Step 10: Picture Frame & Safe Door Construction & Assembly

The easy way out... maybe...

You could probably purchase a picture frame that would work, but I decided to make my own because I had scrap oak lying around and so I wouldn't need to set the safe door back into the wall so that it would not push the picture frame out from the wall increasing the gap between the two. The other problem with setting the safe back into the wall more was that the hinges I used didn't allow the clearance I needed to do that. So instead I made my own 11" x 14" frame that were the dimensions I needed it to be.

The picture frame construction...

I used a chop saw to cut to length and miter the 1.25" x 3/4" oak, which I then ran through a router table to route out a shelf that the plexiglass, picture, mat-board, and safe door would sit in and be flush with the back of the frame.

Another benefit of making your own frame is that on the hinge side of the frame you can route further to the edge of the frame so your cabinet hinges don't need as much clearance to open the picture safe. But you can still place your picture in the center and keep everything looking normal. Just make sure you leave enough thickness to attach the safe door to your frame.

Corner clamps and wood glue are your friend...

I used corner clamps to clamp the frame together and put wood glue between all the joints. Then I drilled some pilot holes to prevent splitting and hammered the eight 1.25" Furniture Finish Nails into each corner of the frame to keep it together. I used a punch to hammer the finish nails in past the surface of the wood, followed by wood filler and a good sanding. You can choose to stain your frame at this juncture; I used a oil based stain followed by a clear poly urethane coat. Although you may want to wait until after you have installed the safe and door to avoid damaging the finish.

The safe door construction...

For the safe door, I constructed it out of 3/4" thick birch plywood I had available. You could use pine board or mdf. I measured my frame and cut the door so it would fit exactly inside of the frame except for the side where the locking bolt slides back and forth to lock and unlock the safe. On that side, I left a small gap so that I could have my plumbers tape act as a latch for the safe to hold onto the bolt when it was extended to prevent the door from opening.

Drilling the holes for the cabinet hinges...

Drill the appropriate size hole with a forschner bit for the two cabinet hinges so that the holes are on the absolute edge of the plywood door. The closer you get to the edge of the safe door the less clearance your hinges need to provide for the door to open fully.

You may notice in the pictures that my holes are not on the edge. I had messed up on my measurements for the door size and location for drilling the holes. Fortunately, these two mistakes canceled each other out because I simply trimmed off the excess on the table saw so that the holes were on the edge. If you look at pictures of the door opened when the safe is installed you will see this change.

Drilling the holes for the lock...

Use a 2 1/8" Forschner bit to drill out a hole for the magnetic lock. It should be just deep enough to accommodate the tumbler and a thin piece of plastic and few thousandths of an inch gap that will help reduce friction on the tumbler so it can spin freely. It's key that the tumbler is allowed to spin freely with no hangups.

The hole for the tumbler should be placed far enough in on the door. So when the locking bolt is extended it will slide through the a hole on the plumber's tape latch, and when it is retracted be flush with the edge of the birch plywood. You may notice that the forschner bit's pilot point will penetrate through the plywood partially. This is okay; it will be covered up by the thin plastic on the inside of the tumbler hole and a picture and plexiglass on the outside. Just make sure to de-bur the hole with an exacto knife so it won't interfere with the tumbler.

Drill a hole through the side of the door closest to the hole for the tumbler. This will house the aluminum tube that will allow for your 2.5" long finish nail that acts as the bolt for the catch to slide freely. The hole should be be a tight fit on the piece of the aluminum tube, so it won't move around, or slide out. Glue can be used if necessary to ensure a secure fit.

Assembling the safe door...

Using equivalent spacers that are equal to the thickness of the plexiglass, mat-board, and picture of choice; line the inside shelf of the picture frame with the spacers. Next place the plywood door on top of the spacers. Carefully drill four angled pilot holes through exposed backside of the safe door into the picture frame, but don't go all the way through to the outside of your picture frame. Remove the spacers and replace them for the plexiglass, mat-board, and awesome picture of you and your son building a snow fort (or other great picture.) Using four dry wall screws or other short wood screws attach the frame to your safe door.

<p>where to buy</p>
Great idea and great work!!<br>To further simplify the design: perhaps even simpler than a sliding lock could be a pivoting lock. The piece would only need a bolt as axis.<br>A source for free neodynium magnets: an old computer hard disk.
Thanks! I am curious as to what you imagine the pivoting lock looks like? I'm not quite able to picture what it would look like. <br><br> I am currently working on a simplified version that can be easily made with really basic tools. I will be posting another instructable on it. And your idea sounds like an intriguing path to follow.
My explanation wasn't clear. Sorry. <br>I am attaching a sketch which will show you that my idea, after all, was offensively simple. Inside the box, a magnet is permanently attached to the pivoting bar. Then, from the outside, you glide your hand held magnet in a curve (see arrow) which will move the bar away from the rest, thus unlocking the box. <br>I'm sure you could improve a lot on that (for instance, adding a second pivoting bar which would prevent the main one from pivoting unless you displace that one first...) <br>My point is that there should be a lot less friction with a pivoting than with a sliding bar. All the best.
I see. I actually had something completely different in my head when you said pivoting arm. This makes much more sense. Has the advantage of being able to place the magnets so that you can get a force multiplier that would make it easier for a less powerful magnet to move the bar.<br><br>I am working on the simplified version of the lock, and I just might incorporate this idea of a pivoting locking bar in the design. Thanks for expanding my through horizons. Very clear picture.
I'm glad I saw these comments, thanks for the simplification idea. Just posting constructive comments like these helps people think outside the current idea to keep it evolving. I love it! <br> <br>Is there any new update or post with a pivoting bar?
I will definitely have to try this.
Very cool project. It would be cool if someone with a 3D printer posted files on Thingiverse allowing others to print the parts rather than having to machine them, which would make it easier for people to make something cool like this.
I would love to make it easier for people to make. I have all the parts already drafted in a cad program. If you told me what format they need to be in I would gladly post them? Or is it a proprietary format unique to 3d printers?<br><br>Thanks for the compliments!
I don't know a whole lot about 3D printing, but a bit of research shows that STL formatting seems to be common. Thingiverse has<a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/upload" rel="nofollow"> a list of file types that work</a>.
Well I will take a look at it and get those files posted.
do u know wear u can find 3d 1.25 smooth shank flathead nail?
It should be a standard nail size carried by most hardware stores. I got mine from Home Depot. Here's a link.<br><br>http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardware-Hardware-Fasteners-Fasteners-Nails-Box-Nails/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbua5/R-202308634/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&amp;storeId=10051&amp;catalogId=10053<br><br>The one confusing thin I noticed is they don't carry it online under it's penny designation which is &quot;3d&quot; they carry it as a 14 gauge nail.<br><br>Hope this helps.
wat are the dimensions for this<br>
awesome thanks <br>
like wats the length for each line and stuff like that cuz im tryin to replicate it
Originally I machined my key by using the technical drawing of the tumbler from step two, and placing the four holes so they lined up with the corresponding holes on the tumbler technical drawing. <br><br>However, I went ahead and updated step 8 of the instructable with a technical drawing I drew up of the key for you, and other future readers. I wanted to make it a little simpler to machine; with less work on the readers part to figure out the dims.
It might be the picture, but the holes in the plexiglas look pretty rough with darkened edges. Plexiglas (Perspex to us Brits) can machine really nicely to a great finish, but only at low speed with good sharp tools and a gentle approach. Higher speeds heat it up very quickly and it melts and burns, which is what looks like happened here. <br> <br>Picky I know, but so easy to avoid...
Picky is fine, I am glad you pointed it out. Especially since you had advice on how to do it better.<br><br>While the holes don't have dark edges in real life (just in the picture) they definitely are rough. I am a self-taught machinist. Everything I know I learned online, or taught myself through trial and error. There are many techniques and materials I am just not well educated in yet. Perspex (Plexiglass) is one of those.<br><br>I ran it at a higher speed because in the past I have cracked workpieces When running at lower speeds. But I am assuming that is my own bad machining/clamping technique combined with my more likely than not dull cutters. <br><br>I am going to go try machining some more plexiglass and follow your instructions to see if I can get cleaner surface finish. Do you have an rpm suggestion to try cutting at?<br><br>Thanks.
Now you are asking! I have to confess that I'm not terribly scientific about speeds, I tend to just go with what feels right. Which is no doubt why I've melted so much perspex! <br> <br>The rpm to use is, of course, directly related to the nature of the job you are undertaking and the main thing to bear in mind is keeping the temperature down. Recommended speeds are usually given as a linear speed (eg, metres per minute) which you then have to translate to the appropriate rpm and feed rate. As an example, I'd be choosing a speed at something below 200rpm to drill a hole, and probably well below that to drill a deep hole (because the heat builds up down there), with lots of pecking to let things cool down. <br> <br>However, blunt or inappropriate tools, or trying to feed too fast, or too slowly will also increase heat production so it is difficult to be precise. Nothing improves your work so much as a good, sharp, appropriate tool. If you are having problems with cracking have a go at altering the rake on the drill - it takes a few seconds with a stone slip, or you can buy drills optimised for drilling soft materials. <br> <br>This document has lots of useful information: http://www.theplasticshop.co.uk/plastic_technical_data_sheets/working_with_perspex_manual.pdf
Thanks for all this good information. Especially with the links. Won't complain about somebody willing to help me get better. I browsed the pdf you sent the link to and what an awesome document that was. Those are the kind of informational packets a self-taught machinist lives to find. <br><br>I remember reading about feed speeds in milling. But I have never paid much attention to that because since my mill is a manual turned mill; a Sieg SX2 to be precise. In the past It's always seemed quite obvious what the feed speed should be because you got lot's of feed back through the hand wheel on how well it was cutting. If you fed it too quickly and chatter would increase. Of course plastic is not as obvious because it is so soft. <br><br>Thanks again.
This is an awesome instructable, great work. I've been currently trying to think of something to build based on a combination of instructables that I've seen and now I've got another aspect that I want to put into it. <br> <br>Whenever I figure out my final design and build it, everyone that has given me inspiration will definitely be credited. The unique ideas in instructables like these are what make this site so awesome.
Thanks. I am glad I could be of some assistance.
This is really awesome! I am thinking about making one and to hide the key, I was going to imbed it into an ornament, kept local to the safe. This allows boths parts of the device to remain secret, covert and more fun :D<br>Good job man!
Thanks. I love your idea of embedding it into an ornament.
This is really impressive. As a product designer and benchtop engineer, I love this sort of thing. I don't imagine a need to build anything this complex myself, but I could see using the ideas to make a hidden slider lock as some of the other comments have mentioned.
Thanks for a generous compliment. Sounds like another vote for getting the simplified version posted.
Very cool idea! Wouldn't be easy for those without the tools but still cool! I love the type of extreme ibles, because they are inspiring. My first thought was how could the average guy with a few hand tools do the same thing or something similar, so for a part 2 a simple magnetic slide lock (thinking of a flat barrel lock of sorts), Granted it would be as secure as a keyed combo lock but then again it's already hidden by the picture frame, but still very bada**. great job!
I agree that it would be awesome to make another version of the magnetic lock that would be a simple magnetic slide lock that did not require a tumbler. It would be awesomely easy for someone to make with simple hand tools. Although the security would not be quite as good as the combination lock, but still provide the benefit of a hidden locking mechanism that required a specific key.<br><br>In fact while I was thinking through the different designs for the magnetic lock a slide lock was high on my list of candidates to prototype. But I decided to go for the combination lock design; because it had the alluring feature of still being very difficult to unlock even if someone found the key. I geeked out over the coolness of redundant security features. But I think I need to post another instructable for the slide lock version as well.
The combo lock is definitely a contender for the contest, Some of my favorites that I'll actually try to recreate though are the ones that are useful this one fit's the bill, however I probably won't get lock elaborate like the combo, that's one reason I suggested a follow up with a basic locking mech. like a slide. My thought is for my situation if anyone even finds it or a thief realizes it's there, probably nothing I can build by hand to keep them out of it. However for keeping teens and curious family members out of it the combo lock would be slick to have. I've even considered an infrared led in the frame to trip a servo to unlock but again way too much work for a hiding space, however I've considered it for a small wall safe I have. But abandoned it because of a hotel door lock that uses a magnetic strip card (acquired from a junk pile) that I'm trying to figure out. <br><br>Yes I'd love to see the slide lock though, I was already looking around my shop for materials after seeing this. Very cool take on the wall hiders, thanks!
Thanks for your confidence. I hope it's a contender as well. Teens and curious family members is exactly what I thought this would excel at. A determined enough individual can break through just about anything. But keeping honest people honest is usually a much easier process. Although I would like to make another safe that is built from steel for the body, and door. But I would use stainless steel for the door so it would not interfere with the magnetic lock. Since stainless would not interfere with the magnetic lock device like regular steel would.<br><br>I will follow up on your suggestion and put out an instructable on how to build a simpler version that doesn't require the use of precision tools. I think it's a great idea, and a natural progression of making it more accessible.
This is way cool. I would also like to see an instructable for the simpler version. I have an old lighter display I'm trying to find a way to lock. It already has a lock but no key and I don't want to be in position of having to pick it each time I need to get into it. I think the slide lock might just fill the bill.
Well, I'll do my best to get the simpler version done as soon as possible.
Good instructable but maintain good distance of your credit cards when handling Neodymium magnets!
Thanks. Good point about keeping credit card away.
Love it!<br>Tnx!
awesome idea and loads of detail, thanks!
Your welcome!
Nice presentation here and a great lock. Can't wait to see your instructable for the bomb proof safe and install instructions. It looks like you could use the zing laser cutter.
great work on this project!

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Bio: I'm a product designer, who believes in working backwards. Instead of taking technology and seeing what problems I can solve with it, I take ... More »
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