Da Vinci Code Cryptex – Getting things right

Valor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've been working on a 3D digital model of the "cryptex" from the movie "The Da Vinci Code". My goal was to try to get as close as I can to the screen-used dimensions and functionality. There's a beautiful replica made by Nobel. But when you compare it to the screen used prop, there's a number of things they got wrong.

Finding reliable reference shots of the REAL crypto was tough. While a dozen or so of these were made for production, they don't seem to be hitting auctions very often. And there's some fakes out there. I was able to get screen grabs from a behind the scenes video of the prop master showing off the cryptex. I was also able to find a couple images on Getty showing a blonde woman holding and opening the cryptex from an auction site.

The cryptex is generally agreed upon to be 6" long. From this I was able to extrapolate a number of dimensions.

In that same video, they also pan by a blueprint of each of the stacked shapes that make up the complex assemblies at each end of the body. This allowed me to build this entire system out accurately.

So, what did Nobel get wrong? A few things:
  • The "inner tube" that slides out is MUCH smaller diameter than the Nobel.
  • The "key" portion of the inner tube only has two tabs on it. So the screen-used prop only locked on the last two letters. Which makes sense for a screen prop. Tom Hanks only had to line up the last two letters,
  • When the Nobel cryptex opens, it takes a larger portion of the body with it, including the end ring with the engravings. The real cryptex only had the end ring attached when it opened.
Here's a sampling of the reference images I've assembled to get this right:

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McFlyte

Member
Love the CAD work! Looks really impressive.

What are your plans to build your own? Machining, 3D printing, etc?
 

Valor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Alright, Think I'm done here ... After modeling the entire thing in 3D I began printing each piece on my 3D printer. I found an amazing metallic filament for the printer so what you're seeing here is essentially what came off my printer with no paint. The 27 piece kit was them assembled and the whole things was weathered to show it's age. Oh, and if you know the code, you can open it up to find a vial info vinegar wrapped with the screen-accurate papyrus note revealing the secret.
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Treeman

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That really looks spectacular! And I must point out that I am one of those 3D printed item haters. Most 3D prints are just bad, but yours is a real work of art, that works on so many levels. Thanks for sharing.
 

Valor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks, I'm a bit of a self-loathing 3D printer. I love the new abilities it brings me, but I want to make sure I'm not just printing off badly made replicas. Its really about understanding what the machine does best, and what needs to be hand-made. With this, it was also sharpening my 3D modeling skills. So, learning all around, which is kind of the point of all of this :)
 

JoeG

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This looks really cool! The cryptex is something Ive always wanted to add to my collection.
 
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