Friday, May 22, 2015

GripCoins!

Hi Folks,

We're headed into the holiday weekend and the weather is simply glorious, albeit a bit dry. We could use some rain here soon or the farmers are going to be suffering.

At any rate, the projects are moving full steam ahead. P13 Prybabies are at heat treat and should be coming back in a week or so. I am almost done with Mini FunnyBones and hope to get them sent out in a couple of days...The little T-Wrex Roid tools that I posted on the ToolBook will be on deck for grinding right after FunnyBones. And two new Prybaby designs got added to the queue just this week as well as another updated older item.

Coming up around the end of next week will be Carbon Fiber RubRats. These are a slick little keychain spacer item to help prevent your fancy pocket tools from getting scratched up by your other keychain items...like keys for instance. :)

Also coming are Chilly Beans. These are my stainless steel version of the "whiskey stone" and are a turned item. Basically a Giant Super Mega Bead.

Also on the way are ultralight black delrin 5 flute beads...and also white delrin 5 flutes. These are turning right now and I will be tying a lot of cord this weekend in preparation for them.

Today I have the long promised GripCoins finished. What exactly is a GripCoin you ask? Well, this is an interesting concept that I have been thinking about for quite some time. On older cameras especially, the ergonomics are such that using one for any length of time can result in severe hand fatigue. And hand fatigue means you may miss the shot. If you study the evolution of camera design you will see that the big manufacturers began to incorporate better grips starting in the 1980's. Very aggressive grip designs have appeared in the more recent cameras of the past decade or so, often making them quite bulky. Some notable exceptions are Leica which apparently will not relate to this issue whatsoever. If you look around you will see add on items meant to address the problem such as the Thumbs Up or leather half cases with a thumb bump built into it.

Anyhow, the minimalist design ethos absolutely predominates in today's smaller point and shoots and in other electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets. Manufacturers are looking for the simplest and cheapest method of production and ergonomics for the user appear to be an afterthought. Instead they rely on more and more complicated software features to keep us mesmerized and distracted from physical design. They make these devices so darned slippery that it's a wonder anyone can hold them....so I set out to find a simple solution.   

Enter the GripCoin, a concave stainless steel disc with a low profile and 3/4 inch diameter. The inside of the GripCoin is stepped to provide both a visually appealing and a positive grip surface for fingertips. The outside is knurled to create a second way to grip the disc, by wrapping fingers or thumbs AROUND it. The round shape means that this becomes a 360 degree custom grip point that can be added to virtually any clean flat surface.

To adhere GripCoins to devices I turned to specialty adhesives. It turns out that our friends at 3M have the solution, a special high tack thin film adhesive called 300 LSE. This stuff is available in precut discs which work perfectly for this application. It's slightly expensive but well worth it. The adhesive is very sticky and can even take considerable side pressure without coming off. But, if you want to remove it and reposition the GripCoin it is very simple, just warm it slightly with a hair dryer and carefully pry it up with fingernail or pry tool. (You do have pry tools available right? :D) Any tiny amount of remaining residue will easily come off by rubbing with a finger....

GripCoins are definitely repositionable but I recommend that you try a piece of doubled up painter's tape or Scotch tape first to get a firm idea where you want the grip to be, then go ahead and use the provided adhesive disc for permanent positioning. I will be including two discs of adhesive with each GripCoin so there will be a backup if you mess up or exhaust the sticky surface of the first one. And I can provide additional adhesive discs for a small cost. 

One word of warning, the adhesive appears to be totally safe for most surfaces but does have the potential to damage delicate leathers if you lift up at a sharp angle. So you are on your own if you stick them onto older cameras with fine leather coverings. Use some common sense!

The difference in ergonomics that this tool makes is often dramatic and is instantly apparent. Stick them onto fine film and digital cameras, pocket point and shoots, sporting goods, large flat folding knife handles and the backs of cell phones and tablets. I think there may even be some applications in some sporting goods and perhaps certain firearm grips. I leave it up to the creative and inventive EDC community to find ways to use these that I may not even have thought of...and if you have no grippy use for them then they also make neat little "worry stones" for your pocket.

The GripCoins will run $25 each plus shipping and the link is below. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead!

GripCoins are sold out for now, thank you very much everyone!







Friday, May 15, 2015

Bronze Roll Bars

Hi Folks,

Well, it's been a slow start to the spring for us this year but we're finally warming up here in the northeast. I've been swamped with a zillion house and yard chores, many of which have been put off for way too long. But great progress has been made, much to my better half's satisfaction, and I'm starting to turn my attentions back to the old grindstone.

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Project Updates:

I've been putting in many shop hours lately despite all the other distractions and am happy to report that tools are once again moving steadily through the pipeline. I just sent the CPM 3v P13 Prybabies out to heat treat. And I have a second CPM 3v tool that I'd like to send out at the same time, a chunky little thing in full Roid thickness called the T-Wrex. Very excited about this one and I had to move it to the head of the list to get them done. Hope to get them out to heat treat by end of next week. Also well on the way to being finished are Mini FunnyBones and those will be going to heat treat next week as well.

And then there are the Wheelman bike tools in titanium. This is a new design and I have a large batch that I am working on, plus a second batch in CPM 154 steel for later in the summer.

I finally finished the small stainless steel GripCoins. These are small machined discs that can be adhered to slippery cameras, electronics and sporting goods using super high tack 3m adhesive dots to provide a 360 degree customizable grip point. They are so slick and handy...they look cool and work exactly as I envisioned. The difference they make in the handling and ergonomics on these devices is amazing. Pics and more info coming soon.

More 5 Flute beads will be coming this spring in delrin and hard anodized aluminum. They should start turning by end of next week.

Carbon fiber RubRats are in production and will be coming in 2-3 weeks hopefully. What is a RubRat? You will find out shortly and your keychain tools will thank you. :)

And there are other projects in the works as well, about a dozen more at least. I'm going to try to make a push to get some of these completed soon so please stay tuned!

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Today I have a sweet batch of Alloy 655 Bronze Roll Bars finished. These are gorgeous and are starting to get a nice patina on them already. I can't wait to see how they will look after some wear and age but I'm guessing they may turn out to be the prettiest Roll Bars yet.

The Bronze Roll Bars will run $58 plus shipping and I will make this tool a two per customer limit on them. The order link is below. As always, thank you for your patience and for stopping by, it's always much appreciated!

Bronze Roll Bars are sold out, thank you everyone!





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

P10 Prybabies

Hi Folks,

Sorry for the long silent stretch but I've been very busy catching up on spring yard chores, painting the house trim, staining the deck, fixing roof leaks, doing taxes, cleaning the shop, fixing my tumbler and other machines and trying to work on tools in between. This winter was so brutal that a ton of maintenance stuff got put off and I've been paying a heavy price this month. Plus I had to take a few days off on the warmer days just to relax for a change.

Anyway, I just got the new P10 Prybabies back from heat treat. This is an updated Prybaby design with a few small changes. The P10 is made of CPM 154 in the usual 5/32" thickness, overall length is slightly longer thank previous Prybabies at 3.5", wrench sizes are Imperial 1/4-9/16... I added a dedicated lanyard hole so that a lanyard will no longer interfere with the wrench openings and can also be used as a keyring attachment point. And there is an additional dedicated 1/4" hex opening. This results in a slightly larger tool but it has great ergonomics.

Another way that the tool could be carried would be on bead chain or cord by threading the chain through the lanyard and hex openings so that it could be hung on the neck. So there are lots of possibilities there for you to personalize the P10 to your favorite EDC requirements.


For the P Series I've decided to beef up the V notch area. I eliminated the traditional angle cut which tends to get chewed up if folks actually use the tool hard and is nearly impossible to fix once the steel is hardened. The old style V looks cool but is less practical in some ways. I think this simpler configuration will prove to be stronger in the long run although traditionalists will no doubt give me grief over it. I will have another version coming later this spring (the titanium G6) with the old style V notch as well so no worries.

Also on the way in a month or two will be a metric version of the P10 and those will be in CPM 3v steel. And there is a batch underway already of the P13 which is also CPM 3v steel. The P13 is identical to this design but it has my Sine Wave style grip that you have seen for the past year or two on many tools rather than the Hexi style edges.

The P10 Prybabies will run $70 plus shipping and the link is below. It's a small batch so limit of one per customer please on them. Thanks for stopping by and hope your week is warm and pleasant!


P10 Prybabies are sold out, thank you so much!






 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bermuda Triangles with Hexi Edge

Hi Everyone,

Looks like a very reasonable week ahead here in New England...temperatures should be in the 40's and even the 50's so hopefully we will get rid of a lot more of that pesky white stuff. I'm looking forward to some warmer days, especially in the next week or two so I can catch up on some long neglected house and shop maintenance. Winter has taken its toll and the shop is long overdue for a good cleaning.

I'm getting much closer on the first batch of CPM 154 steel Prybabies. Those will be going out the door and headed to heat treat by the end of this week. The second batch of CPM 3V Prybabies is also already well underway and if I can just keep my nose to the grindstone those should be following sometime next week. After that I will be grinding more steel tools...GripCoins are getting closer too as well as something heavy, round and unexpected.

Today I have a small batch of 5/32" thick Titanium Bermuda Triangles with fine stonewashed finish. I've been doing a lot of anodizing lately so I thought I'd slip in a few ti pieces for the Vanilla Crowd...there's no shame in that btw, just ask my wife: when presented with 24 flavors of ice cream I usually pick vanilla!

Anyway, this batch has a different edge shape than the previous Fractal Edge series. I'm calling this one the Hexi Edge version and it features my familiar hex shaped grip edge. I think they have a terrific elegant look to them and combined with a long slow tumble they have a soft feel in the hand.

The Hexi Edge Bermuda Triangles will run $65 plus shipping and the link is below. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week ahead!

Plain Hexi Triangles are gone but anodized ones are coming soon. Thank you!







Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Hatchling: It's a Roid, It's a Roid!

Happy Spring Everyone!

It can't get here too soon in my opinion, still pretty cold here in the Northeast.

I can't remember where I first saw little openers in this style. It might have been at a backyard keg party in college or maybe it was at someone's house during a March Madness basketball game. But for a while it seemed like they were everywhere. Usually they were made of aluminum but then over the years I have even seen them in hard plastic with a metal insert.

The one thing that has been a constant is that I always found them lacking in one way or another. Sure, they open bottles just fine but the lanyard hole is always too small and they just don't have much else going for them aesthetically. Lately I have seen some that were much thicker than the old ones as if thickness alone would fix the poor overall design decisions...although why making something so thick that it crowds out your keys is beyond me and besides, what if you don't have a huge keyring?

Anyway, for several years I have thought about making a new tool that would take this simple design to the next level. I wanted to add a little more function to it and up the ante on the overall aesthetics of the piece. This is a first attempt at doing just that.

The Hatchling is a cute little thing, and I think you will agree that his arrival is just right for the season. Even though he is small, at only 2.5 inches long, his massive .260 inch thickness certainly qualifies him to be a member of the Roid Family of tools. The hungry little mouth is a 5/16 hex wrench and of course he is very thirsty too. The tiny egg from which he came is a 3/8 hex wrench. And if you turn him on his side his nose becomes a screwdriver which doubles as a Mini XL Pry Bar.

Even though I consulted my Sibley's Guide to North American Pocket Tools, I'm still not sure just what species the Hatchling is, but he comes in a wide variety of colorful plumage. There are some solids, color fades, rainbows, and even some unexpected effects. Where possible I have tried to preserve some of the texture of the thick titanium plate stock to add character. Some of the resulting textures and color combos are very interesting and unusual.

And for those of you wanting a plainer and heavier piece, I have a big batch of these coming in 1/4" CPM 154 steel in a month or so.

The Hatchlings will run $65 plus shipping. I'll make it one per customer on them and, as usual on these mixed up color batches, I will send you what I send you so no color choice. As proud new parents though, I think everyone will be delighted and get along fine with the new arrival!

Thanks for stopping by everyone and hope your weekend is a relaxing one.


Hatchlings are gone for now but more are coming soon, thank you!









Friday, March 13, 2015

R25: Ti Rulers Return!

Howdy Folks,

We are finally getting some melting here this week! A minor ice dam caused us a little leaky roof trouble this past weekend but thankfully now seems to have healed itself...I continue to climb up into the attic and monitor it every day though just in case. Pain in the butt and I will be happy to see the end of this tough winter.

Well, I am still fighting this R25 Ruler batch but am making great headway and I finally have enough done to do a sale. Originally I had hoped to split the batch in half and do one sale for plain ones and one sale for anodized but for a variety of reasons I decided to just do one batch of anodized pieces for now. I'm afraid those who wanted plain will have to wait until I can get to a batch of the 3 inch stainless or bronze ones. Hopefully those will be forthcoming at some point this spring or summer. However I will have to get a handle on production costs because I can't believe what these ended up costing me to make, let alone all the time I poured into the finishing.

At any rate, I am so pleased with how these tiny ruler tools have turned out. They are made of .160 titanium so are quite hefty for the size, sort of like a little ti nugget. They feature a simple 2 inch scale on the front side and a 5cm scale on the obverse. Hence the name R-Two-Five which stands for "Ruler: Two Inch, 5 Centimeter". The marks are CNC engraved rather than laser marked so they are deep, V shaped for accuracy and will be quite permanent. An O2 wrench, 1/4 hex opening and cap lifter complete the tool.

Although the R25 could be carried on a keyring I had originally envisioned them to be used as a pendant so they are drilled with two small holes to accept the included length of bead chain. They are anodized in a wide variety of solid colors, simple rainbows and color fades. Sorry, I can't give a color choice, I will send you whatever I send you, but rest assured they are all gorgeous!

The R25s will run $65 each plus shipping. The batch is a bit smaller than I had originally hoped for so I will have to make it one per customer please. The purchase link is below. Thanks for stopping in and here's to warmer days just ahead!

Rulers are gone for now, thank you so much!











Sunday, March 01, 2015

Roll Bars Militare

Happy Weekend Everyone!

We're finally getting a tiny break from the bitter cold and that should get the maple sap starting to run finally, albeit a week or two later than usual for sugaring. Maybe if we're lucky we might even see the edges of the enormous piles of snow and ice start to melt just a little bit this week. Of course more snow is on the way tonight.

So much neat stuff is on the drawing board that I'm just about bursting at the seams to tell you about it.

Progress is once again being made on the little R25 ti rulers and they are coming along nicely. The engraving will be done in a few days and then I can start finishing them up. I posted some teaser pics on the Toolbook group for any of you who aren't on FB already. Hopefully I will have the R25s ready by end of next week.

In other news, several new Prybabies are on the way. The first batch of CPM 154 pieces is now ground and I'm just waiting on some carbide drills and new diamond files to get the prep work finished so they can be sent to heat treat. The second batch is CPM 3v and those have had the first steps of prep work completed but I still need to grind them, etc. so they are a ways off. The third batch is titanium and they are about to get milled. The fourth batch is metric and in CPM 3v. They are still on deck for cutting.

Then I have a bunch of other projects drawn up, some of which are already underway. I'm really excited about the Wheelman (in both steel and ti), the 80's Classic Roid (steel and ti), R37 Ruler Tools, GripCoins, Qubes, Wrants, more Tombstones, updated Mini FunnyBones, the Small Fry, StrapOns, the Lobsterman and a few others. Yes, I have been very VERY busy this winter thinking about new designs, improving older designs and playing with new EDC ideas. I can't wait to start getting some of these done so I can get them into my own pockets.

Today I finally have the HA III Aluminum Roll Bars completed. These are made of 7075 Aluminum, very similar to the grade that they make M16 receivers and extension tubes from. It's incredibly strong for an aluminum alloy and also featherlight. I have given these a fine bead blast finish and then sent them for Natural Finish Hard Anodizing so they have a tough, low light, military look and feel to them. The black o-ring and hardware really complete the package. Throw some matte black gaffer tape (find it at Amazon) on there and you will be ready for wherever the action takes you.

The AL Roll Bars will run $45 each plus shipping and the link is below. I'll make it open quantities as the batch is generous in size. Thanks for stopping in folks and for continuing to support me in my efforts to explore new designs, materials and ideas. As always, I'm extremely grateful!

First wave of these are gone for now, thank you so much!