View Full Version : drill chuck key "blues"

06-16-2012, 10:47 PM
I'm finally getting tired of the frustration involved in tightening or loosening the drill chuck using the provided stubby keys. I'm thinking of extending the length of the key shaft so your fingers are not getting pinched and keep the key from falling out of your hand.
My initial plan is to find a steel pipe that can be machined to fit the key shaft, cut the key shaft and then pin the two ends to the pipe. Probably tig welding could be used here for those skilled in its use.
Before proceding with these ideas I thought I would contact the group for there opinions. Thanks Paul

06-16-2012, 11:14 PM
Why not. I would probably knock the handle out of the chuck key and use that hole for the pin through the tube, then drill a new hole across the tube at the other end for the handle. You might be able to use a larger diameter shaft for the handle, which would make it a bit easier on the fingers.

Just another way of doing it.

Mr Fixit
06-17-2012, 01:45 AM
I have done something like the lathe chuck key that we all use on the bench size metal lathes. It has worked out great and I drilled a hole in the bench top to drop it into so I can always find it.
Just one more idea! :rolleyes:

Mr. fixit in the family
Chris :)

06-17-2012, 02:11 AM
I've never wanted to tighten my drill chuck more than I can easily do with the regular chuck key. I think it would be easy to damage the chuck with a larger handle on the key.

My drill press has a hole in the table to hold the chuck key. It's right next to the lathe, and the key fits the chuck I use in the tailstock. Life is good.

06-17-2012, 03:37 AM
I've got some quite good keyed chucks (Chinese) and no problems. The 1/2" x 3MT chucks that came with my Sieg X3 mills have almost no run-out and are as good as collets for drilling.

But as I replace drill chucks they will have no keys at all - they will be very good "keyless" (preferably German) chucks as they grip well with minimal effort and undo very easily.

06-17-2012, 09:35 AM
I'm wondering "WHY" you would need a longer handle? (Unless it concerns a disability or athritic problems) ?

If it is slipping and needs to be retightened, i think you need a new chuck.

06-17-2012, 10:04 AM
I too think the chuck key is mechanically the correct dimension. I just slip on a 3" piece of air hose to make it easier on the hands and easier to spot on the floor.

A.K. Boomer
06-17-2012, 10:09 AM
Might not be a bad idea, I don't think he's talking about increasing the leverage much - just about getting it away from the teeth and in effect this could enable him to use the length to insure the teeth stay engaged which is of course a good plan...

something to consider when tightening up any kind of chuck that has the typical three point key holes --- If you do have to put allot of torque on your chuck due to a specific application do not put it all on one key entry -- pour the coals to it and then rotate and do the next and then rotate and do the next - till you get back to the original - you will be surprised at the extra movement you get out of the key without any extra over torquing...

06-17-2012, 10:50 AM
hasn't been a problem for me, either pinching or getting it tight enough. If dealing with a disability whatever works, but for general consumption i think it would make it too easy to over tighten.

I remember reading somewhere chucks should ideally be tightened from each position. I rarely bother but I do this when something needs to be tight....it is interesting that after getting one positioned tightened, you can often get a bit of movement when tightening the others...so maybe it works

06-17-2012, 03:08 PM
I'm of the same mind- I'd like to get my fingers a bit further away from the chuck teeth, etc. A couple inches would be fine. I'm not considering any way to increase the force I could use, but it would be nice to have some 'cush' for my fingers. Where this really shows up for me is in the use of small tap wrenches. I usually place a short section of fuel line tubing over the handle- that feels much better, though after awhile they tend to come off.

06-17-2012, 03:25 PM
Yeah... I read the post as increasing the distance between the handle/lever and the body of the chuck, not increasing the length of the handle/lever. I know I've skinned my knuckles on chucks a couple of times from using stubby keys. Not a problem with bigger chucks, but the little 3/8" chuck on my 10" baby dp has a dinky little key. It's hard to keep the teeth mathing with my fingers between the key and the chuck. I think it's a good idea. I've seen some chuck keys that are long like that, but I can't recall where...

06-17-2012, 03:35 PM
I like those 4-way universal drill chuck keys. You have every different size key, and the remaining three keys provide a good grip.

Won't help with reach, but like the others, I'm not following...

06-17-2012, 03:51 PM
Many years ago, I had a similar problem. I took the cross pin out and ground the end of the shaft square. Then I put a 12-point 1/4" drive socket on it, silver soldered it in place, and it worked quite nicely.


Bob Fisher
06-17-2012, 05:03 PM
My DP has a Rohm 5/8 chuck with a longer than usual cross handle, my Bosch hammer drill also has the same. They are very comfortable to use, maybe the Germans are onto something. Bob.

06-17-2012, 09:51 PM
I tend to look at the problem from a different point of view, so to speak.

If I tighten a drill chuck with the proper key and the drill still slips, either I'm feeding the drill bit too fast, it needs sharpening, or the chuck itself needs to be examined for excessive wear. I don't keep chucks around that don't hold bits securely, or have excess run-out. Trust me, I've thrown a few away lately. As my experience grows, I find myself preferring collets instead. And I have a basic assortment of 5C and R-8 collets, collet chucks, and blocks.
In fact, I seldom use my drill chucks for anything but wood or plastic....with the exception of my tailstock chuck. My lathe usually has either my collet chuck or a four-jaw, independent chuck mounted most of the time.

06-17-2012, 10:44 PM
A method for keeping your chuck key with you:


I have to say its a bit too painful to recommend!

A.K. Boomer
06-18-2012, 12:44 AM
Well that one hit home pretty good,,, id have a few cuss words out on that one that's for sure.