Posted on September 28, 2014
As a kid I took a lot of things apart to see how they worked: clocks, radios, motors, various mechanized toys. Usually they didn’t get put back together again, but most of the time they were castoffs anyway so that there was no loss and plenty of gain for me in the form of learning how things worked. One device I never did take apart was a combination lock, mostly because locks are designed to be difficult to disassemble, for obvious reasons. Hence, I’ve never educated myself as to exactly how a combination lock operates. Until now.
Recently I paid a visit to Matthias Wandel’s woodworking site on the web. I discovered this site back when I was building Mindport’s pipe organ, and found a number of useful ideas that I incorporated into my instrument. It’s a good place to look for exhibit ideas, not to speak of a large collection of esoteric woodworking wisdom. Upon looking through the various wooden gadgets that Wandel has designed, I ran across plans for an operating combination lock mechanism, all fabricated from wood. For $7 I downloaded these plans and built my own version, which you can now explore at Mindport.