DIY Audio Jack Key Holder

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Introduction: DIY Audio Jack Key Holder

About: Every week two geeky people in Rochester MN spend every ounce of their freetime creating educational videos, podcasts, articles, and music. They publish it all on the internet, free to anyone in the whole un...

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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56 Discussions

This is an awesome idea. What did you use for your chassis, it looks very familiar. Otherwise what would recommend to use or where to find something that size. I have looked online, but yours looks way nicer than anything I could find

1 reply

I think it was some sort of network router actually lol. I just took out the insides and took off the sticker label :p Or maybe some sort of audio passthrough of some sort.

This is nice. We came up with a different flavored way to manage our keys.

Dry erase white-boards are metallic and like magnets.

Magnets from old hard-drives or rare earth magents are very magnetic

The ring in keyrings are iron based and love to hang on the dry erase board on the wall by door :-)

I put 10 of the really thin hard-drive magnets on ours. It works great. Hold things like flyswatters, too.

The only thing I have thought from time to time is that it would look a tad better if I would take the time to paint the magnets white to match the board.

2 replies

Thanks! It's true, if I had a white board by my front door (a good organization idea), I would probably do something like that too :)

True. It might not look nice in a public area. We have it in the back hall by the garage door. Right on the way in and out.

Very clever! As a musician, I really dig this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

1 reply

A great idea and a very nice Instructable. Well done.

1 reply

What a stylish way to hang keys - and be incentive to hang them the same place with the fun click of the audio jacks! Great idea and execution.

1 reply

Great idea. I need something like this. It occurred to me that it would be easy to put color LEDs in the end of the male plug, which are turned on by a battery in the wall box. A supercap would also be a great choice. Color coded keys would make selection of the right key or key set easy, and also make it easy to see at a glance, even in darkness, which keys are on the holder.

2 replies

What a great idea, on top of a great idea!

Also, add a battery, a small buzzer and a magnetic door sensor

and you got your self a 'don't-forget-your-keys' alarm

Sounds like I need to explore some ways to include electronics into the key holder :) A lot of folks are suggesting cool ideas for how to distinguish between different keys!

You could use 1/8 jacks if you wanted to certainly - I think at that point it would depend on how heavy your keychain was! But that's a great idea for having a super small footprint!

As a musician, this 'ible left me with the biggest grin on my face and the start of a shopping list for parts B-) Really like the face/wall-mounted look, but as a previous commenter mentioned, the concept of a recessed jack plate is likely how I'll approach this 1/4 jack key holder project, like the ones I have mounted into/between the walls connecting several XLR and TRS jacks between the live room and control room of my humble home studio. Also considering the suggestion of different colored LED's mounted into the ends of the male jacks with a power system in the jack plate so that they light up when plugged in. So many possibilities, all for a key holder! Haha Thanks so much for your wonderfully written/photographed Instructable, and to all the great comments and suggestions contributed by others. Cheers.