HANDGREY TITANIUM KEY CARABINER: Another successful project, made possible by the Kickstarter community. THANK YOU!!!
Hi Guys! A year's gone by in a blink of an eye, and I'm back on Kickstarter where I started, still in one piece, and hopefully stronger and a little wiser, from having survived last year's massive project.
I am still in love with the the simple mechanics of carabiners, so after a year, and 102 design iterations later, I'm back with a new carabiner project: The HANDGREY™ Series Quick-Release Titanium Carabiner Keychain.
The HANDGREY™ Series is not a follow up or a continuation of the Bauhaus Series. It's actually the counterpart to its predecessor, which resulted from over a year of experimentation and culled from over 100 test designs that I experimented with, while working on the Bauhaus Series.
This new series diverge from last year's unibody design to a more traditional 2 piece design, incorporating the durability of the wire gate design, with the solid full-body gate that is common with spring carabiners, which looks more robust and aesthetically pleasing. Each are individually cut via EDM WIRE-CUTTING technology, solely from Grade 5 Titanium. Thus, the HANDGREY™ Series was created.
Special thanks to the following website for helping spread the word!
A carabiner is one of the few products that is considered minimal to the extreme, in my opinion. The only problem is not the design, but the disposable mass produced nature of the products that made them cheap and lacking in aesthetics. Those that are well made, are usually meant more for mountain climbing, rather than as a personal accessories.
I am here to change that, by going back to the basics, looking back on function and design origin, in order to come up with a better design.
BAUHAUS, with it's emphasis on functional minimal design, is still the philosophy used to create this series of key carabiner. I find that the Bauhaus lends itself naturally to the essence of this product, but in addition to this, I was also introduced to a Japanese philosophical concept that closely resonates with the Zen philosophy. The concept of "SHIBUMI".
SHIBUMI [ 渋み ]is a Japanese word that means 'effortless perfection'. Anything that is Shibumi is quiet in refinement, noble and fulfilling in a manner that is not shaped exclusively by analytical thought. The notion of Shibumi and its' related concept, refer to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. In other word, it is state of "understated elegance"
When I first came across this notion, I was frozen in place. SHIBUMI has always been the ultimate goal that I have been striving toward with all my work, but which I was never fully able to conceptualized into words. But now I found it.
In the early design stages, I found that the end function often forces me to move the lines I drew, a certain way. I couldn't put a finger on it. The way the lines break, overlap or coincide, reminds me of the way the Japanese Kimono, or a Karate "Gi" (Uniform) are worn by overlapping over one another, and an "Obi" (sash) is then tied over the fold.
Somehow, this influenced the final design outcome of the HANDGREY™ Series to have a quick-release loop that hides within the gate, and uses its own body to close the loop. The side profile is also reminiscent of the way the cloth overlaps. I did not intend for this to happen, the function of the design led me to this outcome naturally.......
New Material options now availalble for the H3 / H4 models: (Brass: H3B, H4B & Copper: H3C, H4C)
Again, these philosophies emphasize simplicity and minimalism, but in truth trying to strip things down to its' very core and trying to make them look good, is anything but. These concepts are much simpler to understand than they are to implement. I have spent the better part of the last year trying to put my understanding of both Bauhaus and Shibumi to the test, and infuse them into the HANDGREY™ Series Whether or not I've succeeded in doing so, I will leave for all of you to decide.
The HANDGREY™ Series is not a follow up or a continuation of the Bauhaus Series. It's actually the counterpart to it's predecessor. Think of it as the Ying & the Yang.
I can feel you guys smirking, but this is really a good description for what is being done here. The HANDGREY™ Series was developed from the same Bauhaus philosophy, with the same aspiration. The only difference is the approach.
With just a different approach & perspective, everything changed entirely. The Bauhaus Series, was about freedom in form and line flow. The HANDGREY™ Series is about controlled restrictions and confinement. Each design project takes on a life of its own. This one in particular, was extremely demanding. The lines drawn were confined to the nature of its' intended function, so it took a very long time to develop the final design that conforms aesthetically, yet performs functionally. The final form very much reflects the industrial nature of this approach.
HANDGREY™ TITANIUM CARABINERS
This series was designed to answer the request for key carabiners with a dedicated key loop. The problem with that is.... the versatility and the flexibility in being able to change / add / take out key bundles quickly, the way you can do with an open carabiner, is virtually gone. I could have slapped a ring on one of my older designs and called it a day, but that didn't jive too well with my subconscience. So with this function as my guide, I set out to create a solution that is both versatile and strong, without losing freedom to juggle around your everyday carry.
Design mechanics are still changing and are being fine-tuned as we speak, to make it better and stronger. There will be minor changes as we approach final production, but the appearance overall, will remain the same. So please keep this in mind. The images were photograph with the last set of pre-production prototypes.
- PRODUCT CATEGORY: TITANIUM KEYCHAIN CARABINER
- CHOSEN MATERIALS: Ti6Al4V / GRADE 5 TITANIUM
DESIGN HIGHLIGHT: Ti6Al4V Hybrid gate designed for durability
MAX LOAD: 25KG Constructed for Keychain / Key-carrying purpose specifically. Not for climbing. Actual load for these are much higher, but anything beyond 5KG is over kill. It's made primarily for keys. Your jeans will rip at around 5KG.
- FEATURE: 2 piece construction made completely of Grade 5 Titanium, with bottom quick-release feature for quick addition and removal of key ring, keychain bundle, and various small tools.
- DEDICATED QUICK RELEASE: This quick release design allow you to use all of your existing key rings and hooks, with loops bigger than 6mm in diameter, to be easily added, and locked within the bottom half of the carabiner, in a dedicated manner.
The HG was designed specifically for bottle opening. It has only 2 functions. 1) Carabiner Key Chain + 2) Bottle opening. NOTHING MORE. For those who love to open bottles, and have frequent use for this, I decided to make a carabiner with an integrated FULL LEVERAGE bottle opener. I also designed it in a way that the keys / key bundle will not interfere when it is being used.
PRODUCTION PROCESS / FINISHING
EDM WIRE-CUTTING + MACHINING + HAND FINISHING: I will be using a combination of EDM wire-cutting, machining, and hand finishing for these carabiners. The quality achieved from EDM wire-cutting is far superior at a commercial level than laser or waterjet. This is why you never see any other product / project being produced with this technology. It's costly, but the result is well worth it.
STONE TUMBLED FINISH: Once produced, the series will be finished with a proprietary Stone Tumbled Finish that I developed during my last project. The finish is scratch resistant by nature, and creates an understated look that is strong and subtle.
PRICING & COST
Titanium Carabiners like these are RARELY MADE. The cost of the specific processes I have utilized to form these components, are just too expensive. Each component is made with unusual level of details. EDM wire-cutting is 3-4 times the cost of traditional Waterjet or laser cutting, but results in far superior surface finish. Even the Grade 5 Titanium sheets I used are specially prepared and pre-polished, which cost TWICE as much as regular Grade 5 sheets. These are the basis of most Titanium production.
There are also a lot of issues related to creating something unorthodox. Taking a different route in manufacturing requires me to seek expertise from strange & unexpected places, often resulting in unexpected learning cost, from trial & error, especially when working with raw material medium that are expensive in and of itself. This is no joke.
In planning this project I have tried to maintain low prices for Kickstarter backers. Typically, those who make something different like this, will try to target only the high end market, and sell them for hundreds of dollars. But I don't want to do that. I want to charge reasonably for what I make, and get them into as many hands as possible....specifically, in the hands of those who will appreciate what I am trying to do.
I am toeing the design boundaries here, trying to make something that is unique, without compromise.... I have noticed early on that the path of compromise is a slippery one, and it's one that I want to stay away from. So I will stand my ground and follow the tradition that I started with my past projects: QUALITY ABOVE ALL ELSE.
Like all new undertakings, I don't expect this project to be smooth. Luckily, the hell that I suffered through in my last project, has given me the crash course that I needed. I will continue to test and restest the design to ensure that they are as close to "perfect" as any first generation product can be. I will also do everything I can to address any problems or mistakes that may arise during and after the project has concluded.
I intend to be in the design industry for the rest of my life. So I will continue to put my reputation on the line, to realize the project to its fullest. Or at least die trying. THAT'S MY PROMISE.
Risks and challenges
No matter what, you WILL receive a reward as promised. The 4,000+ backers from my last project will attest to this.
The only risk I can foresee realistically, is TIME. There are factors that are beyond my control, such as delivery time for raw materials or turn around from our EDM manufacturers. Things happen, machine breaks, shipment gets lost, etc., but we have enough experience to minimize and mitigate these factors to ensure that the project is not significantly affected. I will also get started much earlier than I did on the last project just to be on the safe side.
I will be working with the same EDM and machining specialist in Thailand that I worked with the last 12 months. These GURUs know how I work, what I need from them, and that I mean what I say. So I will continue to have them do what they do best: make quality work.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (50 days)