How to make a "TSA compliant" multitool mod

Carrying small pliers and screwdrivers can be helpful and comforting. When traveling without checked baggage, I feel strange leaving behind my small multitools. Being without tools is weird.

So, I decided to buy a used Leatherman Squirt on eBay for $12 (possibly a TSA auction of a previously confiscated tool), and modify it to meet/exceed the government restrictions on carry-on tools. This stipulates nothing too sharp, overly pointy, or beyond certain lengths.

img_0310_6

Here's the tool as purchased, and then going under the mill to remove the rivets.

img_0332

This is the anatomy of a Leatherman. My intention was to swap out the offending parts for approved ones taken from a second donor tool.

img_0341_2

I brutally snapped the file down to size, and then rounded off the corners with an abrasive disc. I went on to dull the knife blade into what looks like a mini cheese spreader, and defang the awl. This still leaves me with some pretty useful tools, particularly the pliers/wire cutters, three sizes of screwdriver blade, a stubby file and a bottle opener.

img_0452

In order to drive the point home, I laser etched "TSA compliant" into the anodized aluminum scale. (Some Twitter denizens have suggested etching this onto machetes, throwing knives, etc. but your mileage may vary.)

img_0453 

Here's the finished tool. I ought to get proper knife barrel pivots instead of screws and nuts (and a dab of Loctite) to fasten it together.

I recently traveled with my modded multitool through a couple of airports with no hassles. I even had one agent pull out every tool on it, shrug, and hand it back to me. I know this will be case-by-case, and at the discretion of each agent, but it sure was nice to have a multitool with me while traveling light.

Loading...