A Titanium “Man Tray” (Tell Me What YOU Want…)

Ever heard of a “Man Tray”?

Until last year I had no idea a “Man Tray” was a thing.

Someone bought a “Man Tray” for me.

But, fairly quickly, I discovered it was too small to put my daily carry into it when I come home at the end of the day.

So, after putting it off for a long time – I’m finally going to make a honest-to-goodness, no-holds-barred REAL “Man Tray”!

In fact, I just did a video on this (skip to 01:10 minutes as that where I start the “Man Tray” talk…):

 

If you didn’t watch the above video …then here’s what you need to know:

I’m making a “Man Tray” for holding all your stuff (wallet, phone, keys, etc.) instead of it laying around on your worktop (or bench, or desk, or whatever…).

It’s going to be carbon fiber and, either, titanium or aluminum.

I’m wonder how YOU would use such a thing?

What size would you need it to be?

Do you need separate compartments?

Are there any extra “features” you would like (i.e. a “cable tidy” or “rubber feet”, etc.)?

 

So, yeah, tell me your thoughts by commenting below.

I will likely start making this soon …because, damn it …I need one myself!

 

Weird Videos and a Titanium Tripod

It’s been a while since my last blog post…

Truthfully, I’m trying to do two or three blog posts a week (but I’m obviously failing miserably at this!).

Regardless, we’re both here now, let’s continue:

In case you’ve missed it – I’ve been doing a whole boat-load of stuff on YouTube recently.

Basically, I’ve been uploading at least one, short video a day. I’ll admit that the videos were really not that great in the beginning – but they are getting better (not my words …but the words of my Subscribers! :-D).

Click Here to check out my channel and the latest video (and subscribe so you don’t miss any more :-D).

Now, it actually gets even more interesting…

I’ve started another YouTube Channel as well …but this one if WEIRD (in a good way of course).

The other channel is called “EpicMake” and I do a whole bunch of stuff… particularly cutting random objects in half – like this:

 

Now, I’ve had many requests asking to see more “behind the scenes” in the workshop.

Honestly, it’s kind of difficult the way my workshop is setup. It’s a really small workshop and so a lot of stuff is tucked away in plastic tubs (which we take out when required)… and the place generally looks kind of untidy because of the lack of bench space.

Nevertheless – here’s a video for you on how the waterjet cutting machine works:

 

Progress in the Titanium Mechanical Pencils for the Kickstarter project Rewards in going well.

Only a few weeks away from shipping I estimate.

Here’s a couple of shots of the progress:

They look like deadly titanium spears, but they really are pencils …I promise. 🙂

Giving the pencils a rest on a soft towel in between the finishing process …only the BEST for my babies!

 

Because I’ve been recording so much video recently I need (yes, NEED) to make my own hand-held tripod.

I’m on my third hand-held tripod/handle and it’s just not working for me.

I’ll likely make it out of titanium and, because I’m really starting to like it, carbon fiber.

Here’s a couple of initial sketches of what I was thinking for this camera handle (remember, the main function of it is for pointing the camera at myself and talking into the lens).

tripod-1

 

P.S. I’m also working on a titanium (and possibly carbon fiber) clipboard …the office-type thing that holds paper.

Got any other “wild dreams” of things you’d like to see be made?

I’m listening…

Going Viral (…Sort Of)

I was hoping to have some more progress on another product for you this week…

But, unfortunately, I’m still working on the fulfillment of the Titanium Mechanical Pencil and Titanium Tweezers V2.0 for Kickstarter projects.

So instead I thought I’d share some cool photos and videos I’ve been posting to Instagram and my YouTube Channel throughout this last week.

I’ll do this in a “Question and Answer” style:

 

“Magnus, What Does Your Desk Setup Look Like?”

Well, I usually work from the cafe in the morning. And that looks something like this…

The usual cafe I work in. Two laptops and a coffee ...and I'm set for a full day in there.

The usual cafe I work in. Two laptops and a coffee …and I’m set for a full day in there.

 

And, later in the afternoon (and into the evening), I continue to work from home with this setup…

Doing more and more video recently (hence the NEED for a Apple MacBook). And recently becoming obsessed with camera lenses too.

Doing more and more video recently (hence the NEED for a Apple MacBook). And recently becoming obsessed with camera lenses too.

 

“Magnus, Are You Still Making A Knife?”

The short answer is:

Yes!

The long answer is:

I’ve not been able to make further progress without a manual/cnc milling machine to prototype.

Here’s the thing…

I quickly found out that I can’t get very far with just a water-jet cutter and hand-tools (well, not for the sort of knife I want to make!).

So, yeah, it’s on hold right now unfortunately.

In the meantime I’ve been “researching” (which is my guilt-free word for buying :-P) other knives. Here’s a nice little example:

I used to see people posting photos of coffee and knifes. I used not get it ...until I bought this very cool knife (I think it's a Marfione Sigil - can't remember).

I used to see people posting photos of coffee and knifes. I used not get it …until I bought this very cool knife (I think it’s a Marfione Sigil – can’t remember).

 

“Magnus, What Was That ‘Magic Mouse’ Thing On Instagram All About?”

Okay, so I’ll start right at the beginning (in case you’ve missed the action)…

I post on Instagram at least once a day. If you’re not familiar with Instagram (and I know a lot of people reading this are not aware what it is) …it’s basically an App on your phone where you can upload photos and videos quickly and easily.

People can comment and ‘like’ it and easily share it with others. I stayed away from it for a long time because I’m not into social media type stuff really …but, boy, was that a mistake. It’s so much more than that.

Here’s a screenshot of my profile on Instagram:

Even if, like me, you are not into "social media" ...Instagram is something I recommend you take a look at anyway.

Even if, like me, you are not into “social media” …Instagram is something I recommend you take a look at anyway.

 

Anyway, I got bored last Saturday and decided to chop my Apple ‘Magic Mouse’ in half (that’s the computer mouse for my Apple computer).

I took a video of it being cut and showed the “internals” of the mouse. And, well, it went kind of semi-viral (certainly compared to anything I’ve posted before).

Actually, here a better explanation for you:

 

So, yeah, I’ve started cutting some other stuff now as well.

More on this later…

 

World’s Most Dangerous iPhone Stand

It’s been a week since my last blog update – and a few things have happened…

 

First up… (Titanium Wallet progress)

Progress on the titanium wallet is going well.

It’s going to be launched on Kickstarter (but this won’t happen until the Titanium Mechanical Pencil Rewards are shipped to Backers of that project) …but that’s a good few weeks away.

I do know, at this stage, that it’s not going to be a cheap wallet …and this is because I have not compromised on anything (which is the same for all my products actually).

I’m still not ready to show the full thing (as there is still a bit more development to go) – but here’s a “sneaky side shot” for you:

It's going a little slower than I said (you think I would have learned by now!) ...but the titanium wallet is still progressing well.

It’s going a little slower than I said (you think I would have learned by now!) …but the titanium wallet is still progressing well.

 

Next up… (YouTube Shenanigans)

I’ve been continuing to post to YouTube every single day (not missed a day yet).

I recently did a video called “A Day In The Life…” where show you what a typical day looks like for me.

Here it is here:

 

Something Fun…

I made “The World’s Most Dangerous iPhone Stand” the other day.

It is not something I’ll be making – but thought you might like to see it:

knuckle-duster-iphone-holder-1

knuckle-duster-iphone-holder-2

knuckle-duster-iphone-holder-3

 

So, yeah, that’s really it for this week.

I’ve been looking into a couple of new pieces of machinery. They’re not cheap and so I’m talking to the bank and such. I’ll talk more about this at a later date.

Actually, if you really want to stay ahead of everyone else …then my videos are where it’s all happening right now. Click Here to check out my YouTube Channel.

 

 

Mistakes, New Machines and YouTube

It’s been so long since I showed you any new designs or such.

And, truthfully, I’ve not really been working on designs for a month or two (yes, that really is the simple and elegant reason for not having any new designs! :-D).

I am starting to design more again and so I’ll be bringing you some “sneak previews” soon.

But, in the meantime, I thought I’d cover a little of what I’ve been doing for the last few months.

 

YouTube Videos

If you’re not already subscribed to my YouTube Channel, then I urge you to jump on board before “the masses” join in and you end up feel like just another “me too” like every one else.

Here’s the thing:

I upload a short video to YouTube every day (yes, EVERY day!).

Here’s the sort of stuff I’m putting up there:

youtube-videos-1

I’m slowly-but-surely getting better at these videos (seriously, I am).

I’m going to start doing the “making of” and other stuff soon. So, yeah, click here to subscribe so you don’t miss out.

 

Higher Levels Of Quality?

For the last 5 or 6 weeks I’ve been working on the surface finishing of a project that was not mine (but I was part of the design process and the Kickstarter campaign for it).

I’ve mentioned the Titanium Cheese Slicer a couple of times in the past.

Oh, actually, before I continue…

I should point out that my father (William) is over here in New Zealand from Scotland. He helps me out a LOT in the workshop. In fact, that’s not quite true, he actually does a power of work (he’s “the bearded man” you occasionally see in the background in some of my YouTube videos …he doesn’t like the camera …but he will one day :-D).

Now… these Titanium Cheese Slicers… we did the pre-processing of the titanium plate and the water-jet cutting. My machinist (it was his project) did the mind-blowing machining of them. And we did the horribly-involved finishing processes.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you:

This finishing of these Titanium Cheese Slicers was the toughest finishing job we’ve ever done. And that’s by a long shot!

It was meant to take a week or two. It took nearly 6 weeks (and those were not 40-hour weeks …more like 80+).

Here’s what the process looked like towards the end:

The most challenging finishing work we've ever had to do on any product. These Titanium Cheese Slicers were absolutely brutal ...but more than worth it!

The most challenging finishing work we’ve ever had to do on any product. These Titanium Cheese Slicers were absolutely brutal …but more than worth it!

 

There was a lot of work, stress, unexpected-costs and finally relief delivering these Titanium Cheese Slicers.

And here’s the cool thing…

This project forced us to take our various finishing processes to new levels of quality. Sanding. Tumbling. Grinding. Everything!

Even the final quality control we do just got even stricter. If there was even the slightest hint of a hair-line scratch on a Titanium Cheese Slicer …we went all the way back to the beginning on that one (yes, we really did have to go back to the start and spend another 4 hours on it!).

While I was knee-deep in this stressful project …it was tough …yet, looking back on it, it’s been an incredible boost for the quality and workmanship in all future products.

 

New Machine

I posted a couple of videos on YouTube recently about this machine:

New machine for sanding titanium ...all the way from the USA.

New machine for sanding titanium …all the way from the USA.

 

It’s a big sander for getting a better surface finish on titanium.

Now, truthfully, I’m not as excited about this machine as you might think.

And here’s why:

I bought this machine used from the USA around 9 or so months ago.

Since then — and after various discussions with various people who have each been in business longer than I’ve been alive — I’ve come to appreciate the benefits it buying NEW.

The only benefit of buying used is price. Nothing else. And, as one wise fellow said to me the other day, “If you can’t afford a good, new machine …then there’s something wrong with your business”.

“If you can’t afford a good, new machine
…then there’s something wrong with your business.”

 

I don’t think he realised how much of an effect that statement had on me.

This machine, by the time I paid to have it shipped here, was around half the price of a new one.

BUT, there are parts of it that will not function again (such as the pump that sprays water on the sand-paper to keep the almost-certain-to-go-on-fire titanium dust down!). So I already have to buy new parts.

It’s fine. I’m just dealing with the “fall out” of a decision I made last year.

We’re going to get it fired-up and tested later this week.

I’ll let you know how it goes (most likely on YouTube first :-D).

 

Weird Hotel “Tricks”

Earlier this week I attended a fascinating exhibition…

It was full of CNC machines, water-jet cutters, lathes, robots and …well pretty much everything that can help in the making of awesome titanium products.

The show was in Auckland (New Zealand of course) and was called EMEX 2016 (I think it stands for Engineering, Machinery and Electronics Exhibition).

I put together and short video of my experience and highlight some of the stuff that was there:

 

Oh, and here’s something weird for you…

The hotel I stayed in when I was up in Auckland had this sign in the bathroom:

Here's the sign that was in my hotel bathroom (you'll find similar signs in other hotels)

Here’s the sign that was in my hotel bathroom (you’ll find similar signs in other hotels)

 

I’m sure you’ve seen a sign similar to this before (most hotels seem to have them now).

I like this sign because of the “psychological stuff” going on. The sign appeals to your ethics and in doing your bit to help our planet …which, possibly, you are.

But the real purpose behind the sign is to help save the hotel money. I mean, the hotel could say, “Hey, it’s cheaper if we don’t wash your towels every day… want to help us save some money?”

Yet both you and I know it just doesn’t come across as well (especially when you discover the mini-bar prices! :-P).

So, yeah, it’s kind of a win:win…

…the hotel lowers it’s running costs (and, possibly, the costs to stay there is cheaper)

you get to feel good about “saving the environment”

The only real downside is that the sign is not accurate. I’m sure there is a creative way of getting people to use less towels …without having to play the “save our environment” card.

What do you think? 🙂

THIS Is What Happens When I’m Bored…

Last Saturday I wasn’t feeling that well (some sort of cold/flu thing I think).

So, just to get out the house (I was bored), I went to the workshop and made this:

Such a NARCISSIST!

cogent-titanium-1

Yes, these letters are made from titanium.

If you want to see the “behind the scenes”, then here’s the video:

 

Right, enough of that shenanigans, let’s be serious for a minute:

 

Titanium Wallet…

Progress is going slower than expected – but getting there for sure.

I had the concept in my head. But it takes a while to figure out if and how it can be machined.

Finally, after a lot of work and discussion and back-and-forth with my machinist – we reckon it’s possible to make the wallet out of a solid slab of titanium.

I wasn’t 100% sure it could be done (and still not sure to be honest as I won’t know until we actually try to machine it).

In my last blog post I showed a couple of cool photos of the “slab” of titanium the wallet it going to be made from.

 

 

Knife Stuff…

A few weeks ago I started mentioning (on this blog, on my Instagram page and on my YouTube videos) that I was starting to design and make a key-chain knife.

Well, I must confess to you:

Things have taken a slightly different turn.

I very quickly realised I knew absolutely nothing about knives. And so I started reading, studying, watching and learning all about knives (yeah, I know, I was only planning on making a simple little key-chain knife …but my extremism and obsessive-compulsive traits took over as usual …*sigh*).

Not only that, but…

I bought a couple of knives (nothing fancy …just a couple of hundred dollars each) to get a feel for them. To see how they are made. That kind of thing.

Then a strange thing happened:

While carrying these knives with me to test how they functioned and how they felt …I discovered I actually used them loads of times each day!

I only carried one with me at a time – but I found I would use it multiple times per day. To the point where I wonder how the hell I did without it.

So, yeah, I am no longer interested in a key-chain knife for myself (right now at least). I want a proper, full-size folding knife.

And so for the last week or so I have been in full-on, Magnus-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you obsession mode.

I’ve even started doing some designing (just for fun as I am a long way from actually prototyping anything):

how to make-a-knife-1

 

Ah hell, I’ve even started learning a new piece of CAD software from scratch (Solid Edge if you’re interested to know what software it is) JUST for the purpose of this whole knife obsession.

And, further still, I’ve even started doing some designs (only to figure out how to use this software – definitely not the knife I’m making) in CAD too:

how to make-a-knife-2

 

Why can’t I just be “normal”?

Like… it would be good if I was maybe just a little bit obsessed with making a knife. Or if I could approach is strategically. Or, better yet, just say to myself, “Magnus, knives are something you know nothing about …just stick to other stuff.”

But, alas, my brain does not seem to be wired that way.

Still, look on the bright side, the result is probably going to be a horribly and disgustingly good knife. 😀

An Unhealthy Titanium Obsession?

So, what’s going down at Cogent Industries today?

Well, a few things…

I’ve been continuing with the non-stop-and-over-the-top testing of surface finishes on my titanium products.

I naturally have an addictive and somewhat obsessive personality – which is both a good thing and, sometimes, a bad thing.

But I can confidently say that when it comes to getting a mind-blowing finish on titanium products …then my genetic flaws are really, REALLY helpful.

I tend to test …and test …and test …and test …and then test some more.

When I tumble the titanium the stuff I put the titanium into is called media. There are so many variables when doing surface finishing with a tumbler. There’s media type, media size, media quantity, water quantity, soap type, soap amount, time of tumbling, order of tumbling, speed of tumbling, …and so on.

And I have to keep track of what each process is doing as I test it.

Here’s an example:

A few dozen titanium HangKeys are "sacrificed" as I strive to find the Holy Grail of surface finishes...

A few dozen titanium HangKeys are “sacrificed” as I strive to find the Holy Grail of surface finishes…

 

In the above photo I have sacrificed a few dozen titanium HangKey pocket-clips as I search for the “Holy Grail” of surface finishes for my titanium products.

The cable-ties on each HangKey are used to help track which processes the HangKey has been through. Every HangKey in the above photos as been through a DIFFERENT process. No two HangKeys have had the same finish.

I am kind of obsessed with this …but, hand-on-heart, I believe it is a healthy obsession.

 

Now, what else has been going on… oh, yes, a little more progress on the titanium wallet.

I did a little cutting of some 10mm thick titanium plate today:

I cut a titanium wallet "blank" today. It ain't cheap this stuff - but it WILL be worth it in the end for sure.

I cut a titanium wallet “blank” today. It ain’t cheap this stuff – but it WILL be worth it in the end for sure.

 

The wallet is going to be made from titanium and carbon fiber.

Believe it or not…

The solid block of titanium is going to be almost entirely machined away leaving virtually nothing left.

I mean, really. How depressing is that ladies and gentlemen? I import a big chunk of titanium …and then I go and machine almost all the titanium away until there is nothing left!

Is it a lot of work?Yes.

Is it extreme?Most definitely.

Is it obsessive?Of course.

Is it going to create the world’s best wallet?There isn’t a doubt in my mind! 😀

Here’s a little look at the titanium “chunk” before it is machined:

A monster "chunk" of titanium begging for mercy before it gets machined away to almost nothing!

A monster “chunk” of titanium begging for mercy before it gets machined away to almost nothing!

 

Now, here’s the thing…

This is as far as I am with this.

My machinist is still waiting for some tooling to come from overseas specifically for cnc-machining this titanium wallet (yes, we’ve got to import some super-specialized tools just for this wallet).

That’s pretty much it so far.

Actually, before I go, here’s a short video I did for you today:

*NEW* Videos (and they’re UGLY!)

I have two things for you today…

#1

As I type this there is only around 38 hours left for you to grab your set of Titanium Tweezers V2 on Kickstarter – Click Here if you’re not yet aboard with the rest of ushttp://kck.st/1reE3PR ).

 

And..

#2

It’s about videos.

Maybe you’re not aware of this, but…

I’ve been recording and uploading a lot of videos recently (pretty much one a day for the last few weeks).

Now, truthfully, they’re not very good.

Actually, if I’m honest ….most of them I think are awful (compared to what I’d like them to be). But that’s okay – because I’m just starting out making these videos.

Eventually I’ll start figuring out what YOU want in a video from me (hopefully from no-holds-barred, open and honest feedback :-D).

In the meantime – here are some of the “less bad” videos I’ve done recently…

 

A fun video showing what goes on “behind closed doors” here (no talking in this video – just music):

 

The problems I’m currently having prototyping a knife (oh, and I find a random dog too!)

 

What I do on the weekend… (and some deep analysis of my childhood!):

 

Doing the “impossible” (titanium wallet and a new workshop!):

 

 

Click here to view my highly-active and steadily growing YouTube Channel (oh, and remember to subscribe :-P).

 

Brad’s Bottle Opener

A few weeks ago a young fellow called Brad contacted me…

He was from South Africa and wanted to design a bottle-opener based on my Titanium Scalper Bottle Opener.

He said it was for a University project and so I said, “Sure thing!” …and it would be great if he could let me know the progress he makes.

Anyway, a few weeks go past and then I get an email with these photos attached:

titanium-bottle-opener-5

titanium-bottle-opener-4

How cool is that?

I asked him if it worked.

He said he currently did not have access to a method of cutting metal and this is why it was cut from Perspex.

And, worse still, the Perspex kept shattering whenever he tried to open a bottle-cap with it.

Now, I wouldn’t normally do this, but curiosity got the better of me …and I just had to see what it would be like in titanium. I did a video on it:

 

I had to make a couple of changes  to some of the lines (because of the limitations of my water-jet cutter …can’t cut into a sharp corners).

But, apart from that, I left Brad’s concept exactly as he designed it. No changes.

Here are a few highlights of the process:

Had to do a few "tweaks"

Had to do a few “tweaks” to Brad’s design for the water-jet cutter.

 

The red line shows the width of the titanium being cut (around 0.9mm there ...but it's usually around 0.75mm)

The red line shows the width of the titanium being cut (around 0.9mm there …but it’s usually around 0.75mm)

 

Yep, it really did take that long to cut this titanium bottle opener!

Yep, it really did take that long to cut this titanium bottle opener!

 

Here’s how it turned out:

Brad's design turned out pretty good in titanium... :-)

Brad’s design turned out pretty good in titanium… 🙂

 

Couple of final things:

#1 – I did not do any sort of finishing on it. It’s raw. I did this on purpose because I thought, if Brad want’s to finish it further, then I’m sure he’d want to do that.

#2 – I would usually not do something like this because there is usually something else trying to grab my attention and time. But, for some reason, I just felt compelled to do this as a one-off. Still not sure why. 🙂

 

Anyway, nice job Brad. Very cool.

 

>