us!
almost 3 years ago – Sat, May 29, 2021 at 03:00:24 AM

The machine shop has shipped the Gr5 Marksmiths to us, so we should be receiving those in a few days.

Here's a picture they sent of the MARKSMITH being packed up for shipping. Many updates ago it appeared that the packaging was delaying the shipping, but after the Gr2 fiasco, the packaging has been sitting around waiting to be filled with the new Gr5 Marksmiths.

I'm proud of our new SOUL BUILT logo designed for us by MARKSMITH backer, EDC enthusiast, and awesome designer, Arvid Al Chalabi (see his Youtube here) who helped with the logo and box design layout. It was awesome to get a passionate Marksmith backer on board to help out with that. I'll reveal more about the meaning of the logo and how we arrived at this design in a future update.

Here's part of the order ready to ship. I mean it could be anyone's boxes, but I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that these are in fact the boxes that are being shipped to us.

What has happened since the last update?

I've been checking in with them on a regular basis. 

On the 14th they updated that they were still working on them.

On the 17th, they update that they were not yet finished with all the parts, and this was the current state of completion. The pictures are just the top layer of parts in the storage boxes. There are many more parts not shown underneath.

Tips were completed.

The bore in the body (that problematic deep hole) and the internal threading was complete. Had to finish the rounded end and add the slot for the clip bolt.

The slides were completed.

And there was still a lot of hand finishing to do to the parts for the surface finish.

On the 25th they update that the parts were finished machining and surface treatment and were being cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner to remove dirt and oil from the manufacturing process. Then they would be assembled and packaged. This is the blurry picture I received (but the markers look great).

Then yesterday they said they were shipped and sent the images of the packaging shown in the beginning of this update.

I look forward to receiving them within a few days and start shipping them out.

Thank you for your continued patience,

Daniel and Team Engineerable

Gr5 Production Update
almost 3 years ago – Mon, May 10, 2021 at 08:50:54 PM

Production Update

The machine shop said that they needed a little bit more time and will complete the GR5 by May 15th. Fingers crossed that there aren’t more delays with those.

Why is it so difficult to make these?

The deep hole (referred to as a 10X hole because the depth is approximately 10X the diameter of the drill) is the biggest challenge of production, particularly in titanium. The depth of the hole makes it more difficult to properly remove the chips, and if the chips don't clear out fast enough, then it will damage the inner surface, grab the drill body and wear out the cutting edge. The drilling process requires coolant that passes through the center of the drill to keep the cutting tip cool and clear the chips. Ideally, for titanium, a high-pressure coolant system in the range of 1000 psi at the correct flow rate will clear the chips, and keep the cut cooler by breaking the vapor barrier that envelopes the high temperatures at the cutting edge. It's basically a pressure washer blasting the chips and heat away. These high-pressure coolant systems are not very common though, since most CNC machines only come with ~50psi coolant pumps, and a factory-installed high-pressure upgrade might be 300 psi.

From the very beginning, while Marksmith was still in the design stage, I identified some high-end insert drills by one of the world's top toolmakers that would be able to drill the hole quickly and have a reasonable service life, so I knew that I wasn't designing something that was impossible to make. 

High-end insert drill bit example with carbide inserts

There's also the possibility of using a gun drill which is typically used for 10X and deeper holes (like gun barrels after which the drill is named). These are highly specialized drills, so you have to find a shop that has experience using these, and then they may not be good at other aspects.

This is a gun drill.

I discussed the application with the tool maker's drilling specialists who confirmed that the insert drills I chose would work well (with proper coolant pressure and flow). The downside is that the upfront cost of the drills and inserts is very expensive compared to non-insert carbide drills, but if you look at the cost per part, it's well worth the time saved.

Initially, I did not advise the machine shop, because they should be the "experts", and experts don't like to get advice. However, they kept complaining about how long it was taking to drill the holes (20X longer than the insert drill can do), and how aggressively the Gr5 titanium wore out the drill bit. That’s the main reason they claimed for why they switched to the Gr2 material. That's when I recommended the insert drill, but they replied that they are experts in machining titanium and have resolved the difficulties with drilling that hole. Whatever... as long as they can provide the quality I'm looking for and deliver. Otherwise, if you're not willing to innovate, you're going to get left behind.

What about the other machine shop?

In a previous update, I talked about another machine shop that we were working with to have a second source. They were initially confident that they could do an even better job machining the Gr5 titanium, but once they actually tried making the parts, they ran into similar issues with the deep hole and after trying different techniques, they almost gave up on being able to make it altogether. They wanted to redesign the marker such that the hole could be drilled from both ends. This explains why almost all titanium pen bodies are tubes that are open at both ends, and the top is capped off with a screw-on piece. Although I agree that might be a better solution for manufacturing in the future, it messes up the current design. I recommended the same insert drill tool to them, and they gave it a try. SUCCESS! They have now been able to consistently drill the hole without breaking drill bits and at a reasonable amount of machine time. I have seen pictures of progress, and have yet to get samples in hand from them, but we're one step closer to having a backup production shop.

Now that the machine shops have finally optimized drilling out the body to make the marker in the way that I designed, it will remain a unique design due to the inherent difficulty of making it (in Gr5 Ti). Although I have revealed some of the magic behind the making of it, it just won't be worth it for someone else to pursue making an imitation of the exact same design.  If someone else is going to try to copy this, they will opt to drill the body out from both ends, which will affect the overall design.


Daniel and Team Engineerable

Still have Gr2 ready to ship. New Screws Have Arrived!
almost 3 years ago – Sat, Apr 03, 2021 at 01:49:55 AM

A Limited Amount of Gr2 Marksmiths are Ready To Ship. Claim Yours Now!

First, there are still some Gr2 Marksmiths available from the 100 pcs batch, and those are ready to ship now that the replacement screws arrived. If you've already claimed one of those in the previous update, then you're on the list and yours will be the first to ship out. If you would like to claim one, please leave a comment below stating that you are cool with the Gr2. They are really nice markers, fully functional, and the difference is minute compared to Gr5. We spent a lot of time working on them and refinishing them to make sure that they meet our standards.

New Screws Arrived

The replacement screws of the correct length have arrived. We'll be using these new screws to replace the original screws that were too short in the first 100 Marksmiths that we received (and the machine shop is replacing them in the thousands of Gr2 they made and fixed).

Here's what a bag of 2320 titanium screws looks like. This is just part of the 10,000 screws needed for the first production run of 5000 Gr5 Marksmiths.

New screw on the left, old too short screw on the right.

The new screws have 5 visible threads sticking out of the clip, which will ensure that there are at least 3 threads of engagement into the bolt slide for proper retention. At this length, it does not interfere with the bore of the bolt slide which was an issue with one of the sample runs before production.

New screw vs old screw. Now you can see that there are at least 3 full threads of engagement for proper retention.

All Marksmiths will have the updated screw length. Even the completed Gr2 ones that the factory still had have been retrofitted with the longer screw.

The Gr2 bodies we have are ready and we are reassembling them with the new screws. The screws will be Loctite into place so no worries about the clip coming loose. So those are ready to ship. If you've already claimed one of those in the previous update, then you're on the list, and yours will be the first to ship out. If you would like to claim one, please leave a comment below stating that you are cool with the Gr2. Again, they are really nice markers, fully functional, and the difference is minute compared to Gr5.

I was actually surprised that the earlier delivery Gr2 versions weren't snapped up right away. It seems that most backers are willing to wait for the Gr5 to be complete.

Grade 5 Marksmith Production Update

The same machine shop that previously made and sent the Gr2 has been working very hard to regain our trust. Since the last update, they shipped replacement screws of the correct length to fix the Marksmiths I had already received, and I have received samples of fixed and improved Gr2 Marksmiths with DLC coated bolt slides as a solution to improve the feel of the motion (It works! DLC is an extremely wear-resistant coating).

They are expecting to complete the Grade 5 Marksmith production by the end of April. They said that they have resolved the machining difficulties (drilling the deep hole) that initially led them to use Gr2. The deep hole (referred to as a 10X hole because the depth is approximately 10X the diameter of the drill) is the biggest challenge of production, particularly in titanium.

Thank you,

Daniel and Team Engineerable