"Behind The Scenes" Making This NEW High-End Titanium Flipper Knife (PLUS Your Chance To Own One Of The First Second 10 Builds)
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).
Making The Right-Side Scale (Operation #1)
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.
Making The Right-Side Scale (Operations #2 and #3)
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...
Making The Left-Side Scale
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).