Posts tagged keys
About a year ago, I ditched my key ring and went to Keyport V01. Since then I’ve been using it religiously, my only change being the addition of the swivel cap which became available a few months after my original purchase, which made Keyport a bit easier to use with a key fob. Keyport V01 was so awesome I purchased one as father’s day present (and it’s still in use) and sold a few friends on them as well, to say nothing of its conversation starter abilities.
So when I heard Keyport was making a 2.0 version on Kickstarter, I couldn’t jump on the project fast enough. Keyport 2.0 remains compatible with the exact same set of blades (keys) as the first version, making it an easy upgrade from the V01 edition. What’s different is pretty simple: Keyport 2.0 is manufactured from plastic instead of metal, making it lighter and hopefully more resistant to denting when dropped, cheaper, has a new mechanism locking the top cap on, offers smoother sliding action, and comes with a swivel by default. It has slightly different dimensions but retains the same thickness.
@nerdtalker Great, glad you like it! Same thickness, slightly shorter, but a bit wider to fit the removable side plates.
— Keyport, Inc. (@theKeyport) June 11, 2013
The change in width is a noticeable at first, but it’s there to accommodate the removable sliding side plates which come in a few different colors. What’s really evident is the big change in weight, which is perhaps the biggest improvement for those looking to upgrade from the V01 to 2.0. The change in width might make it difficult to use in some vehicles with clearance issues already, but it’s minimal.
Initially I was a bit surprised that Keyport would want to ditch metal in favor of plastic (or polymer, if you’re sugar coating things) but the difference allows Keyport 2.0 to be so much less noticeable in the pocket. Likewise the change from metal to polymer seems to make the slider action much smoother. Previously my only gripe with Keyport V01 was that after you got a bit of pocket lint in the action, sliding out the lesser often used blades resulted in a gritty feeling and some sticking and chattering. With 2.0 it seems that the plastic on plastic interface results in much smoother movement, and there’s a bit more play instead of the somewhat tight fit of the previous model. The cap on 2.0 also locks in place while blade number one is fully retracted, making it less likely that dropping Keyport will result in the cap popping off and dumping your blades out.
While the 2.0 model doesn’t fundamentally change anything about the system (it’s still 6 keys total), the improvements made to fit, finish, weight, and of course the slider are arguably worth the difference. Either way I definitely can’t go back to a normal set of keys.
For the longest time, the number of keys on my keychain seemed to be growing out of control. I couldn’t really figure it out, but it was to the point that I had a carabiner and multiple rings to contain all the keys I somehow was accumulating. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t really need all those keys every day – just the few that I use on a day to day basis, then the rest could be stored and used when necessary. I had seen Keyport a few times before, including on the very popular every day carry blog, but something about going through the process didn’t seem worthwhile when a move between houses was looming and my future was relatively nebulous. Recently however, while thinking of an ideal Father’s day present, stumbled on a coupon code for the Keyport and decided I’d order two – one as the gift, another for myself just to see how it goes.
The order process is pretty simple. After picking out the desired Keyport color, number of keys, and accessories (I went with a USB drive and bottle opener), you snap photos of the keys on a printed form and write down markings on the keys. The bits can be blanked out in photoshop, all that needs make it are the head, shaft, and both sides. These then get sent off so Keyport can ship back the appropriate blanks. I had two keys which Keyport couldn’t mail blanks for – a US Post Office box key (which was expected), and my locking gas cap key (which looks incredibly generic). For these, one needs to either ship the key in for Keyport to cut the head off of and turn into a keyport key (in the case of the post office key), or properly identify. I ended up with the following codes:
After a while, the Keyport comes in the above tin with some documentation, along with your blanks. The interesting part of the key blanks is that it appears that Keyport simply cuts the heads off of blanks themselves. If you look closely at the blanks, it’s pretty obvious that they use a bandsaw or something, then mate them up with the plastic Keyport insert. Nothing wrong with this, just an interesting note.
After you get the blanks back, it’s then a matter of finding a locksmith who will cut the keys. There’s a list of approved locksmiths from Keyport, however there weren’t any down in Tucson, AZ. Since there’s really only one go at getting the blanks cut (without paying money and ordering more), getting a good cut is key, and I worried that Ace or Home Depot might mess things up, especially after having a few keys cut at Home Depot that needed to be re-cut. I ended up going to Bruce’s Lock Shop on Broadway, who had no problem with the blanks, and charged just $2 for my 4 keys. All of my keys worked perfectly in their respective locks – phew!
Of particular interest is the chipped car key, which comes along with a plastic insert (for you to stick a loyalty club barcode on) and the transponder chip at the end. Both of the relevant vehicles I ordered car keys for support onboard programming, which is simple – you insert the original OEM keys one after the other, then the third key you want added to the ECU, and boom, it works. How this goes is largely a function of your car, of course.
The other difficulty with the car key is that you must make sure you have adequate clearance around the keyhole for the whole Keyport to rotate, a little over a 1″ diameter circle. In addition, this means that the middle two Keyport slots basically must be dedicated to the car key and transponder / barcode insert, so the turning radius is minimized. I have no problem with clearance or turning the Keyport in my 2005 F-150, though it is tight. I also worried about whether a Keyport full of keys would be heavy enough to cause concern about wearing the car’s key slot on the steering column, and thankfully it seems light enough that I’m not worried about damage happening.
The rest of the keys for me were very simple and turn in their respective tumblers just fine. If you have a particularly torquey lock, however, I could see how Keyport might not handle it. The documentation supplied with the box notes a design torque of up to 20 inch-lbs, and that most locks only require 1-3 inch-lbs. I can see how this is a very big design concern, since you’re no longer just torquing the metal head of a key, but instead this large assembly.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out, and the end result is that I no longer have a huge carabiner of keys poking me in the leg or taking up space in my pocket that could be otherwise used for additional smartphones. I still have to get the second set cut, but don’t expect any problems since it’s largely the same set of keys.