The folks at Bench Werx were unsuccessful at getting their PCB Rax circuit board support system funded in a Kickstarter campaign 2-years ago, but were still able to finish developing and manufacturing the product. We’ve been in contact with them about a test sample (I think the PCB Rax looks very useful and versatile).
They’ve got a new fundraising campaign going on, and also sent over a coaster, asking for feedback.
Yes, a coaster. You know – the thing that you place drinks on to protect a table surface from drips and condensation.
A coaster? What am I going to do with a coaster. Oh, it’s an Opener Coaster, with various drink-opening tools build into the base.
There’s a bottle opener, a metal cap twister, a soda and water bottle cap twister, and a tab flipper.
I’ve had trouble finding bottle openers in the past, but always made do. But I’ve seen others struggle to open bottles, even water and soda bottles. And some flip-tab cans can be particularly difficult to raise without breaking a nail or reaching for a key or screwdriver.
But I’m going to be honest here. When I opened up the box, I wasn’t thinking “ooh, I’m going to make great use of this coaster to open up bottles.”
My first thought was “WHOA, THAT’S JUST AWESOME!”
It looks pretty sweet.
The MK-1 looks like a nicely machined and anodized slab of aluminum. I couldn’t put my finger on the color – it’s a sort of dark green gunmetal.
Officially, the color of the sample they sent over is olive drab, but it’s darker, less green, and more metallic than I would associate with olive drab.
It looks really, really cool.
It also looks oversized for most drinks. But if that’s the case, they also make a “modern” styled coaster that’s a bit smaller.
This is the “modern” version, featuring the same 4 bottle opening tools, and with a plainer-looking circular drink pad.
I’m going to keep this on my desk and use it as a parts tray. It’s a little shallow, but should be perfect for smaller sized fasteners I tend to work with at my desk.
I might even use it as a coaster – maybe for a mug of something hot, or a cold whatever.
There’s a cork liner on the bottom which looks and smells like it was laser cut. I might replace it with criss-cross textured neoprene (McMaster Carr, Lee Valley) to prevent it from sliding.
(I’ve tried the Lee Valley stuff, haven’t tried the McMaster rubber yet.)
Well, maybe I’ll use the bottle opener implements, if they’re already right there.
MK-1 Color Choices: Olive Drab Green, Tactical Black, Bright Red, Gunmetal Grey
Modern Color Choices: Dark Bronze, Black, Bright Red, Gunmetal Grey
Both are stonewashed before being anodized.
Pricing: $25 for Modern (early bird), $30 for MK-1 (early bird), $30 and $35 respectively after early bird quantities are claimed. 4 modern for $110, 4 MK-1 for $130
More Info(via KickStarter)
Here’s the Kickstarter Promo Video:
There are stretch goals, where they’ll increase the number of color options if higher funding levels are reached. Personally, I’d love to see these in bright blue.
I’m going to back the project, but which color. Gunmetal grey? Bright red?
Hmm, I just picked a scab and now it’s bleeding. I guess that’s a vote for bright red.
Funding period ends March 24 2017 11:00 AM EDT.
This is an “all or nothing” campaign. If they don’t reach the goal of $5,000 by then, everyone’s money is refunded. Since this is Kickstarter, you’re not buying a product, you’re investing in the product with an agreed-upon reward in mind. Some Kickstarter projects reach funding but don’t deliver on the rewards, so there’s a level of risk.
Seeing as how the Opener Coaster is a project by an established business, and that I have a prototype coaster in my hands, I am confident in backing the project with my own credit card. They have the means to produce these coasters, and are looking to raise money for more equipment and “optimized tooling.”
Should I order some for giveaway? *Crosses fingers, hopes for blue.*
The photos they provided don’t do it justice at all, and my smartphone pics aren’t any better – for some reason the green shows up as a lot more green.
More Info(via KickStarter)
It seems really silly for me to be find a coaster to be cool, but something about the design and feel just calls to me.
Nice of u to support an upstart like this .
It does look cool, but, is there really a market for coasters at that price range? Not likely
One can buy much more expensive coasters at place like Neiman Marcus – where a set of 4 Aerin agate coasters sells for $245
Just take my money.
Nice find, a bit on the pricy side, but the early bird pricing takes a bit of the sting out. I signed up for two of the mk-1’s.
High cost (negative) and aesthetics (negative) aside, the top surface looks super slick/slippery. As in, I would need to be super careful when setting my bottle down. I wonder if they’ve done user tests after the first drink or two.
That was my first thought as well. They used cork on the bottom to keep it from sliding but the top, where condensation will collect, is smooth aluminum. Seems like that would get slick, I think even leaving the machine turning marks would work to add grip. You’d want small ridges instead of the big cross pattern…in fact, that big cross pattern might cause the bottle or can to be unsteady.
hmm – maybe
I like the idea and would offer the following for a future version…. make it magnetic. There is nothing worse than have your organized parts container overturned. However if its magnetized then they are staying put!
unless the parts you are putting in there are plastic, AL or ceramic
thing magnetic is pointless. Just saying, well uhm typing.
3 of the 4 tasks don’t even require a tool. I’d pass
Wait ’til you reach your eighties and then see if you don’t need a tool to open twist caps. A cheap strap wrench – will do for me – and works on a lot of jar lids too.
My wife needed help with a water bottle the other day, and there have been times when I couldn’t do open a metal twisty cap without a t-shirt or bottle opener. Also times I needed a key for a can tab. It was probably Goya pineapple juice, with their super thick walls and strong tabs.
You don’t always need a bottle opener for non twisty metal caps either. But improvising can lead to broken bottles or edged surfaces.
I’ve been to several demonstrations in Europe – where they open a champagne or sparkling wine bottle with a saber. More for show than for practicality.
I want to like the product, but pretty much everything about it is a con in my opinion. Too thick, too pricey, too ugly. I would be happy to shell out $25 if it was a more appropriate stone material on top or a combination of premium material with functional drink pad. The fat profile appears to be strictly a manufacturing choice . If it was primarily metal or stone with cork surface and pad it could be thinner.
Just a follow up. It wasn’t clear that this was solid aluminum until I visited the campaign details. That said, these are certainly a more attractive option to me now and I’m slightly baffled by why they chose such a thick profile for them (it could’ve reduced cost about and made them more practical) and didn’t go a more appropriate surface material. In the end, I’m sure pictures can’t really do them justice,
Being able to open a bottle with just about anything rigid is a skill anybody that wants to drink beer and call themselves handy should have.
True, but you always risk breaking or chipping that rigid surface.