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Tip - drill press key "holder"

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  • Tip - drill press key "holder"

    I have been through many schemes of drill press key holders - pockets, chains, magnets, ... . This one does it perfectly:
    Click image for larger version

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    It's on a retractable key chain. It's always there (my hand knows where it is without my looking) and it returns there by itself. What more could one ask for?

  • #2
    What more could one ask for?
    A lathe chuck key holder maybe? Hey, maybe one of those reel, retracting type dog leases hung from the rafters above the lathe. Chuck key somehow attached to the end of it. . Nah...forget it.
    S E Michigan


    • #3
      Yes, this looks better than the several things I have tried. Mostly, I don't even have to think about returning it to the holder, or putting it down somewhere else instead, etc.
      "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979


      • #4
        That's actually a great use of a key retractor! Just be ready to duck lest it whip past and catch you under the tip of the nose.... I think I'd put it over on the side of the headstock if it were me. I know I'd have a sore nose otherwise when it left my hand at full stretch....
        Chilliwack BC, Canada


        • #5
          I can see that working well. My drill presses are near the mill, and all have the same size drill chucks and the same key works on all of them. For me the magnet works the best, since I can just look and grab the first key available. It's one step from the mill to the DP table, but having the key tethered would not work for me.
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


          • #6
            I saw a device one time that has a micro-switch in it that interlocked the start circuit for a drill press, When the key was inserted you were able to start the drill press. I have though of doing that for a long time now. But haven't yet. Another good intention to pave the road I seem to be on.


            • #7
              I don't think I would like the idea of fumbling with a string on the key. Perhaps some of that ball chain they use on light pulls would help: you wouldn't need much, just a fraction of an inch would allow the key to be turned without the cord twisting. Or one of those swivel joints they sell for fishing line.

              But what I have been thinking of for my bench top drill press is attaching a couple of neo magnets to the drill press head with epoxy. Then I could just put it there and it would stay. The only problem I see with that is chips would collect. Perhaps those magnets could be combined with a safety switch to prevent powering the motor when the key is not there.

              For my floor stand drill press I have two interchangeable chucks and, therefore two keys. I have a small wood shelf attached to the column with four holes for the keys: a closely spaced pair of then at the front-right corner and another closely spaced pair in the rear. The current key is in one of the front holes and the other key is in the rear. This seems to work well as I can just reach that corner of the shelf no matter which key I currently need.
              Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 02-12-2021, 07:41 PM.
              Paul A.
              SE Texas

              And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
              You will find that it has discrete steps.


              • #8
                Originally posted by OaklandGB View Post

                A lathe chuck key holder maybe? Hey, maybe one of those reel, retracting type dog leases hung from the rafters above the lathe. Chuck key somehow attached to the end of it. . Nah...forget it.
                I’d ask for a keyless chuck. Just sayin’.


                • #9
                  The owner of a local shop lost most of a thumb and parts of two fingers because the key was hooked on a chain. He left the key in the chuck, when he turned on the press it grabbed his hand a ripped the thumb and fingers off. I would never attach a key with anything that could rape around my hand. His hand was really gross to look at.

                  Jon SW Mi


                  • #10
                    Those "Safety Nazis" can do more harm than good sometimes..


                    • #11
                      The magnet idea is interesting. Key is available when needed and close by, but I share the concern for chips collecting. Anyone else have experience using magnets? How about for a 5" lathe chuck key?

                      My old Craftsman bench top drill press 103.0305 has a hole in the table mount casting that is designed to hold the chuck key. I got this machine from my dad 45 years ago, who bought it used in 1950.

                      I guess the bottom line for chuck keys is, you just have to put the key back where it belongs....every time. And yes, I still have the original chuck key.
                      S E Michigan


                      • #12
                        My 103.0305 drill press is downright ugly compared to this photo I found on Vintage Machinery, but it works and fully functions as expected.
                        Note the hole in the pic for the key.
                        Attached Files
                        S E Michigan


                        • #13
                          I'm not crazy about the magnet idea since it means worrying about chips. But I can also see the potential risks of a chain or wire if the drill is turned on when the key is in the chuck. Thankfully most of those key retrieval reels use a string and not a wire.

                          The big fear is walking away with it and setting it down when we pick up something. While more work I have to admit that the "safety" microswitch parking spot for the key sounds like a winner. I can't run it without the key (or a cheater) in place. So I can't wander too far for too long with the key to where I'd take very long to find it again.... Or simply switch to a keyless chuck. For all that folks here complain about them I'm more than happy with mine on every drill press and on the lathe. I've got a few keyed chucks on arbors but they are special use chucks. The day to day chucks are all keyless. And I would not switch back.
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada


                          • #14
                            I find just laying the key down in the groove on the edge of the table works great for me.
                            It's habit I've followed for decades so it's always in the right place when I need it.

                            The magnet as has been pointed out will pick up chips and the retractable idea while sounding good reminds me of the coiled nylon air lines. Good idea but for me at least they are a pain to work with and probably for the same reason.
                            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                            Location: British Columbia


                            • #15
                              I have a fairly weak magnet that is on the DP.... with a ball chain connecting it to the key.
                              When it’s parked, the key is on the magnet. No chips stick to it.
                              When I’m using it, the magnet stays on the DP, waiting for the key to return.
                              If I forget and leave the key in, the magnet pops off the DP as the chain gets tangled up in the soon-to-be-ruined work
                              SE MI, USA