We have made a lot of tough choices about our screwdriver in the 2 years we’ve been building it. And no, I don’t have a release date for you yet… trust me, we’re even more disappointed about that than you are… But as we near the finish line, I can start telling you a bit more about our process.
Quality bits were a big focus for us. Colors, finishes, materials… we had a lot of questions for our production partners, and luckily they had most of the answers.
Something we’ve always heard about was titanium-coated bits. On the surface, it feels a bit like “military-grade aluminum” and similar marketing nonsense, but we wanted to give it a try anyway. Because who doesn’t want flippin’ titanium bits in their screwdriver.
After a bit of research, we found that they were MUCH more expensive than normal steel bits, which was expected... but what wasn’t expected is that they’re not actually that much more effective for our expected use case.
Anyway, I’m just a business guy, so I asked Kyle - our lead engineer on the screwdriver project - to give you a breakdown of why you won’t see titanium bits in the LTT screwdriver. At least not in the v1…
Kyle Tharratt Manufacturing Engineer & Fixer of Broken Things
“I want the strongest bits ever, we should do Titanium bits!” says Linus after savagely mangling a P2 pentalobe bit while trying to force open an innocent AirPods Max casing.
Sometimes this is how tasks at Creator Warehouse originate - Linus will break something and ask us to make it better.
And of course, everyone knows that titanium is better than steel… right?
Well, pure titanium is kind of useless for structural purposes and is normally alloyed in some way. It’s also pretty much impossible to find someone who would produce pure titanium bits (more like unobtanium bits...). Therefore most “titanium” bits you find in the wild are actually steel bits coated with something called titanium nitride, which gives them a gold finish.
Titanium Nitride-coated Phillips #2 with ¼” hex drive
While this coating is technically slightly stronger than our S2 Tool Steel bits, it’s over half a million times thinner than the shank of even our smallest bit. What this means is that when you are screwing a screw, most of the force will still be borne by tool steel. In the end we felt that there was no real-world benefit to the 5x cost increase compared to S2, at least for screwdriver bits.
Ok… so why not just use stronger steel? Well, our bits actually do use a different grade of steel than the one that Linus mangled. Without going too much into the material science, while both bits are similar in toughness, S2 steel can take more force but is more brittle. In other words, our bits are designed to hold their shape, up to the point at which they break.
Now, hopefully you are not punishing the screws of your electronics so much that you end up breaking bits. But if you are, it’s better to break bits than to break screws.
So that’s that! You might see a titanium bit set from us down the line for those who just want to flex that wallet... but if you buy an LTT Screwdriver on day 1, you’ll get S2 Tool Steel bits in that bad boy.
Stay tuned for more info on the LTT Screwdriver in the coming months.