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Multi-tools As Component Systems

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by bquinlan, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. bquinlan

    bquinlan Loaded Pockets

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    We tend to talk mostly about multi-tools as stand-alone devices, but for me the difference between the good and the great is how well a multi-tool functions as part of a system of components. The most versatile are the ones that support additional user-selected add-ons. This tendency has increased dramatically since the early days of the SAK or the original Leatherman PST.

    Bits have become almost universal components for full-sized multi-tools and for a lot of the smaller ones. Those that don't have a built-in bit driver generally have some kind of add-on adapter. Instead of hoping you never have to drive anything unusual you can carry bits for whatever specialty needs you expect to have. And now that there are more portable variations like double-ended bits and Leatherman's flat bits you don't need a wheelbarrow. ;)

    My primary multi-tool is the Leatherman Surge, which affords more opportunities than most for "accessorizing". In addition to the usual stand-alone tools is includes a 1/4" hex flat bit driver, a "small" bit driver, and a T-shank jig saw blade holder.
    • The back slot in my Surge sheath holds a full set of Leatherman flat bits. That's two holders, with ten bits each, all double-ended, for a total of 40 effective bit types.
    • In one side-slot I carry a Leatherman bit extender. Not only does it give me more reach, it also allows me to use regular non-flat 1/4" hex bits.
    • In the bit extender I keep a 1/4" socket adapter. That lets me use a whole world of sockets.
    • In the other side-slot is a Wiha micro bit adapter that I ground down for use in the Surge's flat bit driver. 4mm hex micro bits weight less and take up a lot less space than 1/4" hex bits.
    • In the front slot is the Surge's plastic jig saw blade holder, folded. It holds a wood saw blade and a diamond-grit metal/stone blade.
    • And in a pocket I carry a small flat case that holds a set of Wiha micro bits to cover my needs for specialty bits that are not part of the Leatherman set. It includes a selection of tiny slotted, Phillips, hex, and Torx bits.

    That whole collection, including the Surge, doesn't take up much more space than a stand-alone multi-tool, but it sure does provide a lot more capability.

    What "systems" do the rest of you carry?

    --Bob Q
     
  2. yam350

    yam350 Loaded Pockets

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    I have an LM Supertool and the bit adapter for it, they were amongst the first of those two items in the UK and still going strong, as with you I have a 1/4" drive adapter to be able to use socket wrenches etc.
    I also have a skeletool with the flat bit kit, the Skelly stays in my pocket 24/7 and the half of the bit kit that is useful to me is always in my bag which goes everywhere with me.
    In addition to the above I have a kit I made with a tiny ratchet handle that drives both 1/4 hex and 1/4 square in there is a selection of Bike related sizes of torx and other bits along with hex and square extensions for when I'm cycling or biking.
    The Supertool is always in my van or my bike tail pack.
    What intrigues me is the jigsaw blade holder, that is something I have always wanted and have never heard of.
    I even tried making a couple of really small saw blade holders but neither of them have been that good, if you could post any details I would be grateful.
     
  3. qharjo

    qharjo Empty Pockets

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    I just want to know...how well do Multis actually work as socket drivers? I'd been looking at the SOG 1/4" adapters, and now have a Wave on the way that I was considering a socket adapter for, but do multis actually handle the torque usually applied to socket wrenches?
     
  4. Chief-Yeah

    Chief-Yeah Loaded Pockets

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    sounds great but
    :worthless:
    I also have a surge and would love to see it
     
  5. Golden

    Golden Loaded Pockets

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    I carry the 20 bit kit in the back pouch of my wave sheath as well, I actually used it the other day when I was taking apart a radio (torx bits) and was like "YEAH it is useful". Only thing that sucks is it overloads the sheath by a small margin and you can only get like 3/4 of the velcro attached.
     
  6. molawns

    molawns Loaded Pockets

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    :iagree:

    I second that emotion!

    That sounds like a great set up, but I'd want to try and set up something similar with the LM Crunch. The Crunch has a built-in 1/4 inch bit driver on the end.



    BTW,

    I currently carry a Gerber MP600 Pro Scout and a Vic OHT (non-serrated) as my EDC. I work outdoors, so wearing two belt sheaths doesn't get me any funny looks from people. When I'm in the woods/camping, I also carry a RAT RC-4 and TOPS ATAX for outdoor tools, and occassionally I'll also carry a pair of fence pliers in my woods bag.

    That's my set-up, right now.
     
  7. DaveK67

    DaveK67 Loaded Pockets

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    Good topic, and something I definitely agree with myself.

    Personally I EDC a Charge TTi with a single "card" of the proprietary flat bits, that I've refined over time to meet 90% of what I come up against. I think I've got the compromise between preparedness and carry space/weight about right for me now. Together with a G4 Prybaby to grip bolts etc, I haven't had anything I couldn't solve for a while.

    At home, I tend to favour the Leatherman Core, or more recently the Supertool 300. I find these tools too big for EDC, but actually the best, strongest multis around if you don't have to worry about lugging them about. With these tools, I'll often use Leatherman's tool adapter with a 1/4" hex bit set I picked up in a local hardware place for about a tenner IIRC.

    The T-shank adapter on the Surge always leaves me a bit irritated. It's fundamentally a brilliant idea, but all of the t-shank blades that I have found tend to be a bit thinner so you get a huge amount of play when fitted to the tool. Lot's of play in a saw generally leads to a bent saw blade if you're clumsy like me! I've read about people wrapping a bit of tape around the ends of t-shank blades to make a tighter fit - do you do that at all bquinlan?

    A bit of a rubbish answer I know, but I'd say it depends on the multi. Some are a lot tougher than others.

    I'm fortunate enough to have access to a couple of Leatherman maintenance tools, including the sockets for the screws that hold the Micra together, that's why I'm always talking Leathermans apart :D I do tend to use a couple of SOGs with their 1/4" socket adapters to use them and they work fine. On a badly rusted up tool, you might generate a significant amount or torque, and the SOG Powerlock / Powerplier don't show any serious flexing or creaking!

    I would summarise by saying that they seem reasonably capable for light use, but with that design, there will obviously be limits. It might be worth dropping SOG a line and seeing what they recommend - their CS people have a reputation for being brilliant with things like that.
     
  8. bquinlan

    bquinlan Loaded Pockets

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    All I have handy at the moment is my crappy phone camera, but here's a picture of my Surge and its accessories:

    [​IMG]

    The wood saw is currently attached to the Surge's blade exchanger. (And needs some rust removed.) The next item down on the left is a standard 1/4" socket adapter. Below that is a packet of 14 Wiha 4mm hex micro bits. Next right is a Leatherman Bit Driver Extender. Next right is a Wiha Micro Bit Adapter that I ground down flat to fit the Surge's large bit driver. Finally, on the right are the two holders and 20 bits of a full Leatherman Flat Bit Set. And I just realized that I failed to get out the other two jig saw blades when I took the picture... :rolleyes:

    Maybe I'll manage a complete "family picture" later.

    --Bob Q
     
  9. bquinlan

    bquinlan Loaded Pockets

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    I've had better luck finding blades that fit without adjustment, but I have wrapped a few to get a better fit. Several of my alternate blades were also too long so I cut them down to size.

    --Bob Q
     
  10. DaveK67

    DaveK67 Loaded Pockets

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    I didn't even realise they came in different thicknesses tbh! Thanks :)

    I love the micro bit adapter mod. That's a great idea.
     
  11. Minion

    Minion Loaded Pockets

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    I love the ratchet that comes with the Swisstool spirit! It's a great tool to have! I Know it will go with what ever MT I carry!
     
  12. xxecatxx

    xxecatxx Empty Pockets

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    You guys are geniouses! Keep me updated on whatever you find!
     
  13. Chief-Yeah

    Chief-Yeah Loaded Pockets

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    Nice set up,thanks for the pics O0 .Personally I think I'd just go ahead and carry the 1/4" hex bits but to each his own I guess.You have given me cause to rethink my set up though so job well done :p

    I also have one of those and like you I love it too,comes in pretty handy in tight quarters.
     
  14. bquinlan

    bquinlan Loaded Pockets

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    Glad I could help! ;D

    My original reason for getting the micro bits was that several of the really small sizes don't seem to be available in any other form factor. (I sometimes need Phillips #00 and #000 working on small electronics.) Once I had the adapter as part of my kit I realized that I could save a fair amount of space and weight by using micro bits for my other specialty bits.

    --Bob Q
     
  15. Dizos

    Dizos Loaded Pockets

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    Cool. I like the idea of the micro bits. Can you recommend any saw blades to fit the Surge that are good to go off the shelf (I don't currently have access to a grinder)?

    This is a much bulkier setup, but I have integrated multitools into a component system. I want to make a smaller kit with just the two multitools, the 1/4" adapter and the various hex bits and blades.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    I carry a Ti Charge with the bit kit in my Jumbo Maxped.
     
  17. Chief-Yeah

    Chief-Yeah Loaded Pockets

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    Oh ok,figured there had to be a reason . . . do they not make those sizes in 1/4" hex bits or was it more important to you to save the space ?
    I would like to see the other blades if/when you have a chance.