Oct 3, 2016 | By Alec

Every maker, and indeed everyone who ever does a little bit of work around the house, will have been in such a situation where you just can’t find that one specific tool you need to screw in that flat head, open that can of paint, grip a small bolt, strip a wire or pry out a nail. For some reason, you’ve seen that tool a thousand times when you didn’t need it, but when it’s absolutely essential, it's nowhere to be found Fortunately, army veteran Christian Reed saw how frequent the problem was and has developed a unique steel multi-tool called the GRIPsher using 3D printing. The handy 3D printed tool is small enough to fit on a keychain and combines two dozen functions into a single handheld device.

Now you might be thinking something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to waste any more money on those useless multi-tools again’. But the GRIPsher is unparalleled in its field. It is highly robust and has been purposefully created for all standard tinkering, assembly and construction tasks. As Reed explains, “GRIPsher is a natural extension of your hand. It is designed to replace all the times you use your finger tips to pinch a hex bolt, your finger nail to screw in a flat head, or pinch a wire to strip it. We wasted no time trying to stick in another 'nail scraper' or a 'can opener.' Instead, we observed which functions on a multi tool users actually use and optimized these tools to be readily accessible and functional using a single hand.”

So what can it do? The answer is almost anything, from stripping and cutting wires, to opening paint cans and screwing in all sorts of screws. It also doubles as a highly sharp knife, a pair of pliers, a wrench and more. The green jaw on the bottom of the GRIPsher even allows users to work with hex screw bits, bolts and nuts of any size. Overall, the tool seems perfect for applications ranging from furniture assembly to quick military fixes on the battlefield, and more. “The placement and design of the tool was carefully thought out based on which tools are used most often,” Reed says. And at the same time, it fits on keychain, a belt loop or on a bag – allowing you to use it any and everywhere.

That level of quality is more understandable once you find out that Reed is actually an MIT engineer and an army veteran, and has been in countless situations in which a multipurpose tool like the GRIPsher would’ve been very welcome. In fact, he dreamt up the original idea while deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. “Since then, and more than 50 revisions later, we have GRIPsher as it is today. We prototyped it out of stainless steel (the same material as the production units) to ensure they will perform properly under even the harshest of conditions,” Reed explains.

In the tool's development, 3D printing proved to be crucial during the prototyping process. To reach a final design that optimizes grip and functionality, Reed extensively relied on a Form 2 SLA 3D printer from Formlabs, and said it greatly sped up iteration. Obviously for the final product, steel is far more suited for the harsh conditions in which the GRIPsher will be used, so 17-4 stainless steel was used for body (nylon for the jaw). It has also been tested in countless military, medical, and aviation applications, and has been subjected to rigorous drop, wear, temperature, and durability testing. Even the weight and thickness of the parts have been optimized for functionality.

But as Reed explained, it was also forged with military use in mind. Though the GRIPsher is being sold through his company Outsmarting Technologies LLC, he is also aiming to help US troops everywhere through the Tools For Troops program – and is looking for support in the process. “[It] aims to help troops serving around the globe in the US Military get something nice. The way the program works is simple. When making a selection of what item to support, simply select the GRIPsher black model. When they are ready, you will receive a GRIPsher black with Green Jaws. A service member will receive a GRIPsher Black with black jaws,” he says. Right now they cannot take specific requests for service members you know, but it is a great way to help people risking their lives.

If you need any more proof that the GRIPsher can really make a difference, you only need to see its popularity. While originally intending to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter, Reed has already easily surpassed that target just hours after launching. This campaign is shaping up to be another notorious crowdfunding success, and you can support it by checking it out here. A pledge of $35 is enough to get your hands on one of these fantastic tools.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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RobinLeech wrote at 10/3/2016 10:27:05 PM:

There is one glaring problem with this that I find common to many such multi-tools. That is that it's so short and narrow that you can't use the pliers and maybe some other features on any heavy duty things without it digging into your hand and becoming very uncomfortable, or even cutting into your hand. In the field this would make it useless when you need pliers on anything serious. Notice that the picture of the guy using the pliers is with him wearing gloves. Unless the gloves are IN the multi-tool I wouldn't be using them. So either there needs to be some extendable handles/grips to give more leverage and keep this thing from digging into your hand, or it needs to be a bit longer and thicker, maybe with folding grip covers for the sides. Other than that it looks pretty handy.

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