Bottle 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.

Previously I created a Cryptex style vault from paper. These are great but have limited applications. I wanted to secure something more substantial. This lock turned out vastly different from the initial concept that I was working on. All materials and tools should be readily available without special order.

Step 1: Cutting Tube

I used a plumbing tubing cutter that is designed for copper as shown.

I chose to use 1 and 1.5 inch copper tube adapters and end caps.

The code rings are made from a 1.5 inch diameter coupler cut at a half a wheel width( about 9mm) You will need 6 of these.

The inner rings are from a 1 inch coupler cut at 4mm. you will need 6 of these.

The end cap is a 1.5 inch copper end cap cut down as shown to 10mm.

At this point all the cut metal will have razor sharp edges and will need to be filed down to prevent injury to yourself.

The brass was from a local hobby shop which is conveniently located 4 blocks from my house. I used a half sheet of 0.010 and several brass bar stock pieces that are about 1/4 inch wide and about 1/16 inch thick.

Step 2: The Foundation

Create a foundation for the lock by determining the diameter of the bottle neck.

Once you have this then you can begin to build the lock structure. I have found that my bottle needs a 1 inch neck. Using this, I can make due with standard parts from Home Depot.

I use a craft sheet of brass to make an inner collar which I will use to attach all the non moving parts of the lock to.

There are 2 sections that are placed slightly wider than the bottle cage uprights, these are soldered to the foundation and are critical to the operation of the lock. Fasten as shown..

The metal is soldered together using standard practices. First clean the metal with sandpaper, apply flux, apply heat apply solder.

I use small butane torch, solder flux and silver solder. Again all these are available from Home Depot.

Step 3: End Cap

Attach the end cap to the inner foundation using standard solder techniques.

Make this as level as possible since it will determine the overall structure.

I cut the base ring open as shown to allow for the cage uprights to engage the locking mechanism.

Clean and polish any sections that will be exposed.

Clear coat to preserve the finish.

Step 4: Make It Readable

I chose to make this a word combination.

I used letter stamps instead of engraving.

The mandrel was the crank on my bench vise.

The template is 140mm long and 9mm wide .

I use Elmer's Rubber Cement to fix the templates to the metal. This allows for a non permanent bond and is removed by simply pealing the paper off. No residue.

Step 5: Set the Code

The inner rings are cut from 1 inch coupler then opened up. The ends are filed to a bevel to prevent binding.

Identify a code word the set the opening in the inner ring to reflect the word chosen.

Solder the inner ring to the outer as shown..

Polish and clear coat the code ring.

Note that I left the polish residue in the letters for contrast, you will see this in later steps.

Step 6: Set It Up

Assemble the code rings to the foundation.

Place a final ring at the base and solder it in place.

Grind and polish the end as necessary.

I clear coated the final ring after soldering to prevent corrosion.

Step 7: Make the Cage

Heat the brass bar stock and let it cool gradually. This makes it easy to bend.

Shape it around the bottle and create a secure cage to prevent the bottle from coming out.

Solder it together then rapidly cool it to make the brass rigid.

Cut the cage top level to the bottle top.

Step 8: Make the Key

Make the key by first marking the cage where it bottoms out within the lock.

Place the lock assembly beside the marked cage and make lines at the code ring edges.

Scribe these lines then solder small bits of wire to the cage as shown.

These wires create the locking mechanism.

Now when inserted the lock will prevent others from enjoying your private drink.

Step 9: 3 Hours Later

And you are done!

Secure! until the next time...

Only one more step to go...

Step 10: Beyond the Wine Bottle!

No longer will I face an empty bottle!

Using the same techniques I created a 4 number lock to secure my Tabasco in the fridge at work!

I used 1 inch and 3/4 inch couplers for this tiny bottle!

Soon all my bottles will be secure!

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    46 Discussions


    2 years ago

    just brilliant!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is so incredible, I'm a bit lost for words - and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the logistics; this is brilliant - thank you so much for sharing


    4 years ago

    I really would like to buy one from you. Is this possible?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Lovely work, great instructions. Could you give me a little more information about bending the brass? Specifically, that first bend/first photo you show: how do you achieve that nice arc along the stronger axis without buckling it along the weaker axis (i.e., like the sort of bend you make in photo 8 of that step)?

    2 replies
    Braden TMeganB1

    Reply 4 years ago

    lol, I have the same pic for my utube channel


    By heating the brass to a cherry red then letting it cool gradually to room temperature, you will find that bending it is quite easy, It stretches and shrinks quite easily. Just remember to heat it up again then plunge it into water or snow(it is winter here and there is lots of this outside my shop door) to harden it again once it is in the desired shape.

    I hope that this helps.

    Vault 194.jpg

    4 years ago

    I want to see one for the sriacha bottle next.

    1 reply
    Blue Hawaii

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable! It has inspired me to go make one, but before I do, have you made this to allow for the cork measurement that will be sticking up from the top of the bottle, or am I to assume that you have pushed the cork back down flush with the top of the bottle after your pour? (Silly me, you are probably like me and just finish the bottle once it's opened! - Nevermind!)

    1 reply

    Thanks! I did not account for a re-corking but it could be easily done by extending the foundation and making the end cap thicker. But in all honesty... Why re-cork when you can enjoy it all in one sitting like you said...


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice instructable. I really like that all the items you used are readily accessible. Do you have a list of the materials used? I think that would be helpful. Once again, great job!