Fig. I: The ends of the wire should stick out. Fig. J: Poke
1 wire through the battery hole and twist the other onto
the reed switch leg. Fig. K: Anchor the element and
battery and polish off the look with 2 small brass rings.
Fig. L: Once activated, the key should begin to sag and
melt within 10 seconds.
tic coating from the battery, and bend 1 wire on the
reed switch back 180°. You can then tape the switch
to the battery using ordinary electrical tape. Make
sure you use enough tape to prevent a short circuit.
Most CR2 batteries have a small hole through the
positive cap, and this can be useful for positioning
the element wires. Poke one wire from the element
through the hole, and twist it to secure. Twist the
other wire onto the leg of the reed switch (Figure J).
Be very careful not to short-circuit anything here,
because a minor slip at this point can prematurely
trigger the element and spoil all your hard work.
protected surface in close proximity to a magnet.
The magnet activates the reed switch.
Once the self-destruct has been activated, the
key will quickly heat up. The key should begin to sag
and melt within 10 seconds (Figure L), and within 1
minute you’ll have just a pile of molten plastic and a
glowing red wire.
Remove the magnet as soon as the key has
melted; if you leave it in place for more than a
couple of minutes, the plastic will start to bubble
and the battery will overheat.
CAUTION: Molten plastic will stick to your skin and burn you, so wear appropriate safety
equipment: gloves and goggles at a minimum.
Remember to stand well back and remove the magnet
as soon as the key has melted. Leaving the magnet in
place for a prolonged period could cause the battery
to overheat, and in extreme cases, explode.
6. CONCEAL THE DESTRUCT
All that remains is to anchor the element and battery in position using more plastic composite, and
to make the battery look less conspicuous. Simply
glue 2 small brass curtain rings at either end of the
battery, pad the sides with foam, and then wrap with
the tape of your choice (Figure K). Andrew Lewis is a keen artificer and computer scientist
with interests in 3D scanning, computational theory,
algorithmics, and electronics. He is a relentless tinkerer
whose love of science and technology is second only to
his love of all things steampunk.
To make the key self-destruct, place it on a suitably