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Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head 1763

No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« on: September 24, 2018, 11:57:08 PM »
I thought I’d discuss some random considerations about design philosophy, decision making, marketing, and design guidelines. This being the RD forum it would be interesting to hear how others work and think.

When doing a design there are lots and lots of decisions, priorities and balancing acts to be made. For a multi tool everything from general size, overall style and material choices to tiny stuff like where to exactly put that weight reducing cut – and what is the optimal shape and size for that cut anyway? For a somewhat complex product there will be literally thousands of decisions to be made.
 
I find that having an overall design philosophy and some design guidelines really helps with that. Useful design guidelines will often answer a question or priority, or at least help find the right balance faster. And just as important they provide consistency and character throughout a product.

One of my design guidelines is that the product should be honest. Not only the obvious way in that the product should work as marketed, but furthermore that the capabilities should match its looks. People should get a fair idea of the capabilities just by looking at it. Equally it should not look like doing, or maybe even enable doing, any use it cannot do proper.

This priority is not as straight forward as one might think at first, especially not for multi-tools: One of the lures of multi-tools is availability. A multi-tool can be carried far off from your regular tools, and it might be the only option around. Further many tools enable humans to do what we simply cannot do at all without tools. Thus a tool that is actually quite bad for its intended task, and as such kind of dishonest, might still be a major improvement over no tool at all in certain situations. 

There is a balance to be made there. Most multi-tools are compromises to being with, so where to draw the line is a grey area. For some uses trying to have some option for nearly everything would make sense, while for other uses having fewer better working functions would be better. I’ve opted more towards the latter.

One of the things that made me go in that direction was all the kinds of multi tools with hex cutouts that their sales material says works as spanners. That is rarely ever correct.

Yes, you can get a grip on a bolt with a hex cutout of the right size. But for most that won’t help much, or possibly even just make it worse:

A proper spanner has certain strength and a certain standardized length to match an average human’s strength and the respective bolt size it fits. Spanner thickness and length are not values chosen at random. The necessary strength and length is given by the required torque to fasten a bolt by stretching it sufficiently to put the threads under enough friction to prevent it from coming loose. Or the other way around – a properly tightened bolt needs the strength and length of a standard spanner to be loosened with any degree of comfort. (Or loosened at all for much shorter designs).

Comparing various hex cutouts the material thickness is typically a lot less than a spanner thickness. So the strength is likely not there, and a proper fastened bolt might just deform the tool instead of coming loose.  Potentially worse though is using a short hex cutout tool to actually fasten a bolt. Most likely it will not be fastened with the required torque, and thus it will likely loosen again - potentially with real bad results for someone.

Those are the kind of features I want to avoid with the honest guideline. They look more capable than they are. I want the looks to reflect the capabilities accurately. That design guideline make many choices easier so I’m happy with it.

Anyway, I guess that all turned a bit sideways, but I’m sleepy so I’m just posting it anyway. :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 11:58:49 PM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
No Life Club Posts: 2,268 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2018, 12:06:38 AM »
Form follows function

Once you go black you never go back
@blackdiamonds_42
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2018, 12:21:37 AM »
Form follows function

That is certainly another one - and also a balance. I'm in the function firmly first but its not everything camp. :)

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,053 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2018, 01:19:19 AM »
Honesty and simplicity often go together with tools, and the constant striving to do something different to the competition can get in the way of that. The Spirit is not just a good looking tool, but you can see from looking at it, exactly what it should be careful of, and therefore not overstress it.

The Gerber evaporating cutters are a good example of dishonesty. The pledge given by including indexable carbide cutters, is that thes pliers will do harder work than anything else, but in truth they are mechanically weaker than the integral cutters. Cast pry tools, pliers with internal springs which weaken the cross section and increase wear in the pivot area are other examples.

Gerber are not alone in this, and some actually stretch to verbal disinformation, such as LM's claim that the OHT was the first one handed tool, when the X-Tract and Grappler got there first (and maybe others too). Last time I checked, the newer version of the Switchplier claimed compound leverage in their advertising materials and website, when the "gearing" is purely cosmetic.

The Leap, a tool for kids, is a bulky tool with wide handle splay. The Centre Drive is only central on one axis, just like some other multitools. These things don't just affect my judgement of that product, but of the entire company. Other design guffs also make me question whether the company knows what it's doing, such as left handed scissors, cast plier tools, or design errors being repeated on new products when they've had ample time to realise their weakness, such as the Leatherman Style/Squirt scissor springs, the impeded gripping area on the new style plier heads, or Gerbers carbide cutters again.

Saleable and profitable often take priority over functional and reliable. Gimmickery and cost cutting measures are getting more and more visible on tools, and I'm very glad that I got into multitools a few years ago, and managed to get my mitts on ones that I can trust, such and my modded Fuse, MP400, MP600s with integral cutters, Wave with integral cutters, Spirit, Sideclip, Diesel, Schrade Vise Grips ... the integrity - moral and physical - of modern multitools, is on a decline in my opinion. Quick buck one piece tools on Kickstarter, and outsourced sub-standard tools, have cheapened the industry somewhat, but the market isn't ready to be corrected yet.

By that last statement, what I mean is that multitool prices haven't kept up with inflation. A Wave 20 years ago, cost almost as much as it does today in some markets, and undoing the design efforts of companies striving to keep their RRP below psychological barriers, would push the prices to a point that many consumers would be unwilling to pay. Unfortunately, this means that to some extent, that new products released to market now do need to have an element of dishonesty to them in order to look "Wowser" to potential buyers, yet still be in the ballpark costwise with the nearest competition.

It's a very difficult balancing act indeed.



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Admin Team Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,964 I brake for cake
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 09:30:09 AM »
Honesty and functionality is important to me in product design - as a design engineer I do strive for this though it's not always compatible with what my bosses want.  I'm fortunate to work in an industrial environment where we don't have to do too much in the way of styling.  Sensible use of materials and correct manufacturing techniques normally produces something I'm happy with aesthetically.  I did get into an argument with the engineering director of a company I worked for a few years ago about a carbon fibre effect plastic cover for part of the machine.  I'm pleased to see they're not using it on the current line.

I've always liked the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi where there is an appreciation of simple objects that have developed a patina through time and usage.  I find it unfortunate that it's developed to the point where items are now produced in the wabi-sabi style, ready made with imperfections.  It's a little bit like buying distressed jeans, which definitely lacks honesty in my view.
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2018, 09:49:45 AM »
Honesty and simplicity often go together with tools, and the constant striving to do something different to the competition can get in the way of that.

Different just for different's sake is rarely a good concept. For some it might be forced though if the working original has IP protection. Which is some of the value of a patent - force others to choose worse or more expensive routes to the same goal. Of course there is always the chance you patented one of those worse or expensive routes yourself, and that the competitors will instead be forced to find a better less expensive way. Ah, the fun with patents. :D



Saleable and profitable often take priority over functional and reliable. Gimmickery and cost cutting measures are getting more and more visible on tools,

Personally I think of this as design by checkbox marketing goals. It seems the goal for some is to add up as many possible/ excusable functions as possible to have one more item to put in a marketing functions checkbox. Whether the functions are useful or works proper often seems to be less of a concern.

I think part of the reason for this is that possibly big parts of the market is indeed gadget oriented. Quite a few multitools end up in drawers without actually being used much or at all. Which is double sad as if someone actually trying using a overly gadgety thing they might conclude all multitools are just gadgets, and never consider one again.

Many multitools are also bought as gifts by people who don't use or known multitools themselves. Then number of functions and possibly a brand name might be the main deciding factors.

Quick buck one piece tools on Kickstarter, and outsourced sub-standard tools, have cheapened the industry somewhat, but the market isn't ready to be corrected yet.

I would do a one piece at Kickstarter if I felt I actually had something useful to contribute. Maybe I should buy and test some just to find some problems and pain points. Those are usually interesting starting points.

By that last statement, what I mean is that multitool prices haven't kept up with inflation. A Wave 20 years ago, cost almost as much as it does today in some markets, and undoing the design efforts of companies striving to keep their RRP below psychological barriers, would push the prices to a point that many consumers would be unwilling to pay. Unfortunately, this means that to some extent, that new products released to market now do need to have an element of dishonesty to them in order to look "Wowser" to potential buyers, yet still be in the ballpark costwise with the nearest competition.

The existing multi-tools do set the psychological prices, anchors them in customers minds to use a pricing terminology, and that is very real indeed. For a new entrant with at least initial low volumes that is a double challenge as the production cost is also significantly higher than the established ones with high volume production lines that has been optimized for years and years.

The dishonesty just to look wowser is part of what I want to avoid with my honest guideline. If that means some people will be turned off because it looks less wowsy then that is fine by me. Guidelines comes at the cost of the other side of the balance, and I've chosen my point. The looks should not be deceiving. I'd much rather have customers that don't feel deceived when actually using the tools.

I'm not out aiming to make tools for everyone. I'm aiming for those who will appreciate and agree with the choices and balances made. After that there is of course the actual work of executing - just saying high quality doesn't make it so :)

It's a very difficult balancing act indeed.

It is. And most new products do indeed fail miserably. The ones that go on to make it and grow are the exceptions.

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2018, 10:05:53 AM »
Sensible use of materials and correct manufacturing techniques normally produces something I'm happy with aesthetically.

Yes, that is certainly a kind of honesty too. I know that is a guideline used by many - don't hide the materials and manufacture methods, but rather highlight them. And trying to camoflage or pass off one thing off as another is decidely on the deceiving side.

I find it interesting that styling usually changes with the availability of new production techniques and thus new limitations and possibilities. And every time that happens many aim to imitate the old looks while using the new methods. I think that is a human thing - we don't like to rapid changes - or maybe the imagination just isn't there for some. Or maybe they think the customers need time to adjust.

There is the concept of the goodness to innovation curve. The more innovative or new or radical something the more obviously good it has to be to win customer approval. Thus a product might be a good improvement in some area, but if too new and different from established competitors it might still fail to sell. New is thus a non-buy factor in itself. Which is fair enough - people like proven solutions.
[/quote]
 
I've always liked the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi where there is an appreciation of simple objects that have developed a patina through time and usage.  I find it unfortunate that it's developed to the point where items are now produced in the wabi-sabi style, ready made with imperfections.  It's a little bit like buying distressed jeans, which definitely lacks honesty in my view.

I hadn't heard about Wabi-Sabi :) Interesting :) I do know the japanese concept of perfect imperfections though which I find fascinating - seems to be along similar thinking.

That is definately cheating. That must just undermine the entire concept?

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2018, 04:42:50 PM »
Interesting conversation. 

From the perspective of honesty and simplicity, whose?  The Pocket Wrench 2 comes to mind for me.  Is it not both honest and simple?  Seems this tool alone should have sales recipes that rival many MT sales  :think:.  Atwood comes to mind as well.  The PW2 can be had for $20 while the Atwood commands far greater.  Why?  The ones I've seen are bottle openers and a scraper/pry bar.  Is it far superior in material and quality? 

A lot of the Kickstarter OPTs seems to want to capitalize on the "craze" and make a buck.  I'm not so sure the average consumer cares about integrity.  The market has, over time, become inundated with clones or outright copies of known items, selling for significantly less.  Were the known items of honesty or integrity?  What I find interesting is the notion that a known brand is to many both quality and worth the asking price.  A lessor known item is generally looked upon as, lessor. 

Seems to me in many cases people are alway going to attempt to build a better mouse trap.     

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2018, 11:14:18 PM »
I don't have either a Pocket Wrench or anything by Atwood so I don't really have an informed opinion on those. 

What I find interesting is the notion that a known brand is to many both quality and worth the asking price.  A lessor known item is generally looked upon as, lessor. 

I think if people recognize a brand and have a positive impression (for whatever reason) that helps make buying choices easier. People don't like to take risks, and something known will likely beat something unknown at a similar price.

Everything by a brand inherits the brand impression. Sadly companies sometimes try to cash in on their brand value by making stuff that aren't really up to the standards that built the brand in the first place. It works for a while I guess - then it becomes one of those "used to be good" brands instead.

I think it is a trend that those zombie brands are then giving off licenses to all and everything to (ab)use their once good name.

Some high end brands are also small, and as such just for the ones in the know- although price tends to be good at signaling too.

Seems to me in many cases people are alway going to attempt to build a better mouse trap.     

Indeed. And most will fail - if not technically so as a business. On the other hand that is also how the world progresses I guess? Every now and then something do make it and thus progresses the sector. To me that often seems to happen via a mixture of good work and lucky circumstances. We can only control so much, but at least we should aim to have some control with what we can - then hope for a bit of luck :)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 11:16:22 PM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2018, 11:31:54 PM »
So luck and circumstances.  The conundrum is how does one break into such a market?  Likely only niche or fad items make it or are able to sustain themselves. 

Its a shame that some larger well know companies forget the path they took to success.  However sometimes, many times these companies must progress.  Leatherman could not have continued on with the PST.  Design, creativity, success, customer needs, company needs, I'm sure much more went into the direction they now are in.  I'm sure there is a simple reason the Wave is their best seller.  While we'll argue the merits of their other tools, this tools continues to be their best seller. 

A business must be profitable.   

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2018, 12:54:24 AM »
So luck and circumstances.  The conundrum is how does one break into such a market?  Likely only niche or fad items make it or are able to sustain themselves.

There are certainly plenty of opportunities to trip up on things within our own control too, so it isn't all about luck or circumstances. If you don't get it fairly right yourself it will take a lot more luck and circumstances to compensate. :D And as the sport saying goes, the more you train the luckier you get. The randomness of life is certainly a factor though.

I don't follow your logic in why only niche or fad items will be sustainable? A point to consider might be that todays current multitool market is just a tiny fraction of the potential market. Most people simple don't buy, use or carry multitools. Now I'm pretty sure they wont be getting my design either, as that plays to the existing crowd, but the potential and market for a new major player is there with the right product.

Over the years many, if not most, industries tend to end up with a few big established players. That doesn't mean there aren't opportunities for startups, but that the game has changed. It might mean that the goal or end play should be different than becoming a new major player yourself. That isn't necessarily the goal of all anyway.

Its a shame that some larger well know companies forget the path they took to success.  However sometimes, many times these companies must progress.  Leatherman could not have continued on with the PST.  Design, creativity, success, customer needs, company needs, I'm sure much more went into the direction they now are in.

Leatherman did try to create some kind of independent idea accelerator with the purpose of evaluating external ideas for business opportunities, and if deemed to show enough potential to help develop and commercialize them. That seemed to me like a nod from Tim Leatherman to people in similar situations as he was back in the day.

The program ended fairly quickly though. I'm not sure why, but I can guess it had something to do with Leatherman looking to place and invest a fair bit of money. From that perspective placing a lot of small money bets in very early stage projects might be more work than actual business and investment.

(Ironically it is often easier to raise money from investment funds if you ask for big amounts rather than small. The logic is somewhat similar to my guess above: An investment fund will typically only have the resources to follow up on 10-20 different projects. If the investment fund is say 100 million that means the average investment has to be in the 5-10 million range to be in the ballpark of interest. And the more money they have to place, the fewer projects to choose from... Anyway, I digress)


"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Newbie Posts: 33 Custom & Modular
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2018, 05:49:36 AM »
stealing this quote from a completely different community - but also with a lot of people trying to be noticed in a pool of similarities.

"Do it first, do it better, or do it different"

In regards to plier-based multi-tools: Leatherman did it first, Gerber did it different, and anyone doing it better is subjective and a debate for other threads.

Gentlemen of All Trades
www.GOAT.tools
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2018, 06:04:50 AM »
I wasn't actually stating my belief that only niche or fad items make it or are able to sustain themselves.  My comment was more reflecting on this by you,

"To me that often seems to happen via a mixture of good work and lucky circumstances. We can only control so much, but at least we should aim to have some control with what we can - then hope for a bit of luck :)"

I might have read more into it.  :salute:

   


Esse Quam Videri
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 06:09:55 AM »
stealing this quote from a completely different community - but also with a lot of people trying to be noticed in a pool of similarities.

"Do it first, do it better, or do it different"

In regards to plier-based multi-tools: Leatherman did it first, Gerber did it different, and anyone doing it better is subjective and a debate for other threads.

We've certainly seen those who came first.  Bear and Sons if I am correct was bought out by Vicotorinox so they could have the patent for their MT.  We know it now as the Swisstool.  They certainly did it better.  Then comes the Spirit and again they do it better and different ( to an extent ).  We also saw the Auto tool which by and large was a failure.  So yeah, theres something to what you wrote.   

Esse Quam Videri
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,243 Cats have pocket knives of their own
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2018, 10:28:54 AM »
Great thread :tu:

My thoughts from end user point of view (typing on a touch screen so please excuse brevity).

Keep it simple. Cost is always a concern so knowing what works in terms of materials and production procedure helps make sound choices. Sound choices will appeal to experienced users and could -possibly- become apparent to not-so-experienced ones. Clever design is always welcome but should not compromise function. Yes to elegance if possible, seek bling elsewhere if that's what you want, firiki said.

In sum, gimme a solid, user repairable, tool that works well and can take a little abuse if needed. Fewer and better implements are preferable to me than more of just OK quality.

Omnia vincit amor. Vae victis.
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2018, 01:11:06 PM »
stealing this quote from a completely different community - but also with a lot of people trying to be noticed in a pool of similarities.

"Do it first, do it better, or do it different"

In regards to plier-based multi-tools: Leatherman did it first, Gerber did it different, and anyone doing it better is subjective and a debate for other threads.

Abe Bauermann Company (Solingen, Germany) made some multi-tool pliers based around the same basic layout as the Leatherman PST. And they did it in the 50s or so. I think has been discussed many times - a quick search found for instance https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/chapter-1-before-there-was-leatherman%C2%85%C2%85.379737/#post-3448810

Leatherman was certainly first at making a tool that many enough thought was useful and valuable enough to buy it. Which is important - being first doesn't count for much if people don't know about you, you have no distribution or it isn't executed well enough.

As for doing it different there is an endless opportunity for that. It should be different AND better in some respect though. Just being different for difference sake is kind of pointless?

Similarly I think different is necessary. Trying to just be better will be very hard at this point. Aiming to make a better Leatherman than Leatherman, (who also has lots of models optimized towards various users), and at a competitive price at that, while having higher production costs, and selling as an unknown brand, will be difficult.
 
So for me it is about different and better. Better in the sense of providing more usability in some key aspects users value enough to buy.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 01:36:31 PM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2018, 01:34:52 PM »
Yes to elegance if possible, seek bling elsewhere if that's what you want, firiki said.

That is actually another guideline I got, although that spans a bit wider. My aim is to make timeless designs, Not an easy task at all, but one thing to avoid then is bling and the like as that tend to be trendy in nature. And trends are not timeless - almost the opposite.

Elegance is great if possible - but then fitting in with function and construction. What is elegant is certainly also a subjective thing. If my fashion sense is anything to go by there is no hope! :facepalm:

In sum, gimme a solid, user repairable, tool that works well and can take a little abuse if needed. Fewer and better implements are preferable to me than more of just OK quality.

It seems we two are very much on the same page.

As for user repairable I've given that quite a lot of thought. What it basically boils down to is that a user serviceable tool will likely be somewhat larger, more expensive and less precise. Some of the not user friendly assembly option are less expensive, takes less space, and are more sturdy. On the other hand I really like user serviceable... Yet another compromise and balance then I guess.

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
No Life Club Posts: 2,268 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2018, 01:59:46 PM »
This thread needs pictures of tool designs!

Once you go black you never go back
@blackdiamonds_42
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2018, 04:05:28 PM »
Getting to market first has it challenges.  Educating the end user is one that comes to mind.  While getting the patents has benefits not being able to capture the market has happened to many.  Heck being too early can be an issue.  Sometimes the general consumer just isn't ready.

Whle Leatherman was not the first to make a MT, we've seen historical accounts of them.  A 1800 year old Roman MT is pictured somewhere here on MTO.  Tim was certainly first to market his plier based tool.  We all know the tenacity and challenges he had.  Certainly wasn't an overnight success.  Soon to follow were others.  Heck even the king of pocket knives got into the action, Victorinox.   

With MTs I believe we still have room for some innovation and design tweaks.  The basic mold has been cast I think?  Lets look at Victorinox for a sec.  While the Swisstool seems to be stubbornly unchanged they did actually make several.  The plier head was changed over the years.  One change in particular was very well thought out.  The change in plier pivot from left to right.

What I find interesting is the Story of Bear and Sons MT.  When you look at it you can certainly see the pedigree from which the Swisstool was born.  Why they couldn't capture the market with that tool is interesting.  Victorinox gets the patent and as they are known for does it better.  Then continues to do it better.  Chako did a nice write up on the Bear and Sons MT see here https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,52527.0.html.

The tool was simple and straightforward.  Honest and well built.  So, what gives?  If we are to believe a tool that is honest and well built with materials that make the grade then seriously, what gives? 

I believe there are some intangibles and timing, name recognition, certainly quality, amongst other things all must align.   
   

   

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2018, 08:35:53 PM »
With MTs I believe we still have room for some innovation and design tweaks.  The basic mold has been cast I think?

There is plenty of room both for improvements to the existing form factors and entirely new ones.

To be concrete let me go on record with the prediction that within 3 to 8 years Leatherman and or Victorinox will offer a Wave/ Spirit sized multi-tool with more functions, stronger and about 30-40% less weight.

I actually think the next 5-15 years will be very interesting with lots of new innovations. Not just within multi-tools, but tools in general.

Chako did a nice write up on the Bear and Sons MT see here https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,52527.0.html.

That was very interesting :tu:

The tool was simple and straightforward.  Honest and well built.  So, what gives?  If we are to believe a tool that is honest and well built with materials that make the grade then seriously, what gives? 

For one I think lack of awareness among possible customers and distribution? Most people don't even know they exist, which certainly limits the number asking for them. And for those of us that do know they exist they are still difficult to get hold of. (For instance I just tried searching an Amazon.com - nowhere to be found).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 08:43:56 PM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Newbie Posts: 33 Custom & Modular
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2018, 11:24:01 PM »
Well, next time I need a break from CAD I'm going to do some MT history research! :popcorn: Clearly there are a few tools & companies I was never aware of. Thanks for the info, gentlemen! :cheers:

Gentlemen of All Trades
www.GOAT.tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2018, 11:56:47 PM »
Not to mention patent databases - there are way more stuff there than what has ever been seen in the marketplace. (Sometimes I wonder if the patent database is the place where ideas go to die..  :think: The ratio of dead to alive is certainly not good). Many interesting concepts there though - and through references from patents to patents one can follow developments. Some interesting stuff there.  :)

« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 11:59:34 PM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2018, 12:10:05 AM »
Totally agree Vidar! 

Gerber has had some very interesting designs.  Anyone remember the Groundbreaker?  Cable dawg? JSews showed a reversible plier head in the thread I linked below.  How about the defunct build your own tool by Gerber?  Gerber tried but maybe they were met with timing issues, came to market ahead of the customer.  Maybe quality wasn't the best?  Maybe the end user wasn't ready for anything that wasn't Leathermans basic PST layout? 

Look at some of JSews Gerbers.  You'll see a neat patent for a tool as well. 
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,49588.0.html

We know that Tim Leathermans PST and Gerbers MPT went after a military contract.  Gerber won yet the PST survived?  My guess is they had nearly a decade head start.  They ( Leatherman ) may have not been concerned with competing per se but innovating?

Whats also interesting is Gerber having been bought by Fiskars pretty early on then Fiskars clones/cheapens its self by intruding Carolina Tool ( basically Gerber Mr Pinchy ) to the market then Winchester tools ( again basic Gerber Mr Pinchy ). 

Again Gerber had some interesting designs.  Remember the Military Tech Kit?  5 plier heads and 2 bodies?

Thanks to Chako who graciously made this thread.
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,65364.0.html

 
   

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2018, 12:24:19 AM »
Look at some of JSews Gerbers.  You'll see a neat patent for a tool as well. 
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,49588.0.html

Thanks to Chako who graciously made this thread.
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,65364.0.html

Great! :tu: Lots of stuff there I wasn't aware of :) I'll have to go back later and read in more detail :)

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,206
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2018, 03:15:38 PM »
Lots of great info in the catacombs of MTO  :salute:


Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2018, 08:46:49 PM »
Lots of great info in the catacombs of MTO  :salute:

It is an old, deep and long catacomb though. :cheers:


"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,953 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2018, 10:13:16 PM »
Lots of great info in the catacombs of MTO  :salute:

It is an old, deep and long catacomb though. :cheers:
“We cannot get out.” :whistle:
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 10:15:14 PM by Don Pablo »

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
No Life Club Posts: 1,272
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2018, 10:22:51 PM »
“We cannot get out.” :whistle:

Do you want to get out?  :pok:

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,953 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2018, 11:10:26 PM »

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,243 Cats have pocket knives of their own
Re: Design philosophies, guidelines, honesty and whatever pops in my head
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2018, 09:27:00 AM »
It seems we two are very much on the same page.

 :viking:  :SAKnight:  :D

I like your way of thinking. Timeless is indeed difficult. You must know that all too well, seen your signature  :)  :ahhh

"Man is the measure of all things"
. I think one needs to be efficiently addressing the same old issues that will keep on occurring unless ground breaking changes are made; technical changes in this instance. A functional, well rounded up, unpretentious tool gets my vote any day. Function matters most, ornaments can be added later on.

Just do it, without overthinking about the thing being timeless, and everything should sort itself out eventually :pok:  :whistle:

By user serviceable, I was mainly referring to materials: not some super steel that I'll need an angle grinder in order to restore a damaged tip or sharpen an edge. One of the things I really like about Victorinox MTs is precisely the use of permanent mechanickal fasteners -rivets  :2tu:

Omnia vincit amor. Vae victis.

 

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