Locke and Key: 3D Printing Keys

It’s one thing to appreciate your favorite show, but it’s a whole other thing to make fan art from the show yourself! Of course, we here at SKKAW.BLOG just can’t help going the extra mile to quench our fan-based-thirsts. Locke and Key was a particularly interesting show for me as I liked the premise of using keys to open doors to other places or gateways to other things in themselves. If you haven’t seen the show yet we highly recommend go watch it on Netflix. Also, visit our Locke and Key review here and let us know what you think of the show yourself.

The show revolves a lot around using keys. As Justin goes into detail in his Locke and Key posts here and here, the keys are pretty important to the plot and storyline of the show and comics. So being a fan of the show myself, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some keys! Of course, I could go purchase some keys myself from Skeleton Crew Studio, eBay, or Etsy, but where’s the fun in that? Why not just make our own! Having recently got into the 3D Printing, I was all up for the challenge to make authentic-looking keys from the show and comics.

Now I won’t go into too many details regarding 3D Printing itself. I’ll reserve that for another post coming soon. For now, I’ll outline the major steps I took to make our own Locke and Key keys below. But if you do have questions do feel free to leave us some comments or contact us directly here.

The first thing I did was search the interwebs was for 3D printer designs or files called STL files. That file type are the designs that 3D printer software uses as a base to build the 3D print model. Again, I’ll go into more detail regarding the intricacies of 3D Printing in another post but for now, suffice it to say you need to find a 3D model to get you started.

Luckily, someone already made some 3D Printer STL files of some of our favorite keys. A Google Search of “Locke and Key 3D Print Design,” was enough for us to kind some epic designs to start with.  We’ll list all the links to the designs we had at the end of this post.

I wanted to start with something simple so I went with the Anywhere Key first. It’s pretty straightforward since it’s made of a single piece and the design isn’t too complicated. This printed in about 20 minutes and came out great. I did make one adjustment, I shrunk the size to 80% to increase the build speed. I’m glad I did too because it came out great! The material, if you’re wondering is PLA (Polylactic acid)– a recyclable plastic.

But it’s not without its own challenges though. For example, my first print of the Anywhere key didn’t quite go so well, see below.

IMG_1626

I later found out my 3D printer settings were a bit off (the 3D Printer bed wasn’t hot enough) but I worked it out and everything else printed smoothly.

Once I made one key, I got the itch and had to make more! I then proceeded to make the Shadow Key. This key was a bit trickier to make as it required some Lego-like put-me-together skills. Basically, it came in several parts which I printed separately, painted, and then glued together. See below for a photo-collage of  my build:

IMG_1103

After the Shadow Key, I was almost at my fill of printing keys. It looks straight forward but it does require some time, skill, and effort to make them. The trickiest part of the Shadow Key was painting and piecing together all the parts! But it was fun to make for sure and I really enjoyed building this one the most.

After making the Shadow Key, I wanted to get at least a couple more keys to fill up our Locke and Key collection.  I chose some keys which didn’t require more work than printing and painting.  I settled for the Omega Key, Ghost Key, and Head Key. See below post-printing of each of the mentioned keys.

After printing each key,  I hand-painted each key. If you asked me which part of this build was most challenging it would be the painting. First off, colors aren’t my strongest suit. I’m partially colorblind (only to some particular shades of green and red), but thankfully the colors were a bit straight forward. The colors I used for the keys included black, white, gold, and aluminum. I used gold for the Anywhere Key and a mix of gold and aluminum for the Head Key. Finally, I used black and white were for the Ghost and Shadow Keys. The Omega Key was easiest since it is pure black. I also used acrylic paint, which works great on PLA. See below for the final results:

3D Printed Locke and Key Keys!
From left to right: Omega Key, Ghost Key, Shadow Key, Head Key, and Anywhere Key.

And there you have it! Our own set of Locke and Key keys. We feel so powerful! I guess we’re the keepers of these keys now . . .  I just hope we don’t run any trouble similar to the Locke family . . .

Links to 3D Print Designs:

Locke and Key Collection 1 by @CreateCafe3D via myminifactory.com

Head Key – Locke and Key (Comic & Netflix Version) by via thingiverse.com*

Locke & Key – Ghost Key by Pan_Kuba via thingiverse.com*

Locke & Key Keys by OkThen via thingiverse.com, post 1**

Locke & Key Keys by OkThen via thingiverse.com, post 2** 

Have any questions regarding our Locke and Key key builds above? Or, want to share your design stories with us? Please feel free to leave us a note in the comments section below.

If this got you curious or interested in 3D Printing and don’t know where to start, be sure to check out our follow-up post on 3D printing in general, where we go into detail on our 3D printing experience. This includes choosing a budget-friendly printer, putting that printer together, and printing and painting some cool stuff.

And, as always, be sure to keep following us for more on pop-culture, crafts, maker culture, comics, reviews, and more!

*/**UPDATE 04.12.2020: These links (*) have since been removed from thingiverse.com as some of you have pointed out (thank you!). So we did a search and we added some links we found for other key designs (e.g., see **). We have not tried making any of the keys from these new links but they look pretty good. Let us know if you try them and this helps!

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