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How a 3D Printed Bump Key Can Break into Any Home

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on Sep 1 2014 , 06:00:48
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@ShaniePhillips1

Three weeks ago, we wrote an article called The Dangers of 3D Scanning that touched upon two problematic aspects of 3D scanning and printing that led to things being shared that may have been better off left unshared. One of the things discussed in the article was how easy and quick it can be to 3D scan and print keys to break into people’s homes. The article referred to a Wired reporter who used an app called KeyMe to 3D print an exact replica of his neighbor’s key and break into his Brooklyn walk-up in a matter of minutes.

On Wednesday we came across another account on TechCrunch of how 3D printing can be used to break into people’s homes. This time however, no key was being replicated. Instead, professional ‘key bumpers’ showed how something called a ‘bump key’ could be 3D printed and used to pick almost any type of lock.

Bump keys are not identical replicas of other keys. They are 3D printed pieces of flat plastic that can be cut very easily to somewhat fit into a keyhole. With a few strategic raps of a hammer the bump key can be fully inserted into a lock and prize it open. To create a bump key for most types of locks all you need to know is the size and shape of the lock, which can be obtained from a standard photo.

There is no doubt that the ability to create something in virtually any shape, inexpensively and efficiently, could have certain unwanted implications. For the most part 3D printing has only been used in good intent, but regulations should be put in place sooner rather than later.

Check out the video of the bump key below and let us know your opinion on the potential implications of 3D printing here.



Shanie Phillips is a originally from the UK, but has spent many years in Singapore, the US and now Israel. In addition to writing for Inside3DP she writes for several news and innovation sites.

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