Main Project Final Report Part 2: Heat colored butterfly knife

Effectively using butterfly knives takes a lot of skill, coordination, and patience. I thoroughly enjoyed this project and the new skills I have learned because of it, aside from learning how to flip butterfly knives which is already awesome.

The final outcome of my project was far from my intent. Nevertheless I am still very happy with the way it turned out. As stated in my previous post, I originally wanted a pop aesthetic that featured bright contrasting colors. To achieve this, I would anodize titanium handles using a special a solution and running a current through it. Unfortunately, titanium is both expensive to purchase and difficult to work with. So I scrapped the idea and went with steel handles.

The problem with steel handles however is that anodizing steel has a completely different outcome than that of titanium. So my aesthetic was no longer an option either. After seeing the effects of heating up steel to high temperatures, I saw that I could create a metal worn/steampunk aesthetic, which is very far from pop. But in the end, it worked out.

To help the color to stand out, the metal must be of high quality as well as have a nice polished finish on it. To ensure high quality metal, I purchased the handles online rather than making them myself out of scrap metal. This helped with the final product immensely.

So to summarize from beginning to end, I went from titanium to steel, anodization to heat coloring, and purchasing the required parts rather than making them out of scrap metal.

During the expo, many people were interested in the unique coloring of my project. Although I think many people were excited just to see a butterfly knife in general because they aren’t that common in public. But I received many questions on how I achieved the coloring and many people seemed eager to try this process out for themselves.

This class has really opened my eyes to the world of aesthetics and the process it takes from making a functional object into a desirable one. I am very pleased with how my final project came out and enjoyed the team structure while having individual projects. It is quite extraordinary what people can do with such ordinary objects such as a chair. As an engineer, this class has taught me that a product often needs more than just function in order for the public to really appreciate what it was intended to do.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Oksana Schuppan
    May 5, 2017 8:56 pm

    I am so fascinated by this idea. You did so much experimentation and I commend you for that. The more you experiment, the more you can refine. I love the sleek, subtle neon color aesthetic that was achieved and I believe it contributes a whole new level of quality to your project. I would love to see you experiment with a knife made from Titanium since the colors produced on this material are so dramatic.

  • I enjoyed learning about the anodization process that you went through. The process was eye opening and I learned how difficult metals can be to work with. You are right, it’s rare to see a butterfly knife, so that really stunned people. You should have put a video up so people can get an idea of what types of tricks you can do.

    You should make people aware that its more than just a functional knife, it can be an entertainment piece too.

  • Connor Swanson
    May 4, 2017 12:47 pm

    Even though you project went through some changes throughout the course of the semester, it still came out as a great product. I really enjoyed hearing updates about it in our group and pod meetings. Machining a lot of those parts would have been a pretty difficult task so I’m not surprised you to purchase the others. The color really gives it a unique feel. Good job.


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