I’ve been wanting to post a good how to of this for a while but never seem to have the time. I hope a quick guide will do here. I started making these keys just as a goof but people seem to really get a kick out of them. If done right they will roll around and help spark conversation or just kill boredom on tabletops.
This is that mustang I was trying to locate on the exchange. If we have a deal please get back to me with an email because I have only shipped one trade so far.
Here is what you will need but every hot wheel and key is different so some ingenuity and intuitiveness are just as needed. Epoxy, drill/bits, Dremel with cutting wheel, Sew Snaps, ball chain, and steady hand. Some of this is optional.
What ever key you are using all you have to do is cut it along the length of it (In red). I’ve done these to everything from small mail box and locker keys to car and house keys. You don’t really need that much to insert into the hot wheel as long as you use JB Weld epoxy it will be strong as a normal key. A Dremel cutting wheel makes quick work of a key but please protect your eyes.
Next drill open the Hot Wheel and use a smaller drill bit to drill holes where you want a the chain to be placed.
This looks hard but a sharp drill bit makes it easy.
With the body off run your chain through and snap it. A razor can cut away any plastic that is in the way. Make sure never to get in the way of your wheels.
Again every car is different so you will have to see what works for you. I cut a grove into the key to fit around the rivet but sometimes they don’t have them there or it is best to just cut the rivet peg off all together. The key will slid in where the grill hole is. Use the razor to cut away any of the interior that is in the way. If your grill isn’t large enough you can use a small file to make it bigger. I’ve drilled holes and filed openings into cars before but is is time consuming and one slip can mess up a the whole thing so it is best to find a car with a plastic grille large enough to fit your key.
Now take the chassis and use a razor to cut away the part or the grille where the key now lives. This doesn’t have to be pretty but try to get it close around the key so epoxy doesn’t try to escape once you have to glue everything.
With that done you can mix your epoxy and dab it around the key and car and chassis. Eyeball the key straight and use coins to hold the key at the right level while the epoxy sets. this takes 4 hours and is best if you let is sit even longer. use the JB epoxy conservatively because the JB epoxy is a lot stronger than you’d think. I’ve dropped these out of moving cars and the key has never come unset.
I’m sure there is better ways but I use sew snaps to clean up the bottom. They come in black and chrome so it cleans up the drilled rivets on most cars and looks pretty industrial. Just epoxy them over the drilled holes.
And there you have it. That is really all it takes and the more you do it the better you get. Don’t be discouraged if you mess up a few. I’ve got a large trash pile of trial and error keys.
These are a few that I have old photos off. I never have the time to make these for friends anymore but I hope others can have a go at making them. Please do this at your own risk. We all know the trouble GM got in with their failed ignition and key design so ask your local locksmith if your ignition can support the added weight of a Hot Wheel and epoxy. If not please stick to house keys.