Jul 31, 2017 | By Benedict

An open source 3D printed robot created by Nathan Seidle, founder of Colorado-based hardware company SparkFun, has wowed DEF CON attendees by cracking a SentrySafe safe in just half an hour.

The week before last, we ran a story about a 3D printed open source robot that could crack a safe in as little as 15 minutes. The device was developed by SparkFun’s Nathan Seidle, and only costs around $200 to make. It's now back in the headlines thanks to its appearance at a major global event.

The robot contains several 3D printed parts, in addition to an Arduino board, a motor, and a number of sensors, and works with a kind of “bruteforcing,” a method that involves testing out every possible combination.

Typically, this is a very slow process, but the robot but can massively reduce the time needed by exploiting a few shortcomings in the SentrySafe—the model of safe it is designed to crack.

Seidle found that a SentrySafe would open even if one number was off by one. He also discovered that the last number of the safe could be discovered instantly by simply measuring the indents of the third rotor and identifying the one that measured a hundredth of an inch narrower than the others.

With these tricks in its arsenal, the 3D printed safe-cracking robot only needs try out around a thousand combinations (rather than a million), and can therefore crack a SentrySafe in as little as 15 minutes.

“No matter how much money you spend on a safe… nothing is impervious,” Seidle says.

Seidle’s 3D printed safe cracker has now reached a much wider audience, thanks to its exploits at the 2017 edition of DEF CON, a massive global convention for hackers held in Las Vegas.

There, the 3D printed robot took closer to 30 minutes to crack a safe, but nonetheless impressed a large crowd that had gathered to watch the attempt.

After deciding not to carry out a test run the night before the DEF CON event, Seidle and his team admitted to being incredibly nervous about demonstrating the creation in front of so many seasoned hackers.

(Images: BBC)

And when the robot still hadn’t opened the safe after 20 minutes, the team really started to sweat.

However, the 3D printed robot eventually discovered that the combination was 51.36.93, prompting audible gasps from the crowd as the safe was eventually popped open.

"That was one of the scariest things we’ve done,” Seidle told the BBC immediately after the showcase. “Lots of things can go wrong, and this was a very big audience. We’re really happy it opened up.”

SentrySafe has previously defended its products, saying that Seidle’s method would be “very difficult, if not impossible, for the average person to replicate in the field.”

Nonetheless, with the 3D printed robot now gaining global attention, we wouldn’t be surprised if safe-making companies—SentrySafe especially—start to take heed of Seidle’s exploits.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive