Wing Nut Key Power Driver




About: Last time in my life that I saw the moon that close to me... I was born in the capital city of a country that no longer exists.... I'm in my own timeline and an Electronic Engineer... Received my first degr...
This is an Easy  Re-purposed  DIY  tool..

I do a lot of tumbling of geodes which are amazing special rocks good for a tumble.

My large tumblers are a 9" barrels with rubberized innards that hold, a bunch of rocks,
in tap water, with a scoop of grinding grit and about 15% free air space = volume.. 
Then the barrels are sealed and rotated at 16 RPM 24/7 for about two weeks.

When spin time is right  the rocks ( geodes ) need to be looked at and
the tumbling barrel will have to be opened.
  • I have to unscrew the six 1/4-20 Wing-nuts per barrel
  • Which starts by using a pair of pliers to loosen each one of them.
  • Then finger un-twisting each of the Wing-nuts
  •  A future ible will describe why this is a Fascinating Hobby  
  • Then repeat this process in reverse.
  • Finger twist and tighten each of the Wing-nuts
  • Finally using a pair of pliers to tighten each one of them.
Using this  Wing Nut Key Driver   makes it so  Much Easier  and  Quicker  to open
then close the tumbler barrels.

Step 1: What You Need

The only hardware items you need are;
  • A Concrete Anchor.- - - - mine was left over from a recent deck extension.
  • And a 1/4-20 Wing-Nut and a bolt - - - to tune the Key for a best fit.

The tools that will be used are;
  • A 3 inch vice - - - - - - to squeeze the metal fingers together,  & yes mine is a 4".
  • A hack saw - - - - - - - to cut the iron anchor rod..
  • A grinder or rat file - - to dimple the Key fingers to clear the wing-nut center bulge.
  • A wire wheel - - - - - -  to remove the paint and smooth sharp metal edges.

Step 2: How You Make the Key

This is really simple

  • Do the cut,  longer is better ( you can always cut shorter )
  • Second picture

  • Pinch the fingers together
  • Pictures 4, 5 and six

  • Grind the Key Fingers to seat the Wing-nut center bulge
  • keep testing how well if envelops the key
  • Pictures 7, 8 and nine

  • Wire Wheel to clean the paint off of the metal
  • Picture twelve

Side issue ......   I used that holy part of the iron anchor in making my  Magic Ladder  ible.


Enjoy using this simple tool
Which can magnetically help you open undo a Wingnut !
See the short Video.

Step 4: Something Extra

While using my new .... WING NUT KEY ....  Undoing those stubborn Wingnuts

It was immediately obvious and desirable to have the  Key Driver 
automatically lift the iron based  Wingnuts as they disengaged
from the ¼-20 screw thread.

It turns out that the shape of my .. WING NUT KEY .. is a natural .. U .. shaped magnet configuration
and a group of NIB magnets o.42" long slides to the end of the  WING NUT KEY  fingers
and stops as the pictures show just in the perfect place to hold Wingnuts after they
are un-threaded from the ¼-20 bolt.

See the graphic of the Magnetic flux paths for a clear view.

I have a large selection of NIB magnets left over from my Lucky-Penny-4-You Instructable
and used  to hand  them out at  Burning man  as popular favors.

THIN .... Magnets o.37" in diameter o.06" thin that's  NdFeB Disc, 3/8 in. x 1/16 in. about 15¢ and
THICK . Magnets o.37" in diameter o.12" thick that's NdFeB Disc Magnet, 3/8 in. x 1/8 in about 55¢
You could just buy the 15¢  THIN  magnets.

Both of these NIB ( Neodymium-Iron-Boron ) can also be purchased at K&J Magnetic Products..

While the tool works on brass wing nuts  Don't expect the magnets to be of any help.



Has been  asked ... and ...  Here is  the final result

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    30 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I saw one made from an old steel pipe. The guy had cut out a couple of sections(about 25% of the pipe end, then used 'heat to soften the pipe'(he said), and then flattened three inches or so of the pipe end in such a way that the remaining two 'castillations'(like on top edge of a castle) were sitting to one side of each other with about 1/2 an inch between them. He did the same thing with the other end of the pipe only flattening in the other direction, and drilling a hole for a screwdriver or other tool to be used as a lever.

    I really wish I had taken pictures of this thing, it was about 8 inches long total, and once you knew what it was used for was a pretty cool tool design. Without knowing what it's use was, I had though it was just some scrap junk. I was corrected in my thinking pretty quickly by the old guy, however.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! Real cool looking too; almost looks like a fleur de li. I might start using wing nuts again, I hate those things >.<

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment, someone told me Harbor Freight sells a better one.

    Again sorry to harangue about that motor current .....


    5 years ago

    Cool beans. There is nothing better than making a good tool.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yea .. it does feel good ... like a lock pick

    Been looking at lots of Google images thanks to your heads up...


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I used that pick the first 2 months at my Apartment. What a cheap landlord!


    6 years ago

    built in rare earth magnets and 3 different sizes that in the 3 years I've owned them yet to find a wing nut it won't fit.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I shop Harbor Freight at least twice a month and never saw a tool like that.

    And you say it has built in magnets ...... Wow


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much.
    Appreciate my fist Artistic comment.on a mere tool,
    and noticed you tackled the remote issue long before me :-)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    can't you just swap the wing nuts for regular nuts, and use a regular spanner? or am i missing the point?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Your correct, several people have suggested nylocks.

    Tradition implies tumblers are meant for hand work. 

    Wait until you make a featured ible,  thousands of viewers can't be missing the implied pleasure.

    Anyway it was the  Ouch pic  that made me do it ;-D


    5 years ago on Introduction

    what an interesting idea. I want to make a eye-hook bit for my cordless drill. A modification of your wing nut key could be used too screw and unscrew multiple eye-hooks. Thanks!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea to make a wingnut wrench. I switched my Lortone tumblers cover nuts to 1/4-20 nylon insert self locking nuts. You don't need to crank them down so tight because once tightened, they stay there. I use a ratchet to open and close them. I'm interested in what you do to the geodes before tumbling them. Do you slab them or cut them in half, or break them manually? Whet type of geodes are you doing. Mexican agate or the softer Iowa or Missouri chalcedony type?