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3D printer produces working house keys

Bolt from the blueprint

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3D printing tools have been used to roll out working house keys, meaning trips to the hardware store could soon be replaced by a straightforward PC set-up.

Apple software engineer Nirav Patel generates a key's blueprint with the manufacturer's lock code, which contains all the relevant bit dimensions. This information is fed into OpenSCAD, a program for creating solid objects, and finally churned out through his RepRap 3D printer.

Printed key

Okay, they can be on the fragile side - you don't want to risk snapping a plastic key in your lock - but Patel claims they're strong enough to turn a deadbolt, so don't close the door on the idea just yet.

Patel even suggests the system could be used in conjunction with Sneakey, a tool for teleduplication through optical decoding. In other words, creating replicas simply from a photograph.

Sneakey describes itself as able to covertly steal keys without fear of detection. No doubt the company has an interesting range of clients. ®

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