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Thread: Homemade lock

  1. #1
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Homemade lock

    I wanted an accessory cable to lock up my front wheel yesterday and didn't want to pay $10 for a 2.5 foot Kryptonite cable in 3/16" diameter. So I went to Home Depot and made my own.

    (1) Bought 4 feet of 3/16" twisted steel cable ($1.56)
    (2) Bought set of 2 ferrules to make loops in the ends of the cable ($1.29)
    (3) Used in-store tool to swage ferrules. Basically you take a gigantic pair of pliers that crush the ferrule until it holds the ferrule against the cable.
    (4) Went home and wrapped the whole thing in black electrical tape. This makes a nice smooth covering but unfortunately it's hard to get the ends to stick down. I had to use masking tape.

    So, for about $3, I made myself a 4 foot cable. Has anyone tried this before? I don't doubt that anyone with a pair of bolt cutters can slice this thing off in short order, but I doubt the Kryptonite cable is any better.

    I'm kind of proud of this thing, but have a few questions about how to improve on it:

    (1) Does anybody have a suggestion for a smooth covering that won't come unstuck at the ends like electrical tape?
    (2) Is the braided cable used by Kryptonite all that much tougher than the twisted cable?
    (3) Home Depot only sells ferrules and tools to swage cable of diameter <= 3/16", although they sold cable up to 1/4". Is there a good source for ferrules/swaging tools for 3/8" diameter, like Kryptonite uses for their cheapest cable?
    (4) Any other threads on homemade cables?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Electrical supply stores may have some heat shrink tubing to cover it, or get the tool dip from an auto parts store. That's the plastic stuff you dip wrench handles into to give them a rubbery coating.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Electrical supply stores may have some heat shrink tubing to cover it, or get the tool dip from an auto parts store. That's the plastic stuff you dip wrench handles into to give them a rubbery coating.
    I never knew such stuff existed. Great tip!
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    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    You saved $7 and will spend $7 patching it lol.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    You saved $7 and will spend $7 patching it lol.
    Well hopefully not It was basically an experiment. I thought, "maybe I can make this thing, therefore I will try".
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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Actually, if I wanted to lock up my bikes in my garage, I would do exactly what he did. Buy some cable, put some loops on it, and I could lock all my bikes up. That would deter casual theft when the door is left open. Of course, it's a different story out in the real world. If you want to get real crazy, go to a 4WD supply store, and get some winch cable. If it can handle a 20k pound load, it should be ok for your bike.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Actually, if I wanted to lock up my bikes in my garage, I would do exactly what he did. Buy some cable, put some loops on it, and I could lock all my bikes up. That would deter casual theft when the door is left open. Of course, it's a different story out in the real world. If you want to get real crazy, go to a 4WD supply store, and get some winch cable. If it can handle a 20k pound load, it should be ok for your bike.
    Yeah, that's one thing I was thinking about, making a big cable to keep my bikes safer in the basement.
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    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    (3) Home Depot only sells ferrules and tools to swage cable of diameter <= 3/16", although they sold cable up to 1/4". Is there a good source for ferrules/swaging tools for 3/8" diameter, like Kryptonite uses for their cheapest cable?
    (4) Any other threads on homemade cables?
    sapsis rigging sells swages and cable tools. The pressing tool is pricey but the swages and cable are cheap. Maybe you could buy swages and use the home depot tool.


    I was thinking of buying some heavy-duty chain from mc master carr or grainger but it's pretty expensive either way.
    good idea,
    bk

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    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennyk
    sapsis rigging sells swages and cable tools. The pressing tool is pricey but the swages and cable are cheap. Maybe you could buy swages and use the home depot tool.


    I was thinking of buying some heavy-duty chain from mc master carr or grainger but it's pretty expensive either way.
    good idea,
    bk
    Sapsis rigging? Never thought I'd hear that name on a bike forum. You in the entertainment business?

  10. #10
    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    yep...
    I'm a lighting designer/asst. lighting designer but I used to do a fair amount of work as a production electrician.

    You?

    Hopefully this thread will uphold our proud tradition of using products for purposes completely different for which they are intended.
    bk

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    You would need to put it on the cable prior to crimping the end loops, but transparent plastic hose is cheap, durable, attractive, and quite protective of the bike's finish. I put 5/8" I.D. around the 1/2" U-bolt on my U-locks so they are less likely to damage the bike's finish or tubing. Sliding it around the bend is a little bit of a struggle, the the end result looks right and makes the contact with the bike much softer than the thin heatshrink normally covering the U-bolt. I've done it Kryptonite and OnGuard locks.

  12. #12
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennyk
    yep...
    I'm a lighting designer/asst. lighting designer but I used to do a fair amount of work as a production electrician.

    You?

    Hopefully this thread will uphold our proud tradition of using products for purposes completely different for which they are intended.
    bk
    Yep. Moving light programmer/production electrician/occasional lighting director.

  13. #13
    cab horn
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    That looks like it can be bolt cutted in about 0.0005s.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    That looks like it can be bolt cutted in about 0.0005s.
    Undoubtedly so... it's only as thick as the "accessory" cable made by Kryptonite. That's why I want to find out how to use thicker cable. Then again, the 3/8" cable is probably not too hard to cut either. I would never use an ordinary cable to secure a good bike, what I plan to use this one for is to keep the front wheel of my ugly $125 fixie from wandering away. It's lightweight and it's a deterrent
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  15. #15
    Bike Honky bottom-bracket's Avatar
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    i think it's sexy.
    FGG#1756and 5,964

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bottom-bracket
    i think it's sexy.
    Hah, thanks. Me too!
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  17. #17
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with a little self reliance!

    I found a length of chain lying in the road and made a lock cable out of that by running it through a old busted mtn bike inner tube.

    Now, if I can just find a lock and key lying in the road somewhere...

  18. #18
    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Then again, the 3/8" cable is probably not too hard to cut either.
    meh,
    even with cable cutters, 3/8" cable is a pain to cut. there is a fast way to cut it, but i doubt even a proficient bike theif would know of it...

    the thin stuff is pretty easy to cut but it's better than nothing.
    bk

  19. #19
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    If a determined thief wants to steal your bike, they will. We need to be concerned about deterring the casual thief.

  20. #20
    Videre non videri
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    If you use a really thick hose to wrap around the thickest cable you can find (within reason! ), I doubt a thief would be able to get the cable into the jaws of the cutter!
    Unless he's brought along a whole range of tools, he won't get the chain open.

  21. #21
    Scooby Snax
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshot
    ...

    Now, if I can just find a lock and key lying in the road somewhere...
    If you do find that lock and key, and by chance they are miss matched, give me a shout, my found lock didn't have a key either.

  22. #22
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    a couple of days ago i found a bike planet bike lock but no key it is u shaped i was wondering if there is any way to get this open thanks.

  23. #23
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    The heat shrinkable sleeve isnt flexible, so use innner tube to cover the cable, and a short piece of heat shrinkable at each end to hold the inner tube in place.

  24. #24
    pacifist-vegetarian biker
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    I do a bit of lighting work, although primarly in a black box where I don't get to play with rigging much except for some light duty GAC, although I imagine that I could put something together pretty nice in the scene shop.

    Right now I ride with with a 1-metre length of chain inside an old intertube and wraped with gaff tape in places, locked with a disc lock. I ride with it slung over my shoulder like a banoleir. I think the chain cost like 3 bucks, and the tape was "borrowed" from work. Someone with bolt cuteres could still chop in with a bit of work, but like pretty much any lock, the goal is only make it hard enough to deter someone.
    I'm not sure how my chain compares with the expensive ones you see in shopw, but it works well for me.

  25. #25
    titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    That looks like it can be bolt cutted in about 0.0005s.
    seconded, if you value your bike spend and extra $15 to get somthing that will hold. Who said anything about botl cutters a pair of garden shears would cut through that. In the garage my dad has a chain link chain the diameter of each loop is over 1cm im asuming this can be bought in a hardware store and is a lot cheaper then a bike lock, now jusy buy a decent padlock, you keep your bike and save some money!

    Just a thought but your bike is never complety safe firstly because in a bike magazine i saw htme rating locks and the top rating was "will stop a profesinal for 5 minutes" these where expensive locks and $50 where rates as "will stop a detirmined theif for 10 minutes" remember the chain could be great what if some one decided they wany to vandilise your bike? best thing to do is just put it in a bike locker in the train station!

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