Friendly Folding Keychain




Introduction: Friendly Folding Keychain

So ever since I can remember I have haaaated carrying keys. They're uncomfortable sitting in your pockets all day, they make it hard to find change when you need it, they scratch up everything around them, be it cell phones, cameras, etc.. and when you really think about it, your standard keychain is really just a terrible design. Why would you subject yourself to that? Well I've decided enough is enough and set out to make what I think is a much more friendly and functional keychain. My criteria for this new design are as follows:

- Compact and foldable
- Comfortable in the pocket
- Easy to distinguish from all other possible pocket contents
- Not rough or abrasive
- Aesthetically pleasing
- No jingling!

Step 1: Crank Brothers M5 Multitool...

I found this great little Crank Brothers M5 Tool that was the perfect start. It is designed for cyclists and as such is very lightweight. Not only would it be the perfect housing for my keys, but it also sported a variety of allen wrenches and a philips head screwdriver as well. Sweet! If that wasn't motivation enough, it was cheap at only 12 bucks!

Step 2: Take It All Apart...

The first real step was to take the M5 apart and see what kind of tolerances I would be working with and how everything was going to fit together. I ended up adding a couple flat washers to make up for the space differences between the allen wrenches I removed and the keys I added.

I was pleased to find that your standard house and car keys are the perfect length to fit snugly inside the folded M5, so you don't have to worry about adjusting the position of the keyholes. The only part of my keys that really required any modification at all were the little square holes. I imagine there are key blanks out there that have a large enough hole to work right out of the box with no modification at all, but alas, I would had to make my square keys fit a round peg.

Step 3: Make Sure the Keys Fit...

Time to grab my trusty metal file and go to work. After I had filed proper size holes into all three keys (2 house keys and one car key) all that was left was to put everything together and admire my work.

Step 4: File Away the Excess Key Bits...

I could have just left it at that but I'm picky and didn't like how much the outside edges of the keys poked out on each side. So, once again, I grabbed my file and went to town re-shaping the exteriors of the key. Normally you would want this wide part on a key to provide proper leverage when turning the lock, but since my keys would be firmly attached to a larger piece this wasn't a concern.

I filed each key down until it had a nice rounded shape. I also opted to file a little corner into each key so that I could easily flip them out with just the tip of my thumb.

Step 5: Ta-Da!

Ta Da! All folded up it measures about 3.5" x 1.25" x .75" For reference, you could fit two of them inside the footprint of a credit card. I wanted mine to be as small as possible, but if you didn't care about a small form factor, or you needed room to accommodate more keys you could always go with the Crank Brothers M-10 which is the same length as the M-5 but twice as fat.



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120 Discussions

This actually is already s product, look up keybars on google. They are kinda pricey but they are very customizable and come in many different material and colors.

1 reply

The keybar is 55-100USD, this is under 20. "Kinda pricey" is an understatement.

Great idea! Thank you.


Love the addition of the hex set! I'm going to add it to my KeySmart ($15) because they are definitely and everyday used item. Did you have any issues with the tension on them to stay closed?

KeySmart (33).jpg

Here's my little spin on this excellent solution by reconscious. I was able to utilize the light that came with the Lezyne Rap 7, though I did cut off 5mm to make the whole thing bit thinner. I followed reconscious idea of having a little tab for my house key which makes pulling it out a one handed affair.


i'd have to see how this looks in the ignition to be really hyped on it. i was excited until i imagined how that would work with a multi-tool hanging off your ignition...

9 replies

Don't use this idea on a chip key!!! Those little buggers are expensive!! It couldn't look any worse than some of the ridiculously long and over burdened key chains some women,and men, have hanging from the ignition switch. I think this is a demonstration of function over form. If you are worried about the appearance of your car key while it is being used then you obviously wouldn't use this idea.

or if you want everyone to stare at your awesome creation that they wish they had. i think it looks more beautiful than any other keychain i have ever seen.

i didn't say for looks, i'm saying i've been in some cars where the keychain would be sticking out sideways into the steering column, and generally just tearing up your dash/not fitting. plus i ride a motorcycle, and i can guarantee there's not enough room for one of these there. sheesh, people think i'm so shallow... ;)

You could do like I did one time when I needed a copy of a honda key. I got the person copying it to use a regular car key blank (I don't think they had the motocycle key in stock). It would be more than tall enough to use with this keyholder.

yeah no ur not shallow but i dont think it should be used for car keys. you shouldnt attach stuff to your car keys

This is how it looks in my '02 Mazda Protege. After I start the car I fold it upwards so it's out of the way of my knee.


Well, In my experience,( my father is a mechanic, so i guess it's not really My experience) The main problem is when it hangs down... like when you have a lot of weight from a key chain... it's the downward if you bent it upwards, but it could still mess it up. and that was no cheap fix for my step-mom when she learned the hard way to not have a billion keys on her key chain

how would this work for multilock though?


I'm looking for a mini-tool right now on Ebay...

Any word on the legality of getting these through airport security?
(Ok, we all know it's totally LEGAL since there is no official law on the books against keys, or tools on the plane besides TSA's arbitrary rules they set..... but I'm asking about those arbitrary TSA rules.)

Has anyone yet tried to carry one through security?
(I'd rather not even attempt this if it'll require me to have a second travel-friendly set as well.)

2 replies

Perfectly legal! I constructed something similar out of a mini leatherman several year back. I travel quite a bit, both the TSA and Federal court security personnel examine it and reply "Cool or Neat." Just make sure you remove any instruments that can be used as a weapon, such as the small knife blade or leather punch.

The TSA actually examines my key-chain more closely than any firearm I ship with me.