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Camillus CUDA Maxx D2E Folding Knife Review

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Camillus CUDA Maxx D2

CUDA maxx, yet another collaboration between collaboration between Camillus and a custom knife maker Darrel Ralph. By the way, very successfull one. Not sure if Cuda Maxx ever superceeded Camillus EDC, but it is very popular and deserved a lot of attention from the very begining. For the reference, CUDA stands for Camillus Ultra Design Advantage.
The original blade from Darrel named Mad Maxx was a 5.5" long bladed Ti frame lock folder. The one pictured here is a Black Maxx, which differs frmo the original Mad Maxx by the black coated blade and black handle vs. blue anodized. Anyhow, the geometry and dimensions are the same, so you get the idea. Maxx was introduced in 2002, and first shipments went out in early spring 2002. I got mine about he same time.

Overall

 - CUDA Maxx is a huge folder. Not sure what it seems to you on the picture, but it is huge. The blade alone measures full 5.5 inches as stated above. Handle is approx 6" long. OAL, when opened is 11.5 or so. Basically that's around a foot ;) There are very few folders on the market that can challenge Maxx, REKAT SIFU, Cold Steel's new X2 Voyager, which is even longer, at 6 inches. Anyway, unlike those two Maxx features Ti handles and the frame lock mechanism, and overall it's a very good package for the monay. Which, by the way, is its one of the strongest points. Usually Camillus knives are good or best bang for the buck. Maxx for example even comes with a nice pouch, at least the first batch had those.
    As of QC I don't have serious complaints. NIB edge was sharp, no problems with silcing free hanging paper, would shave too, may be miss a hair or two. The only note with execution is the rough laser cuts marks on the guard curves. As Will Fennell of Camillus stated polishing them out would increase the price considerably. Anyway, even with those marks Maxx is a very good knife.

Blade

 - Maxx's 5.5" long blade has very pronounced clip point and high flat saber grind. I don't really like the way it looks though. Darrel Ralph is offering Mad Maxx several blade configurations, spearpoint, bullnose, dagger etc. Check them out here. I personally like spearpoint a lot moer than this clip point variant. Hopefully in the future Camillus will offer spearpoit Maxx as well. That'd be really great. Sure I won't miss that one.
    Blade material - Crucible D2 semi stainless tool steel. Generally I do like D2 steel, had only positive experiecnce with it. Though haven't used this particular type of it at all. I am refering to D2 at 58 HRC. Camillus A.G. Russell EDC features D2 steel, but at 60 HRC, Neil Blackwood's American Ninja is even harder, 62 HRC. Two points difference in HRC does affect steel properties significantly. I've asked Darrel regarding the HRC choice, why 58, his answer was that this increases toughness, thus less chances of edge chipping, and doesn't degrade edge holding significantly. For a blade that long, increased toughness is relatively important, anyway I am not using Maxx, and later if I have time I'll try to conduct some cutting tests, just in case.

Handle/Lock

 - Made of blue anodized Titanium. Because of that Maxx is lighter than it may seem judging from the pitcures. The blue color looks darker on the picture, in reality it's not that intensive, although folks on the bladeforums used windex to clean the handle, and then it does look a lto more colorful ;) Obviously the procedure has to be repeated once in a while to keep the fresh, shiny look if that matters to you.
    For what it is, Maxx handle is fairly comfortable and secure, especially that it has guards. Those guards have dual function. One is obvious, second becomes obvious once you try to open your Maxx first time. The thumbstuds on the blade are rather decorative then functional. At least I can't get blade opened using them. THe studs themselves are nicely done, but their height practically identical to that of the handle bars. Hence, you can't really get a good purchase on them. It is a lot easier to use hand guard to open the blade half way and then use hand flick to open it. May be the lock on my blade is little bit problematic, or needs break-in period, but if I open it without flicking the lock doesn't engage fully. Eventually that will go away, due to natural wear. When opened by wrist flick, the lock engages real hard and sometimes it's really difficult to disengage it with one hand, have to use them both. In short this beast has its own tamper. Anyhow, I'm not really worried about those details, for a non user knife. Other than that I have to say that Camillus is realy good with customer issues, and they will gladly fix/look at your issues, just contact them.

    Specifications:
  • Blade: D2 Tool steel, 57-58 HRC;
  • Length: 5.5"
  • Handle: Anodized Titanium;
  • Lock Mechanism: Integral Frame Lock;
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime;

Last updated - 09/01/11

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