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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: K0JEG on June 13, 2013, 05:43:40 AM



Title: Key slides around desk
Post by: K0JEG on June 13, 2013, 05:43:40 AM
I picked up a Vibroplex iambic key that was in a junkbox at the last hamfest. Cleaned up it looks great. The problem is the rubber feet are very hard and this is causing the key to slide around as I use it. It is really making it hard to use (compounded by me still learning code), but I already prefer iambic to straight key even with this issue. It's also making it hard to adjust tension correctly (I seem to do better with a little more tension, which makes the sliding worse). I tried putting a mouse pad and one of those rubber jar openers under it. The mouse pad helps but doesn't really stop it from moving. I don't think I'm ready to rough up the surface of my desk just yet.

My question to anyone who owns one: Are the feet suposed to be hard, slick rubber or should they be softer? Like I said, it came out of a junk box, so I'm sure it was sitting in a hot garage or worse for a while. If I need replacement feet, how easy is it to get them from Vibroplex? I also noticed missing set screws on the actual paddles, so I need to order them too.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: KC7YE on June 13, 2013, 06:22:00 AM
Yes the feet are hard and even new will move around. CQ had article several years ago on this problem (Dave Ingram ?) One fix is picture/poster stickum sold at office supply stores to stick to wall and leave no mark when removed. Thats what I use, blob under each foot, push feet into it. Works !


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: KH6AQ on June 13, 2013, 07:57:21 AM
I think you are being too rough with the key.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: WN2C on June 13, 2013, 08:12:03 AM
Mouse pad


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: PA1ZP on June 13, 2013, 08:35:59 AM
Hi to you all

I know the problem.

What is the surface you placed your Vibroplex on?

I think that an E-mail to Vibroplex asking for a new trio of rubber feet will solve your problem realy quick and cheap.

When my Vibro starts walking around I just clean the feet (remove dirt dust and grease) and clean my shelf and it is in its place again and stays there.
And I can agree with one remark it could be that you are hammering the bug instead of operating it


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W1JKA on June 13, 2013, 09:10:13 AM
Buy a small cheap roll of rubberized/foam shelf liner(the small square hole stuff) at WallMart or chain drug store cut to fit under base/feet,I use this on a glass desk top and keys don't move a bit.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: WB2WIK on June 13, 2013, 09:23:46 AM
I think you are being too rough with the key.

This is probably true.  Many new code ops start out with a pretty heavy hand for some reason, but your touch might evolve to be much lighter over time and then this problem will solve itself.

I have my keyer tension adjusted to be so light if I sneeze it will send for me. ;)  Or just about that light.  I keep the paddles very close together (the Vibro Keyer doesn't provide for that) and the tension set so it's only several grams, I'm sure less than an ounce.  Paddle doesn't try to move at all.  This is the only way to send "fast," at least for me.  Higher tension prohibits really fast sending, it's just too much effort.

I just barely squeeze the paddles using my thumb and middle finger; my wrist or forearm doesn't move at all.  I think this is the way "most" higher speed ops work, and you'll probably find yourself getting there over time.

In the meantime, "sticky stuff" as suggested works!


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: NK7Z on June 13, 2013, 09:36:39 AM
I picked up a Vibroplex iambic key that was in a junkbox at the last hamfest. Cleaned up it looks great. The problem is the rubber feet are very hard and this is causing the key to slide around as I use it. It is really making it hard to use (compounded by me still learning code), but I already prefer iambic to straight key even with this issue. It's also making it hard to adjust tension correctly (I seem to do better with a little more tension, which makes the sliding worse). I tried putting a mouse pad and one of those rubber jar openers under it. The mouse pad helps but doesn't really stop it from moving. I don't think I'm ready to rough up the surface of my desk just yet.

My question to anyone who owns one: Are the feet suposed to be hard, slick rubber or should they be softer? Like I said, it came out of a junk box, so I'm sure it was sitting in a hot garage or worse for a while. If I need replacement feet, how easy is it to get them from Vibroplex? I also noticed missing set screws on the actual paddles, so I need to order them too.
I use a mouse pad...  Solves all of these problems...


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: N4IAG on June 13, 2013, 09:55:51 AM
Buy a small cheap roll of rubberized/foam shelf liner(the small square hole stuff) at WallMart or chain drug store cut to fit under base/feet,I use this on a glass desk top and keys don't move a bit.

That's what I use too. I have one paddle that I wanted a bit higher, for that I wrapped a piece around a plastic CD case.

http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/075353/075353224342.jpg


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: NK7Z on June 13, 2013, 10:11:40 AM
Buy a small cheap roll of rubberized/foam shelf liner(the small square hole stuff) at WallMart or chain drug store cut to fit under base/feet,I use this on a glass desk top and keys don't move a bit.

That's what I use too. I have one paddle that I wanted a bit higher, for that I wrapped a piece around a plastic CD case.

http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/075353/075353224342.jpg

Never thought of shelf liner, thanks for the idea!!


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: AE4RV on June 13, 2013, 12:07:40 PM
Shelf liner works FB.

For the record, yes, Vibroplex will sell you new rubber feet but if I had to do it over again I would check my local hardware store first, probably much cheaper. You might try some warm soapy water to refresh the old (or even new) feet. And yes, see if you can cultivate a lighter touch. When I took flight lessons I was warned not to "white-knuckle" the yolk.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: KE6EE on June 13, 2013, 12:56:07 PM
Best nonskid pad for a key is one of those rubberlike pads, which are about the size of a key base (or two, if it's a larger pad) . They are available from places like amazon for a few dollars. They are used on a car dashboard to keep a cell phone from sliding around, or sliding off the dash. They are made of a very very grippy soft rubberlike plastic. They can be washed which renews their high stickiness due to collecting dust.

http://www.amazon.com/HandStands-13810-Handstands-Original-Sticky/dp/B0002HBOMO


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: AE4RV on June 13, 2013, 01:53:55 PM
Best nonskid pad for a key is one of those rubberlike pads, which are about the size of a key base (or two, if it's a larger pad) . They are available from places like amazon for a few dollars. They are used on a car dashboard to keep a cell phone from sliding around, or sliding off the dash. They are made of a very very grippy soft rubberlike plastic. They can be washed which renews their high stickiness due to collecting dust.

http://www.amazon.com/HandStands-13810-Handstands-Original-Sticky/dp/B0002HBOMO

That's probably the best idea so far. The "frilly-ness" of the shelf liner does kind of weird me out a little. Smooth is better.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W1JKA on June 13, 2013, 03:51:10 PM
On smooth plate glass anyway FRILLY sticks,Smooth slides-try both and see for yourself,I did.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W4TRJ on June 13, 2013, 04:02:15 PM
Get some new feet from Vibroplex. They're cheap. Then let the "walking around" let you know you're hittin it too hard.

Imagine you are a top-flight radiotelegrapher in 1927, supporting your family with your fist, and you bought your own bug with the little case and all, and you are one of the elite. Would you have modern day anti-slidey stuff on your desk?


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K0JEG on June 13, 2013, 08:26:59 PM
Thanks all for the tips. I'll work on easing up and making adjustments. The shelf paper is easy enough to come by, so I'll try that too.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K7KBN on June 13, 2013, 09:36:14 PM
Best nonskid pad for a key is one of those rubberlike pads, which are about the size of a key base (or two, if it's a larger pad) . They are available from places like amazon for a few dollars. They are used on a car dashboard to keep a cell phone from sliding around, or sliding off the dash. They are made of a very very grippy soft rubberlike plastic. They can be washed which renews their high stickiness due to collecting dust.

http://www.amazon.com/HandStands-13810-Handstands-Original-Sticky/dp/B0002HBOMO

Every time I've needed one of those pads I've gone to the nearest auto parts store, or even the automotive area of WalMart stores.  Never have failed to find just the right size.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: N6PG on June 13, 2013, 10:28:53 PM
target

http://www.target.com/p/basic-grip-shelf-liner-white-12x5/-/A-11172319

73,
Scott N6PG


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K3STX on June 18, 2013, 08:32:06 AM
I feel your pain! I love the old ones too, and I too have some of those feet that are basically smooth rocks. Save yourself some trouble, all the shelf paper/liners in the world won't SOLVE your problem, they will help.  You need new feet to provide SOME grip for the shelf paper/liners.

I bought a 100 pack of feet from Mouser, if your address on QRZ.com is good I will mail you three of them gratis, I am happy to help.

paul


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K0JEG on June 18, 2013, 06:45:20 PM
I feel your pain! I love the old ones too, and I too have some of those feet that are basically smooth rocks. Save yourself some trouble, all the shelf paper/liners in the world won't SOLVE your problem, they will help.  You need new feet to provide SOME grip for the shelf paper/liners.

I bought a 100 pack of feet from Mouser, if your address on QRZ.com is good I will mail you three of them gratis, I am happy to help.

paul

Thanks Paul. Check your inbox for a message. I don't think this key is very old, just beat. I did get it to clean up nice though.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K7MH on June 18, 2013, 11:05:05 PM
The feet are $2 each without the screws from Vibroplex and $3 shipping for small parts.

Many of their small parts are not all that cheap! The want $1.50 each for 1/16 x 3/16 roll pins for the finger pieces of a Brass Racer.
I found a bag of 100 on ebay for $3 shipped.

I also have a Vibroplex Iambic Deluxe key and I just wipe the feet clean with a wet finger before using it. Same with all my other keys.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W2EJG on June 21, 2013, 08:23:15 AM
I use a Belkin mouse pad with a large rubber hump at the bottom. This supports my wrist and keeps my Kent paddles from wandering. The wrist support keeps me from tiring on the occasional contest.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: WA8OLD on June 21, 2013, 10:35:26 AM
I use a thin rubber pad, about 3x5", they are marketed to use as  a cell phone "holder" on the dash in a car,  and are sort of a tacky rubber. That works great.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K9ZMD on June 22, 2013, 01:21:48 AM
. . . I just wipe the feet clean with a wet finger before using it. . . .
Yeah.  Wipe dust off the desk top and wipe the bottom of each rubber foot with (you almost said it) saliva.  I've done that for years, and it holds the bugs and keyers in place until I want to move them.  It even works for the cootie key that I bat pretty vigorously.

About 2 years ago, I spent a buck at a Dollar Tree store for a roll of that rubber mesh shelf liner.  It's in the shack somewhere,  still untouched.  Even thinking about cutting some pieces to size was more work than applying a little spit.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: N4UM on June 23, 2013, 05:32:19 AM
I use double stick tape under the feet of my paddle.  Works great.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K0JEG on June 24, 2013, 06:28:29 AM
I spent a bit of time at the CW tent over the weekend and first thing I noticed was the double-stick tape holding down the key. While standing around talking one of the older guys brought out a few practice keyers he found at an estate sale (one was a Vibroplex original bug, and looking at the practice oscillator had to be from the late 1950s/early 1960s), both of which were screwed into a big wooden board that was large enough to rest most of your forearm.

So I guess keys sliding around is nothing new.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: N5RDE on June 24, 2013, 07:58:28 PM
You can take the old hard feet off, spray them thoroughly with ARMOR ALL or the equivalent, and put them in a ZIP LOC bag or similar for a few days.  That will restore the softness of the feet.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: ZL1BBW on June 29, 2013, 12:12:44 AM
We all use blobs of blue tak under our keys, they were moved around from position to position every couple of hours.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W0AAA on June 29, 2013, 07:04:46 PM
I use paper tak.  I get it at Ace Hardware.  It's a sticky clay like substance that you can stick on the bottom of the feet.  Works for me and I key pretty fast.  WØAAA


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: WA9CFK on July 11, 2013, 09:27:21 AM
With my heavy hand and Pooh Bear fingers the key moving around became very annoying.

One day I picked up the cordless drill and a long wood screw and it has not been a problem since.  ;D

Crude but effective.

  


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: WI4P on July 17, 2013, 10:06:31 AM
Bought 16 vinyl "bumpers" at home depot last week for under $3.00.  They are 1/2 inch diameter, peel and stick and refuse to slide.  They are soft vinyl and almost feel like rubber cement to the touch.
Put four of them on my old (new to me) Nye-Viking Master which was missing one foot.  It is now solid as a rock.
You'll find them in the section with chair leg tips, slides etc.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: AC6CV on August 13, 2013, 07:21:49 PM
Buy a small cheap roll of rubberized/foam shelf liner(the small square hole stuff) at WallMart or chain drug store cut to fit under base/feet,I use this on a glass desk top and keys don't move a bit.

I also use this shelf liner. Works great


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: NK7Z on August 13, 2013, 08:27:10 PM
Bought 16 vinyl "bumpers" at home depot last week for under $3.00.  They are 1/2 inch diameter, peel and stick and refuse to slide.  They are soft vinyl and almost feel like rubber cement to the touch.
Put four of them on my old (new to me) Nye-Viking Master which was missing one foot.  It is now solid as a rock.
You'll find them in the section with chair leg tips, slides etc.
Try a mouse pad...  :)


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K7KBN on August 14, 2013, 06:20:05 PM
Wood desk?  Nails.

Metal desk?  Weld.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: VA7CPC on August 15, 2013, 07:25:25 PM
Quote
Metal desk?  Weld.

A magnet is just as effective (on steel), and less permanent.   Unless your shack is in a high-theft neighborhood.

.       Charles


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: K7KBN on August 16, 2013, 06:38:40 PM
Noted.  ;D


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: KU3V on August 16, 2013, 08:15:26 PM
I use an Iambic keyer.  It does not slide at all because I filled an empty tuna fish can with lead and covered the lead with a thin layer of epoxy to stop any lead dust.  Then on the bottom I side I bolted the Iambic keyer to the can.  Also on my desk between the can and the desk I cut a circle of wallboard sand paper in a circle.  The can sits on it.  The Iambic keyer does NOT move at all. 
KU3V
Bill


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: W7JCK on August 30, 2013, 09:58:28 AM
At the local hardware store where they have those racks/bins of small hardware (stainless bits, spacers, collars, corks, bearings, etc) they had a drawer with little adhesive rubber feet for 50 cents each.  One on each corner of a key and paddle and they are completely solid now.   I've seen the same gadgets every so often in a new Ethernet switch, as an option to stick under the case; free that way.


Title: RE: Key slides around desk
Post by: N9AOP on August 30, 2013, 01:03:45 PM
If you really don't want it to move around, get a 1/2 inch thick board about 4 inches wide by however long it needs to be so your hand fits on it.  Drill 4 shallow holes to fit the pads and it will be captured and not move.  Use plain white pine if you don't want it to look neat or finished hardwood if appearance is important.  This worked well for me until I lightened up my touch.
Art