Titanium Keyholders And Brain Farts

I just spent the last 10 minutes “snooping”….

Well, to be more accurate, I’ve been snooping through old photos on my computer – photos from up to two years ago I forgot I took.

One of the photos was for some funky titanium prototypes (more on those in a minute).

But, just for a moment, I’m going to go completely off tangent here…

(feel free to skip all this because it has nothing to do whatsoever with titanium, everyday carry, my latest Kickstarter project or anything like that…)

More and more recently I feel like I know nothing. And I really do mean nothing.

Nothing about life. Nothing about business. Nothing about socialising. Nothing about NOTHING.

As you may know…

I’m fairly prevalent with launching projects on Kickstarter.com (this is my 8th project now).

In fact, running projects on Kickstarter is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to build a business, leave my job (at the end of last year – woohoo!) and make mad titanium gear full-time. It’s pretty cool.

And it’s real weird. A few weeks ago I fancied myself as some sort of “Jedi Master” at running Kickstarter projects… but, all of a sudden (and I really can’t figure out why), I feel like I know about 1% of what I should know about Kickstarter.

I’ve gone from “knowing everything” to knowing nothing.

And it’s not even just Kickstarter (that’s just one example). It’s everything. I suddenly know nothing about everything. Like I said: weird!

Is this what happens when you’re 32? (actually, I thought I was 33 since September last year… until I double-checked just now. So, I just got a FREE year… bonus!). You think you know a bunch of stuff… and then you find out you know literally NOTHING?!

Anyway, let’s get down to business (titanium business!)….

I found this these photos of some old titanium prototypes from a long time ago:




As you can tell – these are key-holders.

They are something I just never got around to continuing with.

But the funny thing is… I personally use one of these right now. I’ve got my three main keys AND a USB stick on it. I love the fact there is no “jiggle” sound from it.

The problem is (and, truthfully, it’s one of the main reasons I never pursued it):

I know that Customers who invest in it will have to put it together themselves. There will be screws, posts, washers, spring-washers and o-rings. I have images of people getting really frustrated with it.

Oh, and believe it or not…

A big part of my testing process is visualizing myself as a Customer who just receives the product I’m designing and testing. I try to put myself through every way they are going to interact with this design.

And so, with the above keyholder design, I have a “horror movie” playing in my mind of Customers getting frustrated with all the little pieces while trying to set it up using all the washers and o-rings… and throw the whole thing in the trash!

Maybe my fears are unfounded. Not sure.

I’m trying to come up with a solution that doesn’t use loads of little washers, screws and such – but not managed it yet.

However, it seems to be a good design (and I say this because I personally use one of these prototypes all the time… and I don’t carry stuff unless I need/want to!).

and that’s all I’ve got to say about that. (Forest Gump anyone? :-P)

  • Josh says:

    The user required initial assembly should not be a reason to withhold this product from the market as all of your competitors have this issue (with no buyer resistance) and it is only needed when changing keys (which is not a frequent occurrence).

    • Most other key-holders seem to have screws that can accept coins to tighten/loosen them (and I’m even including the Rabbit keyholder I made a year ago, but stopped producing, which had custom-made titanium screws).

      I’d have to include a couple of small allen-keys/hex-wrenches with these. No big deal… but yet more hardware.

  • Seth Rubin says:

    Hi Magnus,

    You are sounding very Zen to me.
    Or, you are suffering from a very common malady
    common to successful people from time to time.

    Which would you alternative do you prefer? 🙂



    • I think it’s maybe both. Or one of them causing the other.

      For sure I’ve been hugely reflective recently…

      Striving for a long time to build the business so that it is self-sustaining… and then building on it from there.

      I’ve not taken the time to think about much else other than this business over the last year or so.

      But, as it’s doing better and designs/quality is getting closer to where I ideally would like them to be… I’m finding I have time for my thoughts to “wander”… for good or for bad. 🙂

  • Tom says:

    I have your “Rabbit” but frankly I don’t use it because I only have one key, my house key. My aggravations are the car and truck key fobs, and I haven’t seen a good solution for these. My car has no key entry slot, just the fob. I like the idea of not having keys, but I hate the key fob SIZE! In my previous car I could remove the key blade from the fob and slide it in a pouch on my running shoe. Not with this car! Forgive my venting because I think the only solution is for the car dealers to miniaturize the electronics and make a smaller device..not likely to happen soon.

    • Yeah, the fob I have for my own car is a complete pain. You’re absolutely right.

      There doesn’t seem to be much we can do about the car key thing really. Have not done much research into it though…

    • Nam says:

      You know, if you don’t use it that much, I’d be glad to take it off your hands!
      In all seriousness though, if anyone has one that they’re willing to part with, I’m willing to pay for one.

  • Joe w says:

    I think you showed these to us back when you was designing it or there abouts. I use the rabbit and love it but I share the same gripe as “Tom” above. All the different key fob sizes and shapes means I still have more keys off my rabbit than on it lol

  • Michael Kruep says:

    I think we just saw the beginning of the next Kickstarter project. A chance for me to be Backer #1 three times consecutively. Game on!

  • Michael says:

    It’s probably the nicest key organizer I’ve seen, but I don’t have any keys to carry yet.

    That reminds me though, have I shown you the pocket fan idea yet?: http://imgur.com/a/kjxMF

    Even more pieces to assemble.
    I thought of it because it’s annoyingly hot and humid here in the summer and mini battery-powered fans suck.

    • I’m not sure if I had seen that before.

      It should be easy-ish to make… but the really problem would be… would anyone buy it?

      I doubt I’d have one because I feel it would make me look like one of those women from times long ago that say things like, “Oh, Mr Darcy!” and then faint on a fainting couch!

      • Michael says:

        I wasn’t suggesting it as a product, it’s definitely not in the same category of EDC and keychain tools that you make, despite it being about the length of a pencil. I was just reminded of it by the key-holder and thought I’d share. It’s more something personal for me to attempt to make.

  • david says:

    That is called maturity. Scary how many youngsters think they know everything and yet it is obvious to us old farts that they have much to learn. When you realise that the learning never stops then you have learned an important lesson about yourself and life. Congratulations on the maturity and being in charge of your own future.
    Ditto to the comment about vehicle keys being a problem for this type of key holder.
    Do you export chocolate to all your customers or just to those from specific countries?

    • Hmmm. There’s no way I’m mature yet… I still use too many exclamation marks when I write!!… and smiley-faces 🙂

      Also, the chocolate thing is a little bit random – but, as a guide, I put in chocolate if a couple of products are purchased (or if it’s a reasonable order size). Not a hard-and-fast rule though.

  • fischlustig says:

    I’d like something like that. Actually I contributed to a similar looking project on kickstarter a while ago.
    Unfortunatelly it had major design flaws and was not usable: rotating keys in and out caused the screws to losen/tighten. As a result i dropped all my keys twice, bacause it losened too much.
    Finally it tightened too much and the screw broke – not titanium of cause. Plus it was quite heavy.
    So I’d really like you to make this!

  • mark ackrell says:

    I’m mechanically retarded so I’d be good test case. Looks highly functional

  • Tony W says:

    They look really cool and convenient to carry, just not sure it would be that practical (for me personally) when it comes to ease of use. Maybe easier to just find the key on a keyring and use it. Looks awesome though.

  • Adolph Cabañas says:

    As long as you have a clear diagram with instructions as to how to assemble the key holder, I am sure that everyone would be fine. Please produce this!

    • What I did for the Rabbit keyholder from last year was produce a short video (which I believe helped a lot of people).

      The video is still on the website under the “Support” link/button on the main menu.

  • Almost certainly I’d have to make it lighter…

    I use the current prototype – but, for carrying only three keys and a USB stick, it’s heavier than I’ like it to be.

    Doesn’t need to be smaller – just lighter.

  • Adolph Cabañas says:

    Hello Magnus! Greetings!
    Anticipating this wonderful product of yours!
    Kindly include in the design the option of expanding the amount of keys the holder can accommodate. It’s great idea to include the tool that is needed for the assembly of this key-holder. Weight is no issue to me, only form and function.

  • Guy Raz says:

    I like it, but it looks heavy, and I’m already waiting for this baby to arrive any day now:


    And soon I’ll be expecting this beauty (Reward #3 with green glow inlay):


    Up until now, I’ve been using your T60D, but there’s so many hangers it can take before it becomes a clumpy mess. I absolutely hope I can continue using your TiBiners (I have all of them!) for my EDC needs. I’m on a carabiner kick lately anyway. Had to get this as well:


    And used Massdrop to get a couple of these:


    Of course, this only means I’ll be in the market for new EDC danglers and key-tools, so can’t wait to see what else you dream up, mate! 🙂

  • Stephen says:

    Hi all!

    It’s related to the “fiddle factor.”

    People like to fiddle with their gadgets, but if they’re cheaply made, it’s not fun, but if you make all the parts out of G5 and provide tools to fiddle, people like us will buy and dig it 🙂

    For weight issue you can skelontize the scales with hex holes or something like that. G5 posts and screws are cool making the product more “fiddable.”

    Wanted a rabbit but no more . . . Tom, would you (or anyone else) like to sell their rabbit?

    Have multiple key holders, but their in the drawer.

    This one I might use 🙂

    Definitely a candidate project-product.

    Is it KS-worthy, meaning generating lots of backers snd funding.

    Not sure. Good idea is to benchmark similar ptojects and see how well they did.

    Regardless of KS scenario, can see a “top drawer” key holder as a Cogent Industries product.

    Look forward to acquiring one 🙂

    Regards to all.

    • You’re right Steve. I personally don’t mind the “fiddle factor” if it’s great hardware (i.e. titanium).

      But, if there’s poor-quality aluminium hardware and bits of plastic and such (which also typically goes hand-in-hand with poor design) – then I find it kinda frustrating.

      And, yes, I’m thinking a skeletonized design would be the ultimate aim for a key-holder.

      Trying to get away from the “whole bunch of hardware” thing.

      P.S. I’m not ignoring your emails Steve (just making sure I have everything before I reply as well as ship your products to you!)

      • Stephen says:

        Thanks Magnus!

        Yes, that’s the design challenge in this case, minimizing the amount of hardware to hold a variable number of keys and similarly shaped tools.

        And, thanks for the PS. No worries. The P’Pots have arrived (awesome!) and have my fiddlettention presently, lol!


  • David says:

    I have looked at key holders like this before and actually bought an Orbitkey (http://www.orbitkey.com); which I don’t actually use. They all suffer from the assembly problem as you describe, which tells me there is a market and and that no-one has solved the problem yet. Is post & screw the way to go? Is there no alternative tension or compression method? A bulldog clip easily adapts to the thickness of papers it is holding. Of course, the answer may not involve titanium but c’est la vie.

    Having read another of your posts about prototypes I think there is an opportunity for some simplification. Surely the multi-tool and this key holder are fundamentally the same thing? namely, metal plates connecting two posts onto which you hang assorted objects.

    • Yeah, I missed the OrbitKey somehow… it looks a nice, elegant solution. Is it as good in real life as the photos?

      And, yes, it would be great come up with something other than threads/posts for hardware. Something I’ve spent a lot of time on over the last year… but never quite managed it so far!

      • Srinivas says:

        Can’t say about the original OrbitKey, but I’m using a clone I made myself. (http://imgur.com/GrGLHkg)

        To use your words “probably the best looking key holder I’ve seen – it’s just a pleasure to look at”

        Cost me all of $1 (for the cheap P7 clip knockoff off fleabay. Already had everything else). Gonna replace the el cheapo clip with the new Hangkey I backed just now on KS.

        BTW, I’m salivating at The One. Great work! I might just bite.

  • Robert says:

    I like the look on these Magnus and don’t fret i turned 34 this month!

    The only real competior i can see is Key smart I’m not promoting them I’m actually looking for an alternative solution the proud post/screws are something I am not keen on and they assemble with screw posts and washers depending on number of keys.

    I prefer your design with the counter sunk alen heads are these anodized titanium less likely to be scratched/fade? I only ask if they are as aluminium that’s been anodised doesn’t hold that well unless it was hard anodised?

    You could put me down for one if it’s all titanium inc posts and fixings?

    • Yeah, the screws are anodized titanium. But, from experience, they are not scratch-proof. Still look damn good though.

      I like almost always prefer the raw/grey/polished/natural tones of titanium rather than colour. But, in saying that, I have been experimenting lately…

      Oh, and yes, the countersinking is something I’m a major fan of. It’s just so much “cleaner”.

  • Robert says:

    Oh and as Stephen said skelontize is definitely an option on the scales that would mean many options with pattern varing size circles, squares diabonds or hex holes and one could even fit a hex bit in an emergency?

  • Cheryl P. says:

    Hi Magnus,
    Your keyholder looks great and I would definitely purchase one (or a Rabbit) if you opt to build them. As far as assembly goes, I think most people interested in titanium EDC gear are somewhat mechanically inclined and would not have any issues with loose parts.

    Over the past two years, I have purchased five different keyholders and have found only one to be any good. It is made by company called “Liquid” located in Australia and has no issues with screws loosening up. Sadly, they made from aluminum, but on the plus side, they are very well made and work excellent.

    Hopefully, you pursue a Kickstarter keyholder as there seems to be a market for them.

  • Srinivas says:

    Hi Magnus.

    The key holders are looking way cooler than any of the others on KS. Would you ever be selling the D rings that’re connecting the key holder to the split ring? I’d love to have a couple of those.

  • Roy says:

    I would buy this in a second. Just saying 🙂

  • Kirk says:

    I really hope you decide to make a Cogent Industries key holder similar to what you shared in the proto photos above… Sooner rather than later. PLEASE!? I need one of these now.

    Thanks… And keep up the great work!

    P.S. My personal preference would be for a solid scale/plate key holder, but if you do skeletonize it I’m sure you’ll come up with a design that everyone likes.

    P.P.S. – A key holder design that is compatible with the “Chunky MultiTool” concept (or that utilizes new/different, optional purchases {i.e. à la carte} and swappable tools specifically designed for the key holder) would be cool too. Of course releasing both a multitool holder (chunky or otherwise) AND a key holder with or without interchangeable tools/accessories would probably be successful too. Sign me up, Scotty. I mean Magnus.

  • Jauvane says:

    The best key holder I know of is the Slide 2.0 from MyKeyPort.com (also a KS project). I use it daily and it is superb. If it was made out of titanium and could hold 8 (instead of 6) keys, also being able to have the car remote built-in, it’d be killer! I got one other key holder from KS but it was VERY poor… That was the one called “KeyDisk 2”. Look at those two designs. It may give you some insights 🙂 One example of one that works great and one that doesn’t work at all…

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