While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz


While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

Spanish designer Oscar Diaz has proposed a key-cutting concept that allows owners to duplicate lost keys by 3D-printing, without needing an original to copy.

While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

Diaz imagines that keys could be scanned in public places, such as Post Offices, and the data of the key could be stored in a virtual safety box that could be remotely accessed and a duplicate printed.

While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

The design allows keys to be clipped together, stored with existing keys on a key ring or attached directly to accessories such as wristbands when performing activities.

While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

The project is part of the New Simplicity exhibition that asked a selection of designers to explore possible implementations for 3D-printing technologies in the near future.

The exhibition runs until 8 August at 203 Brompton Road, London.

While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

Here's more from Diaz:

While u sleep by Oscar Diaz

‘While you sleep’ was commissioned for ‘New simplicity’ and exhibition about simple design curated by design critic Nuno Coelho. Nine designers were asked to investigate the possibilities of using 3D printing technology as a manufacturing tool in the near future.

My proposal question the traditional key cutting service, and propose a product/service scenario where the use of the 3D printing technology will facilitate the copy and storage of keys as data.

Since 3D data can be managed by parametric software and allow easy customization, the type of head can be chosen, and also the texture or color to differentiate the garage key, from the one for the front door house.

Post Office branches could provide the scanning service, and from the data your key would be made easily. You can then send it by e-mail to the key-printing machine, or store it online on a virtual safety box. If you ever lose you key, it will be ready for you to download and print. Making a key could be as easy as using a photo booth or a cash point.

While You Sleep by Oscar Diaz

The keys head shape has been redesigned so they can be clipped together without using a key ring. Accessories include a wristband and a button where is possible to clip one or two keys.

The system is compatible with existing keys so they can be mixed until the key-clip system fully replace the old keys.

A part from the pieces built with 3d printers, a variety of products which value simple solutions over visual complexity are also exhibited.

The exhibition runs from the 24 July to the 8 August 2010 at 203 Brompton Road, London SW3 1LA. The exhibition is part of the Brompton Design District cultural program.

See also:


Glueline by
Oscar Diaz
RGB Vases – P242 by
Oscar Diaz
Ink Calendar by
Oscar Diaz

Posted on Thursday August 5th 2010 at 5:47 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Xit

    As much as I like the clip together concept, I'm just wondering how comfortable these clipped together keys would be to use ? Holding jagged ends to turn the desired key in the lock could be a bit aggressive on the fingers, but obviously one would have to try it.

  • D

    wouldn’t this make the life of burglars so much more easy ?

  • michelalano

    Very interesting and innovative way to use 3D printing for production. I really like the clip-together feature and the large hole… something I think would be a welcomed addition to current key design.


    It aims to solve an implied problem that doesn't exist, in other words: "duplicating keys is a hassle and this technology makes it easier." Having new keys made is already as easy as a photo booth or cash point — just go to any hardware store. Furthermore, once you digitize any information, it makes it infinitely easier to copy, hack, or steal. Maybe I missed something in the article, but that's my take.

    • Paul

      As easy as stealing a credit card number or bank information. It depends on what kind of security encrypting this service provides. Also, sure, it is easy to just go to the hardware store but with this service you could get them in the mail and save the trip and time.

      The only real problem that I see with this is cost as it would be much higher than regular key duplication.

  • Caesar Tjalbo

    I like the keys clipping together. Given the amount of key rings available I can only speculate where it will go with such a system. Probably ends in a sort of ‘build your own Swiss pocket knife’.

    I can only hope it’s sturdy enough to survive living in pockets and being carried for years. And hope we’ll get one system and not one per manufacturer, incompatible with other manufacturer’s system.

  • Felix

    The clip mechanism doesn't really make sense:

    1. If you're fabricating keys why use two different materials?
    2. The keys aren't reliably attached and could come apart.

    I don't really see what the clip has to do with the main concept of printing keys. And I wasn't aware that we have any printing materials strong enough to take the shape of any key. His scanning idea is bizarre; does he really think customers could just take any key into the post office and have a duplicate printed? Or that they would want to have that data stored (possibly with their name and address!)

  • Neo

    The funny thing is that people worries about keys data, hacked or stolen and then go and pay with their credit card on internet…hahaha.

    Progress shouldn't be stopped by fear.

    • michelalano

      Agreed. Progress shouldn't be stopped by fear. But that's a really broad statement. I'm saying that this design doesn't constitute "progress," nor am I opposed to it out of "fear" but because it is unnecessary. People who use credit cards accept the risk because their benefit outweighs the alternative.

      3D printed keys are not better than keys we have already, therefore there's no reason to accept the risk of decreased security.

      • Neo

        You haven't read properly I'm afraid. He is not proposing a key, or a key holder, but a concept for the near future using the 3D printing as a manufacturing tool.
        Seen just a key is looking too close to it with a too narrow angle.

        Could you not benefit from having your key encrypted as data and download and printing when need it instead of calling the locksmith??

        Can you go to the hardware shop when you have lost your key and ask for a copy??

        • dear reader

          No, you can´t. Thats why most people have at least 2 sets of keys. I keep one in my neighbours flat, in case I lose mine. I could also keep it in a safe somewhere else. There is simply no advantage to making a digital back-up, if you a have a hard-copy stored somewhere else (and that you should have). If I actually lost my key in the middle of the night, then a digital back-up wouldn´t really help, because I would have to wait for the 3d-printer shop to open (especially practical on a weekend). By the way, how often do you guys lose your keys?

  • dear reader

    This is one of the poorest concepts I have ever seen. As a students project, this would probably be a fail.

    As mentioned above, there is no (big) need to simplify the copying process of keys, especially when the solution is a major safety risk and requires massive infrastructure (virtual saftey boxes with thier own security systems). The clipping function may help to organize your keys, however the design and technology proposed isn't suitable.

    It makes no sense at all to show this in a exhibtion called "New Simplicity".

  • michelalano

    Maybe we're being too hard on Oscar Diaz. For what he set out to do, it's an interesting proposal. In criticism of the exhibition: "New Simplicity," designers were basically posed with the problem of "what can we design with 3D printing technology?" which seems to be a totally backward way to go about design.

  • claud

    I'm not sure I understand the criticism, I like the idea that if you lose your keys, then the normal process of cut-copying keys is rendered useless (what without a key to copy?) whereas if you have the digital information, not even in your computer but say, in an encrypted database on the net, then you can have keys cut again with no hassle anywhere you are? __That surely is a good idea on its own leaving aside the design of the clip or the shapes.. So again I don't understand how some people is comparing the 3d printing to normal cutting, they don't compare if you lose your only key! : )

  • ben

    how do you 3d print a brass key? I think CNC milling would be more viable. The clip idea sounds cool, as long as it is sturdy enough. What about one key that fits all your locks, instead of any of this?

    • Paul

      You can 3D print metals nowadays. Look it up.

  • Neo
  • bodkin

    in my experience oscar spends a lot of time inventing solutions that don't work to problems that don't exist. this is just one of many.

    a) the clip would not be strong enough to hold the keys together if it is easy enough to push the keys together in the first place
    b) the concept of someone keeping an electronic copy of your key has got 'unecessary security risk' written all over it
    c) printing of two materials for the key and the clip seems to be a gratuitous waste of materials and over-complication.

    New simplicity this is not, greater complexity it is.

    • Neo

      bodkin, are you one of those that write the pin code at the back of of their credit card?

      Otherwise what risk are you talking about? even if you get the key you still need to find the lock that goes with.

    • Paul

      a) not necessarily; however it might be very hard to take apart if the clip mechanism is done correctly.

      b) again an assumption. It all depends on the security that the company that would provide these services has. Is it easy to steal your bank information from the bank website?

      c) You are again assuming. It doesn’t say that it has two different materials but that it can be different colors.

      Also I think the the point of this product is to explore the possibilities of 3D printing in the future; because make no mistake 3D is going to be THE manufacturing process of the near future.

  • juan

    Wouldn´t be real simplicity to open a door with your finger print?
    Keys are a thing from the past, and future looking designers shouldn´d waste time on designing keys…

  • I keep a little cardboard template of my key at work.
    I did this after I lost my key and couldn't get in to my home.
    When this happened again, I gave it to the locksmith and he made a near perfect copy.

    It was a bit cheaper than the data storage / RP technique.

  • C

    Bodkin, do you have a lot of experience with Oscar then?

  • my name

    Sometimes you like something from the start. This one for example. I like to some. Very nice idea and design.