29 August, 2014

TKS Mini-biner

A Kickstarter project: TKS: Titanium Key System

This is actually only the SECOND project I've received rewards for, and the ONLY physical reward I've received, despite it being the 15th project I've backed, and approximately 14 months after I backed my first project. (It's not that bad. Most of my pledges are $1 to keep track of projects and see updates.)

This project was mainly for titanium one-piece multitools with the usual wrench, bottle opener and hanging hook functions. Those didn't interest me, but their carabiner did. The entire carabiner, including the spring and gate, was made of a single piece of titanium, what I call a "unibody" design. It's similar to the Bauhaus carabiner, both very elegant, although I have to admit the Bauhaus looks better. The best part of the Mini-biner was it cost only $10, less than 1/3 of the Bauhaus, and possibly the cheapest titanium carabiner I've seen. It even had free anodising.

So it arrived without warning at my vPost address, and I hurriedly threw some orders together to make the shipping worthwhile. The carabiners were in what looked like plastic envelopes for coins, in a too-big padded envelope. It was ok, vPost only charged for 0.5 kg volumetric weight. There was a cute little laser-engraved wooden plaque included. Maybe the carabiners were cut with the same laser?
First impression: the carabiners are smaller than I expected, but that's ok since I was planning on using them on belt loops and all my other clips and carabiners hang too low. They're also really light and feel like they could be aluminium, but I don't think aluminium has that much spring. The gate is surprisingly stiff. All their edges are smooth so they've had some finishing work done.

So far, I love them. The right size and weight, unique design, titanium, build quality seems ok and cheap! I'm just worried about the gate. The problem with the unibody design is, I think the gate thickness has to be optimised so that the entire section bends evenly. If not, it'll break after some use. It's happened to some Bauhaus carabiners. Hopefully they've tested and iterated this design. You'll also see that solid loops (e.g. keys) can only go in the clip and hang off the bottom of the carabiner. They can't fit in the circle. This also happens to be where the bending takes place, so any scratches/cracks will grow quickly and shorten the life of the carabiner, so I'm refraining from keeping any metal there.

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