Uni-Ball Pipe Lock Pencil Review

Dec 22, 2017 | [REVIEW], Posts

Review Summary


You can certainly pay more for a worse pencil. The Pipe Lock is usually sold under ten dollars, you can check the price here. If I were to lose my own Uni-Ball, I would certainly pay the same price to get it replaced. It’s difficult to do better for an equivilant quality drafting pencil.


While it doesn’t seem to create any immediate problems beyond those of preference, the plastic upper half of this pencil is lightweight and will not last as long as aluminum or similar metals. The lower half of the body is well constructed and a pleasure to hold, however.


The Uni-Ball Pipe Lock has a very cylindrical build that sits nicely in the hand. The aluminum knurl is well made, and the plastic upper half is a dull matte that is smooth to touch. The pencils retractable tip mechanism is satisfying to work with, and the pencil is bottom heavy.


The Pipe Lock Pencil is really great to use. When writing or drawing the pencil creates steady consistent lines in a very smooth manner. The retractable tip allows you to keep the tip safe while it’s in your bag, or to stop yourself getting poked while it’s in your pocket.


  • Competitive Price
  • Retractable Tip
  • Cyclindrical Design
  • Bottom Heavy


  • Plastic Upper Half
  • Small Eraser (as always on these drafting pencils)
  • No led grade indicator




The Review
The look of the Uni-Ball Pipe Lock is certainly noticeable. The matte black of the body creates a stark contrast with the shiny aluminum, and the text on the body looks as if it were written in smoke. The outward design of the pencil consists nearly only of cylinders, giving the sleek “pipe” effect.
At its low price, the Pipe Lock is among a competitive crowd of drafting pencils that strive to deliver professional quality performance for around ten dollars, such as the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 or the Alvin Draftmatic.
Beyond its looks, this pencil only has two main talking points that make it stand out from other pencils, its body contruction and retractable tip.

Aluminum and Plastic Body

The body of this pencil, at around 9mm (.35″), is an agreeable thickness with a forgiving knurl on the aluminum. The plastic is lightweight, and is usually the biggest problem most people have with this pencil. The aluminum feels like quality, however, and the weight difference causes this pencil to be bottom heavy, which some find favorable.

Retractable Tip

The most vulnerable part of any drafting pencil is the tip, so having a retractable tip is a big bonus, and will likely increase the lifetime of this pencil. On top of that, the tip retracts via a very satisfying locking mechanism that has a very definite series of clicks that you can hear and feel.
I really like the way the plastic feels, and if it weren’t for its light weight, it wouldn’t be half bad. The pencils tip mechanism slides the tip out by twisting the top half of the body over, pushing it down, and then clicking it over again in the same direction to lock it in place. To dissassemble the lower half of the pencil you would have to unscrew a section near the tip. These movements of extending the tip and disassembling the pencil are in the same direction, so many experience a loosening of the pencils assembly during use.
With all of this in mind, the Uni-Ball Pipe Lock is a pencil at a competitive price, that’s well designed, satisfying to use and good to look at; all at the cost of just a little character.
Do you have any questions for me about the Uni-Ball Pipe Lock Drafting Pencil? Leave a Comment Below

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