stamped tools

As other pages on this site show, I am fascinated by the designed objects people make when they are operating under heavy constraints. Consider, as an example, the prisoner in a maximum-security penitentiary who has to make a shiv if he wants to survive. He is not allowed access to the tools or materials a profesional knife-maker might employ, or even the kinds of things a caveman might find on a walk through the jungle primeval. He has to use what's at hand. He has to be clever. He has to be sneaky. The finished thing has to work well enough to protect his life. For a fascinating (if somewhat depressing) look at the kind of inventiveness such harsh conditions can inspire, I recommend Improvised Weapons in American Prisons, by Jack Luger.

The lesson designers can take from prisoners is that constraints are the way to inspire really creative and clever solutions. Consider the problem represented by the tools on this page: Given a material (steel) and a process (machine-stamping), what is the most useful profile we can design? Because the manufacturing process dictates a fundamentally 2-dimensional design, the profile is the entire problem. So browse over the solutions on this page, and then pose the problem to yourself: What is the most useful shape for a piece of flat steel? How many functions can you combine? How easy is the resultant tool to use?

This selection of flat wrenches is available for mechanics who have to work in spaces that will not accomodate the width of a traditional crescent or box-end wrench.
This is an armorer's wrench for the M16/AR15.  Complete dissassembly (as opposed to field-stripping) of the weapon can be done with only this tool.
This is a two-function tool developed by the Army for infrantryman.  The hook removes the stock from an M16; the other end removes the barrel bushing from a service .45.
'Bench Wrench' by Dillon Preceision Manufacturing.  Designed for servicing Dillon's high-end reloading equipment.
Wheel gauge for determining body jewelry sizes.
The adjustment wrench that ships with the Cyclo-Polisher orbital polisher.
The 'Epistola' combination letter opener/letter scale by Teo Enlund of Simplicitas AB, Sweden.  To use as a scale, insert a pencil in one of the holes and clip the letter to the hook on the end.
Two old furniture-assembly wrenches I found digging through my junk box.
Glock Works' 'Grip Tool,' which is the only tool you need to field-strip or adjust the sights on your glock.  The tool itself is designed to store in the weapons grip, so it's always at hand.
Another stamped multi-wrench I found amongst my Dad's old junk.  This one is one of my favorites.
Billed as a 'Get You Home' tool, this universal bicycle wrench can be found in bike shops everywhere for about $15.
This one oughtn't to count, because it's cast, not stamped, but I thought the principle of including a hexagonal opening sized to accept a standard hex screwdriver bit was clever enough to warrant an exception.