Week 2: Magnetic Key Holder

This week I designed and built a magnetic key holder.  I based this project off of this product.  These circle wooden plates hang on the wall and have magnets embedded within.  Keys can then magnetically attach to the plate and make the keys look like they are floating. I decided to modify this design to accommodate the skills I have in the shop.  Figure 1 shows my initial plan.  This design includes a hanging piece of hardware like the ones used in this design. 

Figure 1: Plan

Figure 1: Plan

This would allow the piece to hang almost perfectly flush with the wall.  When I gathered my materials, I could not find a small enough version of this hanging hardware so I decided to use these D-rings instead.  In order to hang the wood pieces flush against the wall, a new system of holes had to be designed to recess this D-ring piece.  First I attached the D-ring to a scrap piece of wood to see how much I would need to recess it (Figure 2).

Figure 2: D-ring testing

Figure 2: D-ring testing

I recessed the D-ring using two holes shown in Figure 3.  The first hole, that surrounds the screw is 5/8” in diameter and the larger hole that houses the ring part of the hardware is 7/8” in diameter.  These holes cascade such that the larger hole is slightly deeper than the smaller one.  Once I determined how I would attach the D-rings, I experimented with the magnets to determine how deep they would have to be set in order to hold the keys from the front side of the key holder.  Using a 5/8” forstner bit I determined that the whole for the magnet needed to be almost all the way through to properly hold the keys from the other side.

Figure 3: D-ring recessed holes

Figure 3: D-ring recessed holes

Once I experimented with these solutions I was ready to make the magnetic key holders.  Using the miter saw and a stop block, I cut the stock material into equal rectangles that matched the desired dimensions (Figure 4).

I then used a 7/64” drill bit on the drill press to drill the hole for the D-ring screw.  Figure 5A shows the drill press setup.  I placed two stop blocks perpendicular to each other so that the workpiece could sit in the corner.  I then set up each drill so that it was lined up in the correct spot on the workpiece.  The tape on the drill bit served as a stop marker so that each hole was the same depth.  I used this setup to drill a hole in each piece.  Figure 5B shows all of the pieces after drilling.  Using the forstner bits, I then drilled the holes for the magnet and the D-ring.  I used a similar stop block method for these holes and marked with a sharpie the desired depth. 

I tested the depth on a sample workpiece to make sure the D-ring holes were deep enough to allow the piece to sit flush on the wall.  Figure 6 shows how the piece hooks onto the wall and how the recessed holes make it sit flush.

I made sure to complete a hole in each workpiece before moving on to the next bit in order to take advantage of each setup. These steps can be seen in Figure 7.

Once these holes were drilled, I used the sander to smooth the faces of the piece and create a chamfer on the front edges of the piece (Figure 8).  I then screwed the D-rings on to each piece and crazy glued the magnets into their holes (Figure 9).

Figure 10 shows the final result hanging on the wall with keys attached.

Figure 11 shows the keys magnetizing to the piece. 

Throughout the process of making these pieces I learned a lot about the tools I used and the process of making with wood.  I needed to adjust the way I designed the piece in order to accommodate the hardware that I purchased.  I also think that it helped that my design required similar techniques with different drill bits.  This meant that I learned the stop block setup on the drill press and applied it multiple times to different types of holes instead of coming up with new types of jigs for each step.  This aspect of the design made the repeatability part of the assignment relatively easy.  I also learned that I enjoy using the sander in the shop.  Originally, I was not planning to chamfer the edges, but once I tested out the sander I became more confident and added the chamfers to my design.  With some more practice, and perhaps a jig for this step, I could have created a more consistent chamfer for each piece.  Overall I am happy with the way the workpieces came out.  They are functional (although they can only hold a few keys at a time) and they are similar to each other. Of course, more careful jigs and measurement may have created piece with a more unified precision.