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Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

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schleichende_wut

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Post Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:24 am

Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Hi all!

First time poster here, with a hopefully interesting story for all of you, and some questions to ask at the end.
Regarding combination locks I am completely inexperienced, so far i only have played around with cylinder locks and the occasional wafer security lock (Stuve)

Act I
Via my local version of craigslist, I came across an offer i simply couldn't refuse - A Safe without known combination or content, free of charge to whoever manages to pull it out of the basement of the prior owner.
(If anyone is interested in how to move heavy saves without expensive equipment i'm happy to share how we pulled this off, yet i digress ;) )

As we moved the safe, we found Lagard user manuals for Models 1985, 3330, 3332 and 1947, attached to the Backside.
(Ominous foreshadowing)

This is how i came into the possession of a 130x80x60 cm, 310kg monster, now occupying a significant portion of my workshop.
/..my eyesight isnt the best, so im using some magnification for reading contacts. The magnetic base holding the lens is one for dial test indicators, commonly used in machining.

Unfortunately, someone less patient (maybe the previous owner) tried to pry off the aluminum screen, so that both the dial and handle are having significant amounts of play. To make matters worse, something is ratting INSIDE the dial, i am assuming a broken off screw, that every once in a while lodges itself behind the dial, completely blocking it.
Since the dial is made of aluminum, i luckily managed to keep the screw in position with magnets and hot glue, but this is far from a perfect environment for learning Manipulation.
...not elegant but it does its job :)

Act II
Establishing the contact points was easy however, they started out as 7.5 and 15.75, and that is where i started graphing.

After several attempts, i realized that we are dealing with those pesky oval wheels here (note the vaguely sinusoidal behavior in the plots, especially on the right contact point ) and identified the minimum points on each, to proceed with starting points that are not masking anything.
These were found to be at w1:36, w2:22, w3:45

Next up, i was pretending it to be 4 wheel and fixing w2, w3, w4 to my minima. on w1, taking 15 digit intervals, i established that there is no significant change. If it were 4 wheel i reason, i should get another oval-like signature.

Having established that its a 3 wheel La Gard, the descent into madness begins.

Act III
Since i don't have any prior knowledge in dialing, I decided to play it safe, and dial in all combinations for graphing via the method provided by the provided instructions. (This should work too, right? ...right??)
(4x counterclockwise to w1, 3x clockwise to w2, 2x counterclockwise to w1, 1x clockwise to contact area, for testing)

In the last Graph something strange happened: Around w1:76 within the contact area i have points with higher friction, and i don't know what to make of it - my guess would be that someone put the Dial in the contact area and really did a number on the safe handle, denting the wheel, but i am speculating (see the question marks for those friction points)



From all of the above, i am convinced that we should see an open at 44-9-31, unfortunately, the lock disagrees.

I am hoping that any of you much more experienced folks has some insights of where to go from here, I'd hate to use an angle grinder on it!
What to make of that friction points?
Did i overlook any obvious gates?
What would you graph next?

...I'll keep you up to date with my progress
Last edited by schleichende_wut on Wed Dec 07, 2022 12:12 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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bitbuster

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Post Mon Nov 21, 2022 4:13 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Last turn is right to dead stop. You took the time for 6 pics of graphs but zero pics of the safe.
'Gunter glieben glauten globen' Def Leppard, Rock of Ages, 1983
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schleichende_wut

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Post Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:49 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Shoot, i totally forgot about that - I'll upload some next time im in the shop!

What do you mean by "Last turn is right to dead stop"? In case the combination is correct? i was aware of that but it hasnt happened ...yet ;)
Last edited by schleichende_wut on Wed Dec 07, 2022 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cheesehead

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Post Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:51 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

I can’t tell from the picture of the safe, is this a lock with reversed numbers or something weird? Or is it possible the graphs are mislabeled (looking from a cell phone, I might be seeing stuff wrong)?

Normally, a safe lock has numbers ascending when turning the dial counterclockwise

The reason I’m asking is that, as I’m reading your graphs, you seem to be focusing on where the contact points are widening. For example, on the last graph you show, 44 seems to be the exact moment the contact points are furthest apart, which is the opposite of what you want. You want contact points to be punching toward each other.
…except those are such sharp points I expect they’re just labeled backwards in the graph, or I simply can’t read what’s going on (full disclosure, I don’t use graphs).

At any rate, if you’re getting contact points that are giving you useful information, the key is patience. Just set a wheel to a low point, move to another wheel, set to the low point, and so on. You’re trying to “see-saw” your way to the actual gates.
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schleichende_wut

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Post Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:14 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Ah, thats interesting! no, the numbers increase on counterclockwise rotation, everything standard - I've really got to make better pictures of the safe.
Regarding mislabeling: please dont mind the blue line, in fact i should have edited that out! See the connected marks inthe last plot? this is where the contact area tightens , and where my 44 is.

You are making an important point though i think! ...For now i have been approaching this by first "minimizing" as you suggest, and then using what i believe to be gates as a found digit, testing the others. In case of the last example, i was bent on using 44 because i got consecutive low readings for the right contact point between digits 43 and 45, that were between 14.5 and 14.75. Digits 12-20 gave me some wierd output for the left contact, but they were all over the place.

In your opinion, should i focus more on this wierd area, or continue searching absolute minima?

...With 3 gates "found" but them being obviously wrong, i feel kinda stuck right now.
From the plots above, wich of the gates i determined do look most fishy to you?
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schleichende_wut

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Post Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:44 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

[pictures removed]
Last edited by schleichende_wut on Wed Dec 07, 2022 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MartinHewitt

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Post Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:21 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

This looks like a VDMA 24992 class B steel cabinet. They were sold weighing 300kg because of the insurance regulations at the time of manufacturing.

My recommendation is to connect the crosses. Lines are IMHO much better to evaluate than crosses. What makes your graphs very difficult to understanding for me is the little information about what is graphed there. Maybe I can guess it from the numbers near the edge, but there is no information at all about dialing direction, which is important for the 3330.

Also I do have the impression, that you rushed into the manipulation without consuming enough information about it. There is quite a bit of material on youtube and there is "Safe Cracking for Everyone" by Jared Dygert especially for the LG 3330, which is available on Amazon and was available online as pdf.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:33 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

schleichende_wut wrote:Ah, thats interesting! no, the numbers increase on counterclockwise rotation, everything standard - I've really got to make better pictures of the safe.


Part of that is my problem, my phone and imgur don't seem to get along.

Regarding mislabeling...


What I mean is that on your graph, when you say the numbers get closer together, your graph says they are getting farther apart. Your graph says

76
75
74
.......
9
8
7

I expect to see

9
8
7
......
76
75
74

...where the numbers are getting closer together when the top marks move toward center, and the bottom marks also move toward center. Your numbers tell me they are moving farther apart. But perhaps it's just labelled funny.

You are making an important point though i think! ...For now i have been approaching this by first "minimizing" as you suggest, and then using what i believe to be gates as a found digit, testing the others. In case of the last example, i was bent on using 44 because i got consecutive low readings for the right contact point between digits 43 and 45, that were between 14.5 and 14.75. Digits 12-20 gave me some wierd output for the left contact, but they were all over the place.


I think this is a logical approach

In your opinion, should i focus more on this wierd area, or continue searching absolute minima?

...With 3 gates "found" but them being obviously wrong, i feel kinda stuck right now.
From the plots above, wich of the gates i determined do look most fishy to you?


I think Martin has some good tips, changing dialling direction will often yield results that would otherwise be hidden.
The area around 80 (in your last graph) makes me wonder if the the dial has been spun quickly an awful lot, maybe even with an autodialer, deforming the drive wheel. Maybe adding a deeper/fainter set of contact points that are hidden by the high wheels.

I always think it's difficult to consult through graphs, hope some of this is helpful.
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schleichende_wut

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Post Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:45 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

NOW i got where our misunderstanding lies! In Germany, we write the number 1 without a bottom horizontal, and the number seven with a horizontal line in the middle! :D :D
...this is the number seventeen for us: https://i.stack.imgur.com/i2Wh5.gif


so my plots read:

16
15
14
.......
9
8
7

Indeed i can see how this is "funny labelling" in a anglophone country, apologies for that odd cultural difference. I'll connect the lines, Label the data unambiguously, and then re-upload! (Hell, I might even figure out how to post pictures in-line)
Thanks for your patience with a noob! ;)
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schleichende_wut

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Post Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:11 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

The ammount of information people can extract from the photo of a grey box is fascinating! Indeed the dials for most VDMA 24992 class B models looks identical!
I'm excited for any feedback regarding potential gate positions.
Last edited by schleichende_wut on Wed Dec 07, 2022 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MartinHewitt

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Post Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:29 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Nice graphs! :)

I think you have to much noise. E.g. L36-R24-L and L44-R9-L. 30 is clearly below 15 in L44-R9-L and above 15 in L36-R24-L even so in L36-R24-L there is 38 also below 15. This can't be due to normal lock behavior. Either it is you not being consistent in feeling the CPs or there is shifting something on the safe creating this noise. With error of 1/2 number it will be difficult to find the combo. You can try to do a graph of W3 (least amount of work) multiple times and try to get it repeatable. You can also try to always push or perhaps pull the dial while feeling the CPs.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:50 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

schleichende_wut wrote:NOW i got where our misunderstanding lies! In Germany, we write the number 1 without a bottom horizontal, and the number seven with a horizontal line in the middle! :D :D
...this is the number seventeen for us: https://i.stack.imgur.com/i2Wh5.gif


so my plots read:

16
15
14
.......
9
8
7


My bad, this should have been obvious. Sorry for wasting so much time there. And thanks for the digital graphs!

My impression from looking at your graphs would have been to try parking wheel 3 at 59 and see if you can make progress, maybe try as the gate.

I think Martin is right, it looks like too much noise. If you are confident in your feeling of the contact points, then my impression is perhaps you have a loose spline key. For example, in Lx-R9-L31 and Lx-R22-L52, wheel 3 seems to indicate 44 more strongly on the opposite contact points.

The method I use with a loose spline key is to approach the contact point, rap it sharply, then gently back off and measure it. Do a couple of times to make sure you are always getting the same measurement.
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schleichende_wut

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Post Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:14 am

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

Your feedback regarding noise are really valuable, i think! - Indeed, on the right contact point, there almost always is a perceptible initial resistance, and after a slight increase in troque i get to a second more solid contact point that requires more torque to overcome. Once i push past that initial point, it does not replicate, i.e. on second attempt only the higher torque contact point appears. As this is my first time manipulating, i am unsure regarding what to make of that behavior, but from the recent comments,

I gather that in this situation i should be graphing the second higher torque contact?

Cheeseheads loose spline key remark sounds quite plausible to me, after all, the lock took quite a beating, considering that someone tried to pry off the aluminum screen (even stripped a M4 thread in the screens mounting hole)
Thank you all for your patience!
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MartinHewitt

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Post Thu Nov 24, 2022 7:20 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

If the second higher torque CP is more consistent for you, then yes, take that one.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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schleichende_wut

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Post Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:42 pm

Re: Fighting a La Gard, an (ongoing) drama in 3 acts

I've got it open at last! turned out to be a 3330 and i am enormously happy to have it open on R26-L10-R62 (Thanks for the tip to choose 59 as my minimum!!!)

Thanks so much to both of you guys for your valuable input and feedback- i guess i would have mismeasured that stupid initial torque point in front of the right CP forever :D
All of this was a kinda steep learning curve, but now that i actually get to see the wheels operating, the next thing on the list is practicing dialing :smile:
(Planning to make a replacement backplate from clear plastic)

There were no contents left inside except some shelving, but im pretty happy nevertheless.
I do hope to sell the cabinet in order to buy a few new Locks from the money, thats for sure :D
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