The key blank is a standard Yale 8 or Y1 (different name same key way) 5 pin blank the one's used on the show are not Yale original blanks but nickel plated knock offs (Yale originals are brass in color) The heads of these keys have been filed so that you can not tell the brand name (It's probably Taylor, Ilco or ESP) Ive been a locksmith for 25 years, I know from whence I speak. I was also a professional prop maker for 2 years. It's obvious from the picture of the three together that continuity was not up to par because there are different Ohm resistors on each key as well as the solder points being off kilter.
The chips just seem like any random chips from an old circuit board glued on there with super glue.
Ok...a bit of a necro-post/bump...but here's my meager attempt at this prop...
Looking good! Glad was able to help out with the pics!
Well, since this thread was bumped not too long ago I thought I'd throw in a look at my first WIP on this chipped key:
It's obviously not done yet. I need to get the right bits of wire and solder them in place and then mod the key and get everything glued on and then of course add that strange sealed look to it. I'm thinking I might do that with Future Floor Polish since that has a high gloss and durable finish to it when dry. I read people using the stuff to clear coat models and even make glass panes for windows so I'm guessing many modellers would use it.
So far the hardest part about this was removing the chip from a sim card and basically trimming it down to the right shape XD That was a PAIN. The chip I used is what is labelled as a "Compensated Amplifier" chip which I found fitting since it is supposed to be amplifying the effect of the keys "Somebody Else's Problem" field...oops I meant "perception filter" XD Anyway I hope you guys like my attempt so far. I'll be getting a better ERA key cut and then sanded to match what they did, get the electronics soldered together and then finish this up. ^_^
And now the reason I suggest 20-30 minute epoxy, after you have it all spread out, take a small bowl and cover it, let it sit for 5 minute and then return with a heat gun or a hairdryer on low air but hot heat (or even a butane torch)... Using the heat source swipe over the key a few times, this will pop any bubbles that have risen to the top... Cover with the bowl again and wait 5 minutes again, repeat the heat... You cover it to keep out settling airborne dust...
The end product should be a visibly bubble free clear coat, and look just like the original...
Neat idea but I'm not a fan of that method and here's why. Epoxy can be messy and the process would take too long. I'm thinking they did fast and dirty here. Also epoxy can be too thick and based on the actual size of these parts won't be as thin or subtle as something as thin as Future. I'm guessing they assembled the parts off the key and soldered it all together then glued it on, then sealed it with some sort of clear coat. I think the yellow coloring is the brass/steel alloy of the metal the key is made of. Once the chrome plating is sanded off to blank the key it will have a yellow-ish tint to it. Future is pretty hard stuff and is an old modellers secret. It drys pretty fast and hard and can be controlled easier as a liquid that epoxy can't. I think I'm going to try the Future in an experiment but I really think that's my best bet for this one.
The resistor is a 10K 1/4 watt (Brown Black Orange Gold) while the chip is an 8-pin DIL. It could be either a 555 or a 741 Op-Amp IC. But I would like to guess its a 555 too.
However, on my current projects, it could also be an opto-isolator or even a 12F6xx series from Microchip.
But, it's your prop you can do whatever you feel is appropriate...
Without any futher identification any designation beyond 8-pin DIP is simply a wild guess... It could be one of 1000s upon 1000s of 8-pin DIP chips out there...while the chip is an 8-pin DIL. It could be either a 555 or a 741 Op-Amp IC. But I would like to guess its a 555 too.
It looks to me like they just soldered the parts together off of the key, brushed clear epoxy on the key face and stuck everything to that (brushing the epoxy over the contact pad. It does not look like there is any kind of clear coat on the parts just under them (the chip and the resitor don't seem to have any king of coating on them) and it looks like the middle of the contact is missing whatever the coating is over the edges of it.
I am not thinking the clear coating was a deliberate step on this prop. From the looks of that original key I bet they just glued the parts down brushed it over the pad and called it a day. You can see where the epoxy got on half of the black wire but not the other half while covering the pad.
It looks like they roughed up the key surface with some sand paper to make the epoxy stick to the surface better.
Last edited by phez; Jun 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM.
Well, epoxy is messy for me. I haven't used it more times than I can count which is why I wasn't going to use it XD I'm basically saying I'm working with what I know and know will work with this is all. I'm not trying to insult your experience so I hope you don't feel like I was throwing your experience as a prop maker back at you. I don't usually use it and I find I have more control over something with a more liquid viscosity and can control the flow better with a paintbrush.
OK, so I'm a bit further on with this. I just finished the electronics assembly and sanding the key. Here's some looks at it:
There's a look at the electronics. I assembled them off the key like I planned. To get the alignment right I used a drip of glue on the amplifier chip to secure it to the sim card wafer. I lined them up while on the key and let the glue dry, then took them off the key after. Once that was done I soldered the resistor to the chip and then the other end of the resistor to the sim wafer, then did the wires. I'll tell you, i was amazed at how easy it was to solder to the sim wafer. Hardest part was adjusting the soldering iron temperature to not melt that tin gauge wire's insulation.
There's the underside of it. You can see a little bit of the glue there on the corner of the amplifier chip where I secured it while I was soldering this. You can also see the very thin fiberglass layer and microchip under the sim card as well as the J hooks on the wire and resistor.
BTW, the sim card wafer is thiiiiiin. Like literally paper thin.
And here is the electronics placed on the key. Not glued or anything, just placed. I think it's coming along nicely. It's not dead on perfect but it's pretty darn close I think. I still need to make the other key with the blue resistor though.
I originally thought the gold part was glue also but the top seems too straight and the rounded edges look too precise to be glue, even if it was cleaned up to look that way.
Looking good there Straker! Did you use an ERA key and if so, what did you use to sand it and make it silver again? This key is on my to do list as well. Was hoping to go out today for parts. We'll see what happens.
You could be right, I do see the white haze. I am thinking if we can't tell the glue from that close up shot either type should look correct. Your build is looking really good.Some spots look like they have that white haze you get from super glue vapors especially near the resistor just past where the clear stuff ends near the channel. There's a white haze like from super glue. That is what makes me think they sealed the parts after they were stuck on. Problem is of course, that with the resolution of the picture being so blown up a lot of details are kinda obscured so I'm just guessing at this point and building it with what I'm familiar with.
BTW, the key I'm working on, it turns out is Martha's key. I found a screen still from the part where she holds up her key to show someone and it's this key.
You can see the red bit of wire and the tan resistor. I don't know what the third key looks like as we only ever see the back of it but hey, at least we can be pretty sure who this key belonged to XD
BTW, I also narrowed down the cord they used. I thought at first it was something as simple as twine but it's not. It's either a hemp cord or more likely jute.
Last edited by Straker; Jun 16, 2012 at 2:56 AM.
Almost there. I glued the parts onto the first key and started the second one with the blue resistor. I ummm, kinda sorta screwed the resistor up and put the red stripe on the wrong way around. XD OOPS. I'll umm, get that fixed later, I'm just checking the positioning.
I'm also leaving the writing on this one as it's still on the one in the original picture. They have only two lines of text on theirs but this was the best I could do. Also the resistor is missing a blue or black line on it. Best I could fine on that as well. XP Still I think I'm pretty close.
Interesting news about the sanding, I'll have to try it on one of mine and see how it goes.
Pretty much done now. Jute is the type of cord I used. It's the closest thing I could find:
Haven't clear coated the parts at all but I think I'm just going to leave it like this. I like how the metal of the key has darkened and makes the key look older. I screwed up my sim wafer of my blue resistor key so I'll have to start that again.