Introduction: Cardboard Cryptex Vault

About: Professional work in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help... Currently under contract designing environmental monitoring equipment.
Cardboard model of a Cryptex.  This is a 5 letter model that allows you to build and set your own combination.

You have seen this type of device in the movies now build your own. Average assembly time can be up to 7 hours. I know that it is long but the process is rather satisfying upon completion.

Included is an engineered build plan along with the cardboard shapes that you must cut out and assemble.

You will need to supply the cutting tools and glue. Recommended is super-glue (cyano type), glue-stick and hobby knife for cutting and assembly.

Step 1: Download and Print.

The files included are for you to print on your computer printer. I recommend cardstock as this will provide rigidity and support. Standard paper will work but the finished model will be quite flimsy.

The cutting of the shapes is best accomplished with a sharp x-acto type knife but scisors will do in a pinch.

You will need to print 5 of the 26Wheel file, 1 each of the remaining. The assembly7 file is meant to be printed on standard copy paper.

Step 2: Cut the Shapes From the Print-outs.

All solid lines need to be cut out from the printouts while the light or dotted lines ar there to represent folds. The included PDFs show the assembly steps.

Each outer code ring has 26 flat sections for lettering later.

You will need to assemble 9 code rings for a 5 letter combination.

Precision cutting is key here so take care in this step. The better your cuts, the better your finished item will look.

The first step is to assemble the code rings as shown in the pictures. The clue of choice here is Cyano type or crazy glue if you prefer. This is a rapid setting type glue and works exceptionally well on paper or cardboard.

Do not worry about any discolouration of the paper as this will be addressed later.


Step 3: Make the End Caps

In order to make the vault portion of the cryptex you will need 2 end caps. Cut and assemble the pieces as shown, again using the cyano type adhesive.

Refer to the PDFs.

Step 4: Make the Vault

The outer vault is a simple tube with a strip cut from it. This is glued into one of the outer caps with the key-way or slot aligned as shown.

The inner vault is a tube with pegs glued to its surface. again this is shown in the PDF files. it too is glued to into the other end cap.

Step 5: Assemble the Outer Vault

Beginning with the outer vault assembly you will need to place the 9 previously assembled code wheels. The first one is movable and the second one is glued in place. This is repeated until all 9 code wheels are in place

Refer to the diagram. You will have 5 movable code wheels and 4 stationary ones.

The last section is a side of one of the code wheels. It is used to as a retainer for the last movable code wheel. It is glued in place as shown.

This alternating assembly is the key to the vault.

Step 6: Set the Code

With the slots aligned in the outer vault the inner vault will slide in.

This is a ideal time to put a finish on the vault.

I chose to paint that with a gold spray paint by Krylon. Be sure to coat all surfaces and let it dry completely befor continuing.

Using the printout labeled Assembly7 you will cut the code strip and glue them in place with the glue stick. The stick will not discolor the paper and will hold the strip in place.

These strips are to be glued in place on the movable code cylinders. The code word is directly above the slot on the code cylinders. I chose NORTH for this one.

A code placement line is inscribed on the non-movable cylinders above the slot.

Step 7: Enjoy

This is a great way to present your rent check to your room-mate...
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