Project ZERO – Update #4

​It's been quite some time since the last update​...

This last weekend I started machining the first scale (it's not just a case of making it and it's done) - there are a number of things I have to test and see​ how they work (bearings, lock-bar, etc. etc.). I'll show that progress in the next update (or possibly the update after that as I already have an Update in the wings), but first...

Starting From Scratch

​If you recall, the page you pre-ordered Project ZERO from showed only a 3D CAD model.

Now that 3D model was, generally, what project ZERO was going to look like. The blade, for sure, was going to change a bit (but not too much).

​Long story short:

We went all the way back to the very beginning and re-built Project ZERO from the ground up in terms of the 3D CAD. The overall design has not changed much ...but there are a hundred (actually, more than that) "little details" that have tweaked, added, removed, etc.

Most of these changes are technical in nature opposed to just an aesthetic thing. I'm talking about things like, figuring out the specific screws we are going to use (and therefor the width and depths of the counter-bores for these), and ​stuff like that really.

Oh, and one more thing...

I'm not great at 3D CAD (I can design something in my head ...but I'm not great at using CAD software to bring it to life). And for project ZERO ...this is not good because we are working with bearings, screws, pivots, ultra-tight tolerances, etc. ...and these all have to come together to create the "Holy Grail" flipper knife.

Luckily, we have Nathan here who is a bit of a CAD Jedi. Nathan has spent a considerable time (actually, make that ALL of his time) over the last few weeks re-building Project ZERO from the ground up.

​So, all the ​images you're about to see in this Update were done by Nathan (​Nathan and I had a lot of back-and-forth with the minor aesthetics of the knife ...but he implemented the tweaks and changes).

The Blade

​We'll get to some images in just a second, but first...

​Let's discuss the blade.

​The reason I want to discuss the blade now is because it's the part of Project ZERO that has had the most significant change (everything else is mostly the same).

​The initial blade design was long and slim (and a rough "sheeps foot" shape). The new, updated design below is similar to the original ...but a little more "meaty" looking.

This does change the overall look of the knife ...and I feel it is a big improvement.

Actually, here's something you may find interesting...

I've discovered that designing a knife blade is HARD. I've designed and made dozens of products (and designed hundred if you count the ones that never made it to production).

The thing I've discovered about blade design is that when you make even the slightest ​tweak to a line or a dimension ...then the entire blade looks completely different. It's truly amazing. ​It doesn't seem to happen when designing other products ...just blades.

​Okay, enough talking, here's what the blade is currently looking like:

​If you have any thoughts on the blade, then write below in the comments (or reply to the Update email you received).

The blade shape will likely change a little between now and the final, finished version (from experience... there are always little tweaks and things that you can never anticipate).

Knife Size

​The length of the scales stated on the pre-order page was 105mm (4.1").

However, we did a lot of comparing with other knives (as well as 3D plastic printing a couple of versions) and found that Project ZERO needed to be just a little larger. So we extended the length of the scales to around 115mm (4.5").

Actually, we didn't just extend the length of the scales ...we scaled-up the entire knife everything is still in proportion.

Here's a shot of the printing of one of the ​plastic prototypes (yeah, I know, messy and ugly!):

​​The Details

​What I'm going to do now is just dump and ton of images on you from the 3D CAD model being built over the last few weeks.

​In Updates going forward I'll go into more detail on these. But, for now, this is just to give you an overview of where we're at ...and I think a good time for you to chime in with any thoughts or such you have.

Here's the initial starting point. No aesthetics done - just getting something to work with:

​A blade and the initial formations of a lock-bar:

​Sizing and punching out holes and counter-bores for the main pivot:

​After a bunch of sleeves-rolled-up development (i.e. ​totally forgot to take screenshots) ...the technicals of the scales + bearings + pivot are ready (yes, Nathan even modelled the balls in the bearings :-D):

​Here's a cross-section of the above - but shown from an angle:

​Next up some detail on the back-spacer:

Note: The back-spacer is something that we know will, almost certainly, need tweaking as the knife progresses (mainly because it's still a little up-in-the-air how the blade will sit when closed ...and a few other little things like that)

​A cross-section of the rear of the scales and back-spacer (really coming together now!):

​Here's a final few images of Project ZERO as the design was getting towards the end:

​One final thing...

​Ignore the flipper tab for now. The flipper tab is something we have to physically test once the knife is together and functioning the tab you see above is just kind of a placeholder).

And I think that's all I have for you for now.

Already putting the next update together (so you'll get another update fairly soon).

  • Ben says:

    That’s a great update. Thanks for this detaillad insight of your work.
    As a left handed user, may I suggest to implement some sort of alternative to be able to put the clip on the opposite scale? Also, this will come handy for right handed that want an alternate carry style.

  • David says:

    Please consider M390/CPM-20CV/CTS-204P for the higher-end blade steel (they are all about the same in performance – just different manufacturers). It’s the perfect balance of edge retention, sharpening ease, durability, and corrosion resistance – it’s been a staple on high-end knives (such as this one) for many years.

    RWL-34 is more like 154CM, which is considered a fairly low-end steel. If you need a lower end offering, consider S35V instead. It’s a big jump up in performance from 154CM, and more suiting of a knife of this caliber.

    Offering both of these would give you a mid-level and high-end tier for your knife steel. It doesn’t make sense to offer lesser blade steels with this knife. Also, keep in mind, the heat treat is almost more important than the steel itself. The heat treatment needs to be perfect or you end up with edge failures and lackluster performance (Edge taken, edge hold, etc).

  • Carl Bashakevitz says:

    I agree with David. The only thing stopping me from buying this knife is the steel. I would love to see this knife in CPM M4.

  • Thomas Aasen says:

    Just want to say that the “Zero” knife is truly a piece of art. Zen-like simplicity that has that magnificent beauty to it. Perfect size for a gentleman and EDC. I would love to buy one, I have wamted one sinze you first showed it, and I can’t let it go. Sadly I was out of cash, had an hard economical time. If you by any chance have one of this knife left, and would be willing to sell, I sure would appreciate to hear from you. I could even go for one that was not perfect made, scratches and other small errors, as long as it works though.
    You have my mail I guess.
    Most sincerely
    Thomas Aasen, Norway

  • Om says:

    +1 for M390 !!

    Love your designs

    • Me2 says:

      M390 and a deep carry clip with screws from the backside. That way you can switch handedness without making it too ugly.

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