Since I have come to a conclusion for my final project for quite some time now, my ideas and design are pretty much cemented. Therefore, I would prefer to utilize this post to discuss my progress on my cryptex lock and highlight a few key components. As previously discussed in my recent blog posts, I will be constructing a cryptex lock inspired by the gothic aesthetic. This lock will encompass the gothic aesthetic as it something different to my personal aesthetic and will push my boundaries when it comes to aesthetics in design. To utilize the gothic aesthetic I will print my final project in black PLA.

In order to properly fabricate and and construct this final cryptex lock, I plan to utilize SolidWorks to design each individual component. SolidWorks is a great tool as I am able to dimension my parts and construct the lock to a desirable size. However, working in any CAD software takes time and constructing a cryptex lock requires multiple parts. My lock will consist of a key, 4 locking number dials, and an outer cylinder. Although there are only a few components, this design has taken an extensive amount of time due to limiting factors such as tolerances and other critical dimensions. Below you can see my first print iteration for the key and the locking number dials printed in yellow PLA.

I printed these parts in yellow because I didn’t want to use my black PLA until I have everything in the design perfect. The black PLA will help give this cryptex lock the gothic feel. The pictures above were printed this past week however, the number locking dials don’t fit properly on my key. The key is the main component for my lock and therefore, I need to change my tolerances on the locking number dials to properly fit the key. Again, this is why I used yellow PLA instead of black during my design phase of this project.

Moving forward, I need to redesign my number locking dials and print my outer cylinder which encompasses the overall lock. Each number dial has 9 faces with the numbers 0 to 9 and allows me to create a code unique to myself. I haven’t figured out what my code will be yet but I am hoping there is a specific 4 digit code that is unique to the gothic era that I can create for my lock. Once, I do some more research on the gothic era, I believe I will be able to construct a code and print negative space on my number dials that correspond to the correct 4 digit code. Furthermore, once I have figured out my tolerances and other design features I might try to design a symbol into my number dials that again encompasses the gothic era. Pending my time with other classes, I think this addition will even more exemplify my idea for a gothic aesthetic through my cryptex lock.

[1] “Cryptex Puzzles & Locks.” Puzzle Box World,

[2] “ • View Topic – Cryptex Puzzle: Wooden Puzzle Box, Unique Items Products, Wooden Box Diy.” Pinterest,

[3] “335.73US $: Fashion New Style Educational Toys Cryptex Locks Gift Ideas Da Vinci Code Lock to Marry Lover Escape Chamber Props Black: Locks: – AliExpress.”,

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Hunter Meissner
    March 21, 2021 1:35 pm

    This a very interesting project. I like how you decided to use the Gothic aesthetic with your cryptex lock. I think what you are doing with your artifact combined with your aesthetic is great. One recommendation I have to further accent your aesthetic could be add a finish to your final printed pieces. I am excited to see what you come up with.

    • Branden Tangney
      March 22, 2021 9:54 am

      Thank you! I was thinking of potentially trying to incorporate some kind of finish or something similar but I haven’t been able to find one I like. I want to keep this project simplistic and plain as well and a lot of the finishes I have seen stray from the overall vision of the artifact. I will keep looking though as I think it could help depending on what I find!

  • Natalie Jagelski
    March 21, 2021 10:17 am

    This is a cool project! It’s great that you want to go out of your aesthetic comfort zone and make a gothic style lock. Did you consider any other aesthetics earlier on in your design process, or were you set on using the gothic aesthetic from the very beginning? It’s also great, not to mention convenient, to 3D print all of the components. Did you consider any other material options or fabrication processes at any point? It would also be cool to carve the pieces out of wood and paint them, or send the design to a machine shop to be made out of metal. What would a lock have been made out of during the gothic era? It’ll be fun to see the final product!

    • Branden Tangney
      March 22, 2021 10:00 am

      Thank you! At the beginning of the project I was considering any 20th century theme but after my first blog post, I narrowed it down to the gothic aesthetic. I did consider other materials such as wood or aluminum but due to the time constraints on fabricating parts and the need to purchase raw materials I strayed from these thoughts. I had PLA sitting at home and don’t have a purpose for it after graduation, so it made sense to use this material although in the gothic era PLA wasn’t around!


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