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MARKSMITH: From Concept to Reality

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.
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The Back Story

As an engineer, designer, and maker, I do a lot of hands-on work and have to make marks on a variety of materials. The standard Sharpie marker is my instrument of choice, whether I'm marking cut lines on wood, sketching designs, or labeling containers in the shop. Plastic Sharpie and other permanent markers are cheap, but I always thought that a metal, retractable marker would be so much nicer to use and carry. 

A major inspiration behind the concept and name is my friend Mark McJunkin. He was the first person I've met who used a Sharpie marker for everything. In a pinch, he might even use them as chopsticks to eat. As an industrial designer, he sketched all the time and all of his sketches were in Sharpie. Initially, it annoyed me when he would write on notebook paper with a Sharpie because the writing took up more space than had he used a pen. Over time I grew to appreciate that this was his way and it was efficient because he was using one tool for multiple purposes. The marker enabled him to quickly layout designs, and he would sketch on large rolls of paper so that the design timeline could be traced in a linear progression of evolution.

From Concept to Reality

These are some of the steps that we've taken to bring the Marksmith to reality. It all begins with an idea, which in this case has been spinning in my mind for years. As soon as the light bulb moment occurs I sketch the ideas down furiously so that I can visualize them even better and start making improvements. It also gets them out of my head and frees up space for further improvements and new ideas.

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The sketches can be on paper (drawings or descriptive writing), digital notepad (iPad and Apple pen are convenient) or in CAD. With the advent of cloud-based CAD and even browser/app-based CAD software, it's sometimes easier to skip the sketches and move straight to designing in 3D. Onshape has quickly become my favorite CAD software for quickly making 3D designs. It's not as sophisticated as other CAD software, but it makes up for it in the ease of access. When inspiration hits, I can use it from any computer, no installation required. If I'm on the go, I can even design on my phone or iPad. Many engineers who have not experienced this laugh at the idea of designing in a browser or phone app when I tell them, but I'm sure it's the same people who would have laughed at how primitive Solidworks and other CAD applications were in the early years, only to be using them years later once the software has matured. Cloud-based design software is the way of the future.

Autodesk Fusion is another favorite, and impressive for the minimal cost. It's feature-rich and offers much more design capability than Onshape. The downside is that I can only use it at a computer that has the software installed. I love the CAM integration (HSMworks) for going straight from design to CNC machining, but on occasion I've run into major issues with it crashing while trying to do the CAM, and the only solution is to return to an earlier version of the file.

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Bauen Marksmith BAM! Bolt Action Titanium Marker Specificatons


Mike, Braza Bro Owner

Got mine today! It was amazing. Was being crucial as my fiance promptly stole it, running around the house yelling "mine".

Galit, Kickstarter Backer

Mine arrived today and it's gorgeous! It's small, sleek and just super comfortable to hold. Nicely done Bastion!

Rob Joyce, Kickstarter Backer

Got mine today as well. It is shocking solid for a little knife. It feels extremely stout and I have no doubt this will last a long time.

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