Inspired by recent projects designed to hold your keys in a configuration, the boys at Ruckus Composites set out to do something similar, but in a medium they are much more familiar with, carbon fiber. The result comes in the form of the Carbon.Access.Tool. This simple product consists of two carbon fiber side panels, two screws, and a few spacers. It’s designed to hold the majority of keys out there, all while reducing the bulk in your pocket.
Personally, I hate things in my pockets, so I was intrigued by this product when Shawn showed me what he was working on a while back. As soon as their Kickstarter launched I backed the project. They were nice enough to set me up with one of their pre-production samples so I could get an idea of just how the tool functioned. Unlock the review past the jump.
The Carbon.Access.Tool ships in a mailbox friendly CD case sized box. Once unpacked, the tool is pre-assembled onto a business card that is printed with a web address where assembly instructions and examples can be found.
The tool is designed to work best with your standard house key style blank, and two of those are included. The reason: about 70% of the keys out there are this style. Of course there are going to be odd balls here and there though, but more on that in a moment.
I quickly undid the screws, removed the two included key blanks, and went to assembling my keys onto the device. I then found out that out of the six keys I use daily, two of them just wouldn’t fit. It turns out that the studs in this early model are a bit larger than they will be in the final production model. So, out came the drill to enlarge the openings on each of the keys. For anyone that has the tools and is willing, it’s a super simple modification. Hopefully however, it won’t be needed for most because the new (2mm) smaller studs should fit a lot more keys. It should hold zero to eight keys depending on the key type and your personal needs.
Besides shrinking the hardware, a stainless steel spacer with a loop on it will be included. This will give the end user the option to attach a key ring or quick release item (carabiner or the like) to the tool for easy access to those odd ball keys including those pesky VW keys.
In daily use, I have found myself pleased with the tool. I can now easily carry my keys along side my chapstick using the change pocket of my jeans. Being that I really don’t like anything in my side pockets, this is a great change for me. When it comes to actually selecting a key and unlocking something, there have been no issues. I could envision it would be difficult selecting the right key the first time if you have several that are the same. The anodized black hardware on my unit is already showing a bit of wear thanks to a slip with the screwdriver. There is a chance that the production unit will use a nylon based screw. This would keep it looking nicer, and eliminate the need for any thread locking application, as the nylon would catch itself and hold tight. All in all, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a cleaner, more compact way to portage their keys. The Carbon.Access.Tool. has a permanent home in my every day carry list. To get your own, visit their Kickstarter (there are two days left still). Don’t worry if you miss out though, come November, they should be available for sale on their main site (for a bit more $).