Check the Gallery Tab for a Demo Video of the BladeKey!
Finally, a Pocket Tool Made to Fit Your Life!
BladeKey was inspired by the lack of affordable and effective ways to comfortably carry standard metal keys in a pocket. I found keys to be uncomfortable, noisy, and that they would easily get disorganized. Furthermore, many keychain pocket tools are seemingly not designed to be comfortable in a pant pocket, and contain many different unneeded tools or too few tools. I knew there had to be a better way to carry keys and pocket tools.
The BladeKey is also a platform that users can customize to build their own pocket tool, that includes standard metal keys--without modification. There are many one-off DIY solutions that require the destruction of a standard pocket tool. These DIY solutions require a substantial amount of effort and modification to both keys and tools. This makes it difficult to impelment these solutions because it may be hard to find the right tool or correctly modify existing keys and tools. BladeKey attempts to solve this problem once and for all by providing a customizable platform that does not require modification of keys or tools.
With your support, an all metal version of the BladeKey will become a relality. The factory has produced a high quality first batch, and is ready to produce as many as needed. They just need to know how many to make in what colors and sizes!
As a supporter, you will get to vote on the colors that BladeKey will be manufactured in. Furthermore, backers can also pre-order BladeKey devices at a discount to the anticipated retail price.
About BladeKey™ DIY Modular Pocket Tool and Key Organizer
BladeKey is a minimalist "Swiss Army" style pocket key organizer and DIY multi tool that is designed to work with your existing standard metal keys, current key-shaped tools, and future tool inserts that will be available.
BladeKey was created to be as minimalist and utilitarian as possible, and to solve specific problems that everyone encounters carrying keys. Keys can be bulky, become disorganized, or become tangled with other objects.
BladeKey keeps the sharp parts of keys away from flesh, and itself contains no sharp edges. Additionally, the BladeKey keeps keys in order and eliminates any jingling of keys, while the design remains minimal so that there is not a great deal of bulk added to the keys.
To hold the keys in, the BladeKey uses a single zip-tie. A zip-tie was chosen over other fasteners for several reasons:
- Zip-ties are ubiquitous, and strong.
- Zip-ties do not become too loose or too tight when keys are rotated (like a screw or Chicago Binding Post does).
- Zip-ties are easy to insert and remove (as compared to pop-rivets).
- A zip-tie works regardless of the width of any particular BladeKey device.
- A zip-tie applies pressure to the heads of the keys thereby applying constant friction that keeps the keys in place whether stored or deployed for use.
- If keys need to be occasionally removed, it is easy to snip a portion of the zip-tie, reconfigure the keys, and install a new zip-tie.
Using the BladeKey is easy. The key that is needed is simply rotated out from the device. The other keys can remain stored in the BladeKey. The deployed key is held in place with friction.
As shown above, larger keys and other items may be attached to the BladeKey using a standard metal key ring.
History of BladeKey
BladeKey has been a hobby of mine for some time. It started as a little project in 2005. The original version was quite bulky and was composed of many pieces that were held together with bolts. The bolts would work themsleves loose over time.
In 2009, my efforts were reinvigorated when I purchased a 3D printer. With the 3D printer it was easier to prototype numerous different concepts.
Timeline of BladeKey Prototypes
After producing several plastic versions, people started asking me if I was ever going to produce the BladeKey in aluminium. While the plastic worked well, the quality depended largely on the particular 3D printer used to make each BladeKey device. Furthermore, the look and feel of ABS plastic simply does not compare to high quality aluminium.
After selling many BladeKey devices in all shapes and sizes on Shapeways, I had the data I needed to determine the most optimal sizes to manufacture an aluminium version of the BladeKey.
With your support, the aluminium production version of the BladeKey will become a reality.
Aluminium BladeKey Sizes
If our funding goal is reached, the BladeKey will be manufactured in three different sizes. All of the money will go to covering the costs of production and shipping. In addition the three different sizes will come in Black, Silver, and other colors that backers will get to vote on.
- BladeKey N3 - Up to 3 Standard Metal Keys. The BladeKey N3 can accommodate any number of keys measuring at most 6.5 mm wide x 57 mm long. In addition to zip ties, spacers are included to ensure a proper fit for people with less than three keys.
- BladeKey N6 - Up to 6 Standard Metal Keys. The BladeKey N6 can accommodate any number of keys measuring at most 12.5 mm wide x 57 (on each side) to ~63 mm (in the middle). In addition to zip ties, spacers are included to ensure a proper fit for people with 4 or 5 keys.
- BladeKey N9 - Up to 9 Standard Metal Keys. The BladeKey N9 can accommodate any number of keys measuring at most 19 mm wide x 57 (on each side) to ~66 mm (in the middle). In addition to zip ties, spacers are included to ensure a proper fit for people with 7 or 8 keys.
Selecting and Using the BladeKey
Selecting the Right Size.
Select a BladeKey that is the same size, or slightly wider and longer than your set of keys. Use the sizing tool and follow the instructions available on the BladeKey website.
Spacers will also be included so that people with 2 keys can use the BladeKey N3, people with 4 or 5 keys can use the BladeKey N6, and people with 7 or 8 keys can use the BladeKey N9. Measure your keys to be sure that BladeKey will work for you.
Adding Keys to the BladeKey.
To add keys to the BladeKey, follow the step by step instructions available on the BladeKey website. Installing keys into the BladeKey is simple. The zip-tie is recessed into the side of the device, runs through the holes in the heads of the keys, loops around the thin side of the BladeKey, and comes back through the holes in the keys. Finally, the zip-tie is secured and trimmed.
Removing Keys from the BladeKey.
To remove keys from the BladeKey, follow the three step process outlined on the BladeKey website. Removing keys from the BladeKey is a simple three step process. First, snip the exposed portion of the zip tie on the thin side of the BladeKey. Second, pull the back portion of the zip-tie clear of the device through the head of the zip tie. Finally, pull the front portion of the zip-tie out of the BladeKey device. The keys are now separated from the BladeKey.
- DONE - Summer 2011 - Design BladeKey / Prototype with Makerbot Cupcake 3D Printer (the green BladeKey pictured in above videos).
- DONE - Fall 2011 - Launch of 3D Printed Version on Shapeways (pictured in the Chicago skyline pictures above).
- DONE - Sept. / Oct. 2012 - Work with aluminium manufacturing company to set up for manufacture of BladeKey N9 out of milled aluminium 6061 that is sandblasted, anodized, and laser etched.
- DONE - Oct. / Nov. 2012 - Receive initial two milled BladeKey N9 devices.
- DONE - Nov. 2012 - Authorize production of initial small batch of aluminium BladeKey N9 devices.
- DONE - Dec. 2012 - Receive initial small batch of milled BladeKey N9 devices.
- Jan. 2013 - Successfully Backed? If so ...
- Jan. 2013 - Ship initial small batch of milled BladeKey N9 devices to backers, if funding is successful.
- Jan. 2013 - Place order for remainder of BladeKey N9 devices.
- Jan. 2013 - Work with aluminium manufacturing company to set up for manufacture of BladeKey N3 and N6 out of milled aluminium 6061 that is sandblasted, anodized, and laser etched.
- Jan. / Feb. 2013 - Receive initial milled BladeKey N3 and N6 devices for testing prior to ordering remainder. If ok then order remainder.
- Mar. 2013 - Receive remainder of milled BladeKey N3, N6, N9 devices.
- Mar. 2013 - Ship remainder of milled BladeKey devices to backers.
- Summer 2013 - Set up BladeKey online store.
Patent Pending / Patent Allowed
The USPTO has allowed a patent that protects the BladeKey design. The patent is expected to issue within the next few months.
What Funds Will Be Used For
The funds that are raised will be used to produce three versions of the aluminium milled anodized BladeKey device in quantity:
- BladeKey N3 (holds up to 3 standard metal keys),
- BladeKey N6 (holds up to 6 standard metal keys), and
- BladeKey N9 (holds up to 9 standard metal keys).
With your pledge, you will become a part of BladeKey's future. With your help and support funding BladeKey's aluminium manufacturing process, it is my hope and eventual goal that BladeKey will become the standard for modular pocket tools in the future. Thank you for your time and I hope you will enjoy BladeKey.
Future of BladeKey
With your support, BladeKey will continue to become more useful over time. Specifically, in addition to holding standard keys, we hope that BladeKey will become a de facto standard for pocket tool inserts that BladeKey LLC, and others may develop. This would enable BladeKey owners to construct their own custom pocket tool with no more and no less functionality than is needed for each BladeKey owner's particular needs.
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
The product is designed, tested for over a year in 3D printed plastic versions, and the first patent allowed (still pending issuance). Two aluminium BladeKey N9 devices have been ordered, received and tested. There may still be risks with a larger order; 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.