3D printers have been able to print some pretty incredible things for us, and now someone has successfully used one to produce replica keys for opening high-end handcuffs. Demonstrated at a Hackers on Planet Earth conference last week, cheap plastic keys produced with a 3D printer and laser cutter were able to open handcuffs to German maker Bonowi and British maker Chubb, both of which limit the distribution of keys to law enforcement agencies.
Ray, the security guard consultant who successfully created the key replicas, said that he took accurate measurement of a few original keys that he bought from eBay and then created CAD models before producing exact copies out of plexiglass and plastic. He admitted that he would upload some of the files to Thingiverse to demonstrate the challenges police departments now face with handcuff vulnerabilities.
Although 3D printers and large and expensive machines costing tens of thousands of dollars, all of which can return inaccurate copies of things, Ray noted that there is still a real possibility for anyone to plan an escape from court or prison without anybody else’s help. "Police need to know that every new handcuff they buy has a key that can be reproduced," Ray said. "Until every handcuff has a different key, they can be copied."