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Spinning Rotary Keychains
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:15am

Real Peritrochoid Rotation Keychains! Click here to Buy!

See the Spinning Rotor Keychain here

This text appeared on the RX-7 Mail Lists by David Lane:
I tend to be attracted to rotary stuff. I have a small collection of T-shirts with rotary themes. My favorite is one that was produced by a member of the big list a number of years ago. You've probably seen them. The back says "Pistons? We don' need no stinkin' pistons!"

I bought three of those shirts, and always wear one at autocrosses. People like to come up behind me and comment that I must drive an RX-7. I always look confused, and say "How did you know?" They never know quite how to react to that.

Another favorite rotary toy is the rotor-shaped oil filler cap that Mazdatrix sold. I'm on my second edition of that one. The earlier versions had a thick "rotor," and an O-ring that fell
off every time you tried to remove it. Later ones slimmed down and the O-ring stays put. When I bought the first one I thought people would think it a bit over the top, but folks like to
point to it and they generally comment that it's a nice touch.

Mazdatrix sells it.

Mazdatrix also sells a key chain. The first version I saw from them was a rotor in the same style as the oil filler cap. It was too big, so I passed on it. Instead, I bought a keychain from Mazdaspeed. It looked cool--shaped like a rotor housing, with a rotor free to flop around in it. When it arrived it was slightly disappointing. They had taken two housing-shaped bits of thin metal, and screwed them together. The rotor, contained within, was loose to rattle around, but in no way did it move as
a real rotor would within the housing. Still, if I moved it just right, and apologized in advance for how sloppy it was, I could illustrate how a Wankel engine worked. It was handy and fun until one day a screw came loose, and I lost my little rotor.


I went back to Mazdatrix and bought their latest keychain-- similar to the newer, slimmed down, oil filler cap. Not much fun, but at least it was something "rotary."

My next rotary trinket was the Rotary Watch. That has turned out to be quite a conversation piece. Even my doctor noticed it. The only trouble is that the rotor-shaped second hand simply turns like a slow pinwheel. Everyone wishes it would trace the rotor housing. Maybe someday. The other problem is that the hands are under the rotor, so it takes a few seconds to figure out what the time is. I guess that's the price of "cool."

About ten days ago, someone posted that he had a keychain that did the BIG TRICK. The rotor traced the true motion of a Wankel within the rotor housing. This I had to see.

I saw.

I bought.

I don't know how they did it, but sure enough, there are little pegs sticking out where the apex seal should be. And the pegs ride around in a groove on the inner surface of the housing. The keychain is close enough in tolerance that you rarely see the pegs. And unless there are springs involved somewhere, I can't figure out how he got the thing together.

Nevertheless, the keychain (while a bit pricey at $30.00) is endlessly entertaining. I found a ballpoint pen cap that fits inside the rotor, so I can turn it and stare at it to my heart's
content. Next time someone asks me about a rotary engine, I'll be set to bore the poor guy to death.

Talk about a visual aid!

The keychain appears to be heavily plated and nicely detailed-- just like the photos on the web site. Of course, I had to modify mine. I removed the chain to keep it from dragging across my leg in a turn. Maybe next year I can put a tiny little turbo kit on it.

You can find these things at:

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