About this project
STOP KEY JINGLE
STOP KEY POKE
STOP KEY DISORGANIZATION
FIGHT THE KEYRING™
--------------------------------> GET A MILLED ALUMINIUM BLADEKEY BOLT
BladeKey is an innovative, stylish, open sourced 3D printable (for personal non-commercial use), patented & patent pending way of carrying your keys that solves the cumbersome and annoying problems associated with standard key rings.
BladeKey Review on Everyday Commentary
"After a week of use, I am sold. The design is incredibly simple. It is one of those forehead slapping, why-didn't-I-think-of-that products. That's no slight. Those are the very best products and the very best designs. It takes a truly brilliant design to solve a common, long-lasting problem in a simple and elegant way." - Everyday Commentary
In the Press
"It doesn’t matter if there’s a bottle opener, lighter and sixteen different screwdrivers attached to it, keyrings are still kind of a pain in the ass. The solution is another of those “why in the hell didn’t I think of that” inventions. It’s called BladeKey." - Cool Material
"The best inventions are often the ones that solve everyday problems to make our lives simpler and easier. That’s exactly what you get with the BladeKey Bolt, which aims to tackle the problems associated with traditional keyrings. If you’ve ever been irritated by keys digging into your leg through your pocket, jangling around and making a racket, or being hard to untangle when they get mixed up… then you’ll probably want to take a look at the Bladekey Bolt." - Berkeley Sourcing Group
"Now, a new product called the BladeKey Bolt is entering the fray, but it comes with some, err, key differences. The obvious difference between the BladeKey Bolt and its competitors is that it uses the keys you already have. Instead of having to cut special keys that fit into the holder, the BladeKey Bolt is designed in such a way that almost any standard key will fit." - gizmag.com
"[S]howing off enough of the keys’ form to be banned at the Grammy’s per CBS’ Standards and Practices department." - TechCrunch
Constrain Your Keys Without Filling Your Pocket
The BladeKey was designed to solve a set of problems while eliminating bulk. Specifically:
- The solution needed to stop keys from jingling, becoming disorganized or causing discomfort.
- The keys needed to be easily accessible, and the device simple, compact, and durable.
- The solution needed to be so intuitive that a user would forget that they are using a key organization device.
After numerous design iterations, a minimal but functional design has been achieved that accomplishes the above goals.
Sorry, this is not simply a rounded rectangle or slightly milled out block of aluminum. The BladeKey is built to add minimal material to keys, but constrain motion to one axis while protecting a BladeKey user's body from the sharp parts of the keys and allowing for easy access to any individual key.
BladeKey Bolt Sizes and Colors
The BladeKey Bolt will be manufactured in 3 different sizes and 2 different colors. The 2 colors are black anodized aluminum and raw aluminum. The three sizes are as follows.
- BladeKey Bolt-3: Holds up to 3 standard metal keys. (Volume: 2.29 cm^3, Calculated Weight: 6.18 g)
- BladeKey Bolt-6: Holds up to 6 standard metal keys. (Volume: 2.67 cm^3, Calculated Weight: 7.21 g)
- BladeKey Bolt-9: Holds up to 9 standard metal keys. (Volume: 3.03 cm^3, Calculated Weight: 8.17 g)
With each of the above, a matching color Chicago binding post is also included.
If you have less than the maximum number of keys, you can use any number of appropriately sized washers. A washer will be included; however, if you have less than the maximum number of keys the best solution is to head to your local hardware store and find the number and thickness of washers that you prefer.
Selecting a Size
- Double check your set of keys with the BLADEKEY SIZING CHART.
- Area for Keys
- BladeKey Bolt 3: Width: 6.5 mm; Length: 57 mm
- BladeKey Bolt 6: Width: 12.5 mm; Length: 57 (on each side) to ~63 mm (in the middle)
- BladeKey Bolt 9: Width: 19 mm; Length: 57 (on each side) to ~66 mm (in the middle)
- The Extended Version is 10mm longer.
- The binding post barrel diameter is 13/64 in (approximately 5.15 mm), so make sure your keys have a big enough hole to accommodate the binding post. KW1, B50, Y149, NA25, NA14, NA44, Master Lock, and C106 style keys have been tested and are verified to fit without modification. SC1, B51, and Y52, Mul-T-Lock, Tuffy Security Products Key, and HON File Drawer style keys may require that the key hole be filed down or enlarged by being drilled out.
Open Source Design Process and DIY Heritage
The goal of BladeKey has been to design an aesthetically pleasing platform for a long-lasting pocket tool that will continue to be customizable by the user, and use easily replaceable parts.
Prototyping was initially done using my MakerBot Cupcake CNC. The source code to the original BladeKey available on Thingiverse for people to print using their 3D printers (for personal non-commercial use). The design is parametric and was literally built around the measurements of the 3D printer operator's particular set of keys. To eliminate issues with finding the right size of fastener to hold the keys in, a zip-tie was used because it fit any BladeKey, regardless of the parameters used to generate it.
Due to the limited availability of 3D printers, and the limited quality of the MakerBot Cupcake, BladeKey LLC started to prototype streamlined versions of the BladeKey using the higher-quality printers available through Shapeways and enabled anyone to purchase a 3D printed BladeKey prototype.
While ABS and Nylon Plastics are good, aluminum has a much more aesthetically pleasing look and feel--not to mention that it is much more durable than plastic. Unfortunately, due to the intricate passageways in the BladeKey's mechanism for securing keys, the Shapeways metal 3D printers were not up for the challenge and the passageways would not form using their process. In addition, the 3D metal printing process was very expensive compared to the alternatives.
Thus, I turned to traditional manufacturing techniques to bring the BladeKey to life--in anodized aluminum. Near the end of 2012, I had 50 aluminum BladeKey N9 prototypes manufactured at a factory in China. I will use the same factory for the production of the BladeKey Bolt.
While the zip-tie worked fantastically with the plastic 3D printed version, users reported that it was a little more cumbersome to set up with the aluminum prototypes. Thus, people asked for a metal version with a metal bolt, and the BladeKey Bolt was created.
The BladeKey Bolt uses "Chicago binding posts" instead of a zip-tie pictured above.
Now, I need your help funding the manufacture of the Aluminum BladeKey Bolt in three different sizes - Bolt 3, Bolt 6, and Bolt 9.
Sorry, Bottle Opener Not Included, but an Open Source Tool Template Is.
Not everyone needs a bottle opener in their pocket. However, if a bottle opener, or any other tool, is a necessity, we have you covered. You can design your own using the blank BladeKey tool template available on Thingiverse (open source -- feel free to use the BladeKey tool template to make a commercially available BladeKey compatible product of your own), add an appropriately sized commercially available key shaped bottle opener, or attach your favorite bottle opener or other device to the BladeKey with a key ring.
In the future, BladeKey LLC hopes that it, or others, are able to offer professionally made steel tool inserts for the various BladeKey devices.
If you have a great idea for a BladeKey compatible tool, feel free to start with our tool template. If you come up with something great feel free to start your own Kickstarter project or contact us with your design and if there is enough interest from BladeKey users, we will help manufacture and commercialize your BladeKey tool insert.
Risks and challenges
The product is designed, tested for over a year in 3D printed plastic versions, and the first patent issued and another is allowed. Fifty aluminium BladeKey N9 devices have been ordered, received and tested, and sold. The BladeKey Bolt is a modified version of the N series of BladeKeys. Plastic Prototype versions of the BladeKey Bolt have been tested and functions as expected. A metal version of the BladeKey Bolt may function differently than the plastic prototype. There may still be risks with a larger order of devices from the factory; for example, there could be unforeseen manufacturing delays or quality issues that arise during production of larger batches. There may also be shipping issues etc. In any event, BladeKey has endeavored to ensure that all rewards and deadlines can be met prior to posting this Kickstarter campaign. To the extent unforseen delays arise, BladeKey will use its best efforts to minimize such delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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