Instructables

Copper Pipe Cryptex or How to give a more entertaining gift . . .

My friend and I started giving gifts in unusual ways a while ago and while this fledgling idea is just taking off for us we expect it to amount to epic proportions rapidly.

It all started when I gave him his gift one year inside an alice and wonderland movie case and escalated from there eventually as we got more inventive things got more elablorate.
For my birthday he wrapped mine in a box and then encased said box in about 100+lbs of concrete which required the use of a sledge hammer and much laughing to extract.

The gifts we give usually are fun and somewhat inconsequential (a knife here, DVD there, t-shirts . . .etc.) but the manner in which we wrap them becomes a gift in and of itself!

For his birthday this year I decided to pull a mini DaVinci Code/National Treasure -esque hunt.

I gave him a hand made card (so much better than those mass-produced empty salutations from the grocery) which had a riddle hidden inside it. Most people don't unfold these sorts of cards so it wasn't immediately apparent. The riddle's answer was the 5 letter word which would open the other portion of what he got on his birthday . . . a home-made cryptex made mostly from copper pipe. This cryptex took the longest out of the whole process but was certainly the most fun and it really amounts to the main portion of the gift.
Inside was a usb thumb drive which I hacked a little bit with linux's DD command so that the OS would believe it to be a CD. I then wrote an autorun, gave it an icon, and included the next riddle. . .when he inserts it into his box a webpage pops up with a riddle on it. Enter the correct answer (abstracted and secured via javascript and encryption of course) and hit the button and a word pops up. He gave me the word and I gave him a folded piece of paper with yet another riddle. inside the paper was a key. Within the folds I wrote a number. The solution lead to the ceramics studio lockers, the number corresponded to a locker number and the key opened the lock to reveal the final gift: a DVD.

The construction of the Cryptex itself is actually quite sturdy: I ended up using 4 different diameters of copper pipe and soldiered the pieces together. It is designed in such a way that for any movement at all of the insert, all letters must be correct. I had polished it initially but we both feel the oxidized copper looks better so he has not tried to polish it. And, yes . . .it weighs a TON!
I wonder what he's going to come back with . . .

great cryptex althought it is a bit big and i would have used brass.
but great job anyway
Kaelessin (author)  didgitalpunk2 years ago
thanks! it's a bit smaller than it looks though . ..probably only 1.25 inches in diameter. Brass would be awesome!
thing 23 years ago
What was the riddle?
Hitman2273 years ago
Watch out for a TNT-booby traped birthday present next (Not)!
Kaelessin (author)  Hitman2273 years ago
haha well it's funny you should say that. . . he gave me an old ww2 fuse box for christmas not far from tnt eh?
Cool im a ww2 buff. Is it Axis or allied?
Kaelessin (author)  Hitman2273 years ago
not entirely sure . . .i'm guessing allied since its in english but who knows. It's going to be a fun weekend project at some point to do a bit of serious digging to learn more about its uses, history, basically everything I can find :D.

You wouldn't happen to know where one would start such a search?
They usually will have data bases with that will have that info. Or just search the serial number printed on it.
Kaelessin (author)  Hitman2273 years ago
Excellent! thanks man!
merijnvw3 years ago
Wow you did a really goog job! Your friend will have to come with something really good next time...
r-philp3 years ago
I'd love to see build instructions.
Kaelessin (author)  r-philp3 years ago
I could indeed create instructions for this but alas I did not take any in-progress photos . . . the ones here were taken months after the birthday. Instructables has a pretty smart policy about taking good photos of your projects so I'd be kind of stuck. I may at some point create some images with photoshop or something but for now you could use This instructable simply substituting copper pipe instead of PVC and the others. the spikes were nails and the cuts were made with a dremmel and cut off disk, a pipe cutter (the kind you roll around the pipe until it's cut, and a hacksaw. The letters are rub-on decals and the ends are wooden drawer pulls from the local big box home improvement store. I coated the letters with a clear spray paint to protect them. If you would like I could write something up and message you with it too but am in the middle of building a website to sell my steampunk creations.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!