metalfishy: An open source pocket tool for everyday carry

by Tait Stevens and Loren Cress: November, 2011


Metalfishy is a tool designed for everyday carry. The design is open source and public domain. Enjoy!

This project was also published in the Open Hardware Journal - Second Issue, February 2012.


The Metal Fishy's primary uses are as a bottle opener and tape breaker/box opener. Other reported uses: the bottle opener can be used to lift sealed lids on canned goods, the chisel fin works very well for scraping small areas (such as vagrant paint flecks), as a metal fingernail (such as to remove batteries that need changing), and as an impromptu screwdriver (in one case, to fix a broken hotel showerhead).


We would appreciate a note from anyone who makes and uses metalfishies, particularly if the design is improved upon.


To the extent possible under law, Tait Stevens and Loren Cress have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to metalfishy. This work is published from: United States.


Basic design.

The dot in the eye and inner curve of the dorsal fin are for help centering on a drill press. The mouth portion is ground at an angle with a cylindrical burr to create a cutting surface, and the tail fin is sanded at an angle to provide pry bar and screwdriver-like functionality.

Batch sheet

Multiple copies of the shape on a single page, for use when making a batch of several.

Instruction Illustration

A helpful card we print and include when distributing metalfishies.

Build Images

Note: Metalworking is intrinsically dangerous. Use appropriate protective equipment and use metalworking equipment safely. These images should not be construed as representing safe or acceptable practices.

We print the paper templates, cut out as many metalfishies as we are going to make, then glue them to stock. In this case, a piece of .0635" thick 6AL4V titanium.

Cut close to final size on bandsaw.

Drilling keychain hole (using 9/64" bit).

After drilling 13/64" hole for internal radius on dorsal fin. (When making more than one, we usually drill the holes first, then cut apart on the bandsaw.) We hand chamfer eyeholes and fin.

Grinding outline on belt grinder with contact wheel.

Grinding outline some more.

Clamped to angle iron to grind ramp for pry area (tail fin).

Additional outline grinding for bottle opener (this needs to be tested for fit to ensure the opener works.)

Cutting in mouth with 1/8" carbide burr.

Cleaning up sharp edges with scotchbrite belt (this includes the corners of the fin as they are pretty sharp as ground.)

Coloring titanium with 24 volts DC, using cotton swab dipped in salt water.

Result, ready for use. (The color is iridescent, and hard to photograph.)

Back of end result. Some scale-like periodic grey lines appear in this image. (We think this is due to interruption of DC current, as it was rectified from AC)

Metalfishies in tool steel, just out of heat-treating and tempering.

Home  ::  e-mail Tait Stevens  ::  e-mail Loren Cress