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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


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.

Production Woes! Talk Wins! Recent Press!

This is a long update this week as I've gone 2 weeks with sup-par updates. Lot of good information, but I won't blame anyone for skimming or skipping. Here are the main topics:

  • The person tasked with getting the picks cut has been on an extended trip which seems to have back burnered my project.
  • Nothing will EVER stop me :)
  • My talk at BSides Las Vegas was the best of my speaking career.
  • My talk at Defcon overfilled the room (a first for me)
  • Boing Boing & Gizmodo picked up a video I made for some nice Aussies!
  • You should check out the Lockpicking subreddit!

Production Woes:

I'll say this: I've long suspected that I'm at the bottom of the list of concerns for the person I've tied myself to for the production of these picks. Since August 1st it's become bad. I've been left hanging on communication, I've had quotes come back doubled in price from the previous quote, and now I've been trying to get the production CAD files I paid to have produced. I am assured that I will receive them (he's been traveling for several weeks) but it's frustrating.

I was having a conversation with a good friend about how frustrating it is to not be involved in the process and to have to trust people who don't seem to be paying a lot of attention to me. She suggested that perhaps these people don't really care about what I'm trying to do. I said "Well, yeah...but why would they?" and she suggested that there might be a better way...

Now, I'm not ready to say publicly what I'm doing. And I know that sucks. I debated holding off on a big update until I could explain in depth, but the last 2 updates were so tiny, I figured I should at least tell you everything I can publicly right now. Those of you who were able to chat with me at Defcon probably heard the plan, but I just need to get my ducks in a row and make sure it's doable before I announce it publicly. However, here is what it will mean for production:

  • I will be directly involved in the production of the picks again! Like hands on, in person, directly making things happen, involved.
  • People who care about me & care about locksport will be directly involved in getting the picks made.
  • Picks will actually get cut. For the love of...

Let me say this...the date of successful funding of the project is quite proudly displayed when you visit this project. I am distinctly aware of it. It looms very large.

By the end of this I'll be able to write a book on everything I did wrong. But, the picks will be made! Of this I remain certain. I was about to make a White Whale reference, but then I realized I've never actually read Moby Dick, so I went and read a plot synopsis. I won't spoil it for you, but suffice it to say I'm going to forgo the metaphor!

OK, it's late (3:30am!) and I'd like to slip some unquestionably good news in here!

Good News!

My talk at BSides Las Vegas was easily the best I've ever given. I promise I'm not just sleeping away the spare time I have had. I've been pouring every minute I get into more research, more training materials, more everything. At BSides I spoke about how physical security came to be a subject of public exploration in the mid-1800s and how, by 1900, it had become taboo again, perhaps even vilified.

I went through ~140 slides in ~35 minutes. It was rapid fire and got a great response from the audience. I am told that the talks were recorded, so as soon as they are available online I will let you know!

At Defcon I overfilled the room! First time that has ever happened to me. My talk on opening various locks with found objects was very well recieved. In particular there was about a 30 minute Q&A after the talk with a handful of people where I was able to discuss the backgrounds of various locksport organizations, my personal take on ethics and the quagmire of public education.

The Defcon talk was absolutely recorded, and, as with BSides, as soon as I have a link I'll post it here.

Final bit of nice news is that I've been working on a project for some folks in Australia from On Thursday, Boing Boing & Gizmodo both featured a cut together video from the class I put together. Here's a direct link to the Youtube video (with a nice explanation of masterkeying!)

Oh! And I've been contributing to and enjoying the Lockpicking Sub-Reddit lately. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you are already a Redditor.

Hope you all are doing well!

Update Delay!

[The following update tried to send yesterday, but the borrowed internet I was on apparently flaked out. Thankfully Kickstarter saved it! Thanks to daMongolian for pointing out it hadn't hit inboxes!]


Just a quick note to say - I'm up in Vermont doing some work with my Mom & seeing my family (it's the Towne family reunion tomorrow!) and it turns out my Dad changed the wireless password at the family homestead! So, I managed to find an unprotected network that is being super flaky so I'm going to keep this short.

I'll get the password from him in the morning and give a proper update on Sunday night when I'm back in Boston as I'll be family-ing it up tomorrow!

Update will include recaps of BSides & Defcon, as a lot of folks were asking about my talks, so I will release my slides & talk details here.

Have a good weekend everyone!