Right at the top, here are links to the steel:
Spring Steel for the Picks: http://www.mcmaster.com/#9503K22
Low Carbon Steel for the Handles: http://www.mcmaster.com/#9500K79
For each roll of the Spring Steel I can produce 110 picks. That's 5 full sets and 1 ten piece set. For each roll of the low carbon steel, I can produce 306 sets of handles. So, raw material cost on the picks, not including shipping, or anything else, is about 30 cents per pick. That's $.235 per pick & $.067 per set of handles. If I'm buying in small quantities (which is how it will go for the first couple batches) the shipping will definitely hurt the bottom line, especially as I have to drop ship the metal to the etcher, who then ships the finished batch to me for finishing, assembly and finally shipping to you. But still, I'm pretty happy to have a low-limit option for metal that is hitting a raw material cost of 30 cents. That's solid, and typically McMaster's prices can be beat when buying in real bulk from manufacturers, so the raw material cost could potentially go even lower in the future.
I'm not 100% on what the final etching price is going to be. The metal used in the test batch was a spring steel, but it wasn't heat treated, so it was soft as butter. Most people like to get their spring steel untreated so that they can bend it to shape, then set that shape via heat treating. I, on the other hand, want to avoid a secondary heat treating process and am just making simple, flat objects that don't need to be bent into eccentric positions. I'll be discussing any changes to cost for etching already set spring steel.
Heat treating in appropriate bulks doesn't add too much to the cost, but again, shipping to and from a 3rd site and running small batches would jack up the price per pick considerably.
The earlier prototypes were also cut from a 1095 Spring Steel, which was amazing, until the laser got a hold of it. The heat from the laser badly altered the composition of the metal, making them brittle. This was a problem I have to avoid and was one of the subjects I covered with my friend Deb, the material scientist.
She also explained the science behind why I prefer spring steel for picking. I've always enjoyed picking with spring steel, and could describe how picking with it felt, but I never knew what made it better than stainless. And, going into the meeting, I was also allowing myself to be open to being wrong about that, but it turns out, my gut and experience were correct.
Basically, while some metals are tougher, taking much more force to deform them, and some metals are more flexible and can deform further without permanently changing the structure of the metal, Spring Steel aims to be the best of both worlds. It takes a decent amount of force to bend, but can bend more than the tougher metals without snapping or permanently deforming. What this means when you are picking is that you is that you get a very firm, but flexible instrument. Some picks are too soft and feel "muddy" in the lock, some are so stiff that you might as well be using an ice pick. But with Spring Steel, when you push on a pin, the pin moves easily, and when that same pin is binding, the force to move it is just enough to slightly deflect the pick, giving you a nice firm flex. When the pick flexes, you feel it, when the pin sets, in the moment that the binding force dissipates, you feel the pick flex back into shape. And in lockpicking, feel is everything.
Sadly, the heat from the laser cutting on the prior Spring Steel moved the break point way up on the metal. The picks couldn't deform very far without snapping. The chemical etching should help me avoid that issue.
So, what now? Well, I'm going to send a roll of each (pick metal & handle metal) to the etcher and have them go to town. Assuming the picks return looking as good as the test batch, but maintaining all the properties of the 1095 that I love? I will not only assemble them and take photos - I'll actually send those sets out.
And then I'll send a BUNCH of rolls of both metals to the etcher.
And then more
and before too long, every damn one of you will have my picks in your hands.
I cannot wait, and you have all been waiting far too long.
Updates to expect soon: Tumbler purchase (getting close), Visit with my Mom for custom case work (before the end of the month & I'll take plenty of photos with her & some of the custom cases she's been hand painting), results of the 1095 - that's the one we'll all be waiting on, of course.
Hope you all went to bed a lot earlier than I did and are reading this as you wake up! Goodnight!
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Anyone who donates will get templates of the tools in EPS, PDF, PNG, SVG, etc. formats (basically every format I can export, which will include CAD files) along with instructions for making these tools yourself. I'll offer material suggestions and finishing ideas too.
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Practice Makes Perfect! A practice kit with 3 locks progressively pinned, security pins, tweezers, plug follower and instructions for repinning your own locks. All packaged in a lovely tin. [+ Templates!]
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Save room for Dessert! A hand screened, 2 color "Open Locksport" t-shirt and a bunch of other Open Locksport shwag. Temporary Tattoos? Absolutely! Stickers? Heck yes! And more! [+ Templates + Practice Kit + 20 Picks]
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Custom Kit & Full access to me! My Mother, who did all of the prototyping for the pick cases, will make you a custom, hand made pick case to your specifications, including any illustration or dedication you may want. Additionally, you'll be given everything I've ever written or recorded on the subject of Locks & get 3 hours of Skype time with me to ask questions, discuss locks, run demos, whatever you want. [+ Templates + Practice Kit + 20 Picks + Shwag]
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Lock Library! 50 Locks of various types, including pin tumblers, wafers, levers, and dial & sesame combo locks. 30 individual picks and the full set of 20 in a case. You'll also get handcuffs and a cutaway pin tumbler to help explain how they work. You'll also get all of the shwag of the $100 level! Great for new clubs and hackerspaces.
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Uber Lock Library! Everything in the Lock Library times 2! 100 locks! 60 individual picks! 2 full sets of 20 in cases! 2 different sets of handcuffs and a 2 cutaways! One of a pin-tumbler lock, one of the locking mechanism in handcuffs! In addition to all of this I'll send you training materials. Nicely illustrated guides to lockpicking, impressioning, bumping, overlifting, etc. etc! I can guarantee 10 different reproducible worksheets and I'm hoping to do 20+!
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Physical classroom! I fly to you! I'll bring the picks, locks, handcuffs, combo locks, cutaways, high security locks, and, most importantly, the knowledge, to run 2 days of classes for as many people you like. You let me know how many people I can expect and your nearest airport and I'll do the rest. Great for Colleges & Universities, Hackerspaces w/large membership, offices or law enforcement! (This offer open to continental US only. If you are outside of the US & want to subsidize the airfare, we can talk!)
- (71 days)