Okay, let's get the shameless self-promotion out the way first...
The SlideClick™ - Utility Blade Knife project on Kickstarter continues to do VERY well.
It will be ending just two days from now - so I recommend you check out the project right now (most likely won't be available at the low Kickstarter price again).
Here's a quick video of one of the Updates I did for the project: (I show you how it works and one of the changes Backers have requested I make...)
Backers are really excited about the mechanism - which I'm excited about too! 😀
The above video shows the mechanism in action.
To check the project out, then click here right now:
The Titanium PillPots™ -- particularly the larger ones -- have been selling like hotcakes in the last week since I offered them for sale.
If you've not yet checked them out, then click here to do so.
Oh, and these are on with a fairly BIG DISCOUNT as well ...which I'll be removing shortly (so make the most of it!).
The Magnatron™ Flipper Knife is going well.
I've proven out almost everything - just wrestling with the blade surface finish.
I'm really against using a traditional knife-grinder. I believe CNC machining can do a superior job ...but, honestly, it is proving trickier than I thought.
Here's inside the machine I'm using:
Out of interest... this cnc is called a horizontal because -- as you can probably guess -- the spindle is positioned horizontally (as opposed to the more conventional vertical).
Here's the blade progress:
The clamping is a little rough - but it's just temporary while get this dialed-in.
The steel being used is RWL34 (I upgraded the steel for customers - I was going to go Nitro-V initially).
CLICK HERE to learn more about this knife.
A couple of years ago I briefly discussed on this blog doing a titanium flashlight.
Truthfully, I'm not sure what happened to that line of thought - likely just sidetracked with other projects.
But here's the thing...
I think it's time to re-visit this idea for three reasons:
#1 - We should (hopefully) be getting a CNC Lathe soon (a must-have machine for doing a flashlight for sure!)
#2 - We're finally getting into a better position in the business (I talked about the issues we've had over the last year or so - it's under the heading "Why I've Been Screwing Up So Much" ).
#3 - I want to make a titanium flashlight (yes, purely selfish as always - I just want one!)
I don't really know much about flashlights and so I'm going to start learning what goes into making one.
The mechanical/titanium bit should not pose any issues ...but it's building out the rest of it that's going to be all new territory.
Long story short:
If you're into flashlights, then I would love to hear any thoughts you have on what is good... bad... ridiculous... must-have... mustn't-have ...nice-to-have ...you get the idea. 🙂
And I think that's all I have for you today.
A few things to cover today...
First up, COVID-19 has become an issue for us - and here's why:
Yes, this is yet another COVID-19 update you're hearing (I'm sure you're up to your eyeballs with updates from others!).
I'll get straight to it:
Here in New Zealand the entire country has just gone into lock down. Only "essential businesses" can remain open ...which, unfortunately, does not include us. :-/
All four of us here at Magnus Industries will be self-isolating (along with almost the entire country) for what looks like about 4 weeks at this stage.
Essentially this is like hitting a big PAUSE BUTTON for us in terms of production. Sky, who does the customer support, will continue to work from home - so we'll still be answering emails and such.
We should still be able to ship products if it's something you've ordered and we have in stock (we only have a few products in stock right now - carabiners, HookUp Clips, and one or two other things). Shipping is with DHL Express as usual. Packages are arriving as fast as they usually do (as far as I can tell at least).
Apart from not being able to run production it will kind of be business-as-usual in terms of blog posts and such. We've been prototyping here and there and had actually planned to launch one or two Kickstarter projects before we knew about the lock down.
So far we've been able to continue with at least of one these (it launched a few hours ago) - I'll give you a link in just a minute.
I hope, whichever country you are in, that you and your family and friends are safe and well. This is a fairly unique situation humanity finds itself in. Not so much the virus ...but that such a virus is occurring at a time when everything, on average, has been the best it's ever been (communications, connectivity, medical care, computing power, etc.).
We are very lucky.
I briefly mentioned above that I've just launched a Kickstarter a few hours ago.
Strange timing. But thankfully, because of the nature of a Kickstarter, it gets fulfilled once the project ends. So, in a weird sort of way, a Kickstarter is a great thing to be running right now.
So, the project...
Like I said the project has just launched and has kind of gone ballistic already!
Usually projects do well - but this one was well over 150+ Backers in less than 24 hours...
The project is for a re-designed Titanium Utility Blade Knife. I designed and made one last year. A lot of people loved it ...but we also received some "constructive criticism" about it. Not that much - but enough for me to take notice.
This new utility blade knife is essentially re-designed from the ground up (with YOUR feedback in mind). And, so far, it's proving VERY popular - which, honestly, is exciting. 🙂
Although this design is quite similar looking to the knife I designed last year ...it's actually fairly different in terms of how is functions. Again, best to go to the Project Page to learn more about it.
Another shameless plug for the Titanium PillPots...
I sent out an email last week for the heavily discounted PillPots (so this is just another heads-up really).
I'm offering the standard 22mm and 28mm sizes ...but, for the first time in a couple of years, I'm also offering the 36mm and 45mm as well. These are tricky to keep in stock (cost of material and cost to produce are high) and hence these are all pre-order so I can buy the material and make them specifically for you. 🙂
Here's a reminder of what the larger (36mm and 45mm) PillPots look like:
...and I think that's all I have for you today.
Oh, one last thing...
I'll probably be doing a few more blogs posts and things like that over the next few weeks because of the lock-down (usually I'm spending time catching up with projects - but there is not too much I can do just now).
A few things to talk about today (some product updates, a new product and a popular product back in stock).
First up are some Updates:
Project ZERO is a knife I launched as a pre-order around a year ago now.
It was meant to be a few months to make it. I was absolutely, totally and utterly an idiot in this regard (no surprise there).
I did not realize how difficult it was to make a flipper knife. I have already made a fixed-blade knife and a friction-folder knife (so I was fairly confident). It has been challenging - but I'm almost there.
I've been toiling away in the background - almost every day since the end of last year. We have two machinists here (not including me as I'm not a machinist - but I can get done what I need to get done) ...so they've been working on other projects.
So there are actually a couple of knives I'm working on at the same time... Project ZERO and the Magnatron™ (I talk more about the Magnatron™ below).
The blade of project ZERO as well as the internal mechanism and backspacer are very similar to the Magnatron™ knife. I'm kind of working on everything at the same time on both knives.
So, yeah, project ZERO is long-overdue for an Update. I will have one out soon specifically for Project ZERO ...but, in the meantime, the Update below on the Magnatron™ pretty much covers the blade and backspacer of Project ZERO...
Yes, the Magnatron™ Knife is late (was meant to be the 12th of February and it's now almost the 12th of March!).
I'll be totally honest with you... the blades have caused me real problems. Way more difficult to make then I had anticipated. The real issue was getting a good finish on the main bevel.
The GOOD news is that I now have it sorted (which is why you're getting an update today).
Unfortunately I used up ALL the Nitro-V material trying to get the blades right. Dozens of blades I went through to get it right!
Actually, I'll mention here that although the Magnatron™ is late and you've not received any updates from me ...I have worked on the Magnatron™ and Project ZERO literally every single day as far back as I can remember (sometime in January without a day where I was not milling).
I wasn't just working on the blade during that time. I took the time to dial-in the scales (a lot easier than the blades). I also designed and milled the backspacer (again, easier than the blade).
I made a couple of pocket-clips ...but they did not turn out as I had hoped (the way I held the part down for the second milling cycle caused them to "lift" and not machine correctly). So that is the last thing I have to do - I worked Sunday getting the CAD/CAM sorted on the pocket clip. I should be able to mill it tomorrow.
So, yeah, running late but almost there on this knife (as well as the Project ZERO knife).
Oh, almost forgot! Remember how I said I used up all the Nitro-V steel during the testing?
Well, the good news about that is I ordered new steel for the Magnatron™ knives (which arrived a couple of weeks ago) ...and I ordered RWL34!
So, yeah, the knife is being upgraded to RWL34 steel (it costs a lot more than Nitro-V ...but that's the least I do for since this project is so late!).
Here's some photos from this morning:
Here's a little thing for you to know...
Although the knife is late in delivering - I'm can honestly say you will be getting a much better knife because of this. While I have been working on the blades ...I have also been tweaking little things here and there across the rest of the knife.
A few good things to come out of the problems I've encountered along the way (these are things where something went wrong initially ...and the solution was an improvement to the knife):
-- RWL34 Steel - I already mentioned this - but I thought it worth highlighting again 🙂
-- The opening mechanism uses a "Floating Detent" (i.e. the ceramic ball is pressed into the blades instead of the lockbar insert). I have found this to be smoother than the traditional way ...and gives a nice, single "click" when the knife is open instead of the double click you hear on other knives
-- The plunge-line has a unique "V" shape (ended up doing this because it looked so much better than the original design)
-- Pocket-clip function (I tried to make the pocket-clip super-thin and it just ended up not functioning very well - I made it a bit thicker and it performs a LOT better!)
Hopefully this Update helps show you where the Magnatron™ knife is at. Not too far away. 🙂
I'll keep this short...
This buckle is something I've had in my head for years ...but only now taken the time out to finalize the design and make it.
I'm not doing a pre-order on this - just what is available on the website. So when they're gone ...they're gone!
CLICK HERE to check it out.
It's been some time since I last had these in stock:
We have finally done a run of these Titanium HookUp Clips and they are in stock and shipping right now.
...and I think that's all I have for you today. 🙂
A whole bunch of stuff for you today...
We're going to talk about:
-- The coronavirus
-- Why I've been late on almost every project/product
-- Updates on projects
-- A NEW knife design
-- A NEW Titanium Belt Buckle
You've probably heard a lot about this coronavirus thing on the news. And, I know, you probably don't want to hear any more about it ...but just give me a couple of seconds.
We get some titanium from China and some from the USA. Unfortunately, we're having issues getting titanium from China right now because of the coronavirus ...and so it's affecting production for some of our projects (but is certainly not the main reason projects are late).
I'll keep you updated on this - but hopefully it's a short-term thing. Not a huge deal as I continue to buy from the USA (also have a supplier in Singapore if we need it).
UPDATE: China seems to be back up and moving a gain in terms of titanium supply (certainly for us at least).
While the coronavirus is the cause of a little bit of lateness from me - it certainly does not explain why I've been perpetually late on projects for so long.
I'd like to talk about that now... (maybe strap yourself in ...could be a bit of a bumpy ride!)
Over the the last few months (possibly even a year or more) I've had many customers annoyed that I keep releasing new products ...when previous products/projects are late.
I'd like to discuss that here (there is a good chance, if you're reading this, you are someone who has been on the receiving end of late products/projects from me).
Firstly, customers are absolutely 100% correct to be annoyed. I've failed to deliver in time (again and again). And, secondly, not only am I late ...but I release other products before delivering the late project.
My short answer to this is:
I've screwed up. Not just that, but I've screwed-up many times (many late projects).
My longer (and it is quite a bit longer) answer to this is:
If I had focused 100% on delivering the late projects (and not released any new products), then I would not be in business today. I would have gone bankrupt most likely.
Getting late on a project is a double-whammy. Money coming into the business does not match the expenses going out of the business. It's like "quick-sand" ...you lift one foot to get out ...and the other foot goes even deeper into the sand!
I'll be honest here...
I have alienated a lot of Customers over the last year or two with late projects. I hate that they (and, quite likely, YOU reading this right now) have had such an awful experience.
Getting late on a couple of projects some time ago has had a domino-like effect to cause subsequent projects to be late. Here are a couple of examples of projects that really caused us problems:
-- Getting a few samples done of a black coating on titanium pens. The samples were great. We then sold 150 pens (on a Kickstarter) and the production black coatings were not acceptable. It took us something like 6 weeks, all day every day, to figuring out the process ourselves and coat our own pens. LESSON: I should have had more samples done at least - or not offered a Kickstarter product with a coating/finish we had never done before!
-- We used a new shipping method to ship 1500+ pens (a big Kickstarter project). We used a new shipping method because our previous courier suddenly stopped the service with a 3-day warning. The new service ended up losing a double-digit percentage of packages ...literally hundreds of packaged never arrived to Customers. I had to re-make hundreds of pens and ship them again. This cost somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 to fix (which I didn't have and had to go into debt over). LESSON: Have a "Plan B" and a "Plan C" for all sort of things that could potentially happen!
-- Had to make around 150 blades for a folding knife project. We made 100+ blades and discovered that the tumbling process caused small "pits" in the surface of the blades. We were not doing small "batches" back then like we do now and so they all had to be scrapped and started again. Many, many weeks of work wasted. LESSON: Prove out a process 100% before jumping in and making 100+ of something. Do small batches (i.e. around 20) all the way through to completion - it's less efficient but will catch any issues almost right away!
There are quite a few stories like this over the last couple of years. It's depressing. I'm getting better at mitigating these things and trying to plan for things going wrong. The thing I'm trying to highlight is that, when something goes wrong, it's very difficult to just drop everything and only fix that specific thing ...because the bills start mounting up and paying them becomes difficult. It is critical to keep money coming into the business (i.e. continue to develop and launch new products) even while there are projects that are falling behind because of unexpected issues.
The silver-lining is that, over the last two years, we've gone from it just being me in the business ...to being four of us in total. The mistakes are becoming less frequent as we discuss previous mistakes and potential new problems - but we're still playing "catch up".
There are a number of things we do now that help us steer clear of potential trouble. Here are some of them:
-- We CNC machine and surface-finish products in small batches. This is less efficient - but it helps us catch any issues very quickly.
-- We spend a lot more time costing a project/product than we used to - this helps us offer products for the lowest price we can (without going as far as losing money on them). I've made a few product where, after crunching the numbers, we're losing money for every one we make.
-- We have reduced the number of different products we design and sell ...because there was too much time spent in developing a new product only to quickly move onto the next one. We are now doing more complex products (knives and pens for example) ...but we aim to continue to sell each design for a longer period of time rather than drop it fast like we used to.
-- Buying more machines. Yeah, I know, crazy right? But it's really working well. We bought a new milling machine last year ...which has helped a lot. And we're in the process of (hopefully) buying another right now. The economics of business is such that... you're already paying rent, insurance, etc. ...and so the additional cost of a machine is small-ish compared to the monthly expenses of the business. So going from one machine to two machines to produce products makes a HUGE difference.
None of what I've said above excuses any of my screw-ups (and there are a lot of them!). The fact many of you are still sticking by me and continuing to buy the new products we're designing and making ...is absolutely amazing and I appreciate it so much.
I am very VERY aware of the lateness of every single project and and every product. Far from ignoring it ...it's at the forefront of my mind all the time.
I do hope that the above "behind the scenes" of the running of this business explains why I continue to release new products while some other projects are already late. It's not that I've moved onto the next "shiny new thing" ...it's because I need to keep the business moving along (i.e. developing new products and offering them for sale) or bills don't get paid and we have to close the doors!
Okay, I definitely think I've rambled enough now. Thank you for listening.
Here's where we are with current projects...
Pocket Tweezers - Finishing off the last of these. The last of these are being machined right now as a I type this (and we will be fully finished machining tomorrow morning) ...and another day or two surface finishing and assembly. Also, these are no longer for sale for the time being.
Magnatron™ Knife - This one has been affected by the coronovirus (waiting for material for the remaining scales). If you've pre-ordered this knife, then you're going to receive an email from me soon with an update I think you'll find interesting (note: you're going to be getting a bit of an upgrade on part of the knife).
TiVault™ - This project is not late - but I am getting questions about what stage it is at. Still on schedule (may end up being a little late because we do not yet have the titanium round bar in stock for it).
Bolty™ - Bolt Action Pen - Again, not late, but as with the TiVault™ above I'm getting questions about where it is at. We have the material on hand - just prioritizing other projects right now.
I know this knife will, for sure, have only limited appeal (i.e. it's definitely not for everyone). But, for those who like it, it's definitely going to be a MUST HAVE knife.
It's a high-end titanium flipper knife ...BUT, with a utility blade instead of a typical knife blade.
Here's what it looks like:
The blade can be changed without any tools and has a double-locking mechanism so it's 100% secure.
I was going to hold-off to offer this until I had made some - but the people who want it ...REALLY seem to want it (and banging my door down to get it!). So what I've done is setup the pre-order page so you can secure yours now.
The buckle I'm about to show you is the first prototype ...so it is fairly unfinished.
We're currently making the second prototype right now. There is a fairly significant different on the rear-side ...but, overall, it looks like the buckle below.
I'll just throw a few photos down here for your:
The above buckle was the first prototype.
We made a bunch of tweaks and here's the second prototype:
As you can see... we remove a LOT of material from the billet of titanium to make this buckle.
Actually, the starting weight is around 252 grams (8.9oz) and it's ending up around 39 grams (1.4oz) ...that's around 85% of the titanium machined away.
Also, something that I almost never do (perhaps only once) is leave lines from the machining in. I specifically want to do this as I really think it works on this buckle (mainly on the rear side).
Going forward we'll likely experiment with different designs/variations on the front side. I think the first version for sale will have obvious (and somewhat aggressive) machining lines on the front (not smooth like in the second prototype above).
I'm thinking we may offer a belt with this (i.e. you tell us your size and we'll cut and attach the belt to the buckle so it's ready to go ...is this something you would like ...or would you just want the buckle?).
Also, I've been wearing one of the prototypes this last weekend and it's been absolutely awesome because it's so slim and light. I've wanted to make a buckle like this for years (which is why the 3D model design did not take me too long because the design has been floating around in my head for a long time).
And I think that's all I have for you today.
A whole bunch of interesting stuff for you today (since it's been so long since the last blog post)...
I kinda screwed-up and "oversold" a few TiBricks™ I didn't have in stock ...and so now I have to make those. But that's good news for you because...
Since I now have to make more I may as well open them up to you (since I've had a lot of requests for them since I stopped selling them last year).
We are soon going to be starting production of the TiVault™ Secure Titanium Storage Cache:
This one-of-a-kind and never-before-seen storage cache has been incredibly popular (sold over twice as many as I thought I would - which I really appreciate!).
CLICK HERE to grab your right now (ONLY FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS).
Over the last few weeks I've been focusing on knives.
The key word here is I (as in me). The reason I say this is because we have a couple of products on pre-order ...and a couple of products that are late in shipping.
The rest of the cnc team (well, okay, there are only two of them - Yngvar and Quentin) continue to catch-up with this other work.
I use the machines in the evening and weekends to develop the knives (yes, plural, more than one) ...and actually start the production of them.
Actaully, on that note, I managed to run this knife scale overnight ...which was kind of exciting to be honest. I hit "cycle start" at around 10pm ...switched off the lights ...and left the workshop.
Came in to a nicely machined scale:
The next stage for the scale above is to snap the tags of that are holding it into the frame.
I'll then sand the tags down on the knife grinding machine ...and then sand both sides of the scales.
What I've been experimenting with is making a different left-side scale every time. Here are some of what I've done (some are screw-ups that I have to throw out ...and some are good and will be offered for sale soon):
Here's both the left and right scale:
And here's what the knife is currently looking like (the blade is a work-in-progress obviously :-D)...
I accidentally invented a new opening/closing mechanism.
It might have been done before ...I don't know. I've certainly never seen or heard of it.
Now, before I continue, a quick confession:
I've been holding out on you. I was working away in the background towards the end of last year on another website.
I'm thinking I might keep the knives I'm working on somewhat separate to MagnusX.com. So what I've done is create a business just for knives (this seems like a good solution because, truthfully, the majority of previous customers are not interested in knives ...and so continuing to talk about knives here is probably putting them off).
If you head over there there is nothing for you to buy yet. But there is quite a lot of photos of the CNC making of knives as well as some behind-the-scenes of the machines I'm using.
It is, of course, a work in progress - but I do continue to upload knife-related stuff.
Back to the "Floating Detent"...
The reason I mention the Cadanga.com website is because I've just written a NEW blog post on the "Floating Detent" opening mechanism (if you're into knives I think you'll find it fairly interesting).
Although I've shown you some knives above - they are still at the prototyping and testing stage.
I'm not sure when they will be available - still have more testing to do (not much - just a little).
However, I do have a made-to-order knife that will be shipping on February 12th called the Magnatron™:
I have a ton of information (including a video at the top of the page) on this knife. To find out more click here right now.
And I think that's all I have for you today.
First a couple of updates (and then I'll get onto the recent developments on the Magnatron™ flipper knife).
The Pocket-Tweezers (if you're waiting on them) are almost finished. Yes, they are late as you are aware, but we're getting around 15 of them made every day right now and they are going very well. Around this time next week they should all be finished and shipped (or at east be ready to shipped).
The Writing Set Update:
This project is almost there. The cases will be finished in the next couple of days. The buttons for the pens are finished. The springs are finished. The clips are finished. We are just waiting for bodies and tips only from my machinist. Once we receive them it is a fairly fast process to take them from raw to tumbled and then assembled. I don't have a timeframe yet as I'm waiting to hear back from my machinist.
Onto the knife...
You've probably seen this knife already (I believe I sent out an email about it over the holiday season).
It was around 95% finished - but now it's at least 99% percent finished (just a small tweak or two on the CAD model before I make the first few ...which are already sold).
Here's a NEW video showing the Floating Detent™ mechanism in action:
Yeah, I know, the Floating Detent™ thing sounds a little fancy - but it's kinda simple if I'm honest (although it works horribly well! :-D).
Maybe it's been done before on a knife - but I've certainly never seen it over the years.
Here's what it is:
On a normal knife the detent ball is press-fit into the lockbar insert and that detent slides across the face of the blade. And, when the blade is closed, the detent ball "falls" into a hole on the blade to keep the blade in.
Well, on the Floating Detent™, the detent ball is pressed into the blade itself (where the hole would usually be). And, when the blade is closed, the detent ball "falls" into the hole in the lockbar insert. There are a few other things I've done to allow this to work - but that's essentially it.
It seems to work like a dream. Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's the hardened steel insert that slides along the blade with the Floating Detent™ mechanism (yeah, I was a little skeptical of it ...but I just can't argue with the end result of how the knife performs!).
The first ten (serial numbers #1 to#10) sold quickly and I have a few more left of the #11 to #20 serial numbers. CLICK HERE to check it out in detail.
The above link has tons of information - but here's a few photos of the "behind the scenes" of the prototyping and development...
One more thing...
I'm still figuring the best way to machine the various parts of the Magnatron™ Knife. The above images are the latest version of how I'm making the knife - while, on the main product page for the knife here, most of the images are of the original method I was using to hold and machine the parts.
Also on the main product page is how the pocket-clip is made (as well as a few other parts of the process of making of this knife).
Fire away with any questions or comments about the knife you may have. :-)
I'll be totally up-front with you here...
SHAMELESS PROMOTION: At the end of this blog post I'm going to offer you the chance to be one of the first second 10 people to get the knife I'm about to reveal to you (if you just want skip-the-line and guarantee you get yours, then you can order here right now). Oh, and you're knife will have a serial number somewhere from #1 to #10 #11 to #20!
Let's get into it!
A couple of months ago I showed a friction-folder knife here on the blog. I received tons of comments and emails from people interested in the knife ...BUT almost everyone said that they are only interested if it locked. Well it was a friction folder and so having the blade lock was not part of the design.
So what did I do? I gave up on that knife completely. Scrapped the whole project.
If I was going to make a knife that locked, then let's hold nothing back and just go "full Magnus"!
I'll start at the end and show you the 95% finished knife below ...and then we'll go back to the very beginning and show you the making of it.
I present to you - the Magnatron™:
Here's the thing:
The original friction folder knife I showed you was going to be around 300USD.
This NEW framelock is literally 10-times the knife ...and it's going to be offered for less than twice the price of the friction folder (may as well get the subject of price out the way now).
I will confess to you:
ALL the machining of this knife was done by me. Yes, we have a couple of genuine machinists in the workshop - but that is my "baby". 😀
Don't get me wrong though...
What you're about to see is really not that pretty - certainly compared to the final, finished result. Hell, it can even get a little "ugly" at times - but I'm pretty sure you'll find it interesting (or, at the very least, appreciate the work that goes into making a knife like this).
I started with a water-jet cut blank for the right-side scale:
Next it was time to machine the first part of the fixture for cnc machining (the fixture is what allows me to hold the blanks so I can machine the parts):
The titanium blank is then screwed into the fixture for Op1 (this is machinist-speak for "operation #1" ...which means all the machining of the part in that particular position before it is moved to another position for the next operation):
The first thing I do in Op1 is to face the top of the blank (this is because pretty much any metal you buy will have fairly large tolerances - i.e. if I order 6mm, then I can get anywhere from 6.1mm up to 6.3mm):
Next I machine the small counter-bores at the rear of the scale. There are four counter-bores below - two for the pocket-clip and two for the back-spacer:
The next stage is to machine the counter-bore for the pivot/bearing as well as the main pockets (to reduce weight).
You'll also notice I've machined in the pocket to accept the lock-bar insert:
And that's the first operation done on the right-side scale.
With Op1 done it's time to move the part to the second position for Op2.
Out of interest - this is what I'm looking at on the screen in terms of the 3D model:
We move the part from the Op1 position into the Op2 position:
The first thing I do is contour the various angled faces:
I don't seem to have a photo of the rest of this part of the operation unfortunately. So we kind of have to skip to what is essentially Op3 (although the part has not moved ...I'm calling it Op3 because I had to clamp in the center and also remove the two end screws):
Here's what it looks like just after Op3 is finished (and before I blasted all the coolant off):
And here's what it looks like off the mill:
And here's the final part after a bunch of hand-sanding (I was doing the sanding as I went along so I could see how the machining process was working and what tweaks needed to be made):
The process I'm showing you is fairly typical of the development of a product - although, with this knife, there are a number of parts that all have to fit and work together.
Now it's time for...
This scale is quite a bit easier to make than the right-side scale because there is no lockbar or lock-bar insert pocket. Also, there is no pocket-clip to be attached on this side either.
I cut another titanium blank and I also machine another area in the fixture for the various operations.
Next, I screw the blank onto the Op1 position:
We then face it off and machine out the pocket (at the same time I also machine the main pivot, stop-pin and backspacer counter-bores):
Here's what it looks like after Op1:
The remaining operations are almost identical to the right-side scale (except they are the mirror image of them) - so I'll skip over them:
Here's a comparison of the first scale we did (which is now sanded and tumbled) compared to the scale we've just machined:
Now, before I continue...
What you've seen so far is the first machining of the scales - so there are a load of tweaks to be made (dozens in fact!).
You see the image above ...and you see the hole on the very bottom of the scale on the left? Well, that wasn't actually meant to be a hole. I screwed something up ...but, along with all the other tweaks to be made, it will be corrected in the next version.
A couple of other tweaks will be:
-- The overall size (I'm going to make the knife 9% larger than it currently is)
-- Make the 'flaps' that hide the flipper tab (when the blade is open) a little larger
-- Experiment a little with leaving some machining lines in (for aesthetics)
Here's something weird...
You'd think the blade would be the most "challenging" part of this whole knife - but it's not.
The reason for this is that I had done a LOT of prototyping of blades on one or two different knives I'm working on in the background. That process of getting the blades right has been challenging for sure ...but I'm now very confident in making blades.
So, because this is the prototype Magnatron™ knife, I just want to make a blade to make sure the aesthetics and flipping function are working. The technical side of the blade (cnc machining, hand-finishing, heat treating, etc.) is a process I know works with other blades.
Out of interest the steel I'm using on the Magnatron™ is Nitro-V.
Here's the machining of the blade (not going into too much detail here):
I was fairly sure the pocket-clip was going to be a little tricky - so I wanted to attack it before some of the other parts.
As with the scales - water-jet cutting is where it starts:
I then machine the fixture for the milling operations (you can see it is the same piece of metal as the scales ...but just to the top-right):
The pocket-clip blank is then screwed into position for Op1:
This first operation was not too bad to do - here's what it looks like after Op1:
Unfortunately, because I was concentrating so much on machining the rest of the pocket-clip ...I don't have any photos of the rest of the making of it (well, that's my flimsy excuse and I'm sticking with it!).
So we kind of have to just jump straight to the finished thing:
You can see the machining lines in the above image are a little odd on the left-side. That's one of the the things I'll modify going forward (the design itself won't change ...but just the way in which the metal is cut away).
I hand-sanded the pocket-clip and tumbled it - and here's what it looks like now:
As you can see, the pocket-clip alone has a load of work that goes into it ...add to that the left scale, right scale, blade, back-spacer, lock-bar insert ...the cost to produce such a knife really skyrockets.
Although I own a few nice knives - I'm only now really starting to appreciate why they cost what they cost. Making a full high-end titanium flipper knife takes hours of time on the CNC machine ...and then there is the hand-sanding, finishing, and on and on.
It's easy to see how a knife is in the $500 to $1500 range. It's really not fair to say, "it's just a knife" ...because it's really not. It's so much more!
Let's take a look at where the Magnatron™ knife is currently at:
Firstly, the knife is around 95% finished. The most difficult parts are done (which mainly is figuring out how to machine everything and making sure all the parts play nicely together).
Everything is Grade 5 Titanium ...all the hardware, etc.
The back-spacer is still to be machined and have not shown that here (the stand-off I use in the photos below is just a placeholder which I get the rest of the knife right).
Here's how it currently looks:
To see more of the Magnatron™ ...then CLICK HERE (this is also the same page you might be lucky enough get your hands on one of the first second 10 of these builds).
A couple of topics to cover today...
First up is some shameless promotion of the NEW TiVault Titanium Storage Cache (actually, it's not that shameless ...because they've been selling REALLY well - which is kinda cool).
If you've not grabbed your TiVault yet, then THIS is the time to do it (I'll likely only send out one more reminder after this ...and then it won't be available until next year sometime - if at all!).
Here's what I'm talking about:
I won't go into details here because I've written a whole ton of stuff about it here.
We've got some pretty cool knife stuff coming up over the next few weeks.
Kicking it off is some CNC hard-milling of blades (I'll warn you now... it's not pretty to look at right now - but we're figuring the process out :-D).
First we start off with water-jet cut blanks:
Next we heat-treated it (I never took the time to seal the foil bags properly ...so that's why they look so heat-affected):
Here's some of the milling progress on the Horizontal CNC Machine:
Here's an example of the finish (purposely leaving lines in there to then take them out later):
So, yeah, this is the "ugly work" behind making a high-end flipper knife. 🙂
...and I think that's all I have for you today.
Do you remember the TiVault™ (Secure Titanium Storage Cache) I mentioned on the blog previously?
Well ...it's going to be made soon.
But, before I get into that, I'd like to take a minute to mention a Kickstarter project to you. My friend Steph from www.KohiPoint.com (she's the one who makes the various leather pouches for my products) ...has just launched another Kickstarter project.
It's a minimalist Slim Leather Wallet made from a single piece of leather (I think I might have given her the idea ...I honestly can't remember ...but I better not take credit in case it was actually her idea :-P).
I've been carrying this wallet for a couple of weeks now ...and it's been working damn well.
Althought, to be honest, I've not used the front pocket for paper-money because here in New Zealand not many people carry cash (it's pretty much all cards here). I've only used it for cards.
One more thing before we get to the TiVault™...
We have some (well, 9 to be precise) bead-blast finish Nerve™ Titanium Spinners available.
The reason we have them available is because they were colored either red, blue or black ...but the buttons were a slightly different tone ...which kind of bugged me to be honest.
So, long story short:
I've bead-blasted them so the bodies and buttons work well together in terms of looks.
Here's what they look like:
Like I said, I only have 9 available so I'm pretty sure they will sell fast (especially since I've knocked the price down to just $99).
Okay, so finally we can talk about the TiVault™!
The TiVault™ is 100% happening. The final prototype should be finished this coming Thursday/Friday.
We've almost finished the final "key" for the TiVault™. Just have the tumbling process to go and it's done (but I wanted to update you right now ...so I never waited until the tumbling was done :-D).
Here's some of the process of the making of the key...
The water-jet cut blank:
CNC milling of the water-jet blank into the part:
Before and after of the milling of the key.
The underside of the key (that triangle at the front "slots" into the the cap of the TiVault™).
The topside of the key:
So a couple of things about the "key:
#1 - I've designed it so it will fit onto your keychain along with your regular keys - it's 53mm (around 2") long.
#2 - I've given it a little bit more of a design "flair" than I typically do on products. Usually I keep things super-simple ...but, in this case, it's just come together really well.
Like I said, the final prototype of the main TiVault™ body + cap is being done right now ...and should be finished at the end of the week.
Now, the tricky bit...
I'm going to have to do a self-hosted crowdfund (or at least a pre-order) for the TiVault™ ...because, honestly, the material to make these is a tough one to carry in stock.
Not only is it fairly costly for the material ...but I don't make any other products with 2" diameter titanium bar - so I need to know exactly how much material to order to make these.
Luckily I have a couple of fairly fast and reliable suppliers for titanium round bar ...so, once the pre-order is done, then it only takes two to three weeks to get the bar (although, I think Christmas might extend this a bit).
One last (important) thing...
The window to order your TiVault™ will only be open for something like 48 or 72 hours - and then I will close it (probably until next year ...but, hey, maybe never again ...because that has happened with some products in the past).
The reason for limiting it is because I'm going to buy exactly the amount of 2" that is required - don't want to hold any extra in stock.
So, yeah, keep an eye out for an email in the next few days for the TiVault™. 🙂
I have THREE things for you today...
We've put together a bunch of special deals for BLACK FRIDAY for you.
Some of them will be pre-order ...but quite a lot of them are IN STOCK and will ship immediately.
I will warn you now that we have a whole page of discounted products (many of which we've not had in stock for a while) ...but there are only one or two of each of them on average.
Some people will be disappointed - and I am sorry in advance if you miss it. There is always next year (but I doubt that's much consolation to you :-/).
Man, this is something I've wanted to do for a long time!
In fact, I had a go at making some around 2.5 years ago (which I had just bought the CNC machine and was trying to get the hang of it).
I made a video of me trying (and FAILING!) to make them and put it on my YouTube channel. And, amazingly, if you Google "titanium dominoes", then my video is the first result to pop up ...and it's called "Domino DISASTER!" 🙂
Long story short...
The business has evolved since then. We've grown. We now have two CNC machines and two machinists.
And so I've finally been able to have another go at the dominoes - and they've turned out pretty cool.
Here's some photos of the making of them:
I'm going to offer these during the BLACK FRIDAY sale. While they will technically be a pre-order ...it's only because we're going to make them to order (so that will take a couple of days to do before shipping).
The plan is to offer them individually and you can choose the numbers (or "dots" more accurately) on each end. We will then machine your domino once the order is placed.
I might offer a whole set (undecided at this point) ...but, honestly, there is a lot of work in these (believe it or not there are two separate machining and tumbling sessions for each piece ...which results in something like 5 x CNC operations ...and 3 x tumbling cycles).
The reason I mention the work involved in them is because if a whole 28-piece set is offered, then it could very well be over a thousand dollars.
If you've been following me for a while (and I'm talking about 4 or 5 years here)...
...then you'll be familiar with the "TiVault".
The TiVault was a concept I initially talked about many years ago. It's essentially a titanium cylinder with an end-cap ...but the main feature is that the end-cap can only be opened with a special "key".
The reason I say it is "infamous" is because I've talked about a few times (and I get asked for it a lot) ...but I've never really taken the time to launch it.
The last iteration of the TiVault looked like this:
The reason this time is different...
I've actually made the final design and prototyping should (hopefully) start next week.
There is some "bad news":
I'm planning to keep it really simple and only offer one standard-sized TiVault. I'm not sure if I'll make other sizes in the future.
Here's what the current design looks like (just in terms of proportions):
We've not finalized the key design so that's missing in the above drawing.
The dimensions will be 45mm (1.8") external diameter and 74mm (2.9") external length.
And that's all I have for you today. 🙂