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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

      brian on

      Just get us something at this point, color doesn't matter. I'm already rocking a Leatherman Brewzer but getting this after so long would be nice.

    2. Randy Smith on

      SS works for me as well.

    3. Tom Pitt-Chambers on

      Appreciate the honesty, further research needed. I own a black leatherman MUT eod and that coating has lasted remarkably well. I appreciate they probably won't divulge their processes but it may be worth a look. I guess I would rather have the tool in stainless than none at all, but when you get this issue solved a good discount on a coated unit would be the way forward. Cheers TomPC

    4. Jack Probst on

      Stainless steel is fine with me!

    5. Missing avatar

      Steve N. on

      Sean, it certainly appears the black coating is turning out to be more trouble than it's worth. Go ahead and switch me to a stainless steel version. As it turns out, I think the SS version will look better with the rest of my keys on the K-ADDICT. Congratulations on the patent! That's very cool!

    6. Missing avatar

      Noah Schmutter on

      Ditto on the stainless. Do it!

    7. Missing avatar

      Jerry Ehrlich on

      At this point please ship me out the SS

    8. Tyler Autry on

      I'm good to go for stainless!

    9. Phil Newman on

      I'm good with the SS. Black would have been cool, but not worth it.

    10. Missing avatar

      Nick on

      Happy with SS instead of black!

    11. Missing avatar

      Ford Gilmore on

      Would still prefer the matte black, but if it's a choice between stainless or a refund, I'd rather the stainless.

    12. Missing avatar

      Joan Lien on

      Really disappointed. I don't think I would've backed it if there wasn't the black matte option, because while the concept is nice, I wouldn't want a stainless steel one. I agree with Steve Frey, if you must, send the SST ones but then send black ones out after the issues resolved. BUT I also wouldn't mind waiting if you can get the black coating figured out. We've already waited this long.

    13. Missing avatar

      Jawaan Smith on

      I'm more than happy to take a stainless steel one.

    14. Giuseppe Barbesino on

      Fine with SS, I will get over it!

    15. Missing avatar

      Jon Rosa on

      I'd like black, but I'd rather not have a compromised product. Sent the stainless! Thanks.

    16. Ryan on

      I was looking forward to black after waiting so long but I'll basically take what I can get at this point. I appreciate the updates but I'm ready to get my face stabber now.

    17. Jaime Adam Mas on

      While I would have liked to have the black model, I'm fine with the stainless steel. I appreciate your openness and transparency as well (having been burned on an earlier Kickstarter project). So, please amend my option to stainless.

    18. Missing avatar

      George Garcia on

      I am fine with taking a SS instead of black, hopefully down the road black will be available.

    19. Missing avatar

      Matt Cohen on

      Either send a stainless or refund the money. Thanks

    20. Missing avatar

      Matt Cohen on

      Either send a stainless or refund the money. Thanks

    21. Missing avatar

      Jamie Berry on

      I agree with many others - just stick with stainless steel.

    22. Chris Cox on

      Do what you think is best! Especially for future clients. I'm fine with stainless. Bead blasting knocks down shine, too. Might be an option. Again, whatever you see fit to do...

    23. Ivan Miles Piesh on

      I'll take a stainless. It's been so long I forgot I ordered this.

    24. Scott Gargus on

      I'm good with the substitution of stainless instead of the black coating.

    25. elflin on

      Stainless steel will be fine.

    26. John F Schneider on

      Sean, I am good with whatever will work best from your perspective and appreciate the updates and your transparency on the issue.

    27. Kirill Krymskiy on

      Personally, it'll be ok to me to receive all of my ATOMs stainless steel as they look great=).. bird in the hand is better than two in the bush=)

    28. Missing avatar

      Forrest Bagley on

      I'm fine with stainless steel at this point. Definitely don't want a black coating if it poses a health/environmental risk.

    29. Missing avatar

      Joe Snow on

      Stainless steel would be fine. Would rather have SS than a black coating that won't hold up over time.

    30. Steve Frey on

      My Spyderco Tenacious has a black blade (as do many other Spyderco knife models) and it has held up perfectly over the past year of daily pocket carry. Granted, I'm not twisting bolt heads and opening beer bottles with it, but it hasn't even scratched while rubbing on things in my pocket and the occasional abuse of cutting or doming something I shouldn't be with the blade (like removing staples from a package or something). I don't know what they used for the blade coating, but maybe check it out.

    31. Patrick Thomson on

      I would prefer the black version (if it doesn't pose a health risk) but I can live with the stainless version if needed.

    32. Missing avatar

      Barry Rittberg on

      I'm ok with stainless steel instead of black.

    33. SolidDesign Consultancy on

      Sean have you looked into black oxide coating, it is extremely durable, cheap and used for military applications. It's also a non-additive coating meaning there will be no dimensional change also.

    34. Missing avatar

      Jonathan on

      Can you just send me a stainless steel one kind of tired of waiting
      Jonathan Rogers

    35. Missing avatar

      Andreas Widera on

      The black looks cooler, and ive waited so long that i wouldnt mind waiting longer. But if its not possible to do the black i would be happy with the stainless steel version also.

    36. Steve Frey on

      Ditch the black coating, for now, and convert all of the orders to stainless. When you come up with a viable black coating, send the original black orders a free one. But in the meantime, it would be great to have the tool in hand, regardless of color.

    37. Mike Wilterink on

      Switching to stainless would be fine with me.

    38. MarkC on

      Mildly disappointed black didn't pan out. Stainless steel is fine.

    39. dubs on

      I'd be fine with the stainless as well. I appreciate the big picture outlook as it concerns to health too. Thanks, Sean. All the best

    40. Missing avatar

      David Swaim on

      Make mine stainless! Love the updates and the passion for the project but I would prefer a SS ATOM now than continue to wait for a black finish that may never happen.

    41. Sean on

      Mine can also be changed to stainless steel. But I also second the notion on looking into the Cerakote if viable.

    42. Paul Chambers

      BTW, if you ever consider doing a titanium version, I'd be very interested.

    43. Simon Kramme on

      It's fine by me to change to the stainless steel version.

      As an intl. backer, it be much more happy if you where able to make a metric ruler version.

    44. Derek Lebsack on

      You should investigate black PVD coatings. They are used pretty extensively in the watch & knife-making industries already.

      Cerakote would be a decent option as well.

    45. Missing avatar

      Gabriel Cox on

      At this point, I'm fine with the stainless. It's been so long I honestly forgot I even backed this one. Best of luck, looking forward to getting and daily carrying the tool, eventually.

    46. Ray C. on

      Given the situation and how much effort you have put in trying to get the black perfect, I don't mind the stainless steel either. Can't wait to get mine!!

    47. Paul Chambers

      I have a strong preference for black, and don't mind waiting. Though it looks like I may be the only one :)

    48. Christopher Shear on

      I would still like to have mine in black. Have you considered Cerakote as an option. It is used to coat military weapons for weatherproofing and durability. I know there are several civilian applications for it as well. Oakley even sells sunglasses coated in it. There are several color options and it's incredibly durable.

    49. Missing avatar

      Lars Banning on

      I would prefer the black version (if an alternative can be found that doesn't pose a health risk) but I can live with the stainless version if needed.

    50. Jason Kechijian on

      Please change mine to the stainless and ship soon.