While you may not have a Walther PPK, a laser watch, or an Aston Martin, you’ve always kind of wanted to be James Bond. We’ve been using a lot of hardware/software combos recently, from Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s to motors, magnets and actuators… and decided to create something in our office to offer a taste of the 00-agent life: A safe that only opens up if you pull a specific book back off the shelf.

iSL Experiment #47: The Bookshelf Safe from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.

The first step in building our custom safe was taking apart the safe’s door and understanding the basic mechanics

We stripped out the standard dial locking mechanism and attached a DC motor to the dial, and used our 3D printer to mount the motor to the safe door.


We then added a small linear actuator to the safe lock so we could unlock and lock the safe. The DC motor and the linear actuator were connected to an Arduino mounted inside of the safe.


Externally, a magnetic switch was attached to a book and the bookshelf. When the book is pulled from the shelf, a signal is sent to the Arduino telling it to unlock the safe.



Stay tuned for our next experiment — we’re just getting started.