EASIEST PICK TO DIY
Heres a tutorial on how to make your own snapper with my recent improvements from a bike spoke.
get a bike spoke, the normal full size bike has spokes that are just the right length.
1. make a bend and inch from the nailhead/90 degree bend end of the bike spoke, its easy to do with a smooth jaw small plier,
bend the nail head so that it 90 degree bend closes the one inch rectangle, this means you have to think a little bit, when you make the first bend,
You should end up with an almost closed shape I will call a thin rectangle but of course all the corners are rounded so lets not get anal about terminology
2 You will now want to put a bend that leaves the 'rectangle' at 90 degrees to the rest of the spoke, here again you need to think and consider do you want the rectangle, now refered to as the TRAP to be located to the left or right of that piece of straight spoke, if you put it to the right, that will make your tool what I call 'righthanded' meaning that trap is on the right of the spoke,
You might get it wrong, but thats ok, this is only your first snapper, you are gonna do it again when you really like them. you learn by mistakes
3. now its time to put on the thumb spinner/trigger. this will save your hand from some pain. this is not on any of the internet snapper you may have seen. Use a piece of bic stic pen, this type of plastic will wear well and not fracture from use. also a short piece of metal tube could be used but the bic stic plastic will be quieter.
this spinner will try to fall into the way as you go on to "step 4 winding the coil" so it must be secured near the trap with a rubber band. so it does not repeatedly interfere as you are winding the coil.
4. winding the coil, I use a 'rosary pliers' this has two conical jaws for chain bending, they are nearly unknown in hardware stores, but available at jewelers jobbers one of which can be found on the internet at a company called "rio grande alburqurque"
I hope they have rosary pliers in their tool catalogue, I haven't looked in many years.
the length of the tool will be established by the length between the trap and the coil, a couple inches at best, a longer one will have less striking power. Short hits harder. you will be making a few so you will see how that works.
Think.. then wind the coil around a small mandrell ( bolt or whatever you have) but the coils I wind have an interior diameter that I will estimate are about a quarter inch, not that big loopy thing seen on internet videos.
you will want to wind it so that the thickening of the tool is on the side where the trap also thickens the tool. Hope you can see what I mean. your almost done..
for a first snapper one loop will do, later you can try two turns on the loop, heres the think before doing part, you already have the trap on one side of the bike spoke, that is the side that you should wind the coil to put its width on, you do not want the coil to have its width on the opposite side, why, because I say so, it would screw the asthetics of my design. also might be problems I don't know about because I don't make them any other way.
the two tangent arms coming out of this coil should be at about 30 to 45 degres angle and this angle affects the power of the tool
but it is also an issue in loading the needle arm into the trap so it might not be possible to make that angler greater without actually reseting it while lifting it into the trap under coil resistance. Youll see what I mean.
5. look at the length of the needle arm of the spoke, you will see from where the trap is which part is going to be in between the coil and the trap, and the excess that sticks forward of the trap is the part you will have to grind, file and sand to make the needle.
it can be ground and filed after putting it in the trap, but its easier to do it outside the trap,
dont make the needle longer than a six pin full size key because excess length will make it harder to use.
at the 6 pin keyblade length, grip the needle stock in any plier with the jaw over the five and six pin area, then bend the outer excess length upward, and cut the excess off just in the middle of that bend.
6 final steps are thinning the needle, you can initially use a grinder if you have a skill at it, be sure to quench often, you do not want to cause uneven temper in the metal by overheating.
If you are not skilled at grinding just go straight to the file, its too easy to overdo and cut to deep with a powertool.
grind a little bit off one side of the needle from root to tip not the other way around because that technique will overthin the tip,
then quench again
and grind the same amount off the other side, and repeat is small steps, do not try to bring it to final shape with the grinder, the powertool is only for mass wasting and speeds up the job, so haste will make waste,
final shaping is done with a file, with the needle held in a groove in a block of wood held firmly in a vise or a bench pin if you know what that is. the groove can be made with a hacksaw blade and should be shallow enough to expose the metal above the groove.
with the file you will rough form a very small picktip hook or halfdiamond at the tip of the needle using just a smal part of that bend you put there most of that remaining bend will be filed off
when you think you are almost there, use 220 grit sandpaper wrapped on a thin stick and rubberbanded on both ends,
220 grit is aggressive and will still be shaping the tool so use it to round the edges as well as take out the marks of the file,
inspect the result and if you are satisfied move on to 320 grit to take out the rough marks of 220 grit,
then fold a small piece of 320 grit over the needle and push and pull the needle through this so the marks are parallel to the needle, remove all the marks and then if you like you can do this again with smaler grits.
the final adjustments are to make the ergo banananomic shape which will be done by hand to eliminate the possibiltiy of tool marks on the spoke,
then set the needle in the trap and permanently close the trap, put some thin metal inside the trap to keep it at the width of the wire spoke and crush the trap so that its interior dimension is close to the width of the wire but not thinner, a cheap stainless butterknife is handy for this
if you made it right handed, the spinner should be the only thing that hangs off the left side of it, your right thumb is amazingly on the left of that hand. the trap and coil will be on the right.
if your left handed as usual think backwards.
some final tweeks are to use needle files to reduce the nail head so it dosent interfere with the thumb spinner
you can increase the power some by bending the lower (needle) arm of the snapper by hand between the coil and the trap while the tool is complete and the needle is in the trap, this has the effect of spreading the effective angle of the two arms.
THERE YOU HAVE IT. A TUTORIAL THE EASIEST LOCPICK EVER.