Leatherman Signal

Tribute to an old friend

Leatherman is a worldwide known company focused on the developement of products for everyday and outdoor situations. Founded in Portland, Oregon, it produces beautiful pliers based multi-tools since 1983 and their knives are a must have for every brave adventurer. I received one on my 22nd birthday and since then I’ve been carrying it daily, using it’s tools for various purposes: fixing my bike, cutting fruits and repairing broken furniture. So I decided to celebrate this loyal companion with a quick project, focusing on 3D modeling and digital visulizations techniques.

The reverse engineering process

Firstly I collected all the informations I needed about this tool, especially dimensions, components, materials and finishes. My main aim was being as much accurate as I could in the reproduction of it, while at the same time testing my limits and weaknesses with 3D and rendering softwares.

Bulding the model without taking the product apart and defining the role of each component (sometimes very tiny) wasn’t easy. Unfortunately opening up my Leatherman without breaking it, was nearly impossible and maybe not coherent with the project mission, so I opted for a “reverse engineering” process which led to pretty accurate results without addressing any damage to my multitool.

The very next step was to define in Solidworks all the general realtions in the assembly and making sure that each part could move freely among its constraints. That helped me in the rendering phase because made my life easier while setting all the poses for the final visualizations.

A timeless object under a new light

After main renderings I tryed with more complex evnironments and lighting effects in order to be able to experiment different techniques. My goal was also to imagine which kind of visual narration could lay behind this product, giving it once a sense of mysticism and another time that stifness which characterizes the whole production line of Leatherman.

As every good EDC tool set, it cannot miss the total black fully anodized version.

Project infos

Year: June 2018
Project duration: 10 days
Client: NABA
Project supervisor: Natalia Laskowska

My role: research & analysis / 3D modeling / Rendering & animations