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Hi, it's Matthias here (I built the lock). Got any questions for me?



No questions, just a thanks for making your videos. You're on my short list of regular 'YouTubers', despite the fact that I have zero woodworking experience, and don't have any plans to change that...

I really enjoy watching your approach to design and problem solving (and obviously your precision and craftsmanship).


Just checked out both the lock and your scaffold video. Amazing projects.

I don't have any real wood working skills (though I hacked together some window boxes out of a wooden pallet last month). Every time I see a project like this posted I get really inspired and wish I spent more of my life learning this craft.

How would you recommend a complete amateur get started?


I get asked that not infrequently. So I wrote about it a while back :)

http://woodgears.ca/beginner


Amazing, thanks - looks like a great resource. The only power tools I have are a drill and a jigsaw, so it looks like I was on the right track :)

Edit I could watch these videos all day. So much interesting content - and very much in the spirit of this website (Hacker News). For example, this clip of deconstructing and hacking the doweling jig is brilliant. https://youtu.be/jFPLFyxkhzc?t=2m51s


I was pretty impressed with the circular saw lap joint, myself.


Hey you have a typo on your webpage: http://woodgears.ca/

"Send me email: (Frequencly asked questions)"

By the way is this your full time job? I imagine making one high quality article a week is pretty intense. The stuff you do is very cool!

(just curious since you seem to have a software background and I am interested to know how you managed to transition to doing a hobby full time =P)


It wasn't really by plan. I quit my job at Blackberry (then called "Research in Motion" and decided not to work for a while. The website was good to spend time on, and it just grew from there.

Looks like I answered too many comments, cause hacker news is telling me to slow down. Oh well. No more answers!


> hacker news is telling me to slow down.

Sorry about that! There is a rate limit on brand new accounts because of past activity by spammers and trolls. Unfortunately, it also applies to really excellent brand new accounts like yours.

We marked your account legit so this won't happen to it again. Please answer as much as you like.


please fix the typo!


oops, fixed it but went to bed before pushing the change to the server (using GIT)


big fan here, when I first discovered your youtube channel I spent the entire afternoon watching all the videos, back to where you guys destroying a blackberry phone!


Very fun. Is there any reason the basic design can't extend to more than 3 numbers?


You could go to more numbers. Though it gets awkward to dial, and cumulative precision become an issue.


It seems like you could, but it would make the opening process more complicated, because you'd have to rotate a revolution for each additional rotor for all the rotors to catch.


Fantastic video. It helped me understand how a combination lock works. I also have to wonder if there's any entropy analysis on the click to close to reset the lock. Seems like you can get at least some information on more likely combinations from the final position and some assumptions about how far the pegs rotate back.

Have you considered making a big-ish "regular" lock with a big wooden key (even though you'd need springs, not sure if you want 100% wood)? I think it would be a pretty valuable tool for learning how to properly lockpick (with wooden tools) :)


Hi Matthias, could you describe how your website is built? It looks like static HTML files built from a WYSIWYG editor.

Also could you describe how your website analytics work? I see you're using a 1px gif to log requests. I guess this just logs to a file. How do you find out when you get a surge of traffic like from Hacker News?


I write HTML using a text editor. The 1x1 gifs help count pages, because bots tend not to fetch them. Though I don't monitor traffic that closely.


This was fantastic. I never knew how combination locks worked before, and there couldn't be a better explanation than your model and video. Really well done!


Did you do any writing on woodworking safety?


Safety, like security, or religion, unfortunately, is exempt from rational analysis. Which is to say, nothing good will become from writing about safety. I don't want to get into a religious discussion.


How is that? Are you saying that the current discussion on woodworking safety is muddled and based on belief more than facts, or that ANY evaluation of safety is doomed to be irrational? Because I disagree with the latter (I don't know about the former)


It becomes an arms race of safety. Are goggles enough? Shouldn't you make a robotic arm with remote camera and operate from a safe 100 ft distance behind a blast shield? (Cue Mythbusters) .

So nothing good comes of it, only an endless discussion of where the blurry line is drawn.

TL;DR - be safe. You should know what that means.


I think the idea is that there is a theoretical graph where the X axis is "effort to act safely" and the Y axis is "chance of an accident" and it's shaped like a crooked L and although it plateaus, it starts out at a steep angle. So there is some point in there where a certain amount of observational safety is optimal.


Did you consider adding a reset button to the mechanical counter or would it be too hard to push down at this scale?


It would be too hard to do, add too much complexity.


Have you ever considered using a laser cutter, CNC, or the like?


Yes, certainly thought about it. But for most of what I do, a consumer grade CNC wouldn't be able to do it. And for most of the cuts that a CNC could do, I can cut it much faster by hand. Yes, in theory, I don't have to be there while the CNC runs, but in practice, if I can cut it 10x faster by hand, that doesn't matter.


In theory YOU don't have to be there when it runs, but in practice I own a 75w laser cutter, a CNC mill, and a 100amp plasma cutter and I would be happy to provide parts to you free, for science.

And also so that my kids think I am cool because Dad knows someone famous on YouTube. Because that is what it takes to impress 11 year olds these days.


That's one heck of a shop you have.


The pantorouter[1] is sort of an 'analog CNC'.

[1]: http://woodgears.ca/pantorouter/


This project just blew me away. In fact, a lot of the projects on woodgears opened my mind to how far you can go in a wood shop. Really inspiring!


Exactly. For some joinery, a CNC would be handy. But with the pantorouter, I can cut just about any joint a CNC can cut, but without a computer.




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