Browsing the internet one day I was looking at kydex options for the Leatherman Wave. Amongst all the photos of sheaths there was one that didn't look like your typical kydex holster. This sheath was on a website named shapeways and that it was created using a unique 3D printing process. It featured an open design and came with several options to customize it the way you want. Eager to know more about this design I struck up a conversation with the gentleman who was running the store.
Joshua Driggs is the brains behind the ZapWizard store and says his product was an evolution of designs based on trial and error as well as customer feedback. He has owned a Wave for many years but didn't use it much due to the bulky sheath and it not being very stylish. Josh saw Adam Savages one day build where he made a sheath for his Wave using sheet metal and Joshua new he could improve on the design. Joshua worked for a company at the time that did Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) Nylon 3D Printing. He learned about the capabilities of this awesome production process, and the Nylon 12 material.
Joshua hooked me up with one of his sheaths and I am very impressed to say the least. When I think of things being 3D printed I think of stuff that's not very durable and can damaged if used roughly. The Nylon material is quite an amazing substance. The sheath has both flexibility as well as a good amount of rigidity, completely crushing my preconceived thoughts about the material. Joshua says there are a few different finishing options for the material but they dramatically increase the cost of production and says you can use some fine grit sand paper to improve the texture. My unit didn't give me any trouble with a cotton shirt but my work shirt would catch on the holster some due to to the polyester content.
I absolutely love the open design compared to traditional sheaths where the tool is completely encapsulated within. The design of the holster allows the tool to removed by pushing up on the bottom of the tool and sliding it up and out of the holster. The sheath uses two methods of retention to keep the tool from coming loose. There's a lip that serves as a rail which locks in the tool where the knife blades sits. This notch helps keep the blade locked down so there is no way it can accidentally open. Also there are two notches that are near the bottom which utilize the locking system of your Wave to snap into the notches. This featured amazed me to no end and I commended Joshua on this design. When you slide the tool into the holster the locks on your tool slide into a recess that compresses the springs in the Wave. This compression along with the recesses allow there to be a mechanical element to keeping the tool secure. Breaking this lock is as simple as pushing the tool upwards and overcoming the tension.
The holster is customizable for different belt sizes and I am using the one inch size due to it being a standard size for most types of belts. The loop that your belt feeds through sits pretty low on the hip which I actually prefer. Nothing is more uncomfortable than a sheath that sits to high and pokes you in the ribs. His belt loop style also has support for PAL/MOLLE style systems.
Another thing that's really interesting about this sheath is area for bit storage. Most sheaths, especially those by Leatherman have an extra pocket where the bit card can go. Joshua chose a design that eliminates the card all together and made it part of the holster. The result is a series of horizontal slots behind the holster that keep your bits handy. I find it rather convenient to have them back there and the amount of tension holding them in place reassures me that I lose any. I love the design, the only drawback is I need to remove my holster to access the bits. Somewhat inconvenient but not a deal breaker.
This holster is just simply amazing and a feat of engineering from both a design point as well as manufacturing. 3D printing has come a long ways and I love how someone used this tech to find a solution to keep multitool ready for any situation. Joshua has almost produced holsters for the Charge and Surge series of tools. If your looking for something that's completely different that your standard sheath and stylish to boot check out this one of a kind product.