This is actually an old project. I wanted a lightweight set of iambic paddles for portable use but I didn't want to spend any money for them. I built these paddles one weekend back around 1995. They were made entirely of stuff from my junkbox. I used these paddles on and off for a few years and had forgotten about them until I found them while cleaning up the shack recently. I thought I would post some information about them here to provide some inspiration for homebrewers. Unfortunately, I didn't keep detailed notes when I made them so, hopefully, the accompanying pictures give some idea of how I did it.

Here are some notes on the materials used:

  • The two paddle arms are made from some strips of fiberglas I acquired somewhere years ago. The material is about 1/16th of an inch thick and is fairly stiff.
  • The major parts are four 1-inch steel angles, four hex stand-offs, some flat washers and a couple of #6 nuts and bolts.
  • The center contacts are made from a hex stand-off and a double spade lug. (Not sure if my terminology is correct.)
  • For the contacts on the paddle arms, I expoxied a hex nut to each arm and ran bolts throght them. After adjusting the contact spacing, another nut is used on each bolt to lock things in.
  • All three electrical contacts were made with some #6 solder lugs.
  • The finger pieces are made from a pair of slightly-modified guitar picks that I glued onto the fiberglas arms.
  • The base is a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. Underneath the base are four rubber feet. Depending on the table surface, there may be enough friction to prevent movement while keying. Quite often, though, I have to hold the base with one hand while keying with the other hand.

Although I don't have detailed plans for these paddles, this might give you some ideas for building a set of paddles from items in your own junkbox.

73, Craig WB3GCK

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Junkbox Paddles

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Side View

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Top View

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Front View

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Rear View

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