Leatherman Style Plastic Scale Replacement and some other tinkers
When I was refreshing my leatherman style with a new scissor bar spring, bit holder and scalpel holder in place of the blade, I ended up breaking the plastic scale it comes with. Clumsy, but since I had filed it down to accept the scissors on that side not too surprising. I made a new one from aluminum, and while it's not pretty, I figured I'd share it and the tool because it's a pretty neat little package. (Meets my EDC needs, one of which is just that the tool is small)
Style/Squirt Pliers (small wirecutters and R1 bit etc)
Style/Squirt Scissors moved to nail file location
Titanium Scalpel Holder
Bit Driver (w/ Phillips/FlatHead)
Gerber Dime Tweezers
The scale I cut down from an 1/8th inch piece of aluminum I got at home depot. I didn't want to give up anything that I had already but since I was doing it all with a hacksaw, file and dremel I wasn't confident that I could make the tweezer indent/ramp. I ended up making a longer cut and replacing my cut down style tweezers with tweezers from a gerber dime. This works well and nests right below the scissors under the new scale. When I drilled the holes, the bit ended up walking just enough so that when I tightened it down it produced a stress crack where my dremel had walked an nicked the new scale, but as it took a bunch of hours to get it to where it was, I can live with this until it break. (How I miss the access I had to a mill before, where I could have made this at 10x the quality in 1/10th the time)
The bit holder is 3d printed off ebay. Pops up when you search for a leatherman style. I like it, and hopefully the maker continues to refine it as it's good, but not perfect. I wear a leatherman tread as a watchband and carry 5 of the reversible bits in the links, so having a bit driver was important for me. I also wanted to have a flat head and phillips on the tool, but the leatherman bits, as small as they are, would hang out and without a retention system could fall out, so I took a phillips bit and cut it down to the leatherman profile, and then ground the reverse side to a flat head to produce a stubby leatherman bit. I then made some indents where the style's carabiner wire would fit into so that they can be held out. Again, only hand tools and I can't be bothered to clean it up since it works, but when I lose this one or when I get time I'll do another with the lessons learned from this one. I used to use the carabiner to clip it to the edge of my pocket, but the stye's pointy carabiner catch would often cause this method to snag, and since the carabiner space is occupied with a bit, I added a pocket carry clip that I made from a pen cap.
The scalpel holder has a slightly smaller profile than the leatherman tools, and while it will catch fine on the style it doesn't lock up or snap into position. To fix this I took the lock that is comes with, filed it down super thin and glued it inside the style's frame. If anyone has thoughts on a better way to do this, let me know but it's worked so far. This gives the scalpel a firm click into place, and since it's thin enough, does not interfere with the file locking into the standard leatherman frame pattern behind it. The file also has enough room under it to hold a T-pin, which is retained both by the shape of the frame at that end, and a small neodymium magnet I added to one of the hole that's drilled in the frame. I did have to drill a small hole in the aluminum scales to allow the pin to fully nest when the tool is closed.
I really like the scalpel holder as it allows my to fly with the tool by taking off the blade. I've done this 3 times so far, and haven't had a problem yet (although in case of running into Sgt McConfiscate I carry an prepaid envelope to mail it to myself). I just pop off the blade and splay out all the tools, showing it to the agent who makes sure no one has a laptop or full sized bottle of shampoo in their bag. The cheap and easily replacement of the scalpel also allows me to be really rough on the blade and do stupid things without paying the consequences.
Most people don't seem super interested in making their own keychain style mods, so I'll hold off on all the nitty gritty details of the mod beyond this, but if you are interested happy to share, just let me know!