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Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

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madsamurai

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Post Tue May 16, 2017 4:23 am

Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

So I've been reading "American Genius," which I'm sure most of you know is a beautiful collection and history of early safe locks and time locks that should probably be laminated first to avoid drool stains. In it, the author frequently refers to the invention of the micrometer and it's role in defeating these locks, and anti-micrometer mechanisms designed to thwart it, but unfortunately he doesn't go any further than the mention of it. My only experience with micrometers is the current common design used for tool & die work, etc (like this one), and I've been trying to wrap my head around what he's referring to in this context and how it was used to defeat these locks. Can anyone enlighten me?
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mercurial

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 1:47 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

I think they are referring to the use of a (dial?) micrometer to measure the travel of the handle of safes using a direct entry type lock.
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pickmonger2

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 2:08 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

They are not referring to a micrometer in the sense that you mean it.

Check Handcuff Secrets by Houdini Its a device using a modified watch. They even have a diagram of how it works



Around page 46 they discuss a Safe-Opening Micrometer.

"I can pick it by using the 'micrometer,' or an instrument made from a common watch, by removing the mainspring and some of the superfluous wheels, and attaching a short arm to the main wheel. When so arranged, the slightest movement of this arm will cause the secondhand to vibrate widely.The micrometer I secure in an immovable position, and attach a long lever to the knob or handle, by which the bolt is thrown backward and forward when the lock is locked and unlocked, in such a manner that one end of the lever will rest upon the arm of the micrometer. In order to render a description of the mode of picking the lock more intelligible, I introduce the following-diagram, which represents, in its essential features, the inside of a Hall Victor combination lock, as it would appear if the dial and front of the safe were removed when the lock is locked.
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madsamurai

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 2:53 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

Thanks, fellas... I'll look that up, sounds like an interesting read. That does sound more like what we now refer to as a dial indicator, which makes a lot more sense. Same technique I've been using for direct-entry locks, then, measuring handle travel. Enlightenment achieved :)
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Oldfast

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 3:59 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

mercurial wrote:I think they are referring to the use of a (dial?) micrometer to measure the travel of the handle of safes using a direct entry type lock.

That would be my guess too. If that's the case... what you're looking to google is "dial indicator".
The dial indicator can be used with a magnetically based articulating arm to mount/position
the rig on the safe. You could probably easily spend around $100-$200 on each of these
items. $400-$500 rig in total. But I'd imagine it'd work slick as hell & be quick to set up.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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madsamurai

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 5:33 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

Well, you *could* spend that much, but you can get pretty decent ones with magnetic bases pretty cheap... I paid about $35 for mine, including the switchable magnetic base and articulated arm, and it works a treat. Someday I'll splurge on a nice one again (I miss my Mitutoyo from back in my moldmaking apprenticeship days, they make some sweetness), but honestly the gain:price ratio wouldn't justify it. This one will break at some point, probably, but is just as accurate and repeatable, if not quite as buttery-smooth.
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femurat

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 7:07 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

pickmonger2 wrote:They are not referring to a micrometer in the sense that you mean it.

Check Handcuff Secrets by Houdini Its a device using a modified watch. They even have a diagram of how it works



Around page 46 they discuss a Safe-Opening Micrometer.

"I can pick it by using the 'micrometer,' or an instrument made from a common watch, by removing the mainspring and some of the superfluous wheels, and attaching a short arm to the main wheel. When so arranged, the slightest movement of this arm will cause the secondhand to vibrate widely.The micrometer I secure in an immovable position, and attach a long lever to the knob or handle, by which the bolt is thrown backward and forward when the lock is locked and unlocked, in such a manner that one end of the lever will rest upon the arm of the micrometer. In order to render a description of the mode of picking the lock more intelligible, I introduce the following-diagram, which represents, in its essential features, the inside of a Hall Victor combination lock, as it would appear if the dial and front of the safe were removed when the lock is locked.


So that's how you build an amplified micrometer using an old mechanical watch? That's pretty cool!
Any chance to see "the following diagram" mentioned?

Thanks :)
An old post of mine that you'd like to read is missing pictures? PM me and I'll fix them.
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pickmonger2

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 10:38 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

Due to copyright issues all I can do is suggest you try google.
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femurat

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 12:15 pm

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

Found it. It's an ancestor of the one madsamurai is showing here.

Cheers :)
An old post of mine that you'd like to read is missing pictures? PM me and I'll fix them.
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indigoalpha6

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Post Wed May 17, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

madsamurai wrote:I miss my Mitutoyo from back in my moldmaking apprenticeship days,


I miss the old Compac/Alina indicators myself. Now they're re-badged by SPI and they're not the same.

You were/are a Moldmaker? that's cool, me too. Started out in dies, jigs, fixtures, edm, -then molds along with CNC programming, etc.. now i'm in engineering.

Funny how nearly every serious toolmaker I've known had a unquenchable thirst for opening up locks.

Well met!
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Jaakko Fagerlund

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Post Thu May 18, 2017 3:43 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

indigoalpha6 wrote:
madsamurai wrote:I miss my Mitutoyo from back in my moldmaking apprenticeship days,


I miss the old Compac/Alina indicators myself. Now they're re-badged by SPI and they're not the same.

You were/are a Moldmaker? that's cool, me too. Started out in dies, jigs, fixtures, edm, -then molds along with CNC programming, etc.. now i'm in engineering.

Funny how nearly every serious toolmaker I've known had a unquenchable thirst for opening up locks.

Well met!

*stands up* "Hi, my name is Jaakko and I'm a tool & die guy"

Yeah... :D Anyway, those Mitutoyo dial indicators are cheap, the last I bought was 32 EUR new from a tooling supplier. The magnetic base for it is around the same price or a bit more.
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
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Post Tue May 23, 2017 4:05 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

Ha! Too funny - I had searched & searched hoping to link you to a couple threads. I recalled seeing
at least two people who had posted photos of such a rig... but finally gave up cuz I couldn't find 'em.
Now I see YOU were one of them I was thinking of. lol
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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tarboxb

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Post Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:37 am

Re: Micrometers, in reference to safe cracking

I just wanted to mention that I have opened three direct entries so far with a similar dial indicator setup as well and it really is so easy it is almost cheating! I am also a machinist and just use an old Starrett indicator and small mag base, a bungee cord around the handle and that's about it. I have found that it is extremely important to put a fairly significant amount of force on the handle as any amount of sticking can cause inconsistent readings. I have seen indications of gates by as much as .010 at the end of the handle when a gate is aligned! This system is small and easy to setup. I actually opened two old Sentries today this way inside of 15 minutes as well as an old Schwab a week ago.

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