A pile of red Swiss Army knives, probably collected by TSA.

Introducing The Swiss Army… Tool?

You’ve probably used one for everything from opening packages to stripping wires in a pinch (because you know better than to use your teeth). We’re talking about the blade of the iconic Swiss Army knife. And while there are many different models out there, they all feature at least one knife among their utensils. Until now.

Citing pressure due to the increase in worldwide knife violence, the company announced that they’ll be releasing a new range of tools without blades. Carl Elsner, fourth-generation CEO of Swiss Army knife maker Victorinox, is also concerned about increasing regulations surrounding knives at sporting events and other activities. And he has a point: according to the UN’s Global Study on Homicide 2023 (PDF), 30% of European homicides were committed with some type of sharp object.

In an interview with The Guardian, Elsner spoke of creating more specialized tools, such as one for cyclists, who don’t necessarily need a blade. He also mentioned that Victorinox have a tool specifically for golfers, but we’d like to point out that it features, among other things, a knife.

It’s going to be a long time before people stop assuming that the skinny red thing in your pocket contains a knife, especially at the airport. What TSA agent is going to take the time to check out your tool? They’re going to chuck it in the bucket with the rest of them. Would you consider buying a blade-less multi-tool? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t have much need for a knife? Here’s a bench tool that has it all.

(Main and thumbnail photos via Unsplash)

Tricked-out Barbecue Will Make You Do A Spit Take

[Strn] and his friends love to barbecue no matter what it’s like outside. But something always seems to interrupt the fun: either it’s time to get up and turn the meat, or the music stops because somebody’s phone ran out of juice, or darkness falls and there aren’t enough flashlights or charged-up phones. He had the idea to build the Swiss Army knife of barbecues, a portable powerhouse that solves all of these problems and more (translated).

Most importantly, the E-Mangal rotates the skewers for even cooking. It does this with a 3D-printed worm gear system driven by the heater flap actuator from a car. After 25 minutes of slow rotation, a voice announces that it’s time to eat. [Strn] and friends will never hurt for music options between the pre-loaded tracks, Bluetooth audio, FM antenna, USB, and SD options running through a 3W amp. Two USB lights illuminate nighttime barbecuing, and the 10 Ah battery can do it all and keep everyone’s phone charged. For safety’s sake, [Strn] included a half-liter water tank to extinguish the coals via jet stream. Everything is run by a PIC18F, and it can be controlled at the box or through a simple web interface.

We love the look of this barbecue controller almost as much as the functionality. The sturdy stance of those short, angled legs give it a mid-century appliance feel, and seeing all the guts on display is always a plus. Grab a turkey leg and take the tour after the break.

The E-Mangal has a thermocouple in the coal box to measure the temperature, but there’s no direct control. If you’re more interested in temperature options than entertainment, here’s a project that micromanages everything on the grill.

Continue reading “Tricked-out Barbecue Will Make You Do A Spit Take”

Swiss Army Keys


This isn’t a hack that shows you how to start a car without the keys. It’s a way to ditch the bulky keyring for a set of fold-out keys. [Colonel Crunch] removed the blades from the pocket knife and replaced them with the two keys for his car (one is ignition and door locks, the other opens the trunk). He didn’t take pictures of the process, but he did link to this unrelated guide on how it’s done.

About one minute into the video after the break we see each step in the build process. First the plastic trim is removed from either side of the knife. The blades are basically riveted on; there’s a pin which holds them in and either side of it has been pressed to that it can no longer move through the holes in the frame. To get around this one side is ground off with a rotary tool, and the pin is then tapped out with a hammer. The removed blade/scissors/tool is used as a template to cut the body of the key down to size and shape.  The pin is then hammered back into place before putting the plastic trim back on.

Continue reading “Swiss Army Keys”