Leatherman Scalpel Handle




Introduction: Leatherman Scalpel Handle

About: Husband, Father, Son, Grandpa, Scoutmaster and Recovering ER doc.

The Leatherman multitool will undoubtedly go down in history next to the inclined plane, screw, fire, and Dremel as the most important milestones in mankind's use of tools.  I never go anywhere without it, and have used it often in the ER and the garage.  
But each of us probably does something day to day that we wish the leatherman had a tool for, or we find that we never use one thing or another. 
I don't think I used the Eyeglass screwdriver more than a couple of times, and ended up breaking it off.  One thing I always seem to be looking for is something fine and sharp, to remove a sliver, drain a nailbed, or whittle something.  A #11 scalpel blade works for most of those jobs.  I also use an 18 gauge needle for all but whittling, and in considering this mod I thought of some ways to put the 18 ga. in the eyeglass screwdriver blade.  I chose instead to modify a # 3 scalpel handle to fit the leatherman in place of the screwdriver blade.
I found a stainless #3 scalpel handle which is about the size of the leatherman blade.  A #3 handle will also hold a #15 blade, which is a small rounded blade.  There are a large number of specialty scalpel blades available, just be sure they have the the smaller slot that fits a #3 handle.
  With that in mind, I held my breathe and sent my Charge TTi to the OR.  (there were complications;-()
Obviously, this will void the warranty. You risk screwing up your leatherman. Which I did.  Sadness fer sure.  You could poke your eye out.  Wear Safety glasses, take the blade off the handle or tape the blade.
BTW,  my first instructible.  Your comments are appreciated.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:
A multitool to hack
The guts to do it.
A metal #3 scalpel handle
A #11 scalpel blade
Dremel with cut off disc
Tamper proof torx bit
   or whatever your multitool requires
silver solder
scrap stainless steel.  I cut up a pair of surgical tweezers or "pick-ups"

Step 2: Remove the Screw

There are several small shim washers between the leatherman blades.  They are easily lost.  Yup, sure are.  If you have a couple of extras I would appreciate hearing from you.  You'll need the tamper-proof torx bit, or whatever bit your multitool requires .  Leatherman seems to use a number of different fastener systems designed to thwart modders. 
If you are really desperate, use the dremel to cut a slot in the head.
FIRST:  take a picture or sketch how your tool is disassembled!  This may save you hours of trial and error.
Using the torx bit, gently unscrew the screw. The pivot screw sheath has a flat side that allows it to be seated in the handle in only one orientation.  If the side you picked doesn't unscrew, try the opposite side.
Loosen the screw but don't remove it all the way.  This allows you to  gently tap it out the other side so it can be grasped with pliers.  If you force it, you may break the titanium side plates (sigh.............)
Very gently remove the post, noting the order the blades come out, the orientation of the scissors, and where the shims are placed.  Now where are those shims?????
There is a small metal "stop" protruding up from the floor of the handle, which is easily broken off. You will need to do this to allow the blade to fit in the handle

Step 3: Cut the Scalpel Handle

Using calipers, or trial and error, grind the scalpel handle down to the proper thickness of the small driver blade, and cut it to length. 
Use the small driver blade as a template, lay it on the handle and trace it with a fine tipped marker, and cut out the shape. 
Make sure you lay out the template on the correct side of the handle, so the scalpel blade faces inward.
Note that on the first attempt the hole is about a cm away from the blade attachment.  This made the overall blade too long, and interfered with the scissors handle and pliers when folded.  Fortunately, there's plenty of room to re-position the hole.  As you look at the scalpel and handle, the butt of the blade is angled and fits into a corresponding angle in the handle.  The hole ended up just a few millimeters from the angle.  This made the blade short enough to fit with only minimal interference with the scissor handle.
On my first attempt I used the driver holder as a template and cut the notch for the blade lock in the same position as it was on the template.  This caused the final blade angle to be out of alignment with the multitool handle.  The trick is to not cut the notch, then dry fit the scalpel handle into the multitool, replace the pivot screw post, and mark the position of the blade lock.

Step 4: Solder on the Finger Notch

The scalpel handle is not wide enough to cut a finger notch in.  You could get by with pulling the scissors out, and the scalpel will come with it, but I decided that was a hassle, and I wanted to learn to silver solder. 
There are many excellent sites showing how to silver solder.  I reviewed most of them, and it turned out to be pretty easy.
I cut an oversized chunk of stainless from a pair of tweezers and silver soldered it to the back of the blade holder.  I then re-installed the blade with the pivot screw into the multitool handle and marked the size and position of the finger notch. 
The dremel is used to shape and smooth the finger notch.

Step 5: Reassemble

Once you've got the blade shaped and polished to your satisfaction, reassemble the multitool, trying to get all those little bushings in the right places.  Make sure the scissors operate.  If the scalpel tip impinges on the scissors handle (not all #11 blades are identically shaped) put a small piece of tape or sugru on the scissor handle. 
Try not to stick yourself.  Make a sugru or tape cover for the blade.
Enjoy your new tool!
Then google "titanium welding"......................

Side plate is currently "splinted" with JBWeld and a small piece of stainless.  Holding so far..............

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    6 years ago on Step 5

    LOVE IT!!!!!!! very well done. the best ive seen in a while. very funny.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Top to bottom, a #10 blade, #11, and #12.
    2nd pic shows the #12 partially seated,
    and 3rd frame fully seated.
    The #10 does allow the multitool handle to close, the #12 does not.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I must say, this is a really clever and usefull hack.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The silver soldering may have messed up the temper of your scalpel, just saying.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Read the instructable, then comment. Just saying.
    Why would he solder with the blade on? Even if he did, its replaceable, that's the beauty of his idea.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry if it wasn't obvious. The scalpel blades are disposable, replaceable and interchangeable. The blade was off the handle when it was soldered.
    The beauty is that I never have to sharpen this tool. If there is a different task, like whittling or ripping seams, a #12 blade can be used. I'm pretty sure a #15 blade would fit into the multitool handle when closed. A #12 probably would prevent the handle from closing, but could still be placed on the scalpel handle and used.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'd be lost without my Leatherman. The #1 tool I go for and keep with me at all times.

    This i'ble rocks! Thanks for the great idea, I'm going to try this.