Picture of Magnetized Pocket Folding Key Organizer
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I am tired of the same old-fashion key chains, and want an alternative that is light weight, compact, and simple to make and use.  I've seen some alternatives that are available on Kickstarter and here on Instructables(http://www.instructables.com/id/Swiss-Army-Key-Ring/)  but none that were quite what I wanted. 

The goal: Organize keys while reducing bulk and weight. Stop keys from jingling, becoming disorganized or causing discomfort. Keys needed to be easily accessible, and the organizer simple, compact, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. 

The design I settled on is similar in form to a folding pocket knife and holds 3 keys (a non-transponder car key, a house key and a garage key. This Instructable will be the third key organizer I've built. (I wanted to get the process worked out before I wrote it up). As a bonus with this build, I'm adding some neodymium magnets so that the keys can be hung from any iron or steel surface.
p.s. this is my 1st Instructable, please forgive any newbie mistakes nut still point them out so I can do better next time.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools
Wood- I used 3mm thick cocobolo scrap I had around the house. 
Aluminum "U" channel- Found at most hardware stores. This was 10mm i.d. & 13mm o.d. and would be suitable for 4 normal thickness keys.
Rivet or 'Chicago-screw (www.chicagoscrews.com/‎)- I used copper rivets.
Washers- Thin washers with i.d. just large enough to slip over the rivet to use as spacers.
Neodymium magnets- Used so I can stick the keys to the fridge or hide them under the car by sticking them to the car's frame.
Epoxy- I used quick curing JB Weld, but any relatively fast curing epoxy should do. The dark color of the JB Weld matches well with the dark striations in the cocobolo, it contains iron so it becomes magnetic when used with the magnets, and I just happened to have some in the toolbox.
Keys- Be sure to use a spare set in case you mess up and wreck em.
Wood finish- I used Tru-Oil gun stock finish. But any finish that seals and protects the wood will work.
Sand paper

Saws to cut wood and aluminum. 
File or grinder to shape keys.
Belt sander (optional-I just used sandpaper of varying grits when I made my 1st key organizer).
Vise or clamps for gluing wood to aluminum.

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Qbigal4 months ago

great product. I am researching key holders for an assisted living company. Are you making and selling this product?

m_jorge (author)  Qbigal4 months ago
Sorry. I just made a few of these for myself and a few for gifts. If you're looking to get something similar you could try a new product that looks promising.
mrandle8 months ago

Nice x-ray of the keys was that on a commercial one or medical? I Was thinking of incorporating the transponder into one of the sides so you have access to the buttons. Nice Job!

If you don't have different colored spare keys you can get nail polishes and a dollar store and paint a line on the outside edge just below the rounded end. Or better yet borrow some from your wife, girlfriend or sister.

keglarek1 year ago
didn't see anyone else posting questions in regard to this but would having two transponders interfere with each other, one on each side of channel? what if i did a two rivet design, one on each end?
m_jorge (author)  keglarek11 months ago

I haven't tried, but I wouldn't think it would be any worse than having two transponder keys on the same keychain. I'll try making one when I make my next one.

ottawafm1 year ago
Great job! Best looking key-holder I've seen yet!
Silvrgoat1 year ago
WOW!! This looks great!! You could sell these like crazy on Etsy!!
This, sir, is brilliant. I want to convince my wife to let me make one, maybe two, so she can have one as well. Being a guy who likes to have a pocket knife at all times, I might try putting a small blade in there too, but we'll see. Thanks for posting this.
chuckyd2 years ago
You didn't remove any "unneccessary material". All that material aids in rotating the keys in the lock. Even with your fob, turning the key in a stiff lock is difficult.
If the lock is stiff and giving problems with this device, all one would need to do is fold the handle down to a 90 degree angle, which would allow more torque and leverage.
m_jorge (author)  chuckyd2 years ago
So far I've been using my 1st key organizer for almost a year without any difficulty, in door knob lock, deadbolts, and in the car. There has been no loss in torque-ability.
Mihsin2 years ago
I'd like to suggest: 1) Make your channel out of brass shim stock, it will provide a back spring for your keys. 2) Cut spare keys before touching a saw to your original keys.
I made my organizer, however, I'll make this also. I have lots of keys.
Good work
mandersen2 years ago
Instead of wood you could use something like silicone or suguru
mandersen2 years ago
Just an idea here
It may be simpler to use a router to make a channel in thicker wood big enough for the U-section to be fitted into. That way the grain will match all the way around!
nbeched2 years ago
Great instructable, but I'd prefer mild steel over alumimium.
m_jorge (author)  nbeched2 years ago
Me too! Or better yet, titanium. If you know of a source of "U"channel of either material I'd love to hear about it.
These guys have everything metal, even more than McMaster-Carr

londobali2 years ago
Great idea!
I was just in an discussion last week with a friend who caries more keys and all sort of things in a life-size carabiner everywhere he goes. He thinks it helps him not loosing his keys.
For my self, i always like to carry as little as possible, only bring the keys that is used everyday, and in the simplest keychain possible (i bring 2 keys in a 4mm elastic cord loop with a brass ball and a small Spanish coin to make it unique).

And then i saw you i'ble, it gave me a light-bulb-moment and thought: hmm, i'll make my keys even smaller, and show it to him for fun, then i'll keep it for a year without loosing it just to show off and hopefully annoys my friend a bit.. :D

Thanks for the inspiration m_jorge!

Here's what i made:

I trimmed down the two house keys (copies of them, not the original - turns out they're nicely soft to trim down), drilled a new hole and bolted them together just at right tension. I also trimmed the extensive bolt and almost half of the nut in a more rounded shape which is nicer to the touch.. *i tipped a small amount of superglue to stop the nut turning loose.
oh, and i used washers on each side..

To use it, i swing one key out of the way and it makes a good lever since the "head" of the key is smaller now..
GoDu22 years ago
Cool Idea!
3366carlos2 years ago
very nice, i wish i had one.
harvsch2 years ago
Don't try this with a "smart" key. With many cars the chip in the key handle is needed in order to start the car.
It would work if you embed the chip inside the key holder somewhere. I had a broken original car key (black part with chip only, key part broken off) and duplicate key (no black part with chip). Placed the black part close to ignition and turned the duplicate key. Worked without a hitch.
Kurt_DR2 years ago
I'm not understanding how your spring mechanism works in this design. Once you cut the angles through the wood and aluminum then what. How does it fit into your 1.5-2 cm grooves. Pictures would help.
m_jorge (author)  Kurt_DR2 years ago
I'll do my best to get some pictures out tomorrow.
m_jorge (author)  m_jorge2 years ago
I think this animation should show how the spring action works. (Need to click on the image to start animation.)
As the key begins to rotate, the eccentric rounded end pushes against the cut-free base of the 'U'. The composite of AL & wood has enough elasticity to bend and spring back, pushing against the key.
nmcrae12 years ago
I think I'll have to do something like this - my motorcycle's keyslot is in a place where if I use a chain or ring, it'll damage the paint as the other keys rattle in the air - using a setup like this, they won't, so they won't do any damage, either!

It would also be easy to just use the aluminum (or steel) channel and powdercoat it any color you want.
CaptDingo2 years ago
I didn't need to organize my keys, but I did need a way to carry my lock-pick set and a torsion bar( I'm a locksmith, carrying picks will get you in trouble if you aren't one.) so I took your great idea and ran with it! Thank you for posting!
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m_jorge (author)  CaptDingo2 years ago
Very cool!
nbeched2 years ago
I'd lay a thin piece of steel to prevent keys from rubbing off the aluminium. Same kind that is used on pallet packaging. It could be glued with a flexible glue or epoxied on the opposite side...
m_jorge (author)  nbeched2 years ago
Excellent idea. I'll try that on the next one I make>
gutsy572 years ago
clever and cool. the only thing is, won't work with chip keys.
m_jorge (author)  gutsy572 years ago
Yes and no. You'd need co cannibalize one of your existing transponder keys for the key shaft and the transponder. Since those keys cost 100-150$ at the dealer, I was unwilling to invest in buying a new key for the project. However, it is simple to remove the transponder from most keys, and it could be incorporated into the body of the key organizer in the same way I incorporated the magnets.
Won't the magnets interfere with electronics?
m_jorge (author)  AmyCat592 years ago
Well, it certainly interfered with the credit card that I had in the same pocket. But no, there has been, so far, no interaction between the electronics of my car and the magnets on the key organizer. However, the magnets are optional.
harvsch2 years ago
Don't try this with a smart key. That includes many car keys with immobilizer chips in them.
m_jorge (author)  harvsch2 years ago
There are many youtube videos on how to remove the transponder chip from modern keys. Examples include: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiNaotDpVOY ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R610pJxUJAA ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOWRj-hP4Ns. I have not tried it, since I only have two keys to my vehicle that has that type of key, and getting a copy made is prohibitively expensive for me. But it would certainly seen possible. If any of my friends ask me to make a key organizer with one of their transponder keys I'll be sure to post the results. I'd certainly love to try.
zacker2 years ago
very cool.... good job!
stumitch2 years ago
excellent! simple and inventive.
Monomann2 years ago
Pretty darn cool! Nice work!
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