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Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:13 pm
by admin
How much interest would there be in an inexpensive ($60 including wood base and US shipping) straight key kit in which there would be a little more work on the part of the builder than just screwing everything together. Work would include drilling a few simple pre-marked holes, cutting thin brass strips to length, sanding and finishing pre-cut and routed wooden base, polishing aluminum parts and assembling key, making a cable assembly (not included in kit) to connect key to rig. Builder would only need simple hand tools and materials ( hand drill, screw drivers, combination square, ruler, pencil, 220 & 440 grit sand paper, 00 steel wool, wood stain) All of the hard work such as cutting and squaring parts, drilling and tapping critical holes, threading trunnion rod, would be done by the kit supplier. I would be interested in putting a kit together if there would be interest. Your thoughts ? Thanks -Joe N3HEE

This is the key I have in mind. Nice, big and comfortable key. ... allery.jpg

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:05 pm
by Jim_VE3NWN
Hi Joe:
Will that straight key work okay at 25wpm to 30wpm?
You know what is going to happen eh; folks are going to want you to put it together and offer it for sale assembled!!!

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:28 pm
by admin
I can go about 20 WPM on my rear contact home brew straight key. That key has ball bearing races and is very smooth and has adjustable tension and contact gaping. I would assume someone could go faster. Yes, I do realize that someone will want an assembled key. That is actually easier for me. No missing parts, no build questions, no instructions and so forth. Assembled keys would be somewhere around $90 ?

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:49 pm
by dkindred
Hi, Joe, I think that's really a great cost-point and would offer the builder just enough "sweat equity" to make him feel invested in the end product proud of the build, while simultaneously not requiring too much handymanliness. Great idea!!


Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:50 pm
by W2VM
Your straight key looks great! I would be very interested in the kit @$60 + go ahead and put my name on the "official" list. This will be a winner - excellent idea! I'll put my money where my mouth is ..just give the word.

Craig / W2VM

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:39 am
by admin
Thanks for the feedback guys. A few kits and keys will probably be ready towards fall. I'm working with a guy who is making knobs for me on a 3D printer. Getting close to a knob I Iike. I am cutting and drilling a straight key kit in the shop now and will put together a test kit in the next week or two. If that goes smooth I will put together a few more with some basic instructions.

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:10 am
by KE4S-Dave
Hi Joe,
My preference is for single lever sideways motion but this might work. That's a price point where I could try one. Let me know when you have them ready


Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:11 pm
by admin
Working on a brass base option for this kit. Probably add $50 ? Base is 3x4.5x.750 inches and weighs 3 pounds.

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 6:48 pm
by admin
Cut 5 kits worth of aluminum this past weekend. Will start machining and drilling soon. Also working on a couple of finished keys to take to the Berryville hamfest on Aug.2

Re: Straight Key Kit

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:57 pm
by admin
KIT UPDATE - After working on developing a kit that would be easy and cost effective for me to produce and challenging and cost effective for you to put together I have come up with the following. This kit will require a small drill press or a way to drill accurate holes, simple hand tools, sand paper and taps and die. You will feel like you accomplished something when you are finished !! Your code will sound perfect !

What the kit provides...

1. All major key parts cut and machined to exact size.
2. Drill template. One part will have accurate pre-drilled holes that will be used as a template for you to drill and tap all other holes.
3. Custom machined lever arm with pre-marked holes.
4. All hardware to assemble key. (stainless steel screws, nuts, washers, insulators, bearings, thumb screws, thumb nuts, brass sleeves, brass strips, stainless steel contact screw)
5. Cool 3D printed navy style knob OR use your own furniture type knob.

What you will have to do....

1. Carefully drill and tap all holes. Requires a small drill press and a #4 and #8 tap.
2. Put threads on the trunnion rod. Requires a 10-32 die.
3. Provide a base for mounting. Parts included for wood or metal base.
4. Sand and polish all parts to your liking.

Thoughts ?