I found a locked safe hidden at the back of a closet in my new house

Only if you get caught.

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Is Rob an alum?


A little digging through online safe enthusiast forums suggests this safe was probably made at the United States Safe Co. Elizabeth, PA factory, near the beginning of the 20th century (the factory was torn down in the early 1930s.) The lock specifically is by Yale, probably one of the most common lock manufacturers at the time. Clearly I need more things to take up my time at work.


Possibly. I drilled a couple holes through a Stihl rollomatic chainsaw bar, which is two plates of superhard spring steel sandwiching a plate of softer stuff, and it seemed like I only had to take my eyes off the oil feed for a few seconds for the bit to go straw-yellow and snap off. The flying end plowed a furrow through my hair above the face shield, thankfully missing my scalp, but necessitating a haircut. Expensive drill bit, too, so I was doubly annoyed.

Anyway, these guys are talking about using an oxygen lance now. That’s what you use to cut through a locomotive encased in concrete and swallowed by Godzilla. It will literally ignite and consume iron like a regular torch ignites and consumes paper. It is what you use to threaten giant robots and outbrag the owners of plasma cutters. Thermite would do no more damage than the splash from an oxygen lance.


Please post a clickbaity new topic for us to enjoy

“I finally broke into the safe we found in our new house and what was inside will blow your mind. Or not.”


Would EDM do the job, just spark through?

Or perhaps the trick used for glass - a copper (or so) tube as a drill bit, in a little “pool” with suspension of a suitable abrasive?

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The EDM scene sucks since Front 242 went techno.


Yeah, if I had the rig, I could probably spark through. At the time I was trying to deal with a much, much larger problem - 50 tons of tree fell on my stable and barn, which is where my shop is, and I was modifying a large chainsaw to make a poor man’s “alaska mill” in a hurry. I ruined a couple drill bits doing things the quick and dirty way, and nearly set my hair on fire, but in the end it all worked out OK.


You may well be correct; I’m not saying you’re not, but it might be possible to reduce those 125,000 possibilities to as few as 360 for reasons explained at https://youtu.be/Waw11zhaKSk?t=3. Enjoy!

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I was a kid when that came on TV and I STILL regret watching it!


I posed a question to someone apparently considered one of the best by antique safe enthusiasts (it’s a thing, they have forums and everything,) about its construction and what broad manufacturing techniques were used to make it, assuming it’s a general consumer model. Be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next few days!


I’ve opened many safes like that in video games, but i suspect it won’t be the same in real life :wink:


Cutting the hinges or driving out the hinge pins may or may not be futile, as better safes have lock-driven pins on all sides of the door.

I like the idea of spending a bit of quality time with the safe every evening until the lock reveals its combination.


Thought. Could ultrasound show the insides of the door?

What about xray backscatter? Or neutron backscatter (probably not as it’d work poorly on ferrous alloys)?

If we get strong enough xray source, could we shine through the whole safe and the wall it is mounted on? How strong source would be needed?


The inside of Cory Doctorow’s head.


Cutting the hinges won’t work. I’ll bet it has throws on at least 3 sides, so it still won’t open. Plus if you crack the combo you gained a safe. Locksmith, or a computer driven combo-turner for a brute force entry.

Do you even know how many numbers the combo may have?

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Please, plasma cutter. But only if you don’t give a crap about what is in the safe.

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one of the results for color explosion + unicorn, now we only have to add encrypted Disney World rides


Keeping in mind that it will be really hard to open even with the right combo if it’s truly empty, (hard vacuum)…

(I kid! I kid!)