Comparing the Old vs. New Rockwell 6S
We’re excited to announce that a few days ago, we received the first article (small initial manufacturing run) of the brand new Rockwell 6S - we’re extremely impressed with the result, and we feel very confident this razor will add a ton of value for classic shavers everywhere. We’ve been getting lots of questions about the difference between the old and the new Rockwell 6S. We wanted to take this chance to do a deep dive on the difference between the two razors and what makes the new razor so exciting to produce.
The first and most significant difference we should highlight is that cap and plate of the old 6S razor was made through investment casting, while the new 6S razor’s cap and plate are made by metal injection moulding (MIM). The tolerances on MIM are much, much tighter (better) than investment casting, allowing us to quickly produce large numbers of razors, without compromising quality. This means that MIM has much lower variability in manufacturing - the dimensions of each piece are within a few thousandths of an inch of what was called for on the original design files. What this means for the end user is consistent fit between pieces of the razor, and a level razor blade edge, with every shave. This precision was missing from the investment cast old 6S and required grinding (machining) the underside of the cap in the old 6S. The incredible tolerances of the MIM process means we don’t need to do any grinding to the undersides of the caps, and results in a consistent blade gap for each side. You can see how amazing the cap looks in this picture. Just to prove what a significant improvement MIM is, we’ll also let you know the threads on the cap come directly from the MIM process - no post processing or tapping the threads with a tool. Our goal with new Rockwell 6S razor, made from MIM, is to offer an excellent quality all stainless steel razor with six levels of adjustability (all made in the USA) at a fraction of the cost of any comparable fully machined razors.
Another critical difference is that we’ve also changed the design of the plates in the new 6S. In the old 6S design the blade support bar was not in contact with the blade across the whole width of the plate. Several very astute backers pointed out that this could result in a slight warping of the blade in the razor. We heard you loud and clear and took the opportunity of the redesign to address this with a blade support bar that extends across the whole width of the plate. This is a key design change as the blade now has a consistent support surface, and the blade is predictably held straight for every plate of every assembled razor.We’ve also added support between the safety bar and the rest of the plate, to avoid any warping of the safety bar in the cooling stage of manufacturing. In both cases of the old and new razor you can see very small circles on one side of the plate - these are the marks from the ejector pins used to eject the part from the mold. Their careful positioning means there is no impact on blade support or blade gap. One other minor difference between the old and new Rockwell adjustable base plates is that we made the plates a tad thinner to fit the razor under the nose a bit better.
While MIM certainly addressed the fit and dimensional issues in the old 6S, we’ve also improved the finish of the new 6S. The surfaces of the old 6S were left untreated so there was a different in the coloring of the handle versus head, the cap, and plates. The new Rockwell 6S has been bead blasted all over for a consistently beautiful matte finish. In fact, the bead blasting looks so good, that we’ve had friends and family point out that the photos on our website look like CGI or renderings. They’re real pictures! Really!
In both the old and new razor the handle was produced with a screw machine and because of the popularity of the Rockwell 6S handle, we’ve kept the handle size of the new 6S the same as the old 6S. We did hear feedback from a few backers that the knurling on the old handle was a bit too rough and so we have softened the knurl slightly through the bead blasting, and it’s fantastic. If you liked the old handle, you’re going to love the new one.
The final new feature of the new Rockwell 6S is that it comes with Rockwell Blades! We’ve had our own brand of double-edge razor blades manufactured, and we’re really thrilled with the results. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of new varieties of razor blades on the market nowadays, so we’re hoping this can be a real value add to classic shavers everywhere. Rockwell Blades are made of Swedish stainless steel, and our objective was that they perform similarly to a the finest Japanese blades everyone loves at a fraction of the cost. There has been some speculation that since they’re Swedish stainless steel they’re private-labelled Rapira blades, but we want to be clear that these blades have nothing to do with Rapira and are not produced at the PPI facility in St. Petersburg. We’re working on making these blades widely available as soon as possible, so everyone can give them a try!
For the technically curious, here are some tech specs on the new Rockwell 6S:
The blade gaps on the new Rockwell 6S are as follows:
R1: 0.008" (0.20 mm)
R2: 0.014” (0.35 mm)
R3: 0.019” (0.48 mm)
R4: 0.024” (0.61 mm)
R5: 0.027” (0.69 mm)
R6: 0.031” (0.79 mm)
An assembled Rockwell 6S weighs: 3.99 oz (113 grams)
The Rockwell 6S handle weighs 2.4 oz (68 grams)
The entire razor is 3.74” (9.5 cm) long from cap top to handle bottom