Da Vinci Code Cryptex

by pasutx, published

Da Vinci Code Cryptex by pasutx Oct 12, 2010

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Da Vinci Code Cryptex by pasutx is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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In the book -the Da Vinci Code- a cryptex plays an important role. The cryptex is a cylinder with an important document in it, protected by a code word which can be set by turning rings around the cylinder. This thing contains the files to print the parts which make a fully functional cryptex which can be printed on a 3D printer.

Three other cryptex designs are on thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1751, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2695, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2708, but this design was started independently based on ideas found in instructables.com. The other thingiverse designs do not contain pictures and seem to have some design issues which probably means they were not completely finished.

A short video showing this cryptex in operation can be found on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjUNWvj0Q68

The printer used is my repstrap printer which is documented in the blog: http://pasutx.blogspot.com


Most parts are printed on a 3D printer. Several parts will need to be glued in place, the order is important.

  • Print the cryptex*.stl files on a 3D printer according to the part list.
  • Print the cryptex*.svg file on a normal paper printer (e.g. with inkscape).
  • Cut the strips with a complete alphabet A-Z from the paper and check that it will fit exactly around the cryptex*-ring pieces. Glue the paper around the ring. The position of the paper will determine the code!
  • Cut 5 small (1 cm) pieces of the filament you are using (PLA/ABS) and insert and glue them in the cryptex*-inner-tube piece.
  • Put the 1 ring around the outer tube and insert the inner-tube into the outer-tube from the side with the wide colar (important!).
  • Check the functioning of the locking mechanism. You should be able to insert/remove the inner-tube only when the right letter is in the right place.
  • Add the other 4 rings one by one while checking that the rings can turn freely and the inner-tube can be removed easily which the right code.
  • With all the 5 rings installed, glue the cryptex*-top.stl piece on the outer-tube. The top piece keeps all the rings from falling off when the inner-tube is removed.
  • Glue a cryptex-handle.stl piece on the cryptex-top piece.
  • Glue the other cryptex*-handle.stl piece on the inner-tube piece.

You should have a fully functioning cryptex now!

This thing can be improved. The blender file is attached with all the parts in it. All individual parts are on different layers to make editing easier.

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it works great. Only one problem is the Cryptex2-text.svg only contains the spacing and grid layout. No letters or numbers on it. :)

You really should specify how many things of each we need to print. Completely mislead me. Niiiiiiiice

How many rings are you supposed to print??? I printed the files but there seem to be not enough rings. Did you delete some files?

question how do i change the password on the Cryptex ? if not can u make a app for it, it would be highly appreciated ? please feel welcome to message me back ( just no posting in floods on my notifications to a reasonable extent )

This turned out great! I "coded" the rings to be my wife's birthday (three letters for the month, two numbers for the day) and will put a treasure and note in it for her. I edited the SVG file so I could have strips with numbers on it.

I had a little trouble with one ring (or maybe all the rings collectively). I'm not quite sure why the pieces weren't perfect in terms of final fit, but with a little sanding, it works well.

The hardest part was gluing the strips neatly to the ring, but I'm not sure how to make that easier.

nks Pasutx!

Ok, I've built the parts on a commercial FDM machine. I'll have to say it's simple but functional.

Things I'd like to improve...detents for the encoder rings, easy way to change the cipher, and integrated letters (instead of paper). But let me say again that this is a very clean and functional model. Well done.

I did see some anomalies on the STL file when I went to slice them for building,
but it sliced and built without a problem.

I've redrawn and modified the design to include integrated numbers with corresponding detent slots...the correct slot is the same width but deeper so all the detents feel the same. I put a small "spring loaded" knob on the outer tube to engage the detent slots. Instead of using filament as the locking pins, I'm going to redesign them as blocks integral to the inner tube. I know this presents an issue to folks using 3D printers that don't use support material, so I'm going to add a slope to the bottom so the layers will be self supporting. Test builds are in progress now, when I'm done I'll post photos and updated files.

Thanks again to pasutx for a great starting point. My son loved the original version but broke all the pins off.

Hey Jack,

Did you ever upload your revised files?

I made a few changes. First, I changed the letters to numbers, and embossed the numbers on the wheels. Second, I put detents in the wheels and fingers in the outer tube so that it clicks and holds on each number. I think you'll still need to have a support material for the new files, or at least do some post-processing. I don't think I can upload files here so I'll have to put them in a separate posting.

The handle file is bad. It can be fixed by importing it to blender and reexporting it. I have a clean file with the normals in the right configuration if you want it for re upload

I just downloaded the Cryptex8-handle.stl file and put is through skeinforge (the version which is part of ReplicatorG 0018). It looks fine to me there. What kind of error did you find? You can send a corrected file to my gmail account for my username pasutx.

This is really COOL - I just HAVE TO make one of these! :)

VERY COOL! It would be nice if the rings contained the actual letters, but you'd need a lot of detail in your prints. So it's good to have the paper-based version (which is easier to read and even makes it prettier as a whole).

This is indeed, quite cool

Wow, this is AWESOME!