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Home-made CW key


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I started work on my key the other day.  Unfortunately none of the stores around here have 1/2 x 1/2 square stock for the beam so I'm at a stopping place until I order it online.  I wanted something more custom than the regular old generic ones, and the beautiful ones I can fnd are outrageously priced.
 

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Coming along...
I got the beam cut and shaped.  Next will be mounting it.   An I need an oscillator to make the beeps.  Haven't found a proper spring yet.  That might be a special order.
 

 

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Waiting on the brass for the sides now.  The beam is all done.  Got the pivot pin in the middle and the stop holes bored and threaded and the threaded stop pins installed.

 

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The brass is in the mail for the pivot.  I cut out some wooden ones to check the dimensions.  Brass is too expensive to be cutting wrong.  Seems to be working fine.  I had a hard time finding the right spring but I found one that works just right in a scuba regulator.
 

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ELMER

Sorry for the laugh emoji, but seeing a scuba spring being used for a CW key just brought a big smile to my face. Reminds me of all the times I've been deployed where you use a pencil as a... {multiple choice}. Looking good Anthony. Now, of course, the ultimate test will be the fist but I am certain you will shine there also. Truly impressive work. Continue!! BTW, not that you want to, but these could sell for a pretty penny!

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Really looks good. Perhaps you should consider using some brass tubing in the wooden pivot blocks. The wood really looks good.

Will you be joining us on the CW roundtable on Sat/Sun mornings on 3565kc at 0730? (Not this Sunday because of field day)

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9 hours ago, WA2WMR said:

Really looks good. Perhaps you should consider using some brass tubing in the wooden pivot blocks. The wood really looks good.

Will you be joining us on the CW roundtable on Sat/Sun mornings on 3565kc at 0730? (Not this Sunday because of field day)

Oh the pivot blocks I just cut to do a fit test.  The brass cost me $8 per inch, so I didn't want to make a mistake and eat a lot of money.  I wanted to make sure the holes for the pivot rod were even, in the right place, and lined up right, and that the holes in the bottom to mount them were in the right place.  I got lots of scrap wood.  It's a lot cheaper to find out something isn't lined up right and needs to be re-thought with scrap wood than it is brass.

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Okay.  I will never even ever never make another one of these.  Too much attention to detail.  I spent 1/4 of the day making sleds and jigs so everything would be exaclty the same  so it took me all day to make and mount the pivots.  I started at 6 this morning and just got done about 4:30.  If I had a proper machine shop it'd be a lot easier.  One pivot I drilled the hole about 1/4 millimeter off so that piece of brass was scrap ($8 worth).  Then the next one I wasn't paying attention and drilled the hole for the pivot arm on the wrong side.  Another $8 worth of scrap brass.  At least the one I drilled n the wrong side I went ahead and drilled all the way thru so I could use it as a jig for the next two.  After I got it assembled I tuned it up with the set screws where the vertical movement is only about 3/4 a millimeter.  Hardly have to touch the beam at all to move it.

I considered the bearings, but I examined the thing.  Since the beam only moves about 3/4 millimeter, I calculated the axis wouldn't rotate but about 0.02 of an inch.  I felt that really was a waste of bearings for such a tiny movement.  I just couldn't see the bearings making that much of a difference.  If the axis was rotating 1/4 turn or something then maybe, but I just don't think there's enough rotation there to matter.  But I could be wrong.  We'll see.

I have to buy an oscillator now.

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ELMER
17 hours ago, KT4OBX said:

Well for some reason it won't play the video when I try to embed it.
https://youtu.be/R_1wwVGquVw

Fixed. All you have to do is paste the page link of the video and it embeds it automatically.

I second Lind... WOW.

I further second him on the hand position 🤔

@KT4OBX I have a question. How many work hours to build it?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, WA2WMR said:

WOW!!!!!

That is a truly gorgeous key!

That's a rather interesting way of "holding" the key while keying.

Yeah I think so to.  I was doing it the common sense way but someone told me that was the wrong way.  I like it better just pressing down on the top of the knob with my finger and I think that's how I'm going to do it.

Whats the odds of finding two hams that disagree on how to do something?   🙂
 

 

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1 hour ago, K3MRI said:

Fixed. All you have to do is paste the page link of the video and it embeds it automatically.

I second Lind... WOW.

I further second him on the hand position 🤔

@KT4OBX I have a question. How many work hours to build it?

I'd say about 30 hours of time, Jim.  Took me 7 days overall but much of that was waiting-on-the-mailman time since I couldn't find the larger brass locally.  McMaster-Carr was super awesome.  They had my brass here in 2 days from the time I placed the order.  I've never seen mail order service that fast before without paying extra for next-day delivery.  I was expecting 3 or 4 days at least.

But consider some of that 30 hours was making jigs so could do it right rather than doing it over.  There was also a learning curve doing it for the first time.  If I was to build another one it'd move along faster.  The learning curve slowed me down on this one.

I think it'll look even cooler next year once the brass gets some dark patina on it.

Thanks for the kind compliments fellas.

 

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ELMER

Mark my words Antony, every single time you show your key to an op, you will get the same oooh, aaah, followed by "Where did you get this key?" followed by "OMG, seriously, you built this?" and possibly "Could you make me one?"

More seriously, there is one addition I would make, I personally think it looks cool, others do not. I have the plexiglass cover on my keys. (e.g. https://www.dxengineering.com/search/product-line/vibroplex-dust-covers/part-type/code-key-and-keyer-paddle-accessories?fr=part-type&autoview=SKU&sortby=Default&sortorder=Default). I like my keys to be dust-free and goodness knows that they are dust magnets.

Again, well done Antony, exceedingly so.

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So, please check into the slow speed CW round table one of these weekends at 0730 Saturday and Sunday mornings on 3565kc; I would really love to hear that key.

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