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A pre-sale of custom lockpicks designed by a competitive lockpicker to bring "Open Locksport" to market.
A pre-sale of custom lockpicks designed by a competitive lockpicker to bring "Open Locksport" to market.
1,159 backers pledged $87,407 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


Back in the saddle

Hey, everyone,

First, let me say: "I'm neither dead, nor a thief."

With that out of the way. The last 6 weeks have been a balancing act of gut-wrenching and optimistic moments. I'm not talking about this project, either. I mean in the rest of my life. The fact is, being an individual, I don't have a second in command that can pick up the communicative slack for me when I'm sidelined. I don't know that every one of you would agree that the reasons I've been away are justified, but I also have 0 interest in laying out the details of the last 6 weeks of my and my families lives. Suffice it to say that I am back on solid ground.

Over the last few weeks I've received updates from some of my favorite projects, and it hit me, that at least 4 of them that I am very excited for are entering their second year without fulfillment. 3 of them were super-funded, as well. I'm not saying that other projects taking longer than expected justifies my taking longer than planned, and I can't imagine a day when I won't feel apologetic for the way this has gone. I expect that when I'm 40 I'll still occasionally think "man, remember when I very publicly took on a project that I screwed up badly? Yeesh." However, the big difference between those projects, which I continue to love and look forward to, and my own, is that even when they don't have a solid idea of when their projects will be done, the people making them update with good, optimistic news about other work that they are doing. Adjacent projects that further their expertise, enthusiasm, community, etc. Whereas I think I have generally been on the spiraling retreat.

So, while I don't know when the picks will be done, I have some good news on that front and on some others. Here we go:

1: My Grampa has a punch press. When I was home tending to some family stuff I got to spend time with my grampa, which was a treat. He has a big quonset hut full of engines, lathes, scales, and other machinery and spends a lot of time restoring old cars. He's been a lot of things in his life. As we were walking through I asked offhand if he had a punch press. I think the reply was "of course." Turns out his neighbor is a die maker, too. I'll be home for Christmas in a week and will be staying for a week or so after to try to get the machine up and running and punch out a few test pieces. If everything works OK we'll start making the dies of the actual picks. I'll probably work in simple to advanced order, that way if there is any delay in manufacture of dies, I can at least start punching 5 or 10 piece sets while we wait for the rest to get made.

I'll update on progress with that in the days after Christmas. I think that having this project come to it's conclusion with my mom making the cases & my grampa punching the picks would be a fairly remarkable story. I'm hopeful.

2: I'm writing a book. I was signed to a contract with O'Reilly. The book will be an Almanac of locks and lockpicking. It will cover history, engineering, various locks, from their simplest to most complex forms, lockpicking, of course, and a lot of bits and pieces in between.

3: I'm working on a new video series tentatively called "the breakdown." The idea is simple. I'll take interesting locks, pull them apart, explain how they work, get some good macro photo/video on the various components and, if I have it, provide info on the company, inventors, etc.

4: For several reasons, from providing better training material, to making illustrations for my book, to complementing the new videos, I've been teaching myself 3D modeling & animation. I'm far from great, but I'm getting the hang of it. Here's an early test showing the internals of an Abus 88/50:

I have more good on the horizon as well. Several small projects and trainings and so on.

Oh, and as it is said by some people everytime I update with a non-lockpick piece of news, let me say this as well: My working on other locksport-related things doesn't steal time from making lockpicks. If making the picks was merely an issue of time dedicated to the task, they would have been done a long time ago. I've screwed this project up. I didn't know what I was getting into or what I was doing once I got here, but I will make these picks.


Hey, everyone,

I'm up in Vermont with my family taking care of family things. I'm going to be here for another few days and while I know some of you are restless, there are a couple things in life that have to supersede the picks. This is one of them.

Sorry. Family comes first.


Chemical Etching

Hey, folks,

Current news is that going to produce a small batch of picks via photochemical etching. I  don't have a solid date for when I'll have that batch in hand, but it should be distributable. This isn't just another prototype test, as I believe the metal problems are solved and the designs have been picked over a hundred times, so hopefully this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm talking timeline now, and working with a trusted friend who has experience in this method. I'm not trying to get anyone's hopes up at this late stage. You are all just as aware as I am that none of this has gone well, so I'm not going to say "this is it, guys!" but I remain committed to getting these picks made. I will never cease work on this project.


Good News and Video Picking Course

Hey everyone!

So, first piece of good news is that I finally have the CAD files in hand. I will be disseminating them to the various people I've been discussing manufacturing with so we can start to move forward with quotes and plans and so on and so forth. At the moment I have several good leads. I'm hoping one of them turns into the right solution for making the picks.

Second piece of good news is that I've just put up a 24-part lockpicking course on youtube. Hope you enjoy it!

More news as I have it.


DIY Non-Destructive Entry & Conversations

Hey, everyone.

So, the big news, is there isn't much big news. We're 6 weeks out from me requesting the CAD files from Erik, and yet I still have nothing. I just became aware that he is going to Shanghai...when I brought this up to him he insisted he hadn't forgotten and would get the files to me before he left. So that's where that's at.

I've been having a lot of interesting, productive conversations. On one hand I'm talking with some hackerspaces and indie fabrication shops about possibly trading my time, energy and expertise to get time with some serious lasers. On another there's an individual who might be able to to produce all of them in one go and work with me to make that happen. And another with different, but equally satisfactory interests, and 2 more people who have reached out in recent weeks that I need to begin conversations with.

I even had a good email exchange with my contact at Kickstarter. Basically I gave her the lowdown on everything I've done wrong, everyone that has gone wrong despite my best efforts and intentions and everything I'm trying to do to fix it. In return I got encouragement and a reminder of why I love Kickstarter as much as I do.

Anyway, these other conversations - It's nice to have options, I'm just waiting for some traction. In the meanwhile, the much requested video for the DIY Non-Destructive Entry talk is up on Youtube:

Defcon 19: DIY Non-Destructive Entry

It went well! Much better than I expected to be honest. For the first time in my speaking life I overfilled a room. People were apparently being turned away at the door. I went for another half hour in the Q&A area talking about a large range of things.

I'm hoping that the BSides talks managed to get recorded and will be put up somewhere, as I was very proud of that talk and want to share it with folks as I think it's some of the best work I've ever done, but still waiting to see.

Hope this finds all of you well. More news as I get it. As soon as one of these conversations comes to fruition, or the CAD files come in, I'll update immediately. And either way, I'll update again next week with what's happened in the meanwhile.