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After creating the first house key switchblade out of paper, I was content with the outcome and how well it actually functioned. Now it has been just over two years and I thought that it was about time to revisit and create a new one since the wear and tear was starting to do a number on it.

As with the first version, it was built off an idea where your house key would be placed into a housing (made of card stock paper) and with some kind of push of a button, the key would pop out exposing the teeth of the key.

You will see the design process all the way to the finished product. Hopefully this Instructable will inspire others to design and created their own version.


Step 1: Materials

These are the materials I used during this build.

- Card stock (I used 110lb heavyweight from Staples)
- Standard printer paper
- Cutting mat
- Hobby knife
- Scissors
- Pencil
- Sharpies
- Protractor
- Metal ruler
- Plastic ruler
- Scotch tape
- Super glue
- Bottle of all purpose white glue
- Tooth picks

- House key
- Regular pen springs or springs with a diameter less than 3.89 mm (May be hard to find the perfect length for them)
- Tiny spring with a diameter less than 2.16 mm (I found this spring inside a portable book light)



Step 2: Design Process (Layering)

Before I started, I had to figure out how many layers of card stock I needed so that the house key would slide freely inside the housing. It ended up being 8. I also had to figure out the number of layers of card stock I would need for the springs I was using. It was 18 for the larger springs that would launch the key, and 10 for the smaller spring that would hold the release mechanism in place.



Step 3: Design Process (Blueprint Set Up)

Next I started drawing out blueprints of what I wanted it to be like. I traced out my house key and then created around it.

I put a piece of tape on the back of my house key and place it on a piece of regular printer paper. Then I traced a copy onto the paper, making sure it was as accurate as possible.

With a ruler I mark two points that were in the middle of the traced house key. Using those two points, I drew a vertical line down the middle of the traced house key. This vertical line was used as a starting point in all my blueprints and it made sure that everything was aligned.



Step 4: Design Process (Blueprint #1)

This was the first concept design. It had a lot of complexity to it. The plan was to have two buttons on each side that you would have to press in at the same time to release the key. There was also a lot of moving pieces and overall probably wasn't to practical. I wasn't satisfied with the overall aesthetics of the design, but that's how the design was the first time.



Step 5: Design Process (Blueprint #2)

The second attempt at a design. It had the same complex mechanisms and moving parts as the first blueprint. The only thing that changed was the physical shape of design. Satisfied with the design, I went ahead and tried creating a working model. I didn't get too far as it was full of errors, so I had to scrap this one. After an unsuccessful attempt at making a working model, I had to go back to the drawing boards and somehow make it simpler and more reliable.



Step 6: Design Process (Blueprint #3 and #4)

These were a couple of brainstorms I came up with after. Again their designs made it prone to errors because I ignored the fact that the more moving parts there are, the more complicated it would become. If I tried creating a working model of either one it most likely wouldn't have worked out in the end. 

Blueprint #3 had the same mechanism concept as blueprints #1 and #2. It was a little larger and I closed off the sides where the key would sliding through. 

In Blueprint #4 I was messing around with a single sided button on this one.



Step 7: Design Process (Blueprint #5)

I started looking at how actual switchblades were designed and functioned. This is where I discovered the Halo series OFT switchblades made by Microtech. I tried to make my design look similar but it started taking its own form.

A good week of thinking and a couple of new rough sketches, I finally came up with a much simpler and a lot nicer design. It had one push button release mechanism like any real switchblade would have.



Step 8: Design Process (Blueprint #6)

This was just a revision of blueprint #5, which tried to eliminate the errors that I was able to find. The release mechanism was two magnets repelling each other, and when the top magnet was pressed down it would move out of the path of the key releasing it outwards. 

I thought that this design was good enough to make an attempt at making a working model. But when I took on making a working model, the blueprint still had errors that hindered the build from working. That was as far I got with this design when I realized that the magnet idea wasn't going to work. So I scraped that model and when back to the drawing boards once again.



Step 9: Design Process (Blueprint #7: Final Design for Version 1)

The final design concept created for version 1. The idea behind this blueprint was that instead of pushing a button, it would be simpler (in my case) to have a sliding release mechanism. The release mechanism would have a tiny spring holding it in place, so that the key would not pop out suddenly. Once the release mechanism was slid out of the keys path, the key would pop out the front.



Step 10: Design Process (Blueprint #8: Final Design for Version 2)

The final design concept created for version 2. The mechanisms are the same as the first version. Only the visual design has changed where there are windows that will be cut out which allows you to see the key moving within the housing. The measurements have also been revised so that the key would fit better inside.



Step 11: Build Process I (Part 1)

The first step in the build process was to hand draw every piece onto card stock based on the final blueprint. There are 25 pieces in total.

Here are the files for the blueprint.

Step 12: Build Process I (Part 2)

Next I started cutting the pieces out.

There are 8 layers that make up the top section. 3 layers are for covering up the main launch springs as well as giving the top some design/depth. The next 5 layer are needed so there is enough room for the launch springs to moving inside as well as finishing off the sliding release mechanism.

There are 8 layers that make up the mid-section which holds the key and the sliding release mechanism. It also adds more layers that go towards giving enough room for the launch springs.

There are 9 layers that make up the bottom section. 5 layers are needed for the same reasons as the 5 layers in the top section. The last 4 layers are needed to cover up the launch springs. The pieces are gradually getting smaller because I didn't want the working model be blocky. I wanted it to have a tiny curve so that is looked nice and it would feel better when handled in someone's hand.



Step 13: Build Process I (Part 3)

Now I had to use my exacto knife to cut out the excess pieces within each piece that I did not need. I started with cutting out the 8 layers that make up the mid-section.



Step 14: Build Process I (Part 4)

Next I continued cutting the excess pieces out for the nine layers that make up the bottom section.



Step 15: Build Process I (Part 5)

The final section that I had to cut was the eight layers that make up the top section.



Step 16: Build Process I (Part 6)

Before I started gluing the layers together, I took a couple Sharpie markers and used them where they needed to be for the visual design. You'll see later on how it all comes together.



Step 17: Build Process II (Part 1)

Now that the cutting portion of the build process is done, I can now start gluing the layers together.

I started by taking these 5 bottom layers. I took some white glue and spread it all over one layer with a toothpick and stack another layer on top of it. I continued this process with the rest of the 5 layers and put them under a heavy book and let it dry for about 24 hours.



Step 18: Build Process II (Part 2)

Next I took the 8 layers that make up the key housing and started gluing them on to the 5 bottom layers that I glued together in the previous step. Again I placed the combined layers under a heavy book and let it dry for about 24 hours.



Step 19: Build Process II (Part 3)

Before moving on, it would be a good idea to make sure the key is able to slide freely and easily inside the mid-section. If it feels tight and gravity is not making the key move by itself, then you should take your exacto knife and start shaving the inner edges of the mid-section. Also check to see if the release mechanism is able to move freely too and is not in the way of the key when it is moving into the open position.



Step 20: Build Process II (Part 4)

Next I grouped the top 5 layers into sections and I glued them together.



Step 21: Build Process II (Part 5)

I took the the first part of the top layers that I glued together in the previous step and glued it onto the top of the mid-section. The house key is now in place.



Step 22: Build Process II (Part 6)

I also got the release mechanism assembled and put into place.



Step 23: Build Process II (Part 7)

Next I took the second part of the top layer and placed it on top of the layer before.

Without gluing it down I used that part to align the cover for the release mechanism. Once that was aligned I super glued it to the rest of the release mechanism. It protects and covers up the tiny spring. I used super glue for this section to ensure that the release mechanism wouldn't break off when in use.



Step 24: Build Process II (Part 8)

I finished off the release mechanism by super gluing the final three smaller pieces on. It acts as a place where I can grip the release mechanism to move it.



Step 25: Build Process II (Part 9)

I finished the top section off by gluing the last three layers together.



Step 26: Build Process II (Part 10)

Then I took the remaining bottom layers and glued them together.



Step 27: Build Process II (Part 11)

Now it was time to put the launch springs that propel the house key in. I super glued the two springs together before I put them in.



Step 28: Build Process II (Part 12)

Then I took the last part of the bottom section and glued it on, closing everything off.

I glued a 0.4 cm strip of card stock around the border cutting openings in the strip for each opening respectively, finishing everything off.



Step 29: 3D Model

This is the 3D model of my House Key Switchblade v2 that I made using Autodesk 123D Beta 9.

If anyone does decide to print this model out for their house key, check that the measurements of your house key is compatible with this model. If not you might have to modify it a bit.

Also, the model uses regular pen springs (two if the spring isn't long enough) and a tiny spring for the release mechanism.
    - Regular pen springs or springs with a diameter less than 3.89 mm
    - Tiny spring with a diameter less than 2.16 mm (I found this spring inside a portable book light)


Note: Data exported in millimeters.

Step 30: Completion

So there you have it, I've shown all the processes that I had to go through to get the this point. Tell me what you viewers think and if you have any questions leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.


Thanks,

          li.c.reated



Step 31: Videos

Here are a couple videos giving you a look around and showing it in action.






<p>This looks very cool! Does the key have an automatic way to get back in, or do you have to do it manually?</p>
Can you send me the PDF
This was a brilliant instructable and a great design. I love that you showed the design process. You gave this a lot of thought, way more than I would have <br>:)
Thank you!
Speechless! Great idea and instructable!
Thanks!
awesome -- excellent design, imagineering, build, instructable, and use of materials! <br> <br>having looked at the balisong too (but not the optimus yet ^_' ) i'd say you're learning and improving a lot. cheers!
Thank you! Glad you like.
Carbon fibre housing would be great too. I've only look at obtaining and using it a few times. Not sure how hard it would be to convert to this.
That would probably be a challenge to convert it to a carbon fibre model. I'm not too sure myself how you would go about do this.
I looked it up a while ago. It looked easier that it appears you lay a layer then resin and repeat. It needs a vacuum form though which is beyond me.<br><br>If you could make it with it people would buy them from you.
a sturdier and more durable housing would certainly be the most practical and simplest way to improve this -- top, bottom and wraparound layer of carbon fibre, aluminum, pot metal. even just a lacquer coating. and some lacquering of the inside edges that the key slides along too. ^_^ but those would involve some very techie bonding considerations, especially the carbon fibre and the metals. <br> <br>that said, it's the use of paper that makes this project intriguing . . . . and very appealing!
a sturdier and more durable housing would certainly be the most practical and simplest way to improve this -- top, bottom and wraparound layer of carbon fibre, aluminum, pot metal. even just a lacquer coating. and some lacquering of the inside edges that the key slides along too. ^_^ but those would involve some very techie bonding considerations, especially the carbon fibre and the metals. <br> <br>that said, it's the use of paper that makes this project intriguing . . . . and very appealing!
Amazing! Such a commitment to detail.
Thanks!
Could you cover it in some kind of resin to make it more durable on the outside? I want to make this but it looks like it is very complicated. It is probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen on this site. You are a MONSTER! :-)
Thank you for your interest! If I ever had to make another one, I would look into a clear coating or something that would make it more durable than it already is lol.
Technically, this would be a House Key Angel Blade. A switchblade flips out the side whereas an Angel Blade is an automatic OTF (Out The Front) blade. Looks nice though.
Thank you. I've never really heard of an Angel Blade before but it does sound similar to an OTF switchblade.
So what happens when you bring a woman home with you, and you turn around to open the door, and she hears a switch blade sound? <br> <br>She may go running and screaming thinking that you pulled a knife.
ahah worst case scenario right there. I'll make sure that it doesn't make a switchblade sound.
theres a company in canada If I'm correct, that sells these
Do you remember the name of the company, I would like to check them out if possible.
Just reading all these constructive comments makes me remember why I love this site so much, why can't more online communities be this friendly?
I definitely agree! This is really an awesome community to be apart of.
Wow! That looks awesome! I love the colour scheme!!<br> Do you think it would be possible to 3D-print a design like this?<br> Also, could you upload a video of the process of retracting the key once the door has been unlocked?<br> <br> Keep up the good work!
Bumping for key retraction video.
I just hold the switch mechanism in the open position and push the key back inside. It's only a single action switchblade type. Would you still like to see a video of that?
Thank! glad you like it. I have a 3d version in step 29. <br>For the retraction, I just hold the switch mechanism in the open position and push the key back inside. It's only a single action switchblade type. <br>Would you still like to see a video of that?
Nice project, nice Instructable. However, is it a &quot;switchblade&quot;? Every switchblade I've seen had the blade on a pivot action, not a plunger action.
Thank you. There are many different types of switchblades, like you said there are ones where the blade pivots and there are ones that come out the front. Those ones are call OTF switchblades.
I've seen both, I think the only real requirement for it to be a switchblade is that it opens with the press of a button.
UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE. just WOW.
Thank yous!
bump
bump.
Great work! I really liked the how you broke down the concept of the switch into basic steps and then redesigned it into a really cool looking key. I'm gonna try and tinker a bit with the concept but using different materials.
Thanks! I look forward to seeing what you do.
should check out Shapeways. It's a really cool site they have. You can have you stl file uploaded and then they'll print it out for ya.
Sounds like a good idea, I'll check them out, thanks
Wow. I salute your dedication and time spent! And almost entirely made out of paper! <br>Good job!
Thank you!
Very useful, this. It's a good thing. Thanks, I wish I could buy one; damn sure I couldn't make one...
Thanks! Awesome that you would want to buy one. Maybe in the future but I don't know.
chaotic marvelous mind!
Thanks!
This is really impressive, why not get a hold of a 3d printer and print all your parts in resin/plastic? I mean, I really think you could sell these. Seriously. If this was available I'd buy one! A bit of assembly doesn't bother me for a quality product. Plus you could oversize the key holder area so a wide variety of keys could fit in the slot. Anyway, great build and idea! Seriously, market and sell this thing. You'd make some decent money on it. :)
Thank you! 3d printers are a bit on the expensive side at the moment, but I did enter the contest to try and win one. I'm glad to see that you'd be interested in buying one. Maybe in the future I could lol.
Why not file the edges of the key down so you can make it a bit smaller? <br>I like this idea, as I'm forever getting my keys stabbed in my legs at work <br>Woo!
Thanks! Yup if I filed the edges that would have definitely made it a lot slimmer. I didn't do it thought because I didn't want to change the shape of my house key as I could use it for future projects if they were to arise.

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Bio: Computing Scientist. Creator. Designer. Imaginator.
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