Introduction: 3D Printed Cryptex Puzzle Safe

About: I am currently a student in Minnesota with an interest in studying engineering. I have been playing around with 3d modeling, 3d printing, and electronics for a few years now. I just started making my own elect…

A cryptex is a renaissance era puzzle or safe that was originally designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is now more widely known from the book, "The Da Vinci Code", written by Dan Brown that has also been made into a movie. Da Vinci's original concept included a fail-safe inside the cryptex that destroyed the contents if someone tried to force it open. This was achieved by a small vial of vinegar breaking open and dissolving the papyrus that was inside. The version that I designed does not include this, however it can hold much more than paper. I designed it to be a good size for most small items such as a flash drive (probably more than one), or jewelry. It can also be used as a unique gift for someone that is also given a riddle or clue and needs to solve it to get to whatever is inside. This instructable is fairly short, however it may be a bit confusing as to how to put it together and it took me a while to make a working model so I want to make sure others can make it as well.

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Step 1: Materials

  • 3D Printer or a 3D printing service online to buy the model from
  • Filament (I used PLA however any type could probably work)
  • Pliers for removing the support material
  • STL files that can be downloaded from my thingiverse thing:
    • you will need one of everything except the inner and outer discs which you need five of each

Step 2: How It Works

The cryptex works similarly to a standard combination lock, however instead of unlocking something else it has a chamber inside that gets unlocked. The inner chamber has a series of bumps that fit into the tumblers so when they're not aligned, the chamber can't be released. The tumblers are blocked from coming off of the main body piece by a special end ring that cannot be turned while the inner chamber is locked in place.

Step 3: Gathering All the Pieces

To start off with you are going to need all five of the inner rings, all five of the outer rings, the one end ring, and the two main body pieces.

Step 4: Creating the Password

To make the password for your cryptex you have to fit the five inner rings inside the five outer rings. There is a notch in the inner rings that releases the chamber when they are aligned. This notch has to be aligned with one of the five letters in your password as seen above.

Step 5: Fitting the Tumblers

The five tumblers will then fit onto the main body when slipped over the bumps. You will need to turn these 180 degrees to allow for the inner chamber to slide in and out. Make sure you remember your password.

Step 6: The End Ring

Lastly, the final ring will go on the end of the main body and you need to turn it so that, when locked, the other five discs cannot be released.

Step 7: Conclusion

Overall, this is just a cool way to keep your things safe and possibly a good, small, alternative to other ways of locking up your items.

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