Shhhhh! Get down... Alright, they're gone. You can get up now... Sorry about that, but I'm currently on the run from these guards and men in sunglasses. We need to arrange a dead drop with Tiger before we're caught. Have any ideas?
Are you a spy who needs to build a quality "dead drop" to transfer files? Or are you in need of a place to stash your money or candy without your siblings finding it? It is dangerous in the field, so spies can't risk keeping information too long. Also, they have to have a quick place to drop things off, just in case they're on the run. What is the answer to these problems? Build a dead drop.
This pop can dead drop looks like a normal empty can tossed carelessly aside, but it's actually a hidden "safe" to hide your valuables and top secret files. Using an old spice container, you turn the top of the can into a threaded lid that opens and closes. The threaded lid hides the seam very well so no enemies or peeving siblings can steal your secret files and money. Also, if some unknowing passerby picks up the can, they will never discover the depth of its secrets. The pop can dead drop is the perfect tool to transfer your files and is easily built from only a few materials and supplies.
Ready to begin? Gather some supplies and follow the steps to make a secret dead drop in a pop can.
Here is a table of contents if you need to locate a step:
Step 1- History and Definition of Dead Drops
Step 2- Materials and Tools
Step 3- Cut and File
Step 4- Add the Threads (1)
Step 5- Add the Threads (2)
Step 6- Finished
Step 1: History and Definition of Dead Drops
Before you begin building your pop can dead drop, read this brief history of dead drops. Dead drops are items used to pass information and objects between people without those people meeting in person. Usually the two people have never even met. Dead drops are usually concealed in a common everyday item such as a pop can, and then "dropped" at an agreed place. Dead drops have been in use for a very long time. During the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin's secretary at the U.S. Embassy in France wrote down secrets in invisible ink, then placed the messages in a dead drop under a tree for a carrier to pick up. George Washington also had spies to gather information about the British soldiers in New York City. Carriers would place the information in a dead drop in a pasture where agents which would then pick up.
More modern dead drops have been used by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. They have used hollow bricks, thermoses, and old mittens to transfer information and pass materials. Agents once gutted a dead rat, freeze-dried it, then sealed up the pocket with Velcro. Over the years dead drops have been used by tons of spies to transfer information and objects.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
Before you begin building your pop can dead drop, gather these materials and tools. Most are household items and are easily found. If you don't have some of the tools, visit your local hardware store. If you are on a mission make do with what you have because time is of the essence. Find the following materials and tools.
Hacksaw- Make sure that it has a nice sharp blade.
Permanent Black Marker- Not a Sharpie. You will want a marker that has lots of ink. The one I used is for writing on cow's ear tags.
File- Any small file will work. I used a chainsaw file.
Gloves- Better to stay on the safe side when cutting and filing.
Empty Spice Container- Use one that is seventy grams and made by 5th Season
Step 3: Cut and File
The first step in making your dead drop is to cut and file the can. Put on your gloves and pick up the hacksaw. Saw at the very top of the pop can, just under the seam. Saw in one place with straight cuts until the saw goes through the aluminum, then rotate the can to an uncut part. It is very important that you only cut through the outer layer of aluminum. After cutting all the way around the top of the can, remove the top.
File down your cuts to a smooth edge on both pieces of the can. Wash the filings out of the can and top. Also, remove the flap under the top of the can by folding it back and forth quickly.
Step 4: Add the Threads (1)
It is time to start adding the threads. Remove the lid of the spice container and set it aside for later use. Take the spice container and cut off the bottom lip or about 1cm. File the cut if you have any big burrs. Next, using the Gorilla Glue, put a small line of glue on the cut edge of the spice container. You do not need a lot of glue because Gorilla Glue expands 3-4 times what you put on. Insert the spice container into the pop can and press firmly against the bottom of the can. The spice container should be centered in the middle of the can. Put a weight on top of the container or tape the spice container to the can to hold it in place while the glue sets.
Step 5: Add the Threads (2)
Color the lid of the spice container black with the permanent marker. Pick up the top of the pop can and glue on the inner edge. Once again, don't put on to much glue. Press the pop can top tightly against the spice container lid. Tape the lid and top together or set a weight on top of them. Allow all glue to dry thoroughly before moving to the next step.
Step 6: Finished!
When all the glue has dried, pick up the pop can top/spice container lid and guide it into the pop can. The spice container and top should align. Screw the two pieces together tightly. You are finished. If your cuts were straight and your spice container centered, the lid and can should fit together and make the cut almost non-existent. Fill your dead drop with anything. Secret files, candy, money, etc. Arrange a spot to "drop" your dead drop with your fellow spies and leave the pop can there. You now have a pop can dead drop to hide and transfer your secret files. The pop can dead drop looks like an empty pop can to those naive to your secrets, but to those in your spy ring, the dead drop is a useful tool to hide and transfer a treasure trove of anything from secret files to candy.