A tool with multiple personalities
The OB-1 is a titanium multitool that fits on your keychain, with the functions of 14 other tools:
- 4mm Hex Key (aka Allen Key)
- 5mm Hex Key
- 15mm open wrench (same size as found on bicycle pedals)
- 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11mm box wrenches (within the handle)
- Small flat head screwdriver (helpful for eye/sunglasses)
- Universal spoke wrench (0.139", fits most bicycle rims)
- Pry Tool (for prying things)
- Packing Tape Cutter (don't worry, it's not knife-sharp, it has just enough of an edge to cut packing tape)
- Bottle Opener (we made sure that it pops off caps in one try, and doesn't just bend them)
Small as a key
dimensions: 83mm x 25mm x 5mm
Made with passion
We started with the idea of making the most useful single piece of metal that we could; no hinges or fasteners to come lose, just a durable solid piece.
The OB-1 went through a lot of iterations. We went through cardboard cutouts, plastic 3D prints, metal 3D prints, and finally rapid cast titanium.
We tweaked every dimension along the way so everything worked as it should (as it turns out, bottle openers are somewhat tricky to get right).
The wrenches are made out of 6AL4V titanium (grade 5), and we're working with a US based titanium investment caster who makes tools for that company that rhymes with weatherman.
The process to manufacture these, we think, is pretty awesome. It's used in everything from sporting goods to aerospace components. It's a lot different from lasercutting and machining sheet stock, and it's pretty labor intensive; it is the only way to get the quality to a level we are happy with.
- Each wrench starts off as an injection molded wax form, the same shape as the final wrench.
- The wax is coated in ceramic powder.
- The powder is fired in a kiln, simultaneously hardening the ceramic and melting out the wax.
- The ceramic is now a mold, with an extremely smooth interior surface taken from the wax form.
- The molds are loaded into a robotic kiln, where molten titanium is poured into them.
- Once the tianium cools, the ceramic is shattered, revealing the tool.
- The tools are glass bead blasted to create a smooth surface.
- The bronze tools are anodized, by hand by us, to create a unique finish on each bronze tool.
Ti > Steel
In order to limit challenges and hold-ups in manufacturing, we decided early on to pursue only one material option. We prototyped with steel, and it was simply too heavy to carry around comfortably on a keychain. The titanium tool weighs less than 20 grams.
Made for you
The OB-1 is for anyone who wants a sturdy multitool that fits unobtrusively onto a keychain.
We originally started thinking a lot about cycling when designing the OB-1, hence the inclusion of the spoke wrench, metric sizing, pedal wrench, etc.
That said, it's useful for everything from tightening up Ikea furniture bolts to opening packages and of course bottles.
We want to make this clear though: the OB-1 is a small tool, and because of that it has some limitations. For example, you physically won't be able to torque down a bike axle with this, even though it does fit. The OB-1 is meant as a helpful every-day-carry tool, but if you need to rebuild a bike you'll still need a toolbox.
There are two color options:
- bare bead blasted titanium (a dark grey)
- distressed bronzed anodize (every one is a little different, we do the anodizing by hand)
Leather > Steel (well, sometimes)
We don't like normal keyrings, they are annoying and who has the fingernails for that? Wire keyrings are cool looking, but they always come undone and stretch out over time.
The leather keyring is simple; it's just a knot in a leather strap. It works great, ages well, and doesn't cut up your nails when you try to open it.
Every OB-1 comes with the leather keyring.
Big list of photos!
Prototype vs Production
The changes will be extremely minimal. The samples we have are made of the exact grade of material we'll be using, and using nearly the same process.
The only difference in process is the wrenches in these photos were made using a 3D printed wax form to make the ceramic molds. This means if you look closely, you can see small lines in the wrenches caused by the 3D printed wax form.
The final wrenches will be made with injection molded wax forms, and these small lines will disappear.
Where the money goes
We'll be using the money to pay for the tooling to make the injection molded wax forms. That way, each wrench doesn't cost $200 like the prototypes did.
Who we are
We're a group of three people who like making objects. Two of us are working mechanical engineers, one is an accountant currently working on an MBA.
In our professional lives we've worked on everything from medical implants, to wind turbines, to consumer electronics, to load cells. We know how to make things.
We also enjoy fishing, cycling, fighting robots, and long walks on the beach.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our page, we're really excited to work on this and are extremely thankful for any and all support.
Let's make this real!
Risks and challenges
There are always unknowns, but we've tried to limit them. As engineers, we've worked on many products, but have never been responsible for things like shipping logistics. We're keeping things simple for our first kickstarter project to limit the possible things that can go wrong.
We've been working with the manufacturer who will be producing these, and have quotes in hand.
We're setting the limit at 1000 units so we don't overwhelm ourselves with shipping logistics.
We have cast titanium prototypes that work.
So what might go wrong? Perhaps the final castings are delayed. Maybe another hurricane turns off power for a week. Shipping could be delayed, our leather supplier may be out of stock, I might break my wrist snowboarding. There are many things that could go wrong, but we're confident we can get this done in the timeline we have set aside, and I promise not to go snowboarding until the tools ship.
We WILL get you your tools.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)