Massive Progress and "Behind The Scenes"

The various blog posts I've done over the last few months (and probably even longer than that actually) have mainly been about how late we are on projects and, often, a new product here or there.

I'll get to the main content in just a second - but first I'd like to selfishly share some thoughts with you. 🙂

We are really catching up right now and somewhat on the home straight. This might not seem a big deal. And, fair enough, it probably isn't. But for the four of us here at Magnus Industries ...tucked away in far-away New Zealand ...we have been living in "lateness" for few couple of years.

Long story short:

I started falling behind on projects around four years ago ...but did not really realize it was happening for many, many months (I actually had no employees back then).

The longest-serving employee has been with us for around two and a half years. What this means is that everyone who works here has only ever experienced "lateness", "catching up", etc. etc.

The "business model" has been that we are routinely making products to fulfill orders that have already been placed  ...but, more often than not, we would end up late on many of these. We've had almost nothing in stock for years. We've had some significant cashflow challenges in the business (not that you want to know all the "dirty details" behind the business ...but, hey, that's the reality :-P).

Everyone here works REALLY hard and they are VERY good at what they do. So when I say we are nearly "caught up" ...this is really a big deal for everyone here.

It will be nice for our machinists to make products that can then go on the shelf as "in stock" ...because they've never done that here before (it's always been, "quick, we need to get this out the door's already late!").

It will also be nice for Sky (our kick-ass customer service superstar) to spend less time replying to emails from customers wanting to know where their late products are (don't get me wrong, it is with great shame that I have put Customers in this position by getting the business into this position ...but I do have to think about the people who work here as well :-D).

Oh, and one more thing...

Every single one of us here (machinists included) read the feedback from you (yes YOU). We all like to keep on top of what YOU are saying to us. Whether it's, "you should consider making one of these" or "there is a design flaw in this product" or "why are you making this new product when you have not fulfilled my LATE product".

Whether it is positive feedback or negative feedback ...we are ALL acutely aware of what YOU are all saying all the time. We know we're late ...but, as you can hopefully gauge by the last couple of blog posts, we're FINALLY near the end of catching up!

And so, in that regard, let's show some progress...

Projects Almost Finished...

As I mentioned above, we are close to catching up ...BUT we are still late-ish on a number of projects.

However, with most of these projects, it's just sanding and tumbling left to go and they're done.

Here's a bunch of photos of some projects (some late and some not) to show you that we're almost there!

First up, the CoolKey Titanium Key Holder:

Here are the plates at various stages of hand sanding...

Here are the "drivers" for the key-holder (this is the custom titanium tool we include with each keyholder)...

...and here are some of the custom-made titanium screws we produce for each key-holder:

Here are the custom titanium springs for the ClickShift Titanium Pen:

This next photo is one I took today of the second-last cycle on the milling machine of the SlideCache 5 x Utility Blade Holder (only one more cycle to go and these are finished):

Here's some of hugely popular Titanium Dice I offered recently (obviously still have the "dots" and chamfering to go):

This next one is a little different...

The photo below is of the titanium "feet" of the custom case we make for the Titanium Domino Set:

And here are some of the new "9 x 9" Double-Nine Titanium Domino Set having just come fresh off the machine:

What Should I Make With This?

Below are 50 x water-jet cut "blanks" for the titanium dominoes.

However, in a moment of true genius, I cut them out of 3.6mm thick sheet instead of 6.7mm thick sheet ...which, of course, means they are unusable as dominoes.

I'd like to not waste these and -- since we ARE catching up -- making something else out of them would be the ideal situation.

So far I'm thinking about an ultra-compact multi-tool (i.e. hex-bit driver, pry-bar and bottle-opener all in one compact package).

The maximum length, width and thickness of the product that could be made out of this is:

Length: 43mm
Width: 20mm
Thickness: 3.5mm

Open to any other thoughts you may have?

  • Richard says:

    For the pieces you incorrectly cut – easy; put some magnets on the inside and sell them as ‘sliders’ to the fidget community.

    • Magnus says:

      I made a couple a few months ago. Did lots of testing and tweaking …but never managed to get it to feel smooth. I figured that it might require hardened steel on the inside to give it the smoothness. Thank you for the feedback …I might actually give it another go.

  • Derek says:

    What’s the update on pill pots that are about a year late?

    I always tell people you do amazing work, it will be nice to be able to say you ship on time too.

    Good work, nice there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    • David says:

      Yup – I was wondering this too – last time I was told certainly January – that boat sailed about 3 months ago

    • Magnus says:

      Sorry Derek. We have pushed them out many times. Every time has been unplanned and because we have had no choice (various reasons at different points). A refund is always available – but I’m reluctant to give a specific date at this stage as I have done this in the past on many occasions and blown through that date.

  • Adrian says:

    How about an ultra-compact multi-tool that fits into the key holder?

    • Magnus says:

      That would be very cool. I played around with that idea over the weekend and it could be possible to do that …and combine it with the CoolKey keyholder.

  • Bert says:

    For the multi tool, make it for the key holder!

    Also need more updates for Founty!

  • Tony says:

    Could you do a ‘paper clip’ shape with the same natural tension as a real paper clip? I use a slightly longer item as a money clip. There is a silver Mont Blanc money clip design that might be worth looking at.

    • Magnus says:

      Truthfully, we’ve been asked for that a lot …BUT, there are quite a number of them on the market. We may do that in the future – but it’s unlikely.

  • Simon Jackson says:

    When are you going to do some more of the keychain tweezers

    • Magnus says:

      Not for some time. We’re re-designing the tweezers as we had a number of them that did not function well. They are very difficult to make and so we need to take another decent run at the design and making of them. Hope this helps.

  • Brett says:

    Pry bar please

  • Karl says:

    Make gifts of the “mistakes” and present them, free of charge, to long term customers who have faithfully supported you and your extensive delays, throughout many years.

    • Derek says:

      This is a good idea.

    • Magnus says:

      This is actually a good idea. I will see if it is possible. Being totally up-front with you …the reason we are late is ONLY because business has been “challenging”. There is a chance do this makes it even more difficult. Will have a serious think about this though. Thank you.

  • Bob Gelb says:

    Cut the ends off, drill a hole to fit on a keychain and inscribe the owners name as a luggage tag or key chain hanger

  • Ap says:

    For the blanks, stack two together, sandwich a titanium wheel/disk in between and once rotated, it makes a nice clicking noise. Another one for the fidget community…

    • Magnus says:

      I actually did make one of these …but was not happy with the slight “scrape” to the motion/feel of it. I’ll take another look into it though…

  • Steve T says:

    Hi Magnus.
    A great update. A nice positive lead out of lock down here in the UK. I’m pleased you are catching up- it will help you all I’m sure. I’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy all your projects I have backed. All the best Steve

    • Magnus says:

      Thank you Steve. My parent are still in the UK and I cannot believe how much lockdown you have over there. Insane (I mean that LITERALLY). There are going to be documentaries and book written about what is happening for sure!

  • Mark Gamble says:

    I like the idea of a multi tool which could hang off the key ring. Go for it! It would be compact and it will be light and strong!
    I wish I a could afford a set of dominoes too! (perhaps a prescription model! :))

  • Mel says:

    Pill pots update?

  • Donna Downey says:

    Please pass on to your staff they are incredible and appreciated. Obviously, your products are a luxury but I have to say your utility knife is the most awesome tool ever. I bought two initially and loved it so much that I recently bought two more just because I was terrified of losing one and not having it in my pocket. As a CPA I use it to open boxes and as a photographer and farmer it is put to use in a variety of situations when I get home! I have a thirty-year-old “utility knife” I bought at UPS and I can say now it has received its much-deserved retirement! And it wasn’t something I could carry in a pocket. I can relate to being overwhelmed with work. COVID and the myriad of tax and stimulus laws have left me wishing I had retired last year before it all started. But I feel duty-bound to try to help my clients survive this mess. If you could invent a tool to help with that we could all be very rich! Thank you Magnus! I am delighted to support you with my purchases and wish you continued growth and success in the years to come! Peace, Donna

    • Magnus says:

      Hey Donna, I really love your feedback – thank you so much – really made my day! It’s great to hear about the real-world use of the products we make. Great to hear your dedication to helping your clients – seems like you’re doing the right thing …even if it does delay retirement!

  • David J Brown says:

    Could you make a “hide a key” box out of them?

  • Jose says:

    I love your work – excellent progress. Any idea when you might be making another batch of the SaniTi?

    • Magnus says:

      I’m not sure if we will make them again. If we do, then it will be many months away at least Jose.

      • Jose says:

        Thank you for responding. I am willing to wait and hope you consider doing them. I think it is a brilliant design and solution to having sanitizer in a form factor that is more EDC friendly and doesn’t look hideous, like those plastic ones. And it’s environmentally friendly – the plastic ones are refillable but those caps do break after many use.

  • Robert Ferguson says:

    Magnus, why don’t you take the domino “thins” and have positive words or favorite quotes engraved in them and polished. I like the word “gratitude”. Or you can use “honesty”, “integrity”, “happiness”, “humor”, to name a few. They sell them here in stone, but it would be so cool to have them in titanium, especially chamfered like the candy cans.

  • Andrew says:

    Use the blanks to make a mini keychain version of the original Viperfish!

  • Ge says:

    Candy box soon be available? Missed the last run

    • Magnus says:

      We’re taking a break from these and re-designing how we hold them for machining as we had issues. Hopefully make some again in the next few months.

  • Stan Teate says:

    How about dog tags

  • om says:

    WTH? Why not make ‘mini’ travel dominoes? Handy on an airplane fold-out tray

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