Summer has begun. It's warm out there. You reach for your favorite beverage of choice, but alas! it's in a bottle and you have no opener. At Big Blue Saw, we've got you covered. We recently tried out a few different bottle opener designs to see which worked best.
There are two main types of openers we've seen: through-hole and side mounted.
The through hole type should be made from mateiral 0.06 inches thickness or thinner. Some people will grind down the lower lip of the opener to make it thinner.
Side mounted can be of nearly any thickness. These are more common and are typically seen on waterjet cut multi tools. One customer of ours even incorporated an opener into a sports trophy.
We created a couple designs with different sizes to test which shape worked the best as an opener. Here's the outline of each test design.
Through hole bottle openers
Side mount bottle openers
We waterjet cut the side mount opener from 0.125 inch thick stainless steel 304. We needed a thinner material for the through-hole piece: 0.06 inches thick.
Most of these designs worked reasonably well as bottle openers. The key to getting a working bottle opener seems to be making sure that the prying end and pivot end are close enough together. Some of the tested openers were a little too large, like the biggest of the through hole openers.
I also noticed that the farther away the pry end was from the pivot end, the less the cap was bent before being removed. The smallest of the crescent shaped openers bent the bottle cap quite a bit before removing it. In contrast, the largest working through hole opener barely made any perceptible change to the cap.
Through Hole Openers
Of the through hole designs I tried, the middle two flattened circles and the trapezoidal design worked best. The largest shape fit completely over the top of the cap, giving no leverage. The smallest worked, but you needed to be a little more precise when aligning the pry end with the edge of the cap.
Side Mount Openers
I tried a bigger variety of side mount openers, so let's break them down by type.
The Big Opener
At the very end of the opener you can see the Big Opener. I thought that this would be too big, but the spacing between the pryer and the pivot was just right to remove the cap without too much bending.
The Crescent Openers
Next to the Big Opener are crescent shaped openers in 4 different sizes. These all worked well. The smallest of the crescent openers is the best choice for a compact remover, though it bends the cap significantly before removing it.
The Pointy Openers
Next to the crescent are the 4 pointy openers. All 4 worked reasonably well. I can't really recommend this shape, however, as the pivot end is quite sharp. You don't want this around to cut your fingers when reaching into your pocket or tool drawer.
The Rocker Openers
I thought that this shape had great potential, so I tried it in 3 different sizes. At first look, it seems similar to the Big Opener. But if you try to use it the same way, it won't work. This opener is meant to be used in the opposite direction. With the Big Opener, you start the tool in a horizontal position and the the pry end is located toward the inside of the tool. In contrast, with the rocker openers, the tool starts in a vertical position as you maneuver the sharp pry end under the cap, then rock against the rounded end.
I had high hopes for this opener, as it's included on the fishbone multitool. However, the pry end kept slipping loose from under the bottle cap. I can't recommend this design without some further refinement. The pry end needs a tooth to dig in the underside of the cap, or possibly a steeper rake angle to really create solid contact.
Take a look at this video showing some of the openers in action to get an idea of how well they work.
We mentioned multi-tools and trophies as having an opener feature. Buy why restrict yourself to these? You could add an opener shape to any of these: