I recently picked up two refurbished iPod Shuffles from Apple. They're selling them cheap now that the new model is out. They seem to be sold out of the 512MB model for $29, but as of Nov. 9 2006, they still have the 1GB model for $59. My wife and I wanted to throw them on our keyring so that we'd always have them around if we found ourselves in a waiting room, etc.
The problem is, the caps that attack to keyrings are either stupidly expensive for what they are, or they come with a whole "case system" of lanyards and cases and crap we don't want. Since Apple included a lanyard cap in the box, I started looking around my desk to see what I could do. A few minutes later I had a working keychain cap.
Step 1: Materials and Step 1
First I looked around for something I could use to clip it on and off my keyring. I found a wrist strap from an old cell phone case at the bottom of my junk drawer, and the spring-loaded clasp fit the bill perfectly. I cut the strap off. Then I pulled the Apple lanyard apart at the seam. I held the little plastic bit so only one end popped out.
Next, I trimmed the length so that it would make a nice, slightly loose loop when put back together. Basically it's just making the long neck lanyard into a little teeny loop.
Step 2: Re-sealing the Loop
When I cut the nylon lanyard it of course started to fray, so I grabbed the lighter and sealed the end, carefully rolling the hot nylon into a slim point that would fit back in the little plastic tube still attached to the other end. Be careful to get this right - it has to fit back inside if you want a neat, finished look.
Step 3: Putting It Together
Next I added some superglue into the little white tube, slipped the loop through the cap and the clasp, and then inserted it into the little plastic tube. I had to get a small screwdriver to push it way in on the first one because I wasn't careful when melting the tip. It was a teeny bit too big. Once it gets in, let it dry.
Step 4: The Finished Product
Once it's dry, I turned the loop until the plastic bit was inside the cap. I think it makes it look more finished.
That's it! Total cost: nothing. Everyone has a keyring or a clasp-type thing laying around from the five million freebies you get with everything from a fill-up at the gas station to a case for your phone or mp3 player. If you save stuff like that, you're good to go. If you had to buy one at the hardware store, I imagine it might cost $0.50 or so. Add a half-drop of superglue and the lanyard that Apple already supplies and you have yourself a nice cap you can clip onto your keyring.