Introduction: Molecular Formula Key Ring.

Picture of Molecular Formula Key Ring.

A Christmas present For The Chemistry Boffin Who Has Everything.

I want to give a present to my young friend who is studying Chemistry at an Oxford University.
This is what I have to go on:

He spends 90% of his time studying equations.

He has an active Social life which involves lots of drinking.

He always loses his keys.

So, after much thought, I decided to make a key-ring with the molecular formula for alcohol (ethanol ) on it.

Step 1: Tools and Materials.

You will need;

A pair of tin snips or hacksaw.
A drill or a punch.
A file or a grinder.
Emery paper.
A hammer.
A Letter punch set or an engraver or a scribe.

A small piece of aluminium or steel.
A lanyard or key fob.

Step 2: Cut the Basic Shape.

Picture of Cut the Basic Shape.

Cut the basic shape.

I had a small piece of steel that was marginally thicker than a credit card; it was formerly part of a shelf bracket that was too flimsy to ever work properly,

Step 3: Mark Out the Formula.

Picture of Mark Out the Formula.

Mark out the formula.

I did this to avoid mistakes.

It also takes the ink into the recess of the letter, making it darker.

Step 4: Punch in the Letters.

Picture of Punch in the Letters.

Punch in the letters.
You will need to to this on a heavy metal ojbect; I used the back of the vice.

After adding the letters you will probably want to flatten the metal out.

Step 5: Grind or File Off the Corners.

Picture of Grind or File Off the Corners.

Grind or file off the corners.

Remember, if you are using aluminium that you will not be able to use a grinder and should use a file instead.

Step 6: Drill a Hole.

Picture of Drill a Hole.

Drill a hole for the lanyard.

It is best to have the metal clamped down to prevent injury.

File the burr from around the hole.

Step 7: Buff Up.

Picture of Buff Up.

Buff up using emery paper.

I used mild steel and I like things to get a nice patina, especially when they are handled often so I just gave it a small squirt of furniture polish that contains wax;  if you want to keep it shiny then a quick spray with a can of clear lacquer might be a good idea; but I don't think that it is really necessary. 

Step 8: Add the Lanyard or Key Fob.

Picture of Add the Lanyard or Key Fob.

Add the lanyard or Key fob.

These are available in craft stores, but I just happened to have one at hand.

I added his name to the back as well.

Happy Christmas.


lemonie (author)2010-12-24

That's very nice, I sort of want one. The representation is not advanced-level, so in text-book terms the style would be "retro-" or "old-school".


FriendOfHumanity (author)lemonie2011-01-03


Thanks for the comments.

Just in case I ever make another one; What is the advanced representation for ethanol?

I can find these C2H5OH or CH3–CH2–OH or C2H6O but I preferred the spread out skeleton representation.

lemonie (author)FriendOfHumanity2011-01-03

Your advanced level cartoon is a bit simplistic for ethanol (pic) but the method is good for more advanced structures.
CH3CH2OH is a good linear representation.


CrLz (author)2010-12-27

Cool idea!

ChrysN (author)2010-12-23

Nice gift for those geeky types.

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