The rOting 500 is the middle pencil between the 300 and the 600. While all 3 pencils share a similar appearance the 500 looks more like the 600 than the 300. In fact side by side there is only the designation on the side of the pencils and the shininess of the 500's plastic barrel that gives it away. That and the fact that the lettering on the LGI in the top end of the pencil is silver, on the 600 it's white and the rings between the red one are silver, not black. But at a glance or to the uninitiated it looks like a 600.
But when you take a look at the insides of each pencil they appear nothing alike. The 500 breaks down into 5 major components. The metal end cap/grip/lead sleeve. The body, which contains the 3 jawed clutch and ratcheting mechanism as well as the lead reservoir . And finally the eraser and the push button. The 600 breaks down into 5 major components as well, but very differently. The breaks down into the end cap/grip/lead sleeve. When you unscrew the end cap the 3-jawed clutch, ratcheting mechanism, lead reservoir, eraser and push button all follow. The interior must be unscrewed from the end cap/grip/lead sleeve next. The eraser and push button are the only remaining parts to remove.
The interior of the 500 is an integral part of the body. This is a simple design as the body is modeled to accept the mechanism. The down side to this type of design is that repairers can not be made to the interior of the mechanism. This is construction that I would have expected of the 300 as it is such a basic, inexpensive way to make a mechanical pencil. The 300 has a removable tip as the grip is made into the body. But it has a mechanism and lead reservoir that are piratically removable. Only the larger diameter metal tube on the end of the clear plastic reservoir prevents it from being fully removed. But I am sure that this can be overcome if repairs were needed.
The 600 is made entirely different than either the 300 or 500. It has both a metal body and metal tip/grip/lead sleeve. The 3-jawed clutch and the rest of the mechanism is metal surrounded by a white plastic fixture.. Even the lead reservoir is metal. But the 600 is a top of the line pencil and high quality construction should be expected. So since the 500 is a more expensive pencil than the 300 I would expect a better construction method. Even if it is less expensive than the 600 I still ecpected something closer to the 600's construction.
I will say this for the 500's construction. The design does give the pencil strength. Often the weak point of a plastic barreled drafting pencil is where the grip meets the body. Too much pressure during usage can over time stress this area to the point where it cracks and often breaks off completely. Most often than not this can not be repaired satisfactorily. The 500's design helps prevent this by being stronger at the joint because of the fact the mechanism is housed there.
|Top to Bottom: The 600, the 300 and the 500|
All that aside the rOting 500 is still a good pencil and a good choice for someone who wants a an intermediate level pencil. So on that note I offer you the stats. The over all length is 141 mm. The body diameter is 7.5 mm across the flats and 8 mm across the points. The grip is 7.5 mm in diameter and does not taper. The grip length is 30 mm and the tip length is 12 mm. The balance point is 68 mm from the tip making the 500 a tiny bit top heavy. The total weight is 13.4 grams. Aside from the lead sleeve and the 2 silver rings above and below the red ring at the LGI the pencil is entirely black with red lettering. The LGI is silver letters on a black background. The removable pocket clip has the rOting logo stamped into the upper portion. the closed push button has the lead size stamped on it's top. All in all a good looking light weight 0.3 mm drafting/writing pencil.
Some people prefer a pencil of a specific weight and balance point. But I seem to like a variety of weights and balance points. So I get along with a lot of different pencils. But the 500 is an almost happy median. It's not to skinny nor too fat. It's light weight which makes it easy to use all day. It doesn't try and go it's own way as some pencils do. The top heaviness of the 500 is not felt due, I think, to it's light weight. The pencil is not delicate either. 0.3 mm pencils have a tendency to break lead. This is caused by the lead not fitting the lead sleeve tight enough. The lead tends to wobble inside the lead sleeve so when in turning the pencil as you write the point of the lead catches the paper and digs in. The lead has too much room to move around so it flexes. When it flexes, it breaks. With the lead is held tight in the lead sleeve (and not over extended) it has not room to flex and so it tends not to break. This is a quality of every rOtring that I have as well as another high quality pencil, the German and Japanese versions of the Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic. This comes as no surprise as rOtring once owned Koh-I-Noor.
Last words: The rOtring 500 is a well made, decent drafting pencil. It is a medium weight class drafting pencil. It has good balance and does not fight me when I write with it. It's diameter is, for me, just at the low end of what fits well in my hand. Both the plastic barrel and nicely knurled grip are good gripping surfaces. The pencil rests well in my fat little hands* and I can easily turn it as I write. The pocket clip is removable, so people who like to remove them from their pencils so the end of the clip doesn't dig into the web of their hand when the pencil is turned can do so. I collect the pencils I blog about so don't remove mine.
The 500 only comes in black. Maybe one day they will make them in silver, but I doubt it. The 500 is a handsome pencil in black, and black is slimming, but the problem that I have with black pencils is that they show up every piece of bust and lint that falls on them. Worse, the knurled metal grips catch the loose skin of the fingers, as well as dirt, dust and grime, and quickly begin to look grey. Using a soft bristled tooth brush and some soap and water can remove this but repeatedly doing this wears off the finish, points first. Then it looks even worse. This is why I like silver pencils or at least silver metal grips on colored plastic bodies.
So if you want a nice drafting pencil for under $20.00 for the 0.3 mm and under $15.00 for the 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm models then the rOtring 500 just may be the pencil that you are looking for.
The rOtring 500 is no longer made in 0.3 mm, just why I'm not sure, but while supplies last you can fined them on-line at jetpens.com.
(* I have slightly fatish hands, but this is not why I asterisked the word hands. The web of a persons hand can be measured from the crease at the base of the index finger to the base of the thumb. People like me who have a short web are said to have "small hands" while those whose web is longer are said to have "big hands". The placement on the thumb on the side of the hand determines the length of the hands web. My fingers are actually slightly longer than my lovely wife's, but because her thumb is a lot further down the side of her hand, closer to her wist, the web of her hand is longer. The length of the web of the hand does have an effect on how you hold a pencil and where the pocket clip hits your hand, if at all. So please bear this is in mind when considering the purchase of any pencil or pen.)