I've seen some of these around and really wanted to try my hand with more metalwork. The concept is to make a tool with a fun twist and have a functional yet awesome multitool complete with screwdrivers, bottle openers, and whatever else your heart desires. All while looking like a cool animal!
I knew that, given the tools I have at my disposal, I wouldn't be getting a finished product anytime soon. This instructable is to document my process in a first prototype to work out any kinks before I can make a way better, more functional multitool. Hopefully you will be seeing another instructable soon with a completed product!
Step 1: Materials
In order to make this awesome "multitool", you are going to need a few things
I had some scrapwood leftover from previous projects (check out the cheeseboard I made!), and cut it to about 4" x 1.5". This is going to be the size of your multitool.
I snagged a small sheet of steel metal, and made sure it was thin enough (.040") that I would be able to cut it easily without the aid of a machine...because I didn't have a machine to cut it with.
How many washers you need depends on the number of animal variations you make! In my tool I used a total of 11 washers.
These are going to keep your animals in place. I used 3 2" long nails and cut them to the length I need. If you have some that are bigger than 1.5" those should do the trick!
Some tools you will need include:
or something to cut your wood with
2. Metal Cutters
I used hand cutters (but had very sore hands afterwards. If it can give you more finesse that is a bonus, but make sure it can cut through the gauge of sheet metal you have!
3. Sandpaper + Wood finish
These will make your multitool look pretty!
Step 2: Cut Your Wood to Size
I set out by cutting my wood (I had a beautiful wenge leftover from making an inlay on a cheeseboard!). I did this using a handsaw. BE SURE TO WEAR SAFETY GLASSES, PUT ANY LONG HAIR UP, AND CLAMP YOUR WORK. Safety is very important! I cut one piece to 4" x 1.5". The height of the wood (how thick it is) is really up to you and the animals you want.
Step 3: Cut the Metal
Now get designing! I first drew out whatever part (head/front legs/back legs) on to the metal and used some shears to cut the metal. Luckily the metal I used was pretty thin, so cutting it by hand was a feasible solution. I'd really like to go back and design this with CNC so that I can make it a real tool and incorporate some utility into this project.
To keep my parts organized i wrote 1, 2, or 3 on them and placed them in that order as well.
Step 4: Drill Holes
Using a drill press, I drilled holes in the pivot locations. Be sure to follow basic safety:
- Tie your hair up
- Wear safety goggles (and gloves if necessary)
- Clamp your work!! (nobody needs spinning metal flying around their shop)
- note that in the first picture my hand is holding the metal. This isn't how I drilled it, just me showing how to align the holes. You can bet that I used a nice C clamp to hold the metal down.
Step 5: Assemble
Now go ahead and assemble your "multitool prototype". I started with the wood outer layer and carefully poked some nails into the pivot point holes that I drilled. I then placed the metal buffer layer on top of this, followed by washers and the first animal layer. Follow with more washers and next animal layer. Repeat until all of your animals are attached. Put a final layer of washers, the metal buffer layer, and the last pice of wood on top.
Then trim the nails such that they aren't quite flush with the wood. Use a hammer and carefully pound the protruding nail until it's slightly rounded and the head is deformed enough to stop the nail from falling back out. Repeat this on all three pivot points.
Step 6: Final Thoughts
This was a cool project and I can't wait to make it more of a reality. A big thanks to Hatch Makerspace for tools and some materials while I began working the kinks out of this project. Here's what I'm looking forward to in the final multitool:
- Thicker metal capable of being formed into tools
- cut by CNC or waterjet
- Finished outer wood layer
- rounded edges, sanded smooth
One problem I ran into while mocking up this prototype was that the animal heads were sometimes difficult to spin, and wouldn't have the best mobility. That was a flaw in my animal design, where sometimes the base of the front legs and the bottom of the neck would have too much metal around the pivot points, and collide. I would definitely make sure that the pivot points are surrounded by as little metal as possible, and have some sort of inner mechanism for limiting the mobility of certain tools so that they don't get stuck inside. This will be helped out by using a modeling software before I get going.
Stay tuned for a final project in the (hopefully near) future!
Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any ideas for my future design!