by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
awesome stuff, innovation, multi-tools

Awesome Stuff: Multi-Tool Time

from the tooling-around dept

For this week's awesome stuff post, we decided to look at some multi-tool offerings. There are actually a lot of multi-tool crowdfunding projects out there, with a bunch of them just being a single simple multi-tool. This post is certainly not meant to be a comprehensive listing of all, but rather to pick a few that were a little different and distinct.
  • First up are the Ti2 Para-Biners, combining the concept of a multitool with a carabiner. It seriously looks indestructible and would probably be the last carabiner you'd ever need.
    These don't go cheap, as you're starting at $43 for the cheapest model, but there certainly appears to be quite a bit of demand for these things. With about three weeks left to go, the project has already zoomed way past its $10,000 target to around $60,000.
  • Next up, we've got the Silverback 12+ function multi-tool and minimalist wallet. There are a lot of card-style multitools out there, but this one definitely has an awful lot built into a single tool plus, on top of that, the ability to double as a minimalist wallet. Of course, if you use it as a wallet, it might make it a little more annoying to make use of the tools part, since you may have to dump the contents of your wallet first.
    I kind of like the fact that they kept the pricing on this one pretty straightforward and simple, rather than having a ton of different tiers. And, frankly, it seems pretty cheap for what you get -- so I'm a bit surprised that its only raised around $1,000 of the $3,500 they're seeking. There's still a month and a half to go, and if the project creator can actually drum up some attention (kids: don't forget, you need to market your Kickstarter too), it seems likely to go over the target, though perhaps not by that much.
  • I already mentioned how many card-style multi-tools there are out there, but the offering from Tuls is interesting in that it's actually a set of four different mutli-tool cards, so you can have a nice set. The names of the four tools -- Roul, Stan, Lucy and Opie are all kind of amusing once you figure out the main purpose of each tool (though, the Opie tool seems almost too minimalist here, and it makes you wonder why the Stan tool can't do what the Opie tool does).
    While I like the concept of a multi-tool card set, this one seems kind of pricey. To actually get all four, you're spending over $80. You can buy them in smaller combinations as well, and lots of people have. They're already pushing $30,000 -- way over their target of $1,500, so apparently lots and lots of other people disagree with me on the pricing being too high.
  • Finally, we've got one that isn't quite as portable, but is effectively a basic toolbox in one device, called the Zeus multi-tool. Take the basic concept of a pocket knife, and expand it to larger tools -- giving you a fold out saw, pliers, knife, adjustable screwdriver with 16 different sized bits, a hammer, a measuring tape and a detachable light. The thing that surprised me, slightly, was the hammer. I can't recall seeing multi-tools that include a hammer. While they do spell out the dimensions, it would be nice to actually see it in someone's hand, as that would give a better sense of how "handy" it actually is. From the description, I wonder if it's too big, but without any images, it's a little tough to tell. Also, I've been growing wary of projects that advertise how they've received a patent. I'd much rather someone is focusing on executing and building a great product, not spending times with their lawyers and getting a weapon to sue other innovators over.
    So far the Zeus is really struggling, raising just a few hundred dollars, despite the project being open for over a month. With less than three weeks to go, it's unclear if it'll make its $1,300 goal -- but since it's an IndieGoGo flex funds campaign, all money committed will go to the project's owner. It's unclear if he'll still be able to produce the devices if there really are only a few orders (as I write this there are only six orders), so buyer beware. Either way, perhaps rather than getting a patent, they should have focused a bit more on marketing this and getting the word out.
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend -- and if you've got some home improvement projects to do, make sure you've got the right tools for the job.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Ti2 Para-Biner

    Will it get through airport (TSA) security? If so, I want 2 - one for me, and one for my wife (the physicist in the family)! :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Wolfy, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Ti2 Para-Biner

    Can't see any reason they wouldn't be allowed... I don't see a sharp edge on it anywhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Pixelation, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    My first thought when looking at the biner was, I don't want that thing when I'm 500' up a rock face. It would be cutesy for camp but don't think I want to take the dirt nap because I tried using one of these.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Ti2 Para-Biner

    Maybe it's a TF2 Rare item.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Ti2 Para-Biner

    The Silverback 12+ is also a box cutter. And we know what a box cutter can do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:03pm


    From the item's description on Kickstarter:


    Kinda' beats the purpose, doesn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Well it would be the last carabiner you'd need then, wouldn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Ben (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    zeus and silverback

    There is certainly something wrong with the pricing of the ZEUS multi-tool -- no wonder they're going slow. $25 for one, $350 for ten? Doesn't quite add up, unless it is $350 for ten personalized tools. On the whole, it just looks clunky.

    For the Silverback, I was amused by the "faq"
    The Silverback was inspected and approved by TSA
    (it's not a question!) I can imagine that statement is worth the bits my browser used to display it -- I'd want something at least referencing a TSA document which can be pointed to when they tell me "you can't take that".

    Besides, the only time I had something confiscated when getting on an airplane was a small multi-tool, but it was in England (coming _back_ to America, so the tool went out just fine) so the TSA wasn't even involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Ti2 Para-Biner

    You're kidding right? It's metal and it looks cool, it would be snapped up quicker than if you were carrying a knife, and you'd never see it again(unless you count seeing it on a TSA agent's belt anyway).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    [Meta] How to make kickstarter embeds show with NoScript?

    Does anyone here know how to configure NoScript not to completely hide the Kickstarter embeds on the weekly Awesome Stuff posts? "Temporarily allow all this page" does nothing. I don't even see Kickstarter there, nor placeholders, nor items under Blocked Objects. Iframe blocking off doesn't help. Firefox's object inspector shows the iframe and contained html, head, and body elements but shows the latter two as empty. Manually going to Kickstarter and adding it to Noscript's trusted site list doesn't make the embeds show on Techdirt pages either. I'm probably missing something "obvious", but I can't find it, and googling availed me of nothing. So ... anyone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, in that case what CAN you use the carabiner functionality for?

    I would buy one for my rock climbing brother except for this deficiency. Makes it not much more than decoration.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 25th, 2013 @ 12:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Clipping to the belt-loops on your pants, so you can carry them without taking up pocket space.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 25th, 2013 @ 5:18am

    Tools Need To Be Easy To Use.

    The problem about these multi-tools is that they don't seem to do anything well. When you try to make a tool that does everything, it usually works out in practice to putting a tool head where the handle is supposed to be. It seems much more sensible to put a reasonable variety of tools in a compact case, or even a tool-belt.

    Back in 1982, when I was taking Human Factors Engineering in engineering school (Cincinnati), one of my classmates produced an extra-credit project which I found admirable. I am sorry, but at this distance, I do not remember his name, only the tools he made. He designed and built a screwdriver and a claw hammer, both of which looked very strange, but which were rationally designed to protect carpenters from carpal tunnel syndrome.

    The hammer was a first-draft version. The student had cut off the end of the handle, and used a metal plate to put the top bit of the handle at about a 45 degree angle from a line running from the wrist to the hammer head. That way, the carpal tunnel bones could be kept in a straight position, where they would not be pressing on the nerves and blood vessels. To bring the project up to finished level, he would have had to fabricate a banana-shaped handle de-novo, and to work out a way to integrate it with a tool belt (presumably a special scabbard).

    The screwdriver had a handle which was roughly the size and shape of a baseball, so that you could just float your hand over the surface. The student had turned a piece of oak on a lathe, and slotted the screwdriver steel into it. Again this would have required some kind of suitable tool-belt scabbard, and also, the sheer bulk of the handle might had precluded carrying around a number of different sizes of screwdrivers. It might have been necessary to develop some kind of workable system of interchangeable bits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 12:50am


    Exactly, you're not even supposed to use biners that that you think have been under undue stress, yet these will be used as wrenches? I suppose I'd use it to hold onto my water bottle, but not my body.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Essien, Aug 31st, 2013 @ 2:44am


    Perfect timing for my multi-tool purchase (was also looking at that lighter and more expensive option). Thanks for the well written write-up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    sahil khan, Dec 5th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Ti2 Para-Biner

    Looks like it has few sharp metals, It may not be allowed inside the plane.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Scott, Mar 17th, 2014 @ 10:37pm

    Nice detailed write up. I'm a sucker for the Leatherman's. Can't beat them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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