Introduction: How to Replace the Locking Pin in a Truck Tool Box

About: Hi, we're Dara and Nash. Industrial designers, tinkers, and mayhem builders. Follow our travels.

I recently bought a crossover tool box for the bed of my truck. Lo and behold, one of the pins that lock the lids in place was snapped off.

Like any good Maker who has access to a whole lot of machinery, I decided to make a replacement. Out of Aluminum. So that it doesn't break off as easily!

Since I have access to TechShop, I decided to use a lathe. Hooray industrial revolution machine!

What you'll need:
Material (Aluminum stock in this case)
Piece to copy.
Metal lathe.

Step 1: Remove the Pins

So, first step is to take out the pins. The broken one because you're replacing it, and the good one because you're copying it. Since I'm not making a perfect copy of them, I am not especially mindful of making it precision. So, "close enough" works for me.

As you can see, removing them isn't too hard. It just takes two screws to remove the holders. Simple and easy.

Be sure to keep all the parts. A truck box is amazing for storing and losing things at the same time.

Step 2: Turn a New Pin

So, since I'm not a master with a metal lathe (I could classify as competent?), I won't list all the steps in depth for turning it, but I'll give a rough summary and order.

First, I started with a piece of Aluminum round stock roughly the same size as the bottom bit of the pin. Makes it a little easier.

Next, you turn down the main shaft of the pin. Bringing it from a bit more than an inch, to a bit under half an inch thick.

Then, you use a variety of bits/tools to cut into the material creating the grooves. Note one side is a little beveled/tapered. That was tricky.

Eventually I'll be remaking the whole locking assembly, as well as making another aluminum pin for the other side and will do proper research for a more in-depth instruction. Besides, this is the How To Replace, not the How To Make A Perfect Pin Instructable.

Step 3: Cleaning!

One of the biggest things around TechShop is to make sure you clean up after yourself.

I didn't make a huge mess in comparison to some people, but I did make a fair amount of chips and got some coolant/detritus around the lathe.

So, cleaning. Compressed air, a hose, and a variety of brooms and brushes help immensely.

Step 4: Replacing and Aligning the Pin

Pretty easy step. You do the reverse of the first step.

Put the pin in the cover plate and replace it with the two screws (if you haven't lost them).

One thing you may run into is that the new piece may not line up properly. Good thing about the mounting plate is that it has a range of motion that's much bigger than the pin. So, move it around until it falls back into the locking mechanism.

Enjoy your refurbished lock!

(before and after shots shown below)