This Hardware-Free Utility Knife Redefines Minimalist EDC

A gorgeous design melds with a mechanically puzzling and unique deployment to create this novel cutting tool.

zero knife

A knife is a knife is a knife — right? In the EDC world, as much as we don't want to admit it, this is usually true. Sure, some designers have figured out ways to reimagine pieces of them — a new locking mechanism here, a twist on a handle format there — but it's pretty rare for something to emerge that really makes waves (I'm reminded of the CRKT Provoke and the uproar it caused when it first came out).

Every so often, however, a release comes along that has the potential to change the game entirely. In the case of utility knives — typically a function-first category with little, if any, innovation — today might be one of those days. That's because a Kickstarter from Rivery CNC, led by engineer Kevin Michael Sayers, recently launched with the hopes of funding the Zero, an almost entirely hardware-free utility knife that blends good design with one of the most uniquely engineered deployment systems I've ever seen.

No screws to hold it down

Most utility knives function using the same basic principle: a razor blade is stuck into a slider mechanism, which is then sandwiched (or set) within a handle that's screwed (or latched) together. There are also those that fold, more like pocket knives, but they're really not that interesting or innovative, either. While there's nothing particularly wrong with these designs — they have worked well for years and years, especially within shipping and warehousing industries — there are a lot of parts, which means things can get gunked up or break.

zero knife
As you can see, disassembling the Zero illustrates its complete lack of hardware — making for a sleek, seamless EDC oddity.

The Rivery CNC Zero completely reimagines the utility knife concept with a casing that's entirely free of screws (and really all extraneous hardware). In fact, the whole utility knife, which weighs just six ounces, is comprised of just three pieces total: a back, a top and a blade housing. And the mechanisms that make it work are built into the design of these pieces. Plus, it requires no tools to disassemble, making maintenance (like swapping the blade) super easy. Furthermore, because it's machined from either 6061 aluminum or brass, you can be sure that it is sturdy as hell (and precise in its construction, to boot).

Part EDC cutting tool, part fidget toy

As mentioned, the Zero is really only comprised of three pieces (four, if you include the razor blade). Yet it still offers intuitive deployment and, perhaps most interestingly, an auto-retracting system. To extend the blade, you simply slide the top forward until the blade is extended and then slide the top back into place (which can be seen in the video below). To put the blade away, you simply pull back on the top, using the ridges on it for grip, and it snaps the blade back inside the handle automatically.

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While it's not entirely clear how this works, Sayers likens it to "the tricks used inside a mechanical puzzle." Regardless of the minutiae of its functionality, it's clear that the system works brilliantly, and I could easily see playing with this EDC oddity between uses, if only as a means of finding a bit of amusement. I've never really seen a hardware-free knife that functions like this, and I'm enamored with it — though I do wish I knew more (I presume Sayers is playing it a bit close to the hip, as the mechanism is patent-pending).

Back the Kickstarter and see for yourself

At the time of this article, the Zero has already crushed its funding goal (and rightfully so), claiming over $22k in backing — nearly $20k over its initial goal. However, there are still about three and a half weeks left before the project is closed. That means there's plenty of time to back the project if you want to snag a Zero for yourself. The gray aluminum option starts at $48, whereas the brass is a bit more expensive at $78. Still, if the engineering holds up, both of these prices are a veritable steal for something so wholly unique and fresh.


Rivery CNC Zero Utility Knife

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