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The key shaped multitool that puts a tool box in your pocket.
The key shaped multitool that puts a tool box in your pocket.
4,226 backers pledged $83,087 to help bring this project to life.

General Update

Posted by Sean Connell (Creator)

Hi Kickstarters, 

I wanted to provide a general update regarding order fulfillment and the status of the black units. 

Order Fulfillment: To date, I have shipped out 1,075 stainless steel ATOMs to domestic backers. Also, I recently received the next batch of stainless steel units from the manufacturer. The order contained a total of 1,400 units before inspection. I will start shipping international orders this week. The manufacturer will ship the remaining units by April 7th. So, I anticipate completing all the stainless steel orders in the next 2-3 weeks. 

Status of Black Coating: The black coating has proven to be very difficult. The intent was to provide a titanium nitride finish, but the manufacturer is not able to produce a consistent coating. Recently, the manufacturer was able to produce a consistent and relatively durable hexavalent chromium coating. Hexavalent chromium is one of the most commonly used chrome plating options. However, hexavalent chromium poses several environmental and health related issues. So, I have decided not pursue a chrome plating finish for safety reasons. 

Unfortunately, that leaves us with very few options.  We may have to cancel the black coating  and replace those units with the stainless steel version. I would really appreciate feedback before moving forward. The feedback will be a critical component of the final decision. Please let me know your thoughts. 

Patent: The design patent for the ATOM tool was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. So, ATOM is officially patented! Thanks again for the support!

Looking forward to the feedback, thanks!


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    1. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Stratton on

      Was wondering why I hadn't received my ATOM yet, then logged on and realized I had selected the black one. No worries, switch mine to the stainless version. Looking forward to finally receiving it. Thanks and congrats on the patent!

    2. Missing avatar

      Alan England on

      Sean-first of all, congratulations on receiving the patent! That's quite a feather in your cap! As far as color goes, I have absolutely zero experience in color application in manufacturing, so I couldn't offer up any suggestions. Yes, I would've really liked a black Atom, but unlike some, it won't keep me from moving forward in my life if I end up with stainless steel. And I'm not worried about the price difference, either. Looking forward to more product from you!

    3. Missing avatar

      Nathan Pollard on

      I am happy to switch to a stainless version. Thanks.

    4. Sam Withers on

      This project has by far gone on the longest of any I have backed, and the product seems the simplest! Too many delays. Too many excuses.

    5. Missing avatar

      Cem Sarp on

      Me too, I'd prefer black, but if it causes problems stainless will do.
      Thanks for your efforts.

    6. Samuel Theron on

      I'd much rather black, but stainless will do

    7. J.J. on

      Hey Sean, I was wondering what shipping information you had for my account was. I've moved twice since this project started- and I can't seem to find where to update any information.

    8. Missing avatar

      James Smith on

      Stainless is fine :)

    9. Wes Biffar on

      I was looking forward to the black, but I'll be happy with the stainless. I'd rather get it sooner than later. I'm anxious to get my hands on the tool. It's nicely designed. Thanks.

    10. Eric Montoya - Archaeologist of Valoria on

      I'm not really sure how people can be so unhappy. He's not shady. And it's pretty clear we are getting the product. One person paid more for black. normal price is $15. there's one more early bird slot open so at best one person paid more. It's $15 dollars people, give the guy a break.

    11. Joshua Nelson on

      I'm happy with Stainless

    12. xkaichaix on

      I backed for both version.If I still want the black coating,will it take another year?

    13. Boris Margolin on

      Stainless is fine with me too

    14. Missing avatar

      Beau Stahnke on

      Hate to say it, but I didn't back the black version because I thought there was no way to make a tool like this with a black coating that will last.

    15. Jonathan Lee on

      I'm willing to wait for the black finish.

    16. Missing avatar

      Andrew Campbell on

      Thanks for the update, I'm happy to accept the stainless steel finish - black would have been nice, but the technical problems look too difficult to solve.

    17. Missing avatar

      N Brisbane on

      Stainless Steel it is Then....

    18. Missing avatar

      Marcin Kuzniar on

      Stainless will work.

    19. Missing avatar

      Vincent on

      as it would be cool to have the black one, im glad to read that your concern for health and safety is at the forefront of you mind. im totally fine with a stainless steel one as well.

    20. Missing avatar

      Tyler Caldwell on

      I'm good with stainless steel. Color doesn't bother me either way really.

    21. Stacey Bretz on

      I would prefer to switch to the stainless version rather than wait for a durable black coating to be developed.

    22. Andika Suhardjo on

      I will accept a stainless steel replacement unit.

      I backed this project with the understanding the funds would be used to produce a new, unique product of high quality. And I still believe this project is on track to fulfill that promise. Some people here seem upset by the months of delays on the initial estimated delivery and the news the black-coated prototypes didn't pan out. But considering the timeline needed to design and implement new manufacturing processes for so many units, I understood hiccups might have occurred. Maybe you could have warned us of possible lengthy delays sooner, but one year after initial funding is really not too long to wait. I appreciate your efforts to maintain your standard of quality you've pledged to your early adopters, which in the long run is best for us and the future of your product.

      Good luck and I hope to receive my order soon.

    23. Sim Ogle on

      I'm OK with stainless steel version over black Sean - no worries.

    24. Bruno Allucci on

      I wouldn't mind getting 2 stainless versions instead of one stainless/one black. :)

    25. Chad Ketcham on

      At this point I wouldn't mind a SS unit rather than black.

    26. Missing avatar

      Chris Valentas on

      I wouldn't mind getting one of the test versions of the hexavalent chromium coating. I still would prefer the black for my order

    27. Missing avatar

      Barclay Bulleit on

      At this point I just want my unit. I signed up for black, but would take SS rather than wait any longer. Wish I would have known the problems earlier so I could have switched and had mine already

    28. Brian Glynn on

      Any color at this point would be great just would like to receive something relatively soon

    29. Missing avatar

      Corey Palmatier on

      After waiting this long, I want one no matter the color. It is a shame that the problems related to the black coating were not addressed or corrected in what seems like the proper manner.

    30. Justin Yu on

      I would prefer stainless than a refund and just the knowing that this damn kickstarter is finally complete and not having to read updates that just make me shake my head.

      Unreasonable or not.. This whole project has far exceeded a reasonable time line. The titanium ti2 carabiner took much less time than this and I would imagine it is fairly more involved than this.

      Get it done. Offer discounts. Whatever. Take losses. Take it as a lesson learnt.

    31. Missing avatar

      Michael Eidlin on

      Reading these comments I pick up on a feeling of exasperation and frustration that I want to join and attempt to voice. This is not the first time you've mentioned issues with the black coating, it goes back as far a last October in a status update if not further. That's over 6 months and only now are we being told that we have a cause for a major delay/ potential fatal issue to what we invested in.

      To make matters worse is that in those six months, there have been no alternatives planned to assist with this problem that clearly wasn't going away. As a result we're presented with a false choice: switch, have a guilty conscience over health/environmental concerns or wait even longer on what has already been a long process for everyone. I say this is a false choice because making a choice does not guarantee faster delivery, just less effort on your end. Even if we switch, there's still going to be a delay as orders have to be filled. I'm sure those that still have outstanding stainless steel orders will not want nor deserve to have their orders delayed because someone who had ordered a different style now place a claim.

      This is a microcosm for the communication/over promise issue that have plagued this campaign for months.

      So what I would like to know before I make any change to my order is:

      If we change our orders, when can we expect our stainless steel version to actually arrive versus waiting for the black variant?

      Where there clearly have been issues with the black coating stemming since October at least, why weren't we notified at any point before other backers have started to receive their product?

      Have all options for black atoms been exhausted? Is it truly dead? If not whats the most accurate timeline for production?

      While this is not true for me, I'm sure there are people who if cannot be provided with the product they requested, would like a refund of their investment. Is there a process set up for that?

      I am and I think the majority of us are understanding of delays, and obviously plans do not always work out, and no one wants to force you to make unethical choices regarding the manufacturing process. That being said, this process is leaving me feeling uneasy. From this point out we need effective, open and honest communication with actual dates in order to make informed decisions.

    32. Thomas Clark

      Ok, ignore the bit about paying extra - had gotten that from another posting, but then I went back and read the reward levels again. But the rest of post remains valid.

      (to Kickstarter- what the heck? You can't edit or delete comments?!?!)

    33. Thomas Clark

      I have to admit I'm not happy - I paid for a black ATOM and now you're asking for an out. Which means I paid extra to get the ATOM I didn't want last, thank you very much. At the very least you owe the Black Kickstarters a significant discount for future purchases (if they'll make any) because of the delay and your failure to deliver as promised.

    34. Missing avatar

      Chris Pikula on

      Also fine changing to stainless, obv would prefer my $5 back but hey this is kickstarter.

    35. Ben Penrod on

      I'm fine with stainless.

    36. Missing avatar

      Cody on

      I'll change to stainless.

    37. Daniel Curtis on

      I too can go stainless.

    38. Missing avatar

      Justin Myers on

      I would still prefer a black one, that is the main reason I backed the project.

    39. Missing avatar

      Kevin Duska on

      While I would still prefer a Black unit, I would be happy to go to stainless in the case wherein Black would not be environmentally or otherwise sustainable.

    40. Missing avatar

      Mo Elshennawy on

      No hex chrome for me please. I'll change to stainless.

    41. Cerne on

      I'd still prefer a black one and I'd still prefer to have it ASAP. From an admittedly brief bit of research hexavalent chromium is apparently only a concern during production and then only if improperly handled so it definitely seems like a viable option.

      Honestly and this point I just want my ATOM and I'm annoyed that with all the constant updates this issue is only being addressed now.

    42. Missing avatar

      Mark Wilson on

      Disappointed on the Black but I would be willing to take a Stainless version to get the product.

    43. Missing avatar

      Kai Howells on

      I do want a black one - that was the reason I backed the project in the first place.
      Please investigate alternative suppliers for the coatings - Cerakote is a popular coating, but possibly not durable enough for such an item.
      PVD and Ion Plating is another option - used quite extensively in industrial arenas, as well as by watch- and knife-makers.
      The crown jewel in black coatings is Diamond-like Carbon - DLC or ta-C. It's probably not cheap do to, but is amazingly durable, hard-wearing and as black as the middle of the night.

    44. Mike Heller on

      Can you check to see if you have me on your list to receive a stainless unit? I paid my shipping extra cost via paypal. Thanks, Mike

    45. Philip Wiesner on

      I was already thinking "I wonder if there is a way to switch to the stainless version?" before I had finished reading the update. Thanks again for the detailed updates.

    46. Steve Buddell on

      Hi Sean,
      I would like the silver, as all the keys and bits are silver coloured.
      The black would have been a bit out of place.
      Keep up the great work.

    47. Missing avatar

      Joe Blazevic on

      I'd be happy with a stainless steel version; it's been a long wait.

    48. Missing avatar

      Collin Carlone on

      I'd be more than happy with a stainless steel version as well. Especially due to the timing of receiving the product

    49. Cameron DaSilva on

      I'd be happy with a stainless version, especially if it means getting it quicker