2015-11-20 (F) Weekly Summary

Final touches were put on the model. This time grooves were extracted from the middle of the handle area so that the pick could be grabbed more easily. My symbol was carefully placed in the pick holder area but since I’ve included the OpenSCAD code anyone can render their own version of the model without my symbol or even include their own. Or a letter to designate the pick holder which goes in that slot.

Rotating view of the lock pick holder

To designate my picks I wrote names on all of them. The names were arbitrarily picked from a book of baby names. An old school Random Name Generator. The purpose was to differentiate the picks in a way that made them seem personalized. It’s difficult to tell from the photos, and I accidentally left it out of the blog but I weathered the white tape with coffee to make them less than pure white.

Named and weathered costume lock picks

The second part of standard lock picks is at least one wrench. Lock pick wrenches are the little bars used to actually move the lock cylinder. YouTube describes all the parts if you’re interested in the functionality of lock picks, but I will reiterate, don’t do anything illegal! For this costume it wasn’t necessary to carry the wrenches but it seemed silly to leave them at home to get lost in my sea of STUFF. A holder was made for the wrenches which was just like the pick holders but it didn’t have the pick guard at the top. Instead of all the customized fitting that I did for the picks this holder was simply a flat place to glue some magnets. I added my symbols right onto the tray of this model even though it won’t be easy to see while wrench are attached.

Wrench holder model

Wrench holder with magnets

1.0mm elastic craft string was used to go between all the holders. An extra set of hands would have been nice because it takes two hands to stretch the elastic craft string and at least one more hand to crimp a ferrule onto the string. I managed but it was frustrating to do alone. A single piece of string ran throughout the holes and formed everything into a circular cuff or bracer.

Ferrule right before crimping

Elastic string allowed me to wear it right on my arm or wear it over a sleeve. Having fabric between my skin and the plastic would be necessary in order to wear it all day. I was pretty happy with how it looked and the weathered, named lock picks looked pretty good. It had a patterned look all the way around and was extra interesting when you realize that the components are not armor but lock picks.

Costume lock pick holders being worn

I was happy with the project so I wrote an Instructable for it. It wasn’t well received, possibly because of the legal gray (grey) area it falls in. Despite labeling it as Cosplay it was not popular. It was nice to wrap up another project successfully.

While I was building the keyboard I entertained the idea of making a desktop version. The purpose would be to practice typing so I was familiar with the keys before I had to type on the portable wrist mounted version I just completed. The portable version is ultra-compact but not comfortable. Which was fine because it’s not meant for extended typing but rather it is meant for quick notes or text messages then it can be thrown in a pocket. The desktop version also didn’t need Bluetooth support. My natural inclination was to make keys similar to what people are used to typing on. Instead I designed something more like piano keys. All glamour aside, they are simply levers which push a microswitch.

Concept of piano style keyboard

Levers were cut from premium Aspen. Premium wood was already sanded on all the faces, had no knots and was roughly the size I needed and it looked nice. I paid appropriately for the benefits. With that said, if someone wanted to simply cut the same shape out of less costly wood it would work just as well, only take longer and maybe not look as nice. This keyboard is going to be the antithesis of the ultra-portable version because this version will look nice, feel comfortable, take a lot of room, and be heavy.

Cutting keyboard style keys

Pieces of the four key array and three key array

Brass rods were selected to hold the microswitches. 1/8” rods fit perfectly into the switch holes. The switches were probably meant for that. Steel/nickel rods could have been used. The rods are not going to be visible so color wasn’t a consideration. The rods were cut on a questionably safe band saw.

Not a single safety sticker

Six rods were cut. Three were long and three were short. Each set of identical rods were meant to hold switches for the four palm switches, one for each finger, or the thumb switches which there were three switches. Two rods for the switches and another rod for the hinge of the key levers.

Three short brass rods

Blocks were cut and drilled to hold the keys. These blocks were cut the same size as the key levers but left rectangular. Three blind holes were drilled in on side and a mirror image was drilled in the opposite side of the mating piece. These blind holes were meant to accept the brass rods. Everything was assembled. The switches were pushed into position and the keys were placed on the hinge rod.

Placing keys, rods, and a switch

Four-key arrangement fully assembled

Underside of three-key and four-key assemblies

Once the keys are aligned and the button presses felt crisp the brass and switches were removed and the wood was stained a dark color. When the stain had set and was dry a coat of polyurethane was applied to protect the stain and wood. This ruined the paint brushes and stained my hands.

Stained keyboard pieces being polyurethaned

The rest of the weekly summaries have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2


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