Okay, I don't know how this will go, so I'm just going to put this out here and see what you think...
First, a little back-story...
Since my son Julien was very young (he's 10 years old now) I've bought him LEGO. While I certainly never bought every single kit ...I did buy many thousand of dollars worth.
Julien still plays with LEGO ...a lot (in fact, he even started his own Instagram account where he posts his unique creations).
Long story short...
I started to see the limitations of LEGO with his development. Now, don't get me wrong, LEGO is probably the #1 best toy to have ever been invented for kids - it's fantastic. But one of the downsides is that it just ...a toy.
Julien has tried to make real objects that can actually be used - but, unfortunately, because of the nature of LEGO ...there is no strength or rigidity. Similarly... there is Meccano, which is good for building stuff, but again there is no structure or ability to make something real or usable.
So, I thought it was time to roll-up-my-sleeves:
It's taken a little while and quite a bit of testing and tweaking - but I think what I've created is something special (yeah, I know, that sounds arrogant - but hear me out! :-D).
Starting with a solid billet of aluminum:
Next up I did some milling:
After a little more machining:
And finally after even more machining ...and some tumbling:
The cool thing about these is that they are STRONG!
Now, of course, I needed a few more shapes and sizes so Julien and I had something to actually build with. A few days later and we have this:
The first thing I did was hand these pieces to Julien and just see what he did.
A little while later and he comes down to the workshop and shows me this:
It's a little plane ...which I thought was pretty cool for his first go!
Next he made what he called a "screwdriver" and a "stand" for it to sit in:
I decided to try my hand at making some things that were more practical - and so here are a few creations I made yesterday and today...
Yeah, I know, it's so over-built it's ridiculous. But, hey, at least it's never going to break!
A cellphone stand:
After making the cellphone stand I thought a tablet stand was the appropriate next thing to make (since making the above stand I machined a new component to act as a "base").
This stand is not adjustable - but it should be easy enough to design and make a component that will allow this functionality.
Lastly, something I made this morning...
A full-on, 100% functioning (and super-powerful) slingshot:
So, yeah, that's the "crazy new invention" I wanted to show you.
It's only been a couple of days and I've already made a bunch of very functional and 100% usable things.
Take a look at these three parts:
Now, believe it or not...
Each construction above was made from just these three different components (apart from the tablet stand which used a fourth component as the base). I find that amazing!
Imagine the designs that could be made as new component designs are added? 😀
Now, I know, I'm usually "The Titanium Guy" ...but I think there is something special about what is happening in the photos above with these aluminum parts.
I'm going to make a few sets (not decided how many parts are in a set yet) and offer them to you here. Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in.
Do you have any thoughts?
What would you envision yourself making?
It's been a little quiet here on the blog lately ...but that's only because we've been busy cranking out products.
Now, a quick confession:
I've totally dropped the ball on getting these out in a reasonable time-frame - and they are late.
The good news is:
The TiCut™ is shipping now (and we're getting loads of them off the machine every day). The McDangle™ is proving trickier in production than I thought it would be - but we're nearly there (so, if you're waiting for it, then please hold in a little longer - I really appreciate your patience - it will be worth it I promise!).
We sold way, WAY more of the above two products than I thought we would ...and so it's taking longer than I initially thought to get them all out. I have no excuses though - shame on me for being late.
I'm going to show you some photos below of the making of the TiCut™ Utility Blade Knife.
Here's a look at the "fixture" that holds the TiCut™ parts on the CNC milling machine:
...and here's some part before they are finished and tumbled:
A few weeks ago on a Saturday morning...
I had my son Julien design and make a piece of Titanium LEGO from scratch (although, of course, I helped him with water-jet cutting and the actual milling part ...be he did 100% of the designing).
We google and found the dimensions of a standard 2x4 brick and sketched-up a 3D version of our own (we kept the inside plain as we wanted to keep things simple):
We then cut a water-jet blank to machine the Lego piece from:
Next we did the CAM work (so the CNC machine knows how and what to cut):
The titanium block is then clamped and machined:
And that's it pretty much done:
Now, you're probably wondering...
Does it fit onto normal Lego?
The answer is ....sort of. We didn't skim off enough on some of it so it's a little tight. A few tweaks and we'd have it sorted. In saying that - it was just a fun project for Julien. 🙂
We've been asked to get these back in stock... (many of those who asked have already bought one already, and even two in some cases, but wanted another one - which is very cool indeed!)
...and we finally have some (we were waiting on some new titanium hardware for them).
The good news is we have a few available here right now:
The bad news is:
You're probably not going to get a chance to get this knife again (because I'm not sure if we're going to make it again). Despite it's simplicity... it is a challenge to make to say the least.
As usual, we're stuggling to keep the PillPots™ in stock.
And I think that's all I have for you today. 🙂
Today I'm going to share a little of my "philosophy" on buying stuff - but before I do that...
A couple of blog posts ago I uploaded a video of the making and developing of the Titanium Utility Blade Knife.
That video was Part 1 ...and here is Part 2 below:
There are another one or two more parts to this Titanium Utility Blade Knife series.
But here's the weird thing...
The videos were made around 1 to two weeks ago (and I've had difficulty finding the time to edit them) ...and so I'm uploading them later than I hoped.
And so the crazy thing is:
So, yeah, these "Making Of..." videos are a little behind - but I'd still like to get them editing and out to you.
Although we offer the CandyCan™ on our website - we're bang in the middle of fulfilling a fairly large Kickstarter project for it (around 930 in total).
I made a short update video for the Backers of the project around a week ago - but thought you might be interested to see a little of the "behind the scenes" of the machining of the CandyCan™:
I'll be honest here...
Before you are here reading about titanium stuff (and you're looking at the kind of stuff we design and make) I know you already appreciate quality. So I'm probably already speaking to the converted. But I'll continue anyway... 🙂
There are a few phrases that sort of explain something of my philosophy on buying products - here are a few:
"Buy it for life."
"Buy once. Cry once."
"Quality is free. It's not a gift, but it's free. The 'unquality' things are what cost money." - Philip B. Crosby
"Buy the best you can't afford." - Magnus (yes, I said that. And, yes, I meant to say can't instead of can)
While I really love buying quality ...most times I tend to buy the best of what is available (as opposed to just quality) ...I still feel the intial pain of the higher price.
Take, for example, this little device:
This is an Ultrasonic cleaner.
When I first looked at purchasing one years ago I was hugely tempted by the generic, Chinese made ones for around $700. That would have been an easy purchase.
The hard purchase was this German-made one for $2500. The specification was the same as the $700 one. Maybe if I had bought the cheaper one, then it might still be working to this day and I'd be talking about what a bargain it was.
But, here's the thing...
That would be the exception as opposed to the rule. A cheaper one could (theoretically) last longer ...but, in my opinion, it is unlikely.
This one also has an element in it to heat the water - and the time it takes to take the water from cold to don't-put-your-hand-in-that hot is crazy fast. This would not have been the case with the cheaper one.
So it's not just about longevity. It's about the experience too. The one we bought is a pleasure to use every time. The basket that drops in and out is extremely well made ...and I appreciate the quality of it every time I lift it in or out (yeah, I know, a bit geeky :-P).
Even the buttons are nice to press (I'm a sucker for the "little details"!).
Every single part that's come out of our workshop in the last 5 years has been through this ultrasonic cleaner (that's tens of thousands of parts).
The initial pain (and it was painful) of the purchase price ...now seems to be a bargain many years later.
And that seems to be the secret here:
If you're thinking short-term ...then it's "expensive". But, if you're thinking long-term ...then it's a bargain (and it really probably is a bargain).
I don't believe I have every regretted buying anything that, at the time, seemed "expensive" (typically because it was the best one available).
BUT, I have bought things that are not great quality (more so years ago than now) ...and have regretted it almost every single time. Not always because it broke ...but just because, when using it, everything about it was a compromise (the quality, the function, etc.) - and it just makes you feel, well, regret really.
Maybe I'm odd? Anyone else feel this? Curious...
I'll keep this fairly short today (because, well, it's a blatant pitch for my BRAND NEW product)...
This is a product I've been asked for ...for years!
It's been a long road of design, development, testing, tweaking and refining - but the Titanium Utility Blade Knife is finally ready.
Here is a quick video I made a couple of hours ago:
To find out more about this one-of-a-kind (and what I have shamlessly called "The World's Best Utility Blade Knife) ...then CLICK HERE.
I honestly believe this is the best solution to a compact utility blade knife (part of the reason for this is that it's taken me well over 300+ hours to get the design perfected!).
We are continuing to machine and ship CandyCans™ for the Kickstarter project (which is running late unfortunately - but we're producing them every day now).
Also, we're about to ship the last handful of Flixx™ Friction Folder Knives.
So, if you've been waiting for either of these two projects ...my apologies for the lateness!
First up today, let's talk about the Titanium Utility Blade Knife...
I showed you a prototype for this around a month or so ago. I did a ton of work on it back then ...and then dropped it for a while because it was proving tricky (and, in addition, I had other projects that needed attention).
Have just recently started working on the knife again - and, man, has it been just as tricky as when I left it.
I've started filming the process. Here's the first video of the "making of" the Titanium Utility Blade Knife (although, its not just the making of ...it's the concept, development, testing, etc.):
Like I mentioned above...
This utility blade knife is proving fairly tricky to make - but is coming along (the video above is a few days old).
We did a little tidy-up in the product area and found a few titanium spinners.
These will sell in the blink-of-an-eye (I get asked to re-make spinners a lot but don't really have any plans to make any more) and so when they are gone ...they are gone. Sorry.
Just as with the spinners above ...we found a handful of Black Titanium Capped Pens during the same tidy up...
I honestly don't know why or how we have these - they were part of a Kickstarter project from last year. Perhaps we made extra and just forgot about them - not sure.
I don't have a long sales-page with all the details - but you can order directly below (and, if you want to see more about them, then you can view the Kickstarter project here).
Oh... and there are just six available.
We've been making some more HookUp Clips recently and though you might like to see how the titanium sheet looks after it's been water-jet cut... (these are the double-ended version)
We have to "pop" these out by hand ...and the remaining sheet gets scrapped.
You can order Titanium HookUp Clips here (they are in stock ...so if you can buy them, then they will shipped the next working day)
We were doing some Cerakote® colour coating on some titanium parts recently and we decided to experiment with some reject knife parts...
The blade looks silver in the above photos - but it is actually white.
Not sure how this would hold up with intense use (inevitably it will get scratched) - but it could be a very cool "office knife".
And that's all I have for you today. 🙂
Before I get into stuff that's been happening...
I'd like to do some totally shameless promotion of some clips I just made (they are shipping right away - so, yeah, no pre-order this time).
There are based on my somewhat famous HookUp™ clips - but are a double-ended version of them:
The original HookUp™ clips were launched way back in 2014 ...and I did a double-ended prototype version back then - but never released it. I kind of just forgot about making that double-ended version - and so I've just spent a little time re-developing and making some over the last day or so.
The original HookUp™ clips are also in stock right now along with the NEW "Double" version - click here to check them out.
NOTE: Just out of interest ...this is the cheapest product I've been able to make in quite some time (they are a little easier to make than most of the products we make)
Last week we offered a few limited Flixx™ knives - and we've been shipping those out (here are three that went out today):
These knives have been tough!
If you've followed-along with the blog posts since the beginning of the year, then you'll know the never-ending struggles we've had with them.
We're finally starting to figure it out - but, honestly, it's been a bit of a "learning experience".
On the plus side ...it has furnished us with a boat-load of experience for the Project ZERO Custom "flipper" Knife we're working on.
A quick recap for this year so far...
This year we have produced (or are currently working on):
-- Friction Folder Knife (Flixx™)
-- "Flipper" knife (Project ZERO)
-- New Titanium Carabiners (McDangle "Mini")
-- Three different Titanium Pocket-Size Containers (CandyCan™, CandyCan™ XL, CandyCan™ Trinity)
-- Slim Wallet (TiWallet™)
...and we're only halfway through the year!
We plan to keep developing and prototyping - that's not going to stop for sure.
We're wondering where to go next ...and I'm wondering if you have any thoughts?
What should we make? (comment below and I WILL reply to every comment!)
Knives are something we would like to push a little further into.
Also, we'd like to try a flashlight (I have a very cool and fairly original design for this) - but that's going to take a little time as we have a lot of R&D to do (battery, electronics, etc.)
One thing I'd like to make is a compact set of fold-out pliers (with perhaps one or two other features on there). We now have a bit of experience working with blade steels and hardening in our knife oven ...and so making pliers is something I reckon we can do at this point in time.
Would love to hear if you have any thoughts (by the way... the PillPots™ were a product that was born directly from comments from you on this blog a few years ago!)
A whole range of stuff to cover today (including titanium bargains and shop tours)...
First up, the "shop tour" video (will cover the titanium bargains later). It's not quite a shop tour but more of a new machine tour 🙂
If you don't have the time to watch the video above, then I essentially covered the new CNC Milling machine we've bought ...and what that means for both you and me. 🙂
As you may know, we don't sell "seconds" or "damaged" products (it's either perfect or it gets scrapped).
Today is no exception - I'm not selling any sort of seconds or such. I have been having a little "tidy up" here and have found a handful of products that have not really been sold before (and likely will never be sold). These are pretty much mostly one-offs that we were testing colours on towards the end of last year.
These products are coloured with hard-wearing Cerakote® ceramic coating (something we don't really offer any more).
Take a look at the photos below for anything that is of interest to you. If you see "SOLD OUT" at checkout, then I'm sorry but someone else beat you to it (I really don't have any more).
I only have available what is in the photo below (two of each type).
They are ready to go and will ship the next working day (which might be the beginning of next week as I am in New Zealand :-P).
These pens (and the ones below) are actually the only pens I have available for many months - so I expect these to go quick-ish.
Click here to go to the order page.
As with the pens above... these are the only pens I have left for a long time.
Truthfully, I feel this is more of a feminine colour (because, well, this is the colour that women seem to be attracted to whenever I've shown them a few of our coloured pens) ...so if your wife or girlfriend is in desperate need of their own World's Greatest Titanium Pen ...then now is your chance!
Click here to go to the order page.
I don't think we've ever sold any of these - just an experiment (that actually worked out really well!) ...but never took the time to offer them for sale.
Again, what you see below is all there is available: Click Here to order
This is a little "out there" for the types of things we usually do ...but this combination of white and orange scales really seems to work well.
I only have two of these available right now (I received a few requests to sell them when I posted it back in Februaury - but I never really followed-up with those).
Anyway, there are two available here right now.
In the background I've been quietly working on a "Flipper" knife (this is a high-end, made-to-order knife with a few customizations) - it is called Project ZERO
I've been working on the CAD/CAM recently and making progress there - and we're now starting to get into the "nitty gritty".
I don't post the updates to that project here as they are for Project ZERO Buyers only unfortunately - but I do try to show some things every so often here.
We're not going to be making any Titanium PillPots for a few months (at least) - and, rather frustratingly, we're almost out.
So, because you're on my email list and reading this blog post, I thought I'd give you a heads-up if you want to grab a set while they are still available.
Just to confirm, if you see them on the website, they are available and will ship right away (but, once they are gone, they are gone for a few months)
Click here to check them out.
And I think that's all I have for you today.
If you watched the video at the top of this post, then you'll know this new machine should hopefully be a bit of a gamechanger (and I don't use that word lightly - I really mean it!).
We've been struggling in the business (in terms of cashflow) for a good number of months - and buying a new machine really seemed to be the only solution. Fingers crossed that it works as we hope and that we can get onto making newer and better products for YOU! 🙂
Any questions or comments, then fire away as usual - thank you.
So, what's been happening here at Magnus "HQ"?
In the last blog post you may remember I showed you photos of the NEW cnc machine arriving. Well, I've been running the machine every day and it's going really well (which is somewhat surprising because it's a big step up from the previous machine).
I've been working on the CandyCans™ for fulfilling the Kickstarter project (over 900+ of them!).
Here's the 12mm (1/2") Titanium sheet straight from the heat treating and water-jet cutting process:
And here are the individual parts sanded and ready to be put on the fixtures for milling:
Here's the new fixture I made for the CandyCans™ (with some freshly milled parts on them):
Finally the first parts coming off the new machine...
This machine is not only is faster than the old one ...but the quality of the parts coming off is a massive step-up as well!
We're not going to be able to make any Titanium "Click" Pens for a few months (perhaps even until October) - we've literally only got 15 of them available right now.
We've been out of stock for a few weeks and had lots of requests to make more. Sorry that there is only 15 available - they will sell out fast. Click here to grab yours right now.
I launched these McDangle "Mini" Carabiners last week...
They have been incredibly popular if I'm honest with you (which makes sense as I received many, MANY requests for these smaller versions).
Actually, the other reason they are popular is because there is a special "Double Down" deal on the order page - CLICK HERE to check it out.
It's been a while since I talked about the Flixx™ Friction-Folder Knife...
Progress has been slow and frustrating - but we have finally cracked it!
There have been many problems over the months ...but the most recent problem was trying to get good result on the surface of the blade (the main bevel).
In a recent post (around 5 weeks ago) I showed a knife-grinding jig I made. That jig has worked out VERY well and we (and by "we" I actually mean Nathan) have been using that jig to finish the blades.
With the grinding working ...the next "issue" was the sharpening process. We had a process but it took a long time (up to half an hour in some cases) ...and some of the blades did not come out as razor-sharp as we wanted.
We finally figured out a process -- which I may go into in another post -- that is reliable and results in every knife being wicked sharp!
We actually bought a NEW knife grinder from Bulgaria (yeah, Bulgaria right?) - this one here:
This grinder seemed to be the best one I could find (we looked at pretty much every one on the market). It is very good for sure.
I would have liked for it to come with a reverse so I could have the belt going in the opposite direction - so I had to have my electrician install that later.
There were a few other little design things that could be better - but, overall, this still seems like the best out there (the customer service from Simeon at Claryx was great ...very prompt in answering emails).
So, yeah, this has been a huge help in getting these knives shipped:
And I think that's all I have for you today 🙂
Remember that new CNC machine I mentioned in the last couple of posts?
Well, 100% for sure, we've got it (it was a little up-in-the-air last time I spoke to you about it). I'll get to that in a minute - but first...
I live in New Zealand ...and Father's Day here in New Zealand is not until September. However, I believe the USA Father's Day is around a week away as I type this.
So Happy Father's Day to you in advance (because I might not get another blog post out before then).
Actually, while I'm on that...
Many readers of this blog will be new and, since I've not done a video in a while, will not realise two things:
#1 - I live in New Zealand (I mentioned this above already :-P)
#2 - I'm originally from Scotland
Now, here's the funny thing...
The reason I ended up in New Zealand is because I had a son with a girl from New Zealand (nearly 10 years ago) ...and I moved here to be part of his life.
My son Julien will be turning 10 this August and our relationship is amazing. Not only that, but my relationship with his Mother (we are not together) and her family is amazing too!
So, yeah, it's funny how you THINK you know how your life is going to pan out ...but all sorts of other things happen along the way.
Anyway, let's talk titanium...
I thought I'd do a little "Father's Day Mini-Sale" with a handful of the products we have in stock (this way there is a chance you will have it for Father's Day ...but I can't guarantee it unfortunately).
Use this code at checkout: FATHER20
Now, there is a little bad news:
I don't have any Titanium Pens or Pencils in stock. I don't have any Titanium Letter Openers either. And a few other products are pre-order only right now.
The good news:
I have (some) Titanium Tweezers in stock. Also, there are just 12 Titanium CandyCan™ "XL" in stock. There are Titanium PillPots right now - but, unfortunately, they will be selling out soon and I cannot get any more made for around 4 months (yeah, a bit of a pain!).
Also, I have just made five Titanium Nerve™ spinners available in a "BLAST" finish (this is a bead-blast surface finish that I get asked for a lot - but rarely do).
Lastly here, I have one (yes, just ONE) Limited Edition "BLAST" finish Flixx™ knife (so whoever grabs hits order now first gets it - no more after that. Sorry)...
Next up, some promotion of someone else...
Just moments ago I mentioned that I get on well with my son's mother. In fact, we get on so well, we actually collaborated on a recent Titanium + Leather Kickstarter project.
So, yeah, for those of you who have heard me talk about my friend Steph from Kohi Point (she's the one who makes the various leather pouches for some of my products) ...she's actually my son's Mother. 🙂
So, onto the blatant promotion...
Steph's leather skills are getting better with every product she makes (everything is done by hand) - and her latest design is right up there with the best!
Her Kickstarter project is about to end in the next 48 hours - so this is your last chance...
Steph is doing something a little unique on Kickstarter in that she is offering a 100% Custom-Made Leather Sleeve for your laptop of tablet.
The way it works is:
You can pledge for one of the exclusive Kickstarter Rewards ...and then, once the project is funded, you will be able to provide Steph with either the dimensions or make-and-model of your device. How cool is that ...it is truly 100% custom made for YOU.
Like I said, just 48 hours left, click here to check it out:
Now, last (but certainly not least!)...
It has taken a few weeks to work through all the details and confirm everything - but the new CNC machine has been purchased and installed (yep, I don't mess around! :-P)
Rather than drone on about it - I'll provide you with some photos of it arriving:
The machine is a Japanese-made Kitamura HX250G (4-axis Pallet-Changing machine).
It weighs 5.5 tons (or around that I think).
I actually have a lot more to say about this machine (why I decided to buy it, where it came from, etc.) ...but I'll save that for another day.
As of right now though ...the machine is installed and running and I've already started "makin' chips" as they say 😀
Some very cool stuff for you today - let's get right into it...
I've been asked many times over the years to make a belt-buckle - but, honestly, never really prioritized it.
But now, as I learn cnc-machining, I'm finding it a lot easier to get something from concept-in-my-head to product-in-my-hand.
I've started kind of playing with some ideas. There are two things that I know right now are almost certainly going to be features:
#1 - Ultra-simple and clean design
#2 - Machined from a solid billet of titanium (no screwing together of parts or anything like that)
One of the toughest parts will be the actual machining on the cnc machine (my machinist typically not only did production of my parts in the past ...but he'd do the prototyping as well).
I've come up with a rough concept (not near finished at all) just to help me try and figure out how to hold the titanium so as I can machine it.
Thought it might be worthwhile showing you the concept in case you have any feedback on it. It's nothing "fancy" - just a clean, simple design made from a solid chunk of Grade 5 Titanium.
Again, this is a rough concept and nothing is final on this design 🙂
We filmed a video recently of the the making of the CandyCan "XL" from start to finish.
The video is slightly different to previous videos I've done (a little more fast-paced) ...but hopefully you see clearly how this CandyCan version is made.
We made a few extra of the CandyCan "XL" on the last run and so we still have some available (typically they are not in stock).
If you recall in the last blog post...
I mentioned that we could be purchasing a new cnc milling machine. Well, the deal has gone through and the machine should be delivered tomorrow.
Hopefully it goes smoothly. The reason I say this is because it's meant to be pouring with rain tomorrow (which is funny because we've literally had only a handful of wet days over the last six months here in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand where I live).
Also, this machine is a bit of a beast - around 5.5 tons. I've opted to get specialized machine tool movers to move it because it's a fairly high-end machine.
I'll do another blog post soon about it ...assuming it all goes well!