Nathan Seidle’s wife gave him this already locked safe as a gift with no combination. Weird present, but he loves a good challenge. So he built a safecracking robot.Brute force robots for combination safes are not new. They are sometimes called an “Autodialer”. And, the robots that use audio feedback are sometimes called “SoftDrill”.
image credit: WIRED
The SparkFun Safe Cracker is a variant of the Autodialer. Instead of attempting every combination in the solution domain (called brute forcing), we use some tricks to reduce the domain and shortcuts to speed up the testing process. In addition, the SparkFun Safe Cracker is cheap (~$200), magnetically adheres to the safe, and is non-destructive; when we’re done you’ll never know we were there.
The robot itself consists of several 3D printed parts (including the bit that fits around the safe’s dial), an aluminum frame, magnets to secure the bot to the safe, an Arduino board ($20), a motor ($40), and a number of sensors programmed to see if the robot turned the safe’s handle properly.
We believe knowledge and education is the best protection against fear and tyranny. The SparkFun Safe Cracker is designed to open very low security combination fire safes. There are high-end, secure, expensive combination safes available that have the ability to detect and thwart this type of dialer attack. Or, you could use a keypad safe.