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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
November 21, 2007
Criptex by ~the-metalchemist I am so impressed with the idea, outcome and the skills it took to make this criptex and it's mace, all made by hand - in metal!
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The theme for this project was 'Hidden Meaning.' We were instructed to construct something that had some deeper meaning that could be discovered through the artwork.

I decided on a criptex, a device that is designed to never be opened by anyone who doesn't know the right combination, for the purpose of delivering a message or item that demands secrecy.

This criptex is operated by navigating the maze in and out of the outer protective cylander. I personally designed the maze using a maze generating program online, added a few major changes and added specific points on the maze that will lock-up unless there is just the right amount of pressure in the right place. It took forever to saw out that maze.

So far, no one has been able to make it all the way through the maze except myself, since I memorized the path. Most people in my class cannot get past the first inch of the maze. Only one got about half way before giving up.

*edit #1* FAQ about Criptex:

Q: What are the materials you used? / What is it made of?
A: The Criptex is made of copper with a liver of sulfur patina on it. It is soldered at the seams with silver solder (works well with copper).

Q: How big is it? / What are the dimensions?
A: It stands about 8 inches tall with a diameter of 2 inches.

Q: How does the maze work/move?
A: The maze rotates on the inside of the outer cylinder. There is a thick pin that must be guided through the maze on the inside of the outer cylinder. On the back of that is a little shield that keeps people from cheating and popping the pin out of the maze. The maze takes about a minute or two to get through, if you know the path.

Q: How long did it take to make?
A: Actually, I don't remember entirely. There were a lot of late nights because I had to remake the maze. And the cutting took forever.

Q: Where did you get the idea?
A: Well, I got the name from the DaVinci Code. However, the DaVinci code's Criptex was made of stone and filled with a vinegar vile I think. (couldn't they just freeze the vinegar?) Mine was based more off of ancient contraptions like this: [link] which was an ancient greek/roman cipher. I mixed in another classic puzzle: the Labyrinth instead of a keycode. I wouldn't be surprised if Dan Brown has similar influences.

Q: Do I really know the entire path of that thing?
A: Yes and No. I don't have the entire maze memorized, but I did memorize the correct path through the maze. It is kind off like remembering the right combination to a complicated lock.

Q: Will you be selling them? / can I buy one / can you make one for me?
A: Right now I only have this one criptex. The materials are fairly easy to find in my town. The only problem would be cutting out the maze. If anyone knows how to cut copper like this and quickly I would love to hear it. As soon as I can figure that out, I'll start taking orders. I have no idea on how much a price would be.

Q: How much do you want for this one?
A: I can't say, I'm not even sure I will be selling it.

*edit#2* Due to a few requests I've removed that annoying dA watermark and added the high resolution download image. Check it out to see all the details close up.*
Image details
Image size
3264x2176px 3.19 MB
Shutter Speed
10/600 second
Focal Length
12 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 8, 2007, 1:56:45 AM
© 2007 - 2023 the-metalchemist
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Do you still have the plan/design for this? it is a longshot I know but I really want to get one made!