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(How Stuff Works)   Safecracking for Dummies. Pictures included   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy, safecracking, forms, steel frame  
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28328 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Apr 2004 at 4:23 AM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

79 Comments     (+0 »)

Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

2004-04-08 09:48:26 PM  
This if for all yall safe stealing, B&E, robbin mofos out derr.
2004-04-08 10:38:42 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-04-09 04:27:09 AM  
Bah- Too technical. Steal the safe, and chisel your way in from the comfort of your friends living room like I saw on this movie.
2004-04-09 04:28:29 AM  
Jack Whittaker here I come.

Of course I could just use a rock to break into his SUV !

2004-04-09 04:32:14 AM  
I sure feel SAFE after reading this.
2004-04-09 04:37:45 AM  
FINALLY! Something I can USE!
2004-04-09 04:46:48 AM  
I still cant open the combination lock I have in my draw and I KNOW the combination!
2004-04-09 04:53:04 AM  
Now, all I need is a tiny asian man to hide in the money cart whilst I distract the casino manager. Yes, this plan could work!
2004-04-09 05:04:03 AM  
CabinBoy - You'll also need a crew as crazy as you are!

/good reference...saw it earlier tonight.
2004-04-09 05:07:25 AM  
I admire patience. The guy that can simply put his ear up to one of these things and open it eventually has my respect.

However, patience is not criminally profitable.

Semtex comes to mind. You don't even need to 'funnel' it into the door. Put a couple bricks around the safe to clear a launchpad, and one under it to launch. When the thing comes down, it most decidedly will crack.

Then there's good old Thermite. Aluminum powder and rust powder. Light with burning magnesium. Once that gets going my friends, not even cobalt will stop it. Hell, not even CERAMIC substances like CONCRETE will stop it. Plus, it's relatively quiet. Bright, but quiet. Just don't let it spatter on you, because it will burn all the way through wherever it hits. On your hand, you'll have a hole through your hand. On your stomach, you'll have a double-ended colonostomy. On your head, you'll have a hole in your head and a lifelong membership in the Republican party. (Sorry, had to slip it in somewhere).

And no, I don't do this for a living.
2004-04-09 05:07:29 AM  
"Safe is unlocked, please do not dynamite again"

-Message left on repaired safe at my greatgrandpa's old office.
2004-04-09 05:12:00 AM  
Why does this remind me of an O. Henry story....?
2004-04-09 05:27:38 AM  
"There's a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door."

"Let's get him out."
2004-04-09 05:37:14 AM  
Chariset, the O. Henry story is "A Retrived Reformation". Actually, I just wrote a screenplay adaptation of the story for school. I spent sooo much time researching safe cracking for that assignment and found nothing. And now, 3 weeks later, this 14 Page Instruction is brought to my attention. Arghhh!! Damn you, cruel world!!
2004-04-09 05:47:48 AM  
FUNKMastr err...yes...that was said with a bit of irony, my love
2004-04-09 05:48:56 AM  
I like these late night commercials. About not sleeping. Yeah, it's 4am.. but did you take into consideration that some.. maybe most, of your audience is on coke. Yes? No?

Either way.. I like the commercials.. and the girls gone wild commercials.

Poor America.
2004-04-09 05:53:02 AM  
Anyone know where an ungaurded safe with lots of cash or diamonds is located so I can practice my new found wisdom?
2004-04-09 05:57:47 AM  
I kept getting distracted through this story. Visions of Charlize Theron will do that to a man....I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
2004-04-09 06:05:12 AM  
Hmm, plasma cutters on eBay (new window).

I was looking for a new career...
2004-04-09 06:24:04 AM  
I love
2004-04-09 06:44:17 AM  
just remember kids, those portable safes at Walmart are a great value...
2004-04-09 06:47:17 AM  
I tip my hat to Dr. Feynman, my favorite scientist of all time.

Why mention him in this thread? He had a fun penchant for cracking safes while in the Manhattan Project. Probably shaved a few years off Russian nuke development by revealing the security holes.

Einstein was cool, Bohr was okay...but Feynman pwned.

/raise a glass
2004-04-09 07:37:05 AM  
"Once a drill bit makes contact with the cobalt plate, the bit is robbed of the heat generated from drilling. No heat = no friction"

Is anybody else's BS detector going off?
2004-04-09 08:09:55 AM  
Isn't cobalt radioactive??
2004-04-09 08:28:22 AM  
Plasma Cutter.. hard to use? If you can 'move your hand slowly' you have the required skills to operate a plasma cutter. It's not like a safe cracker really cares about leaving a really straight even cut.

If I, of all people, can handle a plasma cutter or MIG welder, I'd assume someone skilled enough to get to the safe with the welder, power source, and large cylinder of argon can.

BTW: If you've never used one.. try it, it's a fun tool.
2004-04-09 08:50:33 AM  
2004-04-09 09:16:36 AM  
Hey gang, what was that animation made with? I'd like to try makings some things like that and need a starting point.

2004-04-09 09:41:28 AM  
This reminds me of watching The New Detectives on the Discovery Channel in middle school and seeing the numerous things to avoid so that forensic scientists will have a much harder time tracking you.
2004-04-09 09:46:58 AM  

It might be overkill but you could do it with 3d StudioMax
2004-04-09 09:58:26 AM  
It's just like a Master combination lock on a slightly larger scale. Don't tell me that nobody else here has ever peeled the back off one to find out how it works.
2004-04-09 10:07:32 AM  
I love Great site.
2004-04-09 10:11:35 AM  
I like page 12...Safe Goes Boom!

Homer: It's hopeless!
Bart: [holds up a small firework] Or is it?
Homer: [not looking] Yeah, it's hopeless!
Bart: I said, "or is it"!
Homer: [getting angry] I said, "it"-- [he finally looks] Oh!
-- "Insane Clown Poppy"

% With the firework crammed in the drawer, Homer is about to light the fuse
% when Marge interrupts him.

Marge: Homer, what are you doing?
Homer: Listen, do you want the job done right, or do you want it done fast?
Marge: Well, like all Americans, fast, but--
Bart: [lights the fuse] Clear!
[The exploding firework knocks the drawer out and leaves ugly blast
marks on the drawer and stand]
Marge: [marvels at how easily the drawer slides now] You can't argue with
2004-04-09 10:14:50 AM  
Bah. Just take 20 with some masterwork tools and maybe a few buff spells. Or just cast knock.

/my geek is showing.
2004-04-09 10:17:56 AM  
I have enough trouble getting my ol' lady's legs open much less a safe.

/borderline expert fapper
2004-04-09 10:20:21 AM  
Anyone else see The Score? Good movie.
2004-04-09 10:26:20 AM  
Slightly off topic... I have spyware blocking software installed that blocks something called "Avenue A". On most sites, I can still read the contents, but on HowStuffWorks, when I block the spyware, I don't see the article. Anyone else have this problem?

/wants to learn safecracking...
2004-04-09 10:27:02 AM  
I love this site!

Here's something else that might help your burgeoning criminal career: Lockpicking
2004-04-09 10:34:17 AM  
I would like to second the nod to Richard Feynman

Lets see. . . getting a Nobel Prize and (for the most part) laying the fundementals for the science of Modern Quantum physics.

Everyone should read, "Surely your joking Mr. Feynman" and "What do you care what other people think?"

I am surprised Farkers haven't mentioned that he is one example in which a person was able to use marijuana and not let it ruin their lives.

And safecracker hobbiest
2004-04-09 10:37:52 AM  
brilliant. now, all's i gotta do is FIND a goddamn safe!
2004-04-09 10:50:45 AM  
Anyone see the "More Than Human" episode where the master safecracker busted into a ridiculously hard-core bank vault in about 5 minutes...?

/he's a good guy - says he gets offers to turn to the dark side all the time
2004-04-09 10:53:04 AM  
You. Are. Scary.
2004-04-09 11:02:26 AM  
re: cobalt, I'm not positive, but I think this is the metal a metalurgist friend of mine told me about. This friend is the head of a metalurgy program at a university, and he told me about a safe company wanting to use this type of metal in their safes.

They'd come by a supply of it (several plates), and wanted to know how to work it, what tools & techniques would be required, etc. So my friend was acting the role of consultant.

Telling me about the metal, he said you could push a high-speed hand drill on it all day and it'd just spin and spin, not doing anything to it. To drill a hole in it, you'd have to secure the plate under a drill press, put the press on its lowest speed, and just crank down as hard as you can, and it'd chew right through it.

I don't know about the "no heat=no friction" thing (to me the cause&effect on that is backwards--no friction=no heat), but it would make sense in the light of what my friend said. If normal sliding friction is useless against the metal, then brute force (pressurized piercing) is the remaining option.
Safe piercing--it's all the rage

2004-04-09 11:21:16 AM  
I once saw a report that locksmiths can look at some code in the glove box in your car and etch a key base on that code in about a minute. Anyone know about this?
2004-04-09 11:25:39 AM  
I've always had a fascination with the criminal arts but thankfully have the self-discipline not to implement them. I love to try to unlock old combination locks for fun (raiding friends and families junk drawers for discarded combination locks can yield an afternoons worth of entertainment at boring social gatherings) and I am a halfway decent self-taught locksmith. With permission I did manage to crack the combination to an old unused walk-in type safe at an industrial facility I worked nights at. Not a damn thing in it but a moldy box of payroll records.

I'm easily amused as you can see.

I had the chance to use a thermic lance once. The most incredible tool I have ever used. It ranks right up there with fully automatic weapons and explosives in fun factor. I'd love to have one of my own and buy shiat just to cut apart with it. They will seriously slice through anything you throw at them and are somewhat frightening to use at first. We had to wear one of those shiny reflective suits when we tried it out. Amazing invention.

The trouble with using thermic lances plasma cutters and the like for breaking into safes would be setting fire to the contents of the safe or in the field setting off the fire and smoke detectors in the building in which you were working. A thermic lance like I had a chance to use would set a building on fire in a matter of seconds. You might as well run around the inside of the building with a flamethrower. Something that itself would be fun but not if one were attempting to breach your local bank vault at 2 am.
2004-04-09 11:29:47 AM  

its not always in the glove box though. some cars dont even have a glove box- i give you.. the 1999 Volkwagen Passat GLX V6.

/ex do bad stuff person
2004-04-09 11:36:16 AM  
What this article touches on, but does not put in proper perspective is that the people in charge of the safes are idiots. At one time the safes in eight out of my nine retail locations had their combinations set to the same damn combo. Every manager had the bright idea of using 20-40-60. And they each came up with this on their own. I was amazed. After reviewing company records of safe combinations (a record of all combinations was kept in the national HQ in a locked file cabinet so that safes could be opened if the local management quit all of a sudden) I discovered other very common combinations :
the address of the store
the phone number of the store

If you want into a safe, have no tools, and only have 10 minutes, the odds are that the combination is easy to guess at, so go for the idiot factor. And check for day-lock. The rush to get out the door at night encourages lazy employees to not spin the dial to scramble the combination.
2004-04-09 11:38:37 AM  
The combination to the atmosphere shield is 1-2-3-4-5.
2004-04-09 11:41:13 AM  
That's the same combination as my luggage!
2004-04-09 11:44:34 AM  
Pimp: Actually, they can use the VIN. The manufacturer will tell locksmiths (or just dealers, depending on how your manufacturer feels) the code, which they can use to cut the key.

(using books like these)
2004-04-09 11:55:55 AM  
You better get out of there, Woodcock!

[image from too old to be available]
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