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Lockpicking, in some ways, could be considered one of the earliest forms of “hacking.” Just like “real” hacking, it’s not easy to learn, and can be used for illicit purposes if practiced without discretion. If you do want to learn this art, one thing that could be very helpful is a set of progressive locks, or, as creator Sacha De’Angeli defines it, “a set of locks with an increasing number of pins.”

Sacha, “a creative technologist, product designer, and consulting inventor” according to his website, had the locks changed in his house. Rather than waste the old locks, he took out pins on four out of five of them to create locks with 1, 2, 3, 4, and finally a full five pins that are needed to be set correctly to open them. This setup allows someone to gain confidence with the easier (1 or 2 pin) locks, and finally graduate to opening the full five-pin model.

Sacha goes through the steps to build this set on his site, and an abbreviated version of what you need to do can be seen in the gallery below. It doesn’t appear to be as difficult as one might think. Basically one takes a lock apart and removes the pins that aren’t used, then it’s reassembled. Reassembling it without losing any pieces might be the biggest challenge, but if you’re building five, you at least will have spare parts to supplement any lost in the void of your workbench.

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If my memory serves me correctly, the term “hacking” came from people literally hacking telegraph cables into uselessness in the 1800s. I haven’t found a good reference for that though, so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

[via Sacha De’Angeli]