MakerBot Hero: Car Keys (Part I)

Key fob, apart

Key fob, apart

My mom had been a public school teacher for all of her working life until she retired several years ago.  It was just before she retired that she bought herself a nice new car.  Yesterday she came to visit and she handed me her car keys to grab something from her trunk.  I was horrified at what I saw.  Her car keys, which have a built in electronic car lock/unlock remote, was wrapped in cheap packing tape.  On top of that, it was old packing tape.  So old that it had become stringy and oozey.

I asked what happened only to be told that while at her school she had dropped her keys which immediately cracked at the point where the metal key met the plastic housing for the electronic guts.  The school maintenance worker had kindly offered to fix it up the only way he could – with public school1 packing tape.

This conversation ensured:

  • MakerBlock: “How long has it been like this?”
  • MakerBlock’s mom: “Oh, a looong time.”
  • MakerBlock: “How long?”
  • MakerBlock’s mom: “About two years.”
  • MakerBlock: “Two years?!  Mom, you do know I have a machine in the other room capable of just making you a new plastic housing for your keys, right?”2
  • MakerBlock’s mom: “Oh, that never occurred to me.”
  • MakerBlock: “This is just unacceptable!  You can’t live like this.  I’m making you a new one.”

With the careful application of a utility knife to remove the packing tape and precision screwdrivers to take out the one lone screw, the key fob revealed its secrets, as depicted above.

Next:  Designing the replacement

Posts in this series:

  1. Read: cheap []
  2. 3D printers has essentially been all I can talk about, or write about for that matter, since hearing about them for the first time in April of 2008. []
Tagged with , , , , , 4 comments

4 Comments so far

  • Alex Guichet
    November 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    When do we get to see the result? Or is this just going to be a teaser?

  • MakerBlock
    November 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    @Alex Guichet: I promise to post the results. I suppose this is kind of a teaser, but all will be revealed in the amazing conclusion to this epic trilogy!

  • MakerBot Hero: Car Keys (Part III) - MakerBot Industries
    November 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

    […] like to address some comments to the prior two posts.  The first post was essentially about identifying a problem that could be solved with a 3D printer.  In this case, it was the cracked plastic case for my mom’s car key fob.  The second post […]

  • MakerBot Hero: Car Keys (Epilogue) - MakerBot Industries
    November 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

    […] mom came to visit on Monday night and left yesterday morning.  Monday evening she mentioned her car key was broken, I measured the broken parts, printed up two prototypes, and printed out a fully functional […]


Leave your comment


xhtml: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



12 months special financing on new
MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases
with Dell Preferred Account on

Limited-time offer for qualified customers.
Offer Details

12 months special financing on new MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases is a no interest if paid in full by November, 2015 financing promotion. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the purchase balance is not paid in full by your payment due date in November, 2015 or if you make a late payment. Minimum monthly payments are required during the promotional period. If not paid by end of promotional period, account balance and new purchases will be subject to the Standard APR rates, which range from 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR, as of 8/30/2014, depending on creditworthiness. Offers subject to credit approval and may be changed without notice.

Dell Preferred Account offered to U.S. residents by WebBank, who determines qualifications for and terms of credit. Promotion eligibility varies and is determined by WebBank. Taxes, shipping, and other charges are extra and vary. Payments equal 3% of your balance or $20, whichever is greater. Minimum Interest Charge is $2.00.

All products in your cart at the time of purchase will qualify for the special financing promotion if purchased with Dell Preferred Account between 12-31-2014 through 1/28/2015.

New MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases are eligible! Refurbished and/or used purchases do not qualify for promotions. Eligible e-value/order codes: A7516721, A7629818, A7598495, A7617635.

What can we help you with today?
I want to chat with Sales.
I have a question about an existing order.
I have a technical question about my device.
Existing Orders
For faster service, enter your order number
(found in your confirmation e-mail)