20130806

Modifying a folding lock pick set

[TLDR] I made a modification to my RCS Tools folding lock pick set to help retain the tension wrench, which could easily pop free without warning. [/TLDR]

The tension wrench can pop out of its storage slot with very little squeezing force. This is further facilitated by the extra-large nail nick, which provides an easy spot for the wrench to be squeezed while on your keys, or inside a pocket or bag. The wrench might also be released by a key or other object levering it out from inside the nail nick.   This modification provides extremely secure retention for the tension wrench, while still allowing easy removal.

 
The edge of the tension wrench is visible along the bottom of the tool.  

A small rivet (visible along the leftmost edge of the tool) was added. A desktop drill press with a #62 (.036) drill bit was used to make the hole.

(This hi-speed rotary tool was too fast by far for drilling such a tiny hole in plastic, but our floor drill press would pretzel such a tiny bit, except that carbide bits would actually shrapnel and fly across the shop, as opposed to actually pretzeling.)

I created the pin from a piece of aluminum wire by cutting it to rough length.  I used short nosed, smooth-jawed pliers to hold the wire so it was perpendicular to the edge of the plier jaw -- this helps me to not sand my pliers. I shortened the wire to just a hair too long, and squared the ends off. 

I rolled the wire between iron plates to straighten it out -- next time I'll do this step before sanding the wire down, since the wire was so short it kept going sideways. 

I used a digital micrometer to get the diameter of the wire, and selected the right bit for the Dremel press. This was maybe .001 under the diameter of the pin for a snug fit.

The pin is visible at the left end of the tension wrench, 
right inside the channel and next to the red handle.

I added the pin where it won't interfere with pick rotation or use, and it seems to have enough plastic around it to avoid breaking out.  The wire bent slightly when i tapped it down flush with a steel hammer because i didn't give it enough support in the middle, but it didn't crack or damage the case and it retains the wrench properly, so I won't rework it just for a blemish defect.

(EDIT: I ended up finding a dowel pin in my junk box and re-drilled, inserting the nice steel pin in place of the nasty old aluminum one. Happily ever after.)

The wrench is definitely retained securely and will only come out when it's needed.

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