Introduction: DIY Audio Jack Key Holder

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The first thing I say in the morning after "Coffee's ready!" is "Where'd my keys go?" - it's almost a ritual at this point, but at my expense! Key dishes are fine but my foyer isn't really set up for a table, so an on-the-wall key holder is the way to go!

Many of our projects are audio-based, so it seemed fitting to create a key holder out of audio jacks, and it looks good too!

Items needed:

  • Project chassis - I had a bunch I could choose from and decided to go with one that would look good mounted on the wall. Also make sure the chassis is deep enough to account for the jacks. If you don't, you may need to adjust the jacks.
  • 3 female 1/4" audio jacks
  • 3 male 1/4" audio jacks
  • 2-4 Screws/Screwdriver (for mounting to wall)
  • Drill press w/appropriate drill bits
  • Cutting oil (or really, any other kind of oil)

For adjustments/best practice, you may also need:

  • Hammer + nail/screw
  • Nibbers
  • Angle Grinder

Step 1: Mark the Locations for Your Audio Jacks

  • Figure out which chassis face you want to see and which one you want to the wall
  • Measure out where the center is and make a small mark.
  • Decide on how far apart you want the audio jacks to be. Halve that distance, and put a mark to the left and right of the center hole.
  • Measure out where the remaining 2 jacks go and mark those as well!

Step 2: Drill the Holes for Your Audio Jacks

  • Using a hammer and nail/screw, a good practice is to tap a small divot in so that your drill bits have a place to start at. This also lowers the risk of a scratch from a drill bit sliding around.
  • Since this box is metal, when using a drill press, you want to go from a smaller drill bit and work up to the drill bit size that will allow the jack to go through (the mounting screw portion)
  • You may want to use cutting oil to help prevent your drill bit from overheating. Just put a dab where you want to start drilling and clean after use.
    • I don't have cutting oil at home but I did have some wood wax w/oil, so I used that!
  • Be sure to clean the box after you've drilled the holes!

Step 3: Adjust Your Audio Jacks If Necessary

In the first step, I suggested finding a chassis that was deep enough to accomodate the audio jacks. I didn't take my own advice! Fortunately, I was able to modify the jacks enough so that they fit. If you need to as well, these are the easiest areas to adjust:

  • Using nibbers, get rid of the audio jack solder leads
  • Using a grinder, get rid of some of the mounting screw threads. Please be careful to not take too much off! You still need the mounting thread to be able to go through the chassis!

Step 4: Mount the Audio Jacks In!

Mount the 3 female audio jacks in! Fortunately, since this is a key holder, you don't need to know which lead on the back goes to tip, ring or shield!

Step 5: Attach a Keychain to a Male Audio Jack

Using your drill press, drill a small hole through the audio jack large enough for the keyring you have to fit through.

Thread a keyring through the holes and attach the keyring to your keychain! This may require some searching around the house for old keychains.

Step 6: Install the Keyholder to the Wall!

Using a screwdriver and screws, install this on your wall! This may require making a couple of pilot holes if you're going through metal.

Step 7: Voila!

And now, you won't ever lose your keys again! (Just make sure to use it!)

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