​Titanium ​Knife, Belt Buckle and Coronavirus

​A whole bunch of stuff for you today... ​

We're going to talk about:

-- The coronavirus
-- Why I've been late on almost every project/product
-- Updates on projects
-- A NEW knife design
-- A NEW Titanium Belt Buckle

Coronavirus Issues (yeah, really!)

​You've probably heard a lot about this ​coronavirus thing on the news. And, I know, you probably don't want to hear any more about it ...but just give me a couple of seconds.

​We get some titanium from China​ and some from the USA. Unfortunately, we're having issues getting titanium from China right now because of the coronavirus ...and so it's affecting production for some of our projects (but is certainly not the main reason projects are late).

I'll keep you updated on this - but hopefully it's a short-term thing. Not a huge deal as I continue to buy from the USA (also have a supplier in Singapore if we need it).

UPDATE: China seems to be back up and moving a gain in terms of titanium supply (certainly for us at least).

​Why I've Been Screwing Up So Much

​While the coronavirus is the cause of a little bit of lateness from me - it certainly does not explain why I've been perpetually late on projects for so long.

I'd like to talk about that now... (maybe strap yourself in ...could be a bit of a bumpy ride!)

Over the the last few months (possibly even a year or more) I've had many customers annoyed that I keep releasing new products ...when previous products/projects are late.

I'd like to discuss that here (there is a good chance, if you're reading this, you are someone who has been on the receiving end of late products/projects from me).

Firstly, customers are absolutely 100% correct to be annoyed. I've failed to deliver in time (again and again). And, secondly, not only am I late ...but I release other products before delivering the late project.

My short answer to this is:

I've screwed up. Not just that, but I've screwed-up many times (many late projects).

My longer (and it is quite a bit longer) answer to this is:

If I had focused 100% on delivering the late projects (and not released any new products), then I would not be in business today. I would have gone bankrupt most likely.

Getting late on a project is a double-whammy. Money coming into the business does not match the expenses going out of the business. It's like "quick-sand" ...you lift one foot to get out ...and the other foot goes even deeper into the sand!

I'll be honest here...

​I have alienated a lot of Customers over the last year or two with late projects. I hate that they (and, quite likely, YOU reading this right now) have had such an awful experience.

Getting late on a couple of projects some time ago has had a domino-like effect to cause subsequent projects to be late. Here are a couple of examples of projects that really caused us problems:

-- Getting a few samples done of a black coating on titanium pens. The samples were great. We then sold 150 pens (on a Kickstarter) and the production black coatings were not acceptable. It took us something like 6 weeks, all day every day, to figuring out the process ourselves and coat our own pens. LESSON: I should have had more samples done at least - or not offered a Kickstarter product with a coating/finish we had never done before!

-- We used a new shipping method to ship 1500+ pens (a big Kickstarter project). We used a new shipping method because our previous courier suddenly stopped the service with a 3-day warning. The new service ended up losing a double-digit percentage of packages ...literally hundreds of packaged never arrived to Customers. I had to re-make hundreds of pens and ship them again. This cost somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 to fix (which I didn't have and had to go into debt over). LESSON: Have a "Plan B" and a "Plan C" for all sort of things that could potentially happen!

​-- Had to make around 150 blades for a folding knife project. We made 100+ blades and discovered that the tumbling process caused small "pits" in the surface of the blades. We were not doing small "batches" back then like we do now and so they all had to be scrapped and started again. Many, many weeks of work wasted. LESSON: Prove out a process 100% before jumping in and making 100+ of something. Do small batches (i.e. around 20) all the way through to completion - it's less efficient but will catch any issues almost right away​!

There are quite a few stories like this over the last couple of years​. It's depressing. I'm getting better at mitigating these things and trying to plan for things going wrong. The thing I'm trying to highlight is that, when something goes wrong, it's very difficult to just drop everything and only fix that specific thing ...because ​the bills start mounting up and ​paying them becomes difficult. It is critical to keep money coming into the business (i.e. continue to develop and launch new products) even while ​there are projects that are falling behind because of unexpected issues.

The silver-lining is that, over the last two years, we've gone from it just being me in the business ...to being four of us in total. The mistakes are becoming less frequent as we discuss previous mistakes and potential new problems - but we're still playing "catch up".

There are a number of things we do now that help us steer clear of potential trouble. Here are some of them:

-- We CNC machine and surface-finish products in small batches. This is less efficient - but it helps us catch any issues very quickly.

-- We spend a lot more time costing a project/product than we used to - this helps us offer products for the lowest price we can (without going as far as losing money on them). I've made a few product where, after crunching the numbers, we're losing money for every one we make.

-- We have reduced the number of different products we design and sell ...because there was too much time spent in developing a new product only to quickly move onto the next one. We are now doing more complex products (knives and pens for example) ...but we aim to continue to sell each design for a longer period of time rather than drop it fast like we used to.

-- Buying more machines. Yeah, I know, crazy right? But it's really working well. We bought a new milling machine last year ...which has helped a lot. And we're in the process of (hopefully) buying another right now. The economics of business is such that... you're already paying rent, insurance, etc. ...and so the additional cost of a machine is small-ish compared to the monthly expenses of the business. So going from one machine to two machines to produce products makes a HUGE difference.

None of what I've said above excuses any of my screw-ups (and there are a lot of them!). The fact many of you are still sticking by me and continuing to buy the new products we're designing and making ...is absolutely amazing and I appreciate it so much.

I am very VERY aware of the lateness of every single project and and every product. Far from ignoring it ...it's at the forefront of my mind all the time.

I do hope that the above "behind the scenes" of the running of this business explains why I continue to release new products while some other projects are already late. It's not that I've moved onto the next "shiny new thing" ...it's because I need to keep the business moving along (i.e. developing new products and offering them for sale) or bills don't get paid and we have to close the doors!

Okay, I definitely think I've rambled enough now. Thank you for listening.

Updates (On Current Projects)

​Here's where we are with current projects...

​​Pocket Tweezers - Finishing off the last of these. The last of these are being machined right now as a I type this (and we will be fully finished machining tomorrow morning) ​...and another day or two surface finishing and assembly. Also, these are no longer for sale for the time being.

Magnatron™ Knife - This one has been affected by the coronovirus (waiting for material for the remaining scales). I​f you've pre-ordered this knife, then you're going to receive an email from me soon with an update I think you'll find interesting (note: you're going to be  getting a bit of an upgrade on part of the knife).

TiVault™ - This project is not late - but I am getting questions about what stage it is at. Still on schedule (may​ end up being a little late because we do not yet have the titanium round bar in stock for it).

Bolty™ - Bolt Action Pen - Again, not late, but as with the TiVault™ above I'm getting questions about where it is at. We have the material on hand - just prioritizing other projects right now.

Prototype Knife

I know this knife will, for sure, have only limited appeal (i.e. it's definitely not for everyone). But, for those who like it, it's definitely going to be a MUST HAVE knife.

​It's a high-end titanium flipper knife ...BUT, with a utility blade instead of a typical knife blade.

Here's what it looks like:

The blade can be changed without any tools and has a double-locking mechanism so it's 100% secure.

​​I was going to hold-off to offer this until I had made some - but the people who want it ...REALLY seem to want it (and banging my door down to get it!). So what I've done is setup the pre-order page so you can secure yours now.

CLICK HERE to check it out >>> https://store.magnusx.com/pages/fliptility

​Titanium Belt Buckle

The buckle I'm about to show you is the first prototype ...so it is fairly unfinished.

​We're currently making the second prototype right now. There is a fairly significant different on the rear-side ...but, overall, it looks like the buckle below.

I'll just throw a few photos down here ​for your:

The above buckle was the first prototype.

​We made a bunch of tweaks and here's the second prototype:

​As you can see... we remove a LOT of material from the billet of titanium to make this buckle.

Actually, the starting weight is around 252 grams (8.9oz) and it's ending up around 39 grams (1.4oz) ...that's around 85% of the titanium machined away.

​Also, something that I almost never do (perhaps only once) is leave lines from the machining in. I specifically want to do this as I really think it works on this buckle (mainly on the rear side).

Going forward we'll likely experiment with different designs/variations on the front side. I think the first version for sale will have obvious (and somewhat aggressive) machining lines on the front (not smooth like in the second prototype above).

​I'm thinking we may offer a belt with this (i.e. you tell us your size and we'll cut and attach the belt to the buckle so it's ready to go ...is this something you would like ...or would you just want the buckle?).

Also, I've been wearing one of the prototypes this last weekend and it's been absolutely awesome because it's so slim and light. I've wanted to make a buckle like this for years (which is why the 3D model design did not take me too long because the design has been floating around in my head for a long time).

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

  • Dan Brancaccio says:

    it was a little disturbing to read this an see no mention of The One™ Titanium Mechanical Pencil With “Matte” Finish . I hope this doesn’t mean you have forgotten about it

    • Magnus says:

      Hey Dan, apologies for not mentioning the pencil. We have a few products where there are only a handful of customers waiting and so never mentioned those. The projects I mentioned are ones that have a decent number of people waiting. I will check with Sky on where your pencil is at and we’ll contact you to let you know.

      • Kevin St. Clair-Connor Group says:

        Hi Magnus, Could you update on the Ti Pencil and the Ti stand expected ship date? Order 6214. Thanks, Kevin

  • Courtland P Jones says:

    Magnus, an issue you might not have thought of for your belt buckle:

    Many people have metal allergies, often towards nickel, and a belt buckle with nickel in its coating will irritate the skin.

    Titanium is hypoallergenic and is a great solution for people with this issue.

    But that’s not all. Some people… have a chromium allergy, and chrome is often used in leather as a tanning agent.

    I beg you, if you add the leather straps, please consider chromate-free leather, such as vegetannin leather. Harder to find, or more expensive, certainly, but also certainly to impossibly higher standards.

    This way you might offer a belt which will be hypoallergenic to anyone, in both the buckle and strap.

    • Magnus says:

      Thank you for your comment Courtland. I had not thought about it being for people who have allergies. But yes, titanium is obviously good for that …and, also yes, the leather we use is definitely vegetable tanned.

  • Emanuel Robins says:

    I love the belt buckle but please use a leather thick enough that will last a very long time.

    • Magnus says:

      Thank you for the feedback Emanuel! Right now the leather we have for this is around 3mm or 1/8″ (which, to my mind, is fairly thick). – so hopefully that works.

  • GT says:

    Your carrier “lost” a double digit percentage of your shipped packages?! Un-freaking-believable! I hope you are holding them accountable. Insured or not, that sounds like grounds for a lawsuit that should go in your favor.

    • Magnus says:

      It was pretty brutal. The service was semi-tracked (not a proper express service). There was not much I could do unfortunately. Was around two years ago and we’re still paying for it now to be honest.

  • Linwood says:

    I waited years for you to design a Utility knife; between the Fliptility and the TiCut you’ve really knocked it out of the park with not only beautiful designs but also truly unique mechanics. I realize these types of knives aren’t everyones cup of tea but I really appreciate your take on them and look forward to this new one.

    As far as the rest; I understand business and while its frustrating at times as a customer to have to wait, but I dont fault you for your speed and am always very happy with the end result.

    • Magnus says:

      Thank you Linwood – I really appreciate the feedback. It’s been a depressing couple of years being late on projects and disappointing so many people (had a reasonable, but not perfect, track record before this). Working hard to get up to speed and on top of everything …but it’s kind of like investments… if you lose 50% of your money on an investment, then you’ve got to make 100% just to get back to where you started!

      Yes, this knife came out really well (even if I say so myself :-D). I think you’re going to like it.

  • Kwak Jin-gyu says:

    Please let me know when EGO™ – TITANIUM FIDGET SPINNER is produced.

  • Breezy says:

    Statements like this:
    Bolty™ – Bolt Action Pen – Again, not late,
    We have the material on hand – just prioritizing other projects right now.

    Really make me not hopeful for you having actually learned a lesson about being late/behind on projects.

    You’re really splitting hairs considering you told us we’d have the pens shipped in March, which is literally less than a week away and there has not been a single mention or update about them until this post since you sold them..

    • Magnus says:

      Will post an update soon about them. The projects that are prioritized are many months late. The Bolty pen is still on schedule and hence why not much of an update on it.

  • Mihael says:

    I am wondering what is with “Titanium Writing Set (LIMITED EDITION)”? Is it on schedule and when it will be done?

  • Joe Z. Hougaard says:

    I think the fliptility knife is looking awesome!

    And I would definitely get the belt buckle! And would be interested in getting the buckle only.

    And I would prefer the front finish to be the traditional matte finish with no lines!

  • Joe Z. Hougaard says:

    The Fliptility knife is looking awesome!

    I would definitely get the buckle only, since I already have a nice leather belt I would use the leather from.

    I do prefer the buckle to have the famous matte finish like all the other products, and no lines on the front of the buckle!

  • E. W. Jones says:

    The buckle looks great! You might want to leave some machining lines (or add some other texturing) in or around the pass-through for the belt; this would reduce buckle movement and help keep the hook more securely in place. Including a leather belt sounds good, too, depending on price.

  • Jason says:

    Sadly, you are running into issues due to your 100% perfection criteria… either plan better/more via learning from experience, or accept that 95% or even 90% is good enough… maybe?

  • Kevin St. Clair says:

    Hi Magnus, Could you update on the Ti Pencil and the Ti stand expected ship date? Order 6214. Thanks, Kevin

  • Mike Gilbert says:

    I guess my complaint would be with the communication of the delivery (or lack there of) of the Click Pen. There was no notice of any delay so I expected the pen to be delivered on the date mentioned when I placed the ordered. I had made an inquiry several weeks after the intended delivery date and found out that the pen would be delayed. Several weeks after that I received the notice of shipment…weeks after that I had still not received the pen or notice of any delay. I made contact once again only to find out that the Click Pen never actually shipped at all.

    Very frustrating.

    • Will says:

      Hi Mike,
      I have the exact same feeling. A while back I jumped in on the pre-sale for the pocket tweezers and waited and waited….and waited…no notice that it was delayed. It wasn’t until I reached out did I finally found out it was delayed.

      I love the products here, but I am also frustrated with the lack of communication and updates.

  • […] business (I talked about the issues we've had over the last year or so – ​it's under the heading "Why I've Been Screwing Up So Much"​​ […]

  • Mike says:

    Any updates on the back orders? TiVault? Click Pen?
    The lockdown appears to be over…

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