3d Printed Handcuff Keys Challenge Assumed Security

3d printing handcuff key

German hacker and security consultant who goes by the name “Ray” demonstrated Friday at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York a 3d printed & laser cut keys that open high security handcuffs. He was able to open handcuffs built by the German firm Bonowi and the English manufacturer Chubb who both use a single key design for their products. Although the keys are purportedly harder to come by than more standard cuffs & not commercially available, Ray says he bought a Chubb key from eBay, and obtained the rarer Bonowi key through an unnamed source. He reverse engineered the keys & built CAD models that he then cut in plexiglass with a laser cutter and printed in ABS plastic with a Repman 3D printer.

Ray, says his goal isn’t to reduce security but to expose the vulnerability. He states, that his tools are already available to criminals along with the rest of the public.  ”If someone is planning a prison or court escape, he can do it without our help.” says Ray. He says he won’t  post CAD models online, given that those keys are harder to obtain and providing models for their reproduction could in fact reduce their real-world security. But their availability should serve as a wake-up call. The cuffs’ applications include restraints for airplane passengers & plastic keys can easily be carried through airport security.  ”People who have a high value goal don’t mind the cost of using a higher cost method. Someone with a higher criminal goal doesn’t care if it takes one dollar or one hundred dollars to make this key” he says.  ”Lock security was broken before. I’ve just made it easier.”

I submit that the zip tie style thumb cuffs are just as effective & cheaper than the old-timey metal ones particularly now that the keys are so easily reproduceable. Hey, you could print the zip ties too! 


  1. Chris J

    If he HAD posted the models, he’d be a typical hacker hypocrite. But since he didn’t, I believe that he really did this to expose the vulnerability.

    As with any new technology, it creates new ways to commit crimes.

    Shapeways’ new slogan- “Print your own get out of jail free card with Shapeways!”. :P

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