Switch Modular Pocket Knife Review

The Switch Modular Pocket Knife from quirky could be a perfect gadget for Swiss Army knife fans it can be customized with your choice of 18 different tool attachments. Let’s see if this  multi-tool is worthy enough to add to your gear bag.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

When is the last time that you saw a multi-tool packaged in a plastic box like this one? Opening the box reveals a variety of blades.

Package Contents

2 exterior body covers, for encasing the tool attachments.
2 slotted caps to hold the tool together, which can be removed with the twist of a quarter to disassemble the unit.
3 interior chassis assemblies – small (2-6 tools), medium (4-10 tools), and large (7-13 tools)
18 tool attachments: Basic Blade, Serrated Blade, Woodsaw, Bottle Opener/Flathead, Can Opener/Wire Stripper, Scissors, Nail File, Flathead Screwdriver, Phillips-Head Screwdriver, Eyeglass Flathead Screwdriver, Eyeglass Phillips-Head Screwdriver, Magnifying Lens, Corkscrew, Wrench, Pen, Magnet, Tweezers, LED Flashlight
Plastic storage case
Instruction sheet

The idea behind the Switch Modular Pocket Knife is that you can build your own customized knife with a variety of blades / tools. You start by choosing a small, medium or large steel chassis. The smallest chassis will accommodate 2-6 tools, the medium chassis can hold 4-10 tools and the largest chassis will hold 7-13 tools.

Here are the 18 tool attachments. Top row: Magnet, Corkscrew, Tweezers, LED Flashlight, Eyeglass Flathead Screwdriver
Middle row: Eyeglass Phillips-Head Screwdriver, Pen, Scissors, Wrench, Magnifying Lens
Bottom row: Phillips-Head Screwdriver, Basic Blade, Woodsaw, Serrated Blade, Bottle Opener/Flathead, Can Opener/Wire Stripper, Flathead Screwdriver, Nail File

Some of the tools have “handles” that are made of plastic, while the others are made of steel. In the image above, you’ll see the tweezers, corkscrew, Black ballpoint pen, magnet and magnifying glass. These extra non-knife tools look like they could be handy, but in reality some of them are less than useful. The magnet tool is a great idea, but the magnet itself is pretty weak. The magnifying glass is completely useless. It might work for trying to make a fire with a beam of sunlight… but to actually magnify something, forget it. The lens is tiny and blurry. The ballpoint pen could be cool, but trying to write with it while it is in the Switch handle is pretty uncomfortable. I’m also not sure how you would go about refilling it as I can’t seem to pull out the pen from the handle.

Assembling your tools into the chassis can be a real challenge. The instructions tell you to line up all the tools into the chassis and then slide in the appropriate axle. I found this to be difficult because the tools tend to slide around making it hard to slide the axle completely through the hole.

I found it easier to slide the axle partially through the chassis opening and then load the tools one by one. Just don’t forget to put the cover on before inserting the axle. Once you’ve added all the tools and have the axle seated properly, you can add the other cover and the axle cap. To tighten the cap, you can use a quarter. Be warned that the axles are made of aluminum, which is soft and easily scratched and marred by the quarter.

Here’s an assembled Switch using the medium chassis with 6 tools.

At first I thought my customized Switch modular pocket knife was really cool… until I tried to access one of the blades. I soon became frustrated because the blades seemed to all catch on each other making it almost impossible to pull one out. Adjusting the tightness of the axle caps didn’t help and just caused the tools to flop around too easily.

The idea is a good one, but it just doesn’t work well at all.

I think there needs to be some type of nylon spacer between the steel tools to keep them from binding together.

On the bottom of the chassis is the blade lock.

When a tool is fully extended, it locks in place. At least it’s supposed to. Again, it doesn’t always work that well.

The Switch Modular Pocket Knife is a great idea but it really needs some more engineering and / or better components to make it an actual useful tool. As is, it’s just a novelty item. And a frustrating one at that. My advice is to not waste your $80 on this product. Take your money and buy a Leatherman multi-tool or a real Swiss Army knife. Trust me, you’ll be much happier with your purchase.

 

Product Information

Price:$79.00
Manufacturer:Quirky
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • Great idea
Cons:
  • Difficult to assemble
  • The individual tools are either too tight to extract, or flop around
  • Knife blades are too short for real use
  • Need more handle colors. Why Aqua?
Posted in: Gear, Reviews

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Norm January 22, 2012, 12:01 pm

    You can do the same thing with SOG’s multitool.

    1
  • Tetsubo January 22, 2012, 1:50 pm

    This is a good *idea*. But it looks rather bulky. And the pliers appear near useless. I’ll stick to my SwissTool thanks.

    2
  • Mark Adkins January 22, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I dunno… between the bulky design, the rather mediocre blade designs, the ‘iffy’ blade choices in many cases, and the price point, I really wonder who the target market is?

    3
  • Rainydayinterns January 22, 2012, 8:01 pm

    A better system is the Flux from CRKT:
    http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2011/Home/March/Week3/RDMHomeMar1811.htm#CRKT_FluxFirstLook

    There are a good selection of sturdy interchangeable parts…just slide and go.

    4
  • novwsie January 22, 2012, 10:38 pm

    I’m just totally perplexed by their “use a quarter” to tighten it idea. Its just the dumbest thing in the world. It seems to add tremendous bulk to the tool, and that they made it out of soft aluminum? Fail.

    5
  • Mark Adkins January 28, 2012, 11:53 pm

    CRKT’s FLUX system is pretty, but I don’t know if I would ever bother with it either- it is basically a rail that can hold two tools… in fact, two rather awkwardly shaped and rather expensive tools. I don’t see a benefit of the rail system over carrying the tools loose or on a keychain.

    Now, the Guppie is something I could add to my wish list! I see they offer the Guppie and the Eat’n Tool at Walmart in a combo kit for under $20. I may have to stop by tomorrow and check this out!

    6

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