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German hacker 3D prints Dutch police handcuff key


handcuff-key-dutch-police-plastic-700Here's a nice and embarrassing story: German hacker Ray, who is well known for opening handcuffs, has photographed the official handcuff key of the Dutch police, modelled it in Blender and printed it on a Reprap 3D printer. And guess what? It works!


He used a 3D printer to print handcuff keys. And not just any ordinary handcuff key … no, it's the official handcuff key from the Dutch police! At first the police officers at HAR were a little reluctant to event try out the plastic key he printed. But he found another way to verify the key he printed was the correct one. I guess these officers never thought about wearing keys concealed, especially when talking with Mr. Handcuff himself. Given the megapixel camera's on the market today it was not so difficult to verify the key he printed was the correct one.

These keys are 'only sold to government agencies'. Well, fat lot of good that'll do them now ;-)

Check out the first line in the STL file to see proof it was made in Blender.


About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I'm torn...

    On one hand it's a really really cool trick :) (like... Mission: Impossible cool)

    On the other hand it could be used for so many bad things too :(

    So it's a good news the hacker made it public...

    I hope the police will take appropriate measures.

  2. @cperrin88 it's hard to give an opinion on this... Plus there has been hack since humanity started to have secrets and locks...

    But more broadly, one solution (temporary...) would be to include elements in the key and lock of the handcuff that are too small to reproduce by current 3D printing tech.

    Of course this will get obsolete with advances in 3D printing...

    There is also possibility to make the lock hard enough to break plastic keys but not enough to break metal keys.

    However this news is interesting... I would love to try that with my home keys (blender+shapeways), but that might get pricey for a backup key... (plus if it breaks in the lock, I'll never hear the end of it!)

  3. RepRap is still not really going to produce something this quality of Shapeways, but it's an interesting project if you're electrically minded.

    My colleague and I are seriously thinking about trying!

    @BART, It's not designed to be a commercial thing, it's more of a community project. It also used open source software and the blueprints anyone can download.
    But the principle of a machine that can make it's own parts is still really cool!

    Oh, and it's quite cheap to build too.

  4. This is a great idea. :)

    So model your key then send off to shapeways and get them to print one from stainless steel? Is there any reason this wouldn't work? $10 per cubic centimeter sounds like a bargain for an escape key...

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