From Design to Reality: WayKen Helps to Make Car Key Prototypes to Validate Your Ideas

Learn about the challenges, technologies, materials, and surface finishes when making the car key prototypes. From design verification to trial assembly, explore how WayKen provides comprehensive solutions for custom automotive part projects.

At a Glance of the Project

IndustryAutomotive Industry
ProductCar Key
ChallengesDesign verification with high standards for 6 components
TechnologyCNC machining, vacuum casting
MaterialSS304, PU8400, Clear ABS
Surface finishPainting RAL9005, silk screening, sand blasting, passivation
Quantity5 Sets
Lead Time8 business days

About Customer and Product

This project comes from a specialized manufacturer of limited-edition sports cars. They are currently working on a new style of sports car for an end customer. Their designer, Adam, wants to create a unique car key to complement the car.

However, due to the small quantity needed, they contacted several companies that were able to customize the keys but were unable to find a suitable manufacturer. When WayKen learned about this project, we were immediately interested. WayKen has years of rich experience in producing car lights and automotive accessories.

What is Our Customer Focus?

“I hope that WayKen can help me create the prototype as quickly as possible. I need to validate the new car key design. Additionally, I want the car key’s appearance to reflect a luxurious, stylish, and unique style. I have already provided you with the drawings and models. And I’m open to any suggestions or ideas that you may have. Let’s keep the communication lines open.” Since WayKen offers one-on-one service for each customer, we exactly got the customer’s ideas and started the project immediately!

WayKen Provides DFM Solution to Achieve Optimal Results

To smoothly initiate the project, our engineers typically engage in close communication and collaboration with the customer upon receiving all the provided drawings and models. For this car key project, some areas need to be optimized during the machining process. Please refer to the detailed information below.

1. Disassembly for Machining

This car key is a bottom shell component that needs to have a supporting function. Therefore, the designed bottom cavity is relatively deep. This cavity is intended to house some chips. However, a portion of this component will be exposed, so it is important to ensure that there are no visible adhesive marks on the outer surface.

In addition, due to the excessive depth of the part’s cavity, it cannot be machined as a single unit and requires disassembly for machining. The inner surface of the part will be separated and machined and then bonded to the main body of the lower shell using chemical bonding. This method of separating the part and bonding it with chemical adhesive ensures that there will be no noticeable adhesive marks, and it will not affect the strength of the part.

features of the car key prototype

2. Avoid Undercut

This component has an undercut structure (marked by the yellow surface), which cannot be made with CNC machining. We suggest filling the area between the yellow surface and the red surface with material and leveling it with the position of the red surface.

3. Keep Fillet

Due to the CNC machining technology for the key section, some areas will have a radius of 0.25mm, as shown in the figure below. But this area is not an appearance part and has small fillet radii which is not an obvious feature. WayKen suggested keeping 0.25mm fillet radii on this component to avoid additional costs.

The design for manufacturing review is an important step in the production process. At WayKen, we have extensive experience in developing new products for various industries, which allows us to offer our expertise in optimizing designs for production needs. In this way, we can offer shorter product lead times while providing our customers with superior quality at a lower cost.

car key details

How is the Car Key Made?

The entire project was finished in just 8 days. This project involves a total of six components for the car key. After machining, we must ensure seamless assembly between the components and achieve an overall satisfactory surface finish.

The component structures can be categorized into three types: the upper shell (which will be processed in two segments for easy access to the lock core and battery placement), the bottom shell, the key itself, and a decorative border. The border will undergo post-processing through sandblasting and passivation.

car key shell

Based on our comprehensive evaluation, a combination of two manufacturing processes is required to complete this project. Five of the components have relatively simple structures and only require machining on both sides. Therefore, So we used 3-axis machines to make them.

However, for a component with a Shore 40 hardness, this component needs to be produced using the vacuum casting process. Considering that this part also requires a superior surface finish as it functions as an exterior component, we chose ABS material to make the master using CNC machining.

One-stop Surface Finishing Solutions

Since some car key components serve as appearance parts, we opted to apply a paint finish to ensure they match the color tone of the car. The color code selected was RAL9005. At WayKen, we also use the Pantone system to match customized colors or paint samples.

cay key frame

In addition, there is a frame of the car key, and it’s made of steel. The frame serves both a decorative function and to ensure a smooth surface, enhance corrosion resistance, improve strength and rigidity, and protect the internal electronic components of the key for safety and prolonged lifespan, we carried out post-processing treatments such as sandblasting and passivation.

What’s more, there are two components of the cay key that underwent post-processing silk-screen printing. This is because the car key required the addition of certain markings for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Trial Assembly

This key is produced in six separate parts, and we conducted a trial assembly for the customer before despatch to ensure a flawless assembly. Typically, this process takes place during the prototyping stage and is necessary to reveal any potential engineering obstacles that were not apparent in the CAD design to help identify problems and ensure that the components can be assembled smoothly. This is also a unique advantage of the WayKen service.

car key components

Get Start with Your Machining Tour

The customer expressed great satisfaction with the appearance of the car key parts upon receiving them. At WayKen, we are honored to have been involved in the process of prototyping this new product. If you have any requirements, from prototype development to low volume production, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your ideas.

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