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Hi, we're Chris and Sarah Schnelle, sibling mechanical engineers from West Chester, Ohio, and co-owners of Schnelle Engineering. Chris has worked in the aviation industry designing turbofan engine components for fourteen years, and Sarah has spent seven years designing cranial stabilization and tissue compression devices for the medical field. Our extensive experience designing highly stressed hardware for life-critical applications provides us with a unique perspective on tool design. We bring the same design processes and attention to detail to our handheld tools as are used in the aviation and medical industries.
The Pygmy Micro Tool
Have you ever found yourself in need of a screwdriver or bit driver when you're away from your toolbox? Have you ever been stuck using the blade of your pocket knife when you actually need a small scraper? Are you an EDC enthusiast who sometimes leaves your bulky multitool at home because it's just a pain to carry? Then we've got the tool for you! The product you see here today is the culmination of several months of design and testing work at Schnelle Engineering. The Pygmy micro tool offers you the best functionality of traditional multitools but without the heft and bulk, ensuring it will never be a pain to carry.
Despite being only the size and weight of a US quarter, the Pygmy packs a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a scraper, and a ¼” hex wrench and bit driver – perfect for a minimalist keychain tool. And its sleek design will make you the envy of all your friends next time you have occasion to use it!
That tool sure is tiny. Is it strong enough for real work?
Yes! Through careful selection of high-strength materials (aerospace-grade 17-4PH stainless steel and Titanium-6Al-4V) and extensive finite element analysis, we've designed a tool that is as strong as the full--sized screwdrivers and wrenches in your toolbox, despite its diminutive size.
We didn't stop at the computer work, though. See, in our experience, hardware testing is critical in proving out a design prior to market release. So in addition to finite element analysis, we test the strength of all prying and torque application features on each design to ensure they match our stress analysis. The tests described below were performed on 17-4PH stainless steel Pygmy test parts.
First, we applied a 500 lb load to the Pygmy scraper feature as shown above. As predicted by our simulated testing, the Pygmy withstood this load condition without any permanent deformation. SUCCESS!
Testing torque capacity:
First, we tested the torque capacity of the screwdriver features. Using fixtures to mimic the geometry of a screw head and to magnify our grip, we applied a 100 in-lb torque to the Phillips and flathead screwdriver features and saw no visible deformation or other damage to the tool. SUCCESS!
Next, we tested the torque capacity of the 1/4" driver. The wrench slot showed no permanent deformation until an incredible 600 in-lbs of torque! SUCCESS!
Our third and final test was a functional one. We needed to ensure that the screwdriver and wrench features will create a mechanical advantage vs. simply using bare fingers (otherwise, what’s the point of the tool, right?). Not surprisingly, this ergonomically designed tool did a fantastic job, allowing us to apply 15x the torque we could apply with our bare fingers! Just look at how easy it is to use:
What does all this tell us?
The Pygmy allows you to carry two screwdrivers, a scraper, and a 1/4" bit driver with you everyday, all in a package so small you won't even notice it's there. And this tool is as strong as it is unobtrusive, promising to stand up to even the harshest of tasks.
We bring this project to Kickstarter because advance funding the Pygmy will allow us to dramatically increase our initial order quantities, which helps us drive down costs. By buying material in bulk, we can access discounted material vendors, and we spread set-up labor costs over a greater quantity of parts. Furthermore, buying larger lots makes multi-piece CNC fixturing an economical option, and our machining vendors can utilize long-run programs on oversize material sheets to minimize operator labor. These all work to drive down our costs, enabling us to make precision-machined Grade 5 Ti-6-4 tools available to you for this price! All manufacturing operations are performed right here in the USA.
We need your help!
Please help us by sharing this project on social media. Help us get the word out so we can make this project a success!
One final note
Since this tool is designed for pocket carry, none of the edges are sharpened to a knife edge; the thinnest edge, the scraping tip, measures .020" nominally at its thinnest immediately after CNC machining and prior to tumbling. Even so, this tool is not a toy, so please use caution when handling it, and keep it out of the hands of children. In an effort to continuously improve our tool designs and our business, we actively seek your input. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please contact us! Feel free to visit our website at www.SchnelleEngineering.com, and be sure to 'Like' us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SchnelleEngineering and follow us on Instagram (@schnelle_engineering)!
Press Photos - high-resolution images available at http://schnelleengineering.com/blogs/news .
Risks and challenges
As engineering project managers by day, we are well-prepared to execute our production plans after funding. We have built close relationships with several machining vendors from around the USA, and we utilize vendor redundancy not just as a means of keeping costs down but to ensure that production delays are minimized.
We utilize a concurrent design process in which our Engineering team and Manufacturing vendors work closely together during the design process. We do this so that our vendors are both kept aware of design updates and can provide manufacturing input which is crucial to the design of the parts. Working together in this manner ensures timely production of our designs.
If unforeseen obstacles do arise, we'll respond the same way we do in all our endeavors - immediately, intelligently, and with full disclosure to all our stakeholders. We encourage you to review our prior projects - you'll see we have an excellent track record of delivering high-quality tools per our schedule commitments.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)