A friend asked if I could 3d print a straight key. After looking at several models online, I did not like any of the designs available. Many used springs from pens. That just didn’t seem reliable and waste of a good pen. It took a couple revisions but I came up with a design of my own.
One nice feature is that this key uses magnets instead of springs. The magnets give a nice feel when the key is pressed. Magnets are also less prone to failure than a conventional spring and easier to acquire.
At 4″ x 1 1/4″ this key is easy to take portable. I have printed these with 2 different plastics. The first type is PLA plastic with carbon fiber added to it. Carbon fiber PLA has a nice semi flat black look that changes depending on the angle you are looking at it. Standard PLA in various colors is the second type.
The contacts on this unit are brass to insure good connection. The wires are concealed in the lever and the base so they do not get damaged. I used a 3.5mm mono jack to connect to the radio. This makes it easy to disconnect the chord and store both in a backpack or ham go bag.
Three of these keys have been sent out for testing. Two of the operators are very experienced and the other is a CW beginner. Hopefully soon I will get feedback from the testers and be able to put out more updates on this project. Visit my projects page to see the full build. https://km4nmp.com/small-printed-straight-key/
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