DIY Multifunction Pocket Tool





Introduction: DIY Multifunction Pocket Tool

I started this project because I wanted a more convenient way to carry and store the variety of 1/4" bits that I like to keep with me for my day to day tinkering.  Once I had something that served that purpose I thought it would be fun to try to pack in a bit more utility by adding on some features that I thought may be useful, or at least pretty cool to have on hand.  What I ended up with was a sort of DIY Pocket Tool that can be customized to meet your needs, that is simple and inexpensive to make.  Because I designed this tool to be customizable based on your personal needs this Instructable is not set up in the usual step by step fashion, instead each step will show you how to add a new tool/function to your DIY Pocket tool.

List of Functions that can potentially be added to the DIY Pocket Tool
  • Storage space for up to five 1/4" bits
  • 3' of utility cord
  • 2-3 strong 1/4" Magnets
  • Glass Breaker/Kobutan Self Defense Weapon
  • 1/4" Bit Driver
  • Xacto Knife
  • Storage for Xacto Knife Blades
  • Storage for Tweezers and Pins
  • 5" Rule
  • Pocket Clip
Note: All of these functions cannot be packed into one tool, for example storing Xacto Knife blades will take up space meaning you can store less 1/4" driver bits.  Also putting an Xacto Knife on one end and a glass breaker/kobutan on the other will make the inside of the tool inaccessible meaning that you will not be able to store anything inside the tool.  Pick and choose the functions that suite you and your needs best.

  • Aluminum Arrow  Shaft  -  This will become the body of the DIY Pocket tool and is where the 1/4" bits are stored. You can pick up damaged aluminum arrow shafts from your local archery pro-shop for free if you ask nicely.  One arrow shaft is enough to make 4 or 5 DIY Pocket Tools.  Aluminum arrows come in different diameters and weights so make sure the arrow shaft you select is big enough to fit your 1/4" bits or whatever else you plan to store inside.
  • Aluminum Arrow Tip Insert  -  This is what the tip of the arrow screws into.  If you get an old arrow to repurpose it will most likely already have this installed, if not you can buy tip inserts on websites like Amazon and Ebay very inexpensively.
  • 75 Grain Arrow Field Tip  -  This is the glass breaker/self defense part of the tool.  You can use any size field tip but I like the 75 grain tip for it's smaller profile and shape.
  • 3/8 Rubber End Cap This works as the cap that holds the 1/4" bits inside the body of the DIY Pocket Tool.
  • Pen or Pencil with Removable Pocket Clip  -   You want the type of clip that wraps the whole way around the pen or pencil, check out step 8 for an example.
  • Utility Cord - Similar to paracord, utility cord is a light weight cord that has extremely high tensile strength. Utility cord differs from paracord in that it is about 1 third as thick as paracord.
  • Xacto Knife - If you decide to make the DIY Pocket Tool with the Xacto blade holder you will be cutting and modifying an xacto knife to fit within the aluminum arrow shaft.
  • 3/8" Tubing (2" in length) - This will be used to creat the body of the bit driver component.
  • 1/4" bit driver - You'll be altering this piece so that it attaches to your DIY Pocket Tool in Step 3.
  • 1/4" rubber O ring - Used to affix the bit driver to the DIY Pocket Tool.
  • Various 1/4" Bits - Pick what would be most useful to you, for me personally I like to always have  T10 and T15 Torx bits because my car is held together with these types of screws.

  • Pipe/Tubing Cutter
  • Sand Paper
  • Drill Press or Hand Drill
  • Hack Saw
  • Sander
  • Super Glue/ Epoxy
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Hammer
  • Needle Files
  • Pliers

Step 1: Cutting the Arrow Shaft

In this step you'll be cutting the arrow shaft to a length that fits comfortably in your pocket ( approx 5" long).

Tools Needed:
  • Ruler
  • Pipe Cutter
Materials Needed:
  • Aluminum Arrow Shaft.
You have a few things to decide before you start cutting.  The first thing you need to decide is if you want the glass breaker / self defense weapon (kobutan) as part of your tool.  If so, you need to cut your arrow shaft from the front of the arrow where the arrow tip insert is inserted.  If you plan to make your tool with the xacto knife insert then cut your arrow shaft so that both ends of the tube are open.

Either way cut your arrow shaft to an approximate length of 5" so that it fits comfortably in your pocket.

Once you have cut the arrow shaft, clean up any rough edges with either sand paper or files, paying special attention to remove any sharp burrs of metal.

Step 2: Glass Breaker / Kobutan

In this step you'll be learning how to install the glass breaker/kobutan self defense weapon on your DIY Pocket Tool.

Tools Needed:
  • None
Materials Needed:
  • Arrow Shaft with installed Arrow Tip Insert
  • Archery Field Tip
The glass break / self defense kobutan is very simple to add to the DIY Pocket Tool. All you have to do is install an archery field tip into the arrow tip insert in the arrow shaft.  Field tips screw into the arrow tip insert so installation and removal is a snap.  Field tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes so pick the tip that is right for you.  For the pictured tool I chose to use a 75 grain field tip.

Note that you can cap this part of the tool with a 3/8" rubber end cap if you're worried about it poking you in the leg during carry.

Step 3: Bit Driver

Initially I planed to use a separate 1/4" bit driver with the bits that I intended to store inside the DIY Pocket Tool,  however because some people may only want to carry one tool I decided to add a 1/4 bit driver to the DIY Pocket Tool to increase it's functionality. 

Tools Needed
  • Pipe Cutter
  • Hack Saw
  • Needle Files (round)
  • Epoxy
  • Sand Paper

Materials Needed
  • 1/4" bit driver
  • 2" piece of 3/8" steel pipe
  • 1/4" rubber O ring
Start by cutting a piece of 3/8" tubing that is roughly 2" long. Next trim your 1/4" bit driver so that it is as short as possible without removing any material from the end that holds the bit, or from the magnet that keeps the bit in place.  Now epoxy the bit driver into one end of the 3/8" tubing and allow the epoxy time to cure.  When the bit driver and 3/8" tubing assembly is fully cured use a round needle file to cut two channels into the 3/8" tubing on the end that does not hold the bit driver as shown in the picture.  These channels will be used to hold a rubber O ring that will keep the bit driver fixed in place on to the end of the DIY Pocket Tool. With the two channels filed in, slip on the 1/4" rubber O ring so that it sits in the channels.  At this point the bit driver is done and ready to be added to the DIY Pocket Tool.  If you want a little more gripping power when using the bit driver to drive screws consider adding the grip from a large pen or marker as shown in the first and last pictures of this step.

Step 4: Xacto Knife

In this Step you'll be modifying an Xacto Knife to fit your DIY Pocket Tool. Infinately useful and extremely versitile, Xacto Knives are wonderful to have close at hand, especially if you're interested in making and building things.  These little knives can go places that the standard size pocket knife may be to big to fit into and because the blades are replacable you'll never have to worry about sharping or having a dull blade.

Tools Needed:
  • Drill Press or Hand Drill
  • Files and Sand Paper
  • Hack Saw
  • Super Glue or Epoxy
  • Hammer

Materials Needed
  • Arrow Shaft cut to approximately 5"
  • Xacto Knife
This is one of the most complicated components to make but it is definitely worth while if you're someone who likes to have an Xacto Knife at all times.  Start by disassembling your Xacto Knife,  you should end up with 3 parts, the handle, the collet, and the part that holds the blade.  With the knife disassembled you can set aside the collet and blade holder as you only need to modify the handle so that it fits inside the arrow shaft.
  • Chuck the Xacto Knife handle into your drill or drill press so that the working end (the end that holds the blade), is sticking out. 
  • While the drill is spinning using a combination of files and sand paper remove material from the bottom 1-2 inches of the handle until it fits snugly inside the arrow shaft.  Note that it is important to test the fit often so that you do not remove to much material from the handle.
  • Once the handle has been filed/sanded to the correct diameter it is time to cut the handle to length for installation into the arrow shaft.  Remove the Xacto handle from your drill or drill press and use your hack saw to cut the handle off approximately 1 1/4" from the working end.
  • Using super glue or epoxy install the working end of the Xacto knife into one end of your arrow shaft.  Note that you may have to hammer these parts together if you filed/sanded the handle section to a very snug fit.
  • Allow your expoxy/ super glue to dry before reassembling.

What makes this worth doing is that you can now use the hollow handle to store your Xacto Knife blades as well as a variety of other useful implaments and tools and insead of just having an Xacto knive you know have a tool with multiple other functions.

Step 5: Ruler

In this step you will be adding a rule to your to your DIY Pocket Tool.

Tools Needed:
  • Ruler
  • Drill or Drill Press
  • Needle File (Triangular)

  • Arrow Shaft cut to approximately 5"


  • Start by holding your arrow shaft in place alligned with a ruler and mark it with your needle file every inch or half inch or centameter; whatever your prefered unit of measure is. 
  • Next, chuck the marked arrow shaft into your drill or drill press and turn it on.  The spinning of the drill / drill press will make your marks show up as lines that encircle the arrow shaft.
  • Now hold your needle file against the spinning arrow shaft where you made your marks to cut a line that wraps the diameter of the arrow shaft.  Do this for each of the marks that you made. Note that the wall thickness of the arrow shaft is fairly thin so you don't want to cut your lines in to deep or you risk filing a weak point into the arrow shaft.

Note: If you'd perfer a more standard style of ruler there are stickers that you can purchase and install onto your DIY Pocket Tool.  These stickers are known as "CardStick Ruler Stickers" and are available from 

Step 6: Utility Cord

In this step you will add utility cord to your DIY Pocket Tool. Utility cord is a super useful high tensile strength cord that is very similar to paracord except that is is a good bit thinner, measuring only 1mm in diameter.  As you might expect, any type of cord or rope is inherently useful and utility cord is no exception.  Whether you need a spur of the moment replacement for a broken shoe lace or a bit of cord to make an impromptu belt, there are hundreds of reasons to keep this useful material close at hand.

Tools Needed:
  • Scissors
  • Lighter

Materials Needed:
  • 3' of Utility Cord
  • Arrow Shaft cut to approx 5"

Although there are several effective methods for tying the utility cord the method I use is known as a cobra weave.  Typically used to make paracord braclets. the cobra weave is a secure method of tying that lets you store a large ammount of cord by tying it into a tight pattern that is easy to undo. Please review the GIF image on this page to see how the cobra weave is tied, or simply search Instructables as there are several great tutorials that already exist showing how to tye this pattern.
Once you have successfully tied all of your utility cord onto the DIY Pocket Tool, use a lighter to seal the ends of your utility cord to prevent fraying.

The utility cord can serve many purposes, it can be untied for a variety of uses apart from the DIY Pocket Tool and can also be untied and used in conjunctions with the DIY Pocket Tool for added funcationality.  Please review the last step of this Instructable for some ideas as to how to use the DIY Pocket Tool.

Step 7: Magnets

In this step you will be installing magnets into the DIY Pocket Tool.  Although magnets might not seem like the most useful or necessary of tools to have with you all the time, they are infact quite handy to have for things like testing ferrous and nonferrous metals, finding studs, and collecting things like keys that have fallen just out of reach.

Tools Needed:
  • None

Materials Needed:
  • Arrow Shaft cut to approx 5"
  • 3/8" Rubber End Cap
  • 1-2 Magnets (1/4" in size)
To add magnets to your DIY Pocket Tool simply stick the magnets together and insert them into the rubber end cap that will be used to seal the open end of the tool.  the magnets will fit snuggly into the end cap and can be easily removed when they are needed. Note that you could use expoxy to perminately affix the magnets in place but I like the versitily of being able to remove the magnets.

Step 8: Pocket Clip

In this step you will be canablizing an old pen or mechanical pencil to add a pocket clip to your DIY Pocket Tool.

Tools Needed:
  • Pliers (Maybe)

  • Pens or Pencils with Pocket Clips
  • DIY Pocket Tool at any level of completion.

This step is pretty simple, just disassemble the pen/pencil and remove the pocket clip.  Hopefully the pocket clip will fit right onto the arrow shaft with no adjustment needed.  If the pocket clip is a little loose or a little tight gently adjust it with pliers until it fits properly.

Step 9: Additional Storage Ideas

Although I started this project with the purpose of storing 1/4" driver bits, there are literally hundreds of useful things you can keep inside your DIY Pocket Tool.  Here are a few idea I have come up with over the course of this build.
  • Xacto blades
  • Tweezers
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pins
  • Matches and a striker strip
  • Tooth picks
  • Tic-Tacs
  • Bobbie pins
  • Extra lead for lead pencils
  • Small screw driver and screws for glasses repair
  • Emergency money, roll up a few bucks and stash them inside
  • Pills
Of course this isn't the definative list and you will probably find all sorts of things that are not listed here that might be useful to keep inside your DIY Pocket Tool.

Step 10: DIY Pocket Tool in Use

What makes this little tool great is that it gives you an assortment of components that can be combined for more specialized uses.  Check out the pictures for a few examples of possible combinations.

Thank you very much for taking the time to check out my Instructable.  I hope you found thie information presented here to be valuable and interesting.  If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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50 Discussions

I need this

Thanks for the idea. I modified your design and blueprints to fit my needs like a longer arrow shaft and bit driver.

AWESOME! I understand this is probably only a hobby, but with the way the survival market is blowing up I am sure you could secure your own enterprise if you got this thing on kick starter. Keep on building, and congrats on an amazing instructable.

1 reply

hi killRoy77,

That's a really cool idea! I've actually been toying around with the idea of doing something on kickstarter for some time and I think an upgraded version of this project would be a good idea. Thank you for your support!

Nice man, how about you make a survival kit pen, Check my survival pen for ideas. (If you like) xD

Hello Ouranos. the screw driver fits over the end that has the glass breaker or the xacto insert. the cuts in the top and the small black oring work to hold the screwdriver snug onto the tool. hope this helps!

This is awesome nice job with the attachment although I would use an air hose coupler male for on the shaft and female for the attachment

Well done! High quality 'ible. I appreciated the creative photos, and well-designed tool. I am so going to try to make this one! Thanks for your work!

1 reply

Great instructable Matt!
You could make things a lot easier with a lathe! It would mean you could cut the tubes to length really neatly and cut precise grooves for a ruler, maybe even with a millimetre scale! I was thinking you could cut the tube in half, add some tubing to the outside middle section (maybe a bigger arrow?) and cut some internal threads, then cut some threads on the outside of the smaller tube and make it thread together in the middle? (If that makes any sense!?) That would mean you could store things inside, but have the glass breaker and the X-acto knife!

I'm going to have to go and find some broken arrow shafts now! Thanks for such a great instructable!

1 reply

Thank you very much jmcconnell5, I'm glad you enjoyed my Instructable. You're definately right that a metal lathe would make things both easier and more percises, (I've actually been meaning to track one down for my shop for some time.) Also, I totally understand what you're talking about with the tool breaking apart in the middle so that you have internal access as well as the ability to put tools on both ends, a very smart idea that I'll definately be testing out. Thanks for your post and your great comments and suggestions.
Best Regards,

in looking this over and being a person who goes on survival trips I find it very useful. in fact I am constructing one this week, also gave me an idea for a few modifications as well.
Very good job

1 reply

Thanks mmoberly3, I'm glad to hear that this has sparked the interest of a few survivalists out their like yourself. Please consider posting some pictures of your finished projects as I would enjoy seeing what modifications you come up with.
Best regards,

Really great little project, but I had to laugh when I saw "your local archery pro-shop". Of course every small market town has one of those... I know there are other kinds of aluminium tube but they don't look as nice :/