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Author Topic: Black phenolic or Lexan sheet stock  (Read 6292 times)
WX2S
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« on: May 29, 2012, 05:30:48 PM »

Dear Elmers,

I am the proud owner of a Navy "Flameproof" straight key, and would like to put it on a decent base. I'm thinking about 1/8" or 1/4" black phenolic or Lexan. Does anybody here have a source of stock?

Tnx de K2FIO.
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73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
W0BTU
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 05:35:15 PM »

Try McMaster-Carr, www.mcmaster.com. That's where I go to buy small quantities of plastic (among many other items).
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AC5UP
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 06:10:57 PM »

You'd think there would be a plastics distributor / fabricator near enough to you for a local phone call to ask about scrap material.

A good supply house will have a rack near the order desk full of scraps that go for a dollar or two. Gloss black or bronze 1/2" stock would make a nice base and a decent workbench should have the tools you need to finish it. If you really want a unique look, talk to your local full-service glass place about what a pregnant hockey puck sized base would set you back. Might be cheaper than you suspect and a good glass cutter could cut & buff something like that in 15 minutes or less. Nice thing about a heavier glass base is that it would be less prone to walk around the desktop and will never develop swirlies from cleaning..........  Cheesy
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 06:56:51 PM »

That's what I do.  I go to "Valley Plastics," which is about a mile from me.  They have everything, and if I give them the dimensions, they'll cut it for free and hand me exactly what I need.

A piece that size should cost maybe $2.

I can't imagine living anywhere so remote there isn't a local plastic supply/distributor.
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KB3HG
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 10:59:41 AM »

WIK,
Did you ever venture into Delaware when you were out east? Some things are not so easy to find.

Tom Kb3hg
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2243




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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 11:09:50 AM »

The Graduate, 1967

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
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W0BTU
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 02:48:57 PM »

I can't imagine living anywhere so remote there isn't a local plastic supply/distributor.

I can. I do!  Grin

I get most things I order from McMaster-Carr the very next day, and I don't even pay extra for expedited shipping.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 04:56:34 PM »

Consider going to a fabricator of composite countertops for scraps.  Stuff like Avonite and Corian would make a dandy key base.  You can cut and shape it with standard woodworking tools (like routing a bead around the edge).


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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N3JJB
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 06:30:55 AM »

Folks that make trophies use glass and plastic.  You could probably buy a small piece and even have it engraved with your call sign.
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N3QE
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 06:52:46 AM »

Others have already recommended McMaster-Carr as a material supplier. I want to second that recommendation.

But that said... I personally prefer a very heavy base for any key not screwed to the table, and lexan and phenolic and wood just don't have the required mass. And adding material elevates the knob even further off the table which my arm at least simply doesn't agree with. The answer seems to me to be very simple... just screw the key to the table.
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W0BTU
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2012, 03:53:49 PM »

How about screwing it to a piece of wood that's long enough to rest your hand on? That way, it can be moved around on the desk.

I have an old flame-proof key set up that way, screwed to a piece of nice oak plywood roughly 3/4" x 4" x 10" (I'm guessing) with four non-slip feet on the bottom. Worked for me, until I discovered iambic paddles.
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2012, 08:05:41 PM »

FWIW:

When you make the base, make it long enough so that it extends to underneath the knob of the key, and a little further toward your body.  That way, you can use a light base, and the key will be stable when you press down on the knob.  You won't be tempted to screw it down to the table.

Many of the Hi-Mound keys are built like that.

       Charles
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