So what’s your preferred method of marking drill points on a wall? With a variety of potential surfaces to mark, the humble pencil may have been superseded in recent times by a Sharpie, but there is a new kid on the block and it is creating quite a storm in the market.
The MarXman pen has steadily picked up a few awards in the five years it has been around but it was the combination of its award for Best DIY Product 2015 at the Totally Tools Show coupled with a 2016 appearance on Dragons’ Den (in which every single ‘Dragon’ offered to back the product) that brought it to mainstream attention.
MarXman was set up by Martin Chard, a self-employed building maintenance man, who invented the pen after trying to fit a sink. He found that he could not mark the drilling position on the wall and also see the marks, so after a few time-wasting attempts, he reached for a can of black spray paint in desperation and marked it with that.
After far too many frustrating incidents like this during the fitting of kitchens, bathrooms and putting up shelving, with lots of wasted trips up and down ladders with broken pencils and felt tips that just do not do the job, he started the process of developing a new solution.
By pushing the MarXman pen into fixing holes it delivers a burst of bright chalk through the hole onto the mounting surface clearly showing where you need to drill your hole. The ‘Standard’ pen will mark drilling positions through fixing holes up to 45mm deep from 3 to 13 mm diameter onto most surfaces. For holes where you would need to mark reference points over 45mm, the MarXman Deep Hole pen is also available.
It is reported that the chalk will mark a drilling hole on any surface including tile, breeze-block, granite, plaster, cement etc and the chalk is florescent and can easily been seen from a distance (particularly useful if fixing at height). The chalk is non-permanent and can be brushed off and each pen is estimated to give 200 markings.
Smaller than the average pencil the MarXman Standard fits into a toolbelt, box or pocket easily enough or if space is really tight the plastic nozzle comes off with a quick pull.
Firstly we tried the unit to mark the drill points of a PIR triggered security light being fitted to an exterior brick wall. The distance that the chalk needed to travel was no more than 5mm and the pen worked well, leaving a circle marking the place to drill with a bright green circle of around 2mm radius.
We then tried out the ‘up to 45mm’ claim using a 6.5mm drill bit and wooden blocks of 30mm and 50mm. In both cases the ‘Standard’ MarXman made a chalk mark on the brickwork, although in the case of the 50mm it was not quite as defined as the 30mm so the claim of up to 45mm seems a valid one.
Find out what we thought of the product in the October 2016 edition of PSI magazine