Replacing Safe Handle?

I help coach the collegiate pistol team at MIT, and they store their
firearms in a number of large safes they've obtained surplus over the
years. The biggest is a two door Meilink safe that is probably 40 or 50
years old. Unfortunately, the cast handle on the combination dial side
got bashed at some point, and the main lever broke off. There is just a
short stub left. It's useable but just barely.
I contacted Fireking, who owns Meilink now. They _think_ they have a
replacement handle that will fit. Before I order it, I wanted to see if
anyone had any warnings or words of wisdom on what might be involved in
replacing it. The inner labels mention a relocker. I've only recently
obtained a "clutch head" screwdriver to remove the inner dust cover
panel, so I haven't had a chance to look inside the door yet.
First, am I likely to have any issues with removing the inner door cover?
I assume not, but that is a good way to get myself into trouble. For
example, if it has a glass relocker, is it probably sturdy enough that I
don't have to be super cautious working inside the door? I haven't been
able to find any pictures that show if they are typically exposed on the
inside, if they are big enough to protect the entire door or just lock
area, etc.
Once I get the inner cover off, the handle presumably has a
square/splined/keyed shaft (or similar) that drives a cam to operate the
locking mechanism. There must be a nut/pin that prevents the handle from
being pulled out the front that will have to be removed. Does anyone
know how the cam is likely to be attached, and /or how the handle might
be removed & replaced? Should I bring a supply of big cotter pins to the
Basically, I'm looking for anything odd I should watch out for. If
something goes wrong in the process and we can't relock the safe, we will
have a small fortune in target pistols we will have to find a secure home
for in a hurry. We get next to no finacial support from the university,
and hiring a pro is out of our budget. As it is, I will be buying the
handle out of pocket.
The alternative is for me to mill a pocket into a steel bar that can be
attached over the remaining stub. Not as elegant, not as interesting,
but much less risky.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
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Umm... Where to begin with this...
Clearly you are not as "assistant to the coach" as you think you are, as your name is not listed anywhere in any MIT directory as a staff member... So you should notify the legitimate coach of the Pistol Team, who can contact someone in the Athletics Department who can approve a request by that person for the required repairs and fill out a facilities work order request on the SAPweb system at MIT...
Repairing any locks used by MIT is a function of the MIT Dept. of Facilities... It seems that you are just not high enough up in the food chain to have received any training in that subject area which leads me to think that your ability to direct the expenditure of any University funds is very limited if it exists at all...
You should ask who in your department is authorized to direct the spending of your allocated maintenance and repair funds and you can explain the requirements to that person whom can help you contact the Security & Emergency Management Office within the Dept. of Facilities to see to your specific repair needs and arrange the work request...
As far as "hiring a pro" all of the pros in that area have knowledge that no one but the SEMO office at MIT is authorized to direct lock repairs at or on MIT owned property... If your opinion on your current status of "we get next to no financial support from the university" is such a concern you would want to make sure you follow official channels on effecting your repairs rather than suffer an even greater expense if you do it yourself improperly and lock yourself out of the container in question...
It sounds more to me like you a well intentioned alumni who is a "helper" who never learned how the army of people whose job it is to make MIT function behind the scenes works... Add to that a lack of knowledge of the hierarchy of the Athletic Department (under whose jurisdiction and cost centers any repairs to equipment and facilities would be) and the end result is a hilarious post to a UseNet newsgroup like the one you have made...
Find out who the right people to ask are and ask those people to direct the needed repairs to protect MIT from any issues which would result from improper storage of firearms...
I am quite certain that if you had an emergency as far as where to store your "fortune in target pistols" that someone within the MIT Police Department would be able to arrange some kind of temporary solution on an emergency basis to store the firearms properly...
~~ Evan
Reply to
"Stormin Mormon" wrote in news:ihtaj0$bu6$
The actual handle appears to be cast zinc/Zamac. It's chromed, and the busted edge has been covered with hockey tape to avoid the sharp bits, so it's hard to tell. It occurs to me I should try a magnet on it to see if it is ferrous by some miracle. The shaft is still firmly connected to the remains of the handle, but it's possible the shaft can be separated once I get things disassembled further. Welding is possible, but not necessarily a slam dunk.
I'm going to do a little exploratory surgery this weekend to scope things out. The access panel to change the combination is currently held on with scotch tape, but I'm not sure if I can see much of the handle linkage through that hole. Half the screws that hold the inner door panel on are missing, so it won't take long to take that off enough for a better look.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
If the handle shaft is a round item and not tapered you could make a handle easy. Just take a chunk of bar stock, weld a bearing locking collar or a steel bushing that will tightly fit on the shaft. Slide it in place and then cross drill both for a pin. Then apply some locking compound or epoxy to the shaft. Slide the handle back on and install the pin. Should be able to do all of it without opening the safe.
Now if the shaft is broken of real close to the safe you could do a variant of this but drill a hole into the remains of the shaft and insert a piece of keystock or a hex key to use a a support
Reply to
Steve W.
I'm envisioning a shaft with a knob protruding from the door, and a broken stub on the knob perpendicular to the shaft that used to be the handle.
If this is the case, might it be possible to drill and tap the knob and thread a bolt into it to serve as a handle? You could even turn a wood or plastic handle on a lathe to slip over the bolt to make it look a bit nicer and easier to grab.
This should be doable without disassembling the door.
Reply to
DO NOT touch the combination lock- leave that alone. dont pull the back cover of that lock for any reason- it can bite you back big time.
open the door, pull the inside cover, however its fastened..
you will see what remains of the handle on the inside, probably pinned or bolted on. take a picture of the linkage in its PRESENT state (door unlocked, so you know what the lever/rod positions look like. Linkage can be a bitch to reassemble when you dont remember.
before you take the remains of the handle out, measure what remains in the outside of the door hole..IF its below the surface of the door. take the broken piece of the handle out, find a 'friendly machinist' and have him make one. reassemble, and TEST.. then put the inside cover on, and WITH THE DOOR OPEN.. lock the bolts..
test the combo lock and the new handle several times BEFORE you shut the door.
you MIGHT go to
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post the brand and model of the safe and see if someone has a handle sitting around that you could purchase. do this in the public area.
Reply to
me wrote in news:
Thanks for all the suggestions! There are lots of options for repair, but the inability to work on the handle out of the safe for any length of time makes it tricky. I've got a machine shop at home I can fab stuff in, and there is a student shop right around the corner from the range. However, I have a lot of other irons in the fire, hence my interest in a drop in replacement.
To save folks speculation, I've posted a couple of snapshots that show the busted handle and what the remaining good one looks like.
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It's unlike most safe handles I've seen, and IMHO not the best design in the world.
I'll check out Clearstar.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
they look more like something you'd see on a plain steel cabinet.
Just put some vice grips on there and move on.
Reply to
Cydrome Leader
It's my real answer. Use some conduit cheaters to clamp it down the first time. Wrap up the handles in duct tape so nobody touches the release lever.
It's not like anybody is going to suddenly and correctly fix some old shitty safe that's been broken for decades.
Reply to
Cydrome Leader
what MATTERS is from the outside wall of the safe IN, the outside handle can be any shape you want.. as long as you can turn it.
Reply to
This is not rocket science. The handle is just a shaft that has a threaded end that has a flat or two machined on the end. This actuates a cam of some sort that actuates the bolt works.
Take off the back of the safe and all should be obvious.
You can take a snap shot or two to help you remenber how it goes back.
When you remove the handle, take it to the machine shop, and make a copy. The critical thing is the geometry of the shaft from the shoulder inward, duplicate this exactly. The geometry from the shoulder outward is up to you but ordinarily they put a week spot at the junction of the handle and the shaft to give the woulld be safe cracker something to snap off when they put a chunk of pipe and try to force the works.
When you reassemble, just make sure that every thing works smooth and is not going to come loose.
Roger Shoaf
Doug White wrote:
Reply to
RS at work
Might be missing something... but I would try fixing the broken handle with a piece of bar stock, maybe a 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick, 6-8 inches long? See my doctored image:
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Drill three holes through the bar (red spots) and tap them for something like 1/4x20. Find some short cap bolts to fit the thread you use.
Now hold the bar in place over the broken handle stub and mark the three spots. Drill the holes. Put the bolts in from the back side and then cut them off flush with the bar.
By using cap bolts you should reduce the risk of someone gouging their hand if they bump into them. The only work you need to do at the safes location is drill some holes and bolt the repair in place. Shrug...
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Leon Fisk wrote in news:ii4brd$qov$1
That was "Plan A". I will probably still go that route. I opened the safe up last night, and the existing handle is secured by peening over the end of the threaded shaft to prevent the nut from coming off. Even with an exact replacement handle, swapping it out is do-able, but isn't as easy as I had hoped. Even if I could find a surplus handle, it will presumably already be damaged to one degree or another by this process.
Given that the handle material is brittle, I'd rather not weaken it by drilling several holes in it, and then apply force to those holes. My plan is to mill a close fitting pocket in a bar that will apply the opening & closing force to the sides of the lever. One bolt & some epoxy should hold it on OK.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
Sounds like a good plan to me. Wasn't sure if you had access to a mill, figured I would keep it really simple. Most of us here have a drill :)
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Serendipitously, the Boston Globe Newspaper ran an article on MIT's pistol shooting club just yesterday.
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I was surprised to notice so many ladies involved in that club. That's obviously a sign of the changing times post women's lib. When I graduated from MIT in 1957 there were about a dozen girls in the senior graduating class of some 600 students.
When I attended my 50th class reunion almost 4 years ago the female portion of that year's senior graduating class was reported to be 48%.
And the percentage of Asian and Indian graduates stood at about 38%.
Jeff (Reaching my 3/4 century mark this Thursday.)
Reply to
jeff_wisnia wrote in news:iipto6$q12$
I convinced the first woman member of the team to take the PE pistol course in ~ 1973. She was actually anti-gun, but had never fired one. I told her she should learn about it before she bad mouthed it, and the following spring she won the women's state indoor pistol championship.
I think the team is close to 2/3rds women now. I'd guess that the majority of the team is asian, but many of them are US born, with names like Alex, Eddie, Ruby, etc.
I actually spend more of my time gunsmithing than actively coaching. The tryouts for the national championship are this weekend, so we really want to make sure nobody has pistol problems. The team had a match against Navy last weekend, and they had a variety of malfuctions. Navy beat us, but not by very much. The gun problems could have made the difference.
MIT has a wide range of pistol types & models, and I've had to learn how to diagnose & repair some I've never played with before. I fixed a couple of Hammerli international free pistols today. Hopefully the other coaches will be able to sort out any remaining issues before the match.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
Doug, can you either post or send me a note telling the best way to make a donation that will directly benefit the team.
Reply to
Stuart Wheaton
Stuart Wheaton wrote in news:bb348$4d5312f3$4a532858$ snipped-for-privacy@FUSE.NET:
THANK YOU! We can use every nickle we can scrounge. Our long term goal is to try to set up an endowment to ensure that there is solid funding for the future. In the meantime, donations can be made online at:
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When you go to the site, it will default to giving money to the general (unrestricted) fund. You want to click on the REMOVE button next to that. Then use the search feature (upper right) to look for "Sport Pistol Club", which should come up as account number 2721334. Click on "Add to my gift form", and continue from there.
Donations are tax deductable, of course.
Doug White (who just spent > $400 of the team's money on spare parts)
Reply to
Doug White

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