Least amount of tools required for key making?

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Least amount of tools required for key making?

Postby G0KZZ » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:27 pm

Greetings

I was just sitting here musing about how few tools would be needed to make a homebrew key from scratch.

I'm not suggesting a key with turned and knurled adjusters, or anything like as fancy, just a simple key, either straight or paddle etc.

Mark.
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Postby NT9K » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:04 am

Mark, this was my 2nd key. This page loads slowly, but has nice pictures.
http://www.skccgroup.com/sprint/wes/results/nt9k/

I made that key with a hand saw, dremel tool and cordless drill. I kept the corners square by using a mitre box and hand saw. The pictures at the bottom of the page are my hand drawn measurements and templates that I made from the Amplidan. Feel free to use them, anyone who likes! If I did it, so can you or anyone else. It just takes time and patience.

Since I couldn't buy an amplidan, I decided to make my own. I built 2 on these keys, identical. Ended up giving both of them away to my friends.

The SKCC had a junkbox key sprint once, where you built a key, but only used parts from your junk box. No power tools allowed. There were some very nice looking keys made with virtually nothing but junk. Fun stuff!
73, Bill - NT9K
SKCC #1926c69t9was8hofdxq2dxc1
http://www.nt9k.com
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Location: Melbourne, Florida, USA

Postby G0KZZ » Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:37 am

Hiya Bill

I've seen photos of your wooden Amplidan (Oaklidan?) before, but I never thought that you'd built it with just a few hand tools. I feel inspired!

I always marvel at the shine on your keys Bill, if there was a prize for shiney then your keys would win every time :D

Best 73, Mark.
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Postby NT9K » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:55 am

Thanks Mark, Ron and the others tease me all the time on the other forum. Calls it the magpie look. That's ok, I don't mind and think that some of my magpie effect has started to rub off on our friend G3YUH?

That 2nd key was my first attempt at a real shiny finish. I must have put 15 coats of polyurethane on that key, sanding by hand between each coat. I've since found better, faster ways to get the same look.

I guess my first 6 keys or so were built with simple tools. That hand mitre box saw is your best friend and will keep things square. I'm not a rich man, I usually give my keys away. That has made it a bit harder for me to start collecting better key making tools, like a metal lathe.

I have recently built a new work shop in my spare bedroom.
http://www.skccgroup.com/nt9k/images/newshop.jpg
I think that 2nd key was made in 2007? Since then, I have been slowly adding to my tools. Most are cheap quality from Harbor Freight, but better than nothing. Now, I have a drill press which I truly despise using, A scroll saw, a mini wood lathe, a small table saw and one of the most important power tools I consider my buffing wheel.

I am trying to learn more metal key making skills. Believe it or not, I use a hand power jig saw for making metal cuts, like cutting out brass lever shapes. Even so, the dremel tool is still my most often used tool. Particularly the dremel with drum sanding wheels. Those will buzz through brass, like hot butter!

Another thing that I have added to my shop is a home plating kit. Now that is fun stuff to work with. No mess, no fumes and it is very quick. For now, all I can do is chrome, but hope to add other finishes as I can afford it.

I still have a whole lot to learn about key making! I keep trying to get others to start making their own keys. If I can do it, anyone can!
73, Bill - NT9K
SKCC #1926c69t9was8hofdxq2dxc1
http://www.nt9k.com
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Location: Melbourne, Florida, USA

Postby G0KZZ » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:59 am

Argghhh! I hate folks with 'spare' rooms (hi hi).

That's the bane of where I live now, a great house but nowhere to put anything. My XYL suggested that I turn the attic in to a workshop, but the last time I used a pillar drill in an upstairs room the rumble from the drill nearly shook the house down!

It's annoying that I have most likely more than enough tools to make some quite reasonable keys, but nowhere to use them.

I once used a scroll saw in the kitchen of our house. Boy! I was hoovering up dust around the house for days!

My worst moment was when we had just moved in. I had worked around the house, one room at a time, decorating. So we had new furniture, and new carpets everywhere.

I had to hang some new doors, and one door in particular needed several passes of a power-plane. The power-plane had a swarf or shavings collection system, until.....

I was making a pass along the edge of a door when PLOP!, the dust collecting bag fell off! I thought that if I stopped mid-pass I would not be able to get the door edge level again, so I carried on!

In about ten seconds our brand new carpets and furniture took on the appearance of an arctic scene, but with a great smell of pine hi hi.

My ten seconds of planing cost me about four hours of cleaning up! All of the wood shavings acted like burrs, gripping the pile of the carpet from which no amount of hoovering would remove them. I had to get on my knees and pull them out one by one with a pair of tweezers!

So needless to say I am reluctant to fire up power tools of any kind unless I am well 'down wind' of anything furniture-like.

Your converted spare room looks the part I must say. It reminds me of photos I've seen of Victorian workshops. Maybe you could do a sepia version of your photo!

You mention the mini wood lathe. I've been eyeing up the metal turning brothers of theirs (they are called mini lathes too), and I am seriously considering parting with one or two items of radio equipment in order to fund my venture. Or at least I was until you mentioned how few tools you used to make your wooden Amplidans etc.

I think my only need really is somewhere to work (and make a mess!), so maybe a garden shed would be a better buy.

I did start to make a semi-auto key a while back (from one of the patents in a Vibroplex book I have), but without even a vice to grip the metal parts I was shaping it was hard going. In the end I abandoned the project...

Enough 'waffle' from me for now.

Best 73, Mark.
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Postby KD8NJZ » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:50 pm

NT9K wrote:Mark, this was my 2nd key. This page loads slowly, but has nice pictures.
http://www.skccgroup.com/sprint/wes/results/nt9k/

I made that key with a hand saw, dremel tool and cordless drill. I kept the corners square by using a mitre box and hand saw. The pictures at the bottom of the page are my hand drawn measurements and templates that I made from the Amplidan. Feel free to use them, anyone who likes! If I did it, so can you or anyone else. It just takes time and patience.

Since I couldn't buy an amplidan, I decided to make my own. I built 2 on these keys, identical. Ended up giving both of them away to my friends.

The SKCC had a junkbox key sprint once, where you built a key, but only used parts from your junk box. No power tools allowed. There were some very nice looking keys made with virtually nothing but junk. Fun stuff!


Gorgeous. Absolutely...gorgeous. Nice work Bill.
SKCC #7136. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
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