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The Vault...a "different" Vault (very different)

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posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:20 AM
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I share this story because I thought this might be something some of you here are interested in. I hope you enjoy.

A few days ago a colleague of mine asked me for some recommendations for buying a safe to store firearms and valuables in (I have a couple of them, hence his questions). I gave him my thoughts and advised him of the real-world considerations. I also gave him some of the practical considerations. He was very appreciative and indicated he’d learned several things he’d never thought about. He asked why I knew so much about safes. I just told him I’d done a fair amount of research before buying, but he pressed on. Okay, well maybe I had a little bit more experience than this, but it was more commercial in nature. … Many years ago I built some bank vaults for some national and international banks and securities companies.

Well, this started off a long conversation on his part about how they work, what they’re made of and so forth. Just out of curiosity I suppose. He asked about one safe he’d seen which was modular in nature, meaning when you bought it the safe was in pieces all stacked on a pallet which was assembled in place. I indicated this was probably a pretty good safe (as safes go) because it made the individual pieces manageable, but the finished product very solid and secure. This is how the big bank vaults are constructed, I’d added. He was fascinated with the process, and I jokingly cautioned him that if he was thinking about breaking into one…think again! These vaults are not what most people expect, and certainly not anything like what people see in the movies. This concept fascinated him even more. I wound up recanting one such experience. The experience is as follows…

The bank vaults we built were similar to the modular components described above. Weight is a deterrent in most consumer grade safes, for obvious reasons. However, safes don't necessarily have to be "heavy" to be secure. In fact, one of the most secure bank vaults we ever built was made of material just over 1 inch thick (yep, you read that right...~1" inch). It was the craziest thing I've ever seen, and it was absolutely impenetrable when complete. I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! You couldn't cut it, you couldn't blast it, you couldn't "lance" it, no abrasive would even touch the stuff...it was amazing. Believe it or not, it wasn't even a solid, more like a semi-rigid liquid. It was, hands-down, some of the nastiest stuff I've ever worked with. If you even touched the material it would cut you to ribbons. It would immediately destroy or foul any tool you tried to use on it. It was fireproof, acid and chemical proof and strong beyond comprehension. To this day I still don't even know exactly what the stuff was (the makeup of the material was highly classified). It was sticky / tacky to the touch and it stunk to high heaven. When complete it was about 20x30 inside.

I remember the night they were going to deliver the safe to the jobsite (the whole thing was cloaked in super secrecy). We were all eagerly awaiting this caravan of GIANT heavy hauler trucks to come and deliver this thing. The whole thing (except for the door) showed up on two simple spread-axle tractor trailers. We were all looking at each other like "That's it???????" All the pieces had to be lifted into place while covered in shrouds so no one could see, and even the whole area around where the vault was built had to have temporary walls built around it so no one could observe what was going on. It took special security clearances to get inside the space and it was guarded 24x7 until complete. The vault door delivery, on the other hand, was a MUCH different story!!!

When they delivered the vault door they spent a week ahead of time getting permits, moving signs and poles out of the medians. They wound up closing down two major freeways. The door was delivered in daylight amid much fanfare. All the local news stations were there. News helicopters were overhead and crowds of people lined the streets to see this thing. To say it was "MAMMOTH" is the understatement of the century! It was absolutely GIGANTIC! It had been delivered via ship from Germany, and then straight from the dock to the site. The truck hauling this thing wasn't just one truck, it was like six giant tractors all connected together (3 in front and 3 in back) with some additional "pusher" tractors to assist with grades and corners. The vault door sat on this highly specialized trailer with about 100 wheels on it which all articulated independently. They'd had crews of surveyors out the week before to paint marks on the pavement where every turn would take place, and where every wheel was supposed to go. This was a MAJOR operation!

A special heavy lift ring crane had to be brought and assembled to lift this thing. The counter-weights alone on this crane were as big as my entire house!! The entire structure of the building had been reinforced to bear the weight of not the vault itself, but rather the door! It was truly massive. I don’t recall the exact dimensions and weight now, but as I recall the door was about 8’ (feet) thick (possibly more). It was so heavy it had to be moved via hydraulics. (On a side note; the bearings in the hinges on the door were so precision engineered you actually could move the door by hand, but it took a couple people to do it).

I remember the whole time it was under construction I couldn’t help but remember a 1980’s movie starring James Caan called “Thief”. (if you’ve never seen the movie, it’s pretty good.) By the time we were done I realized that James Caan’s character would have been no match for this thing. No match at all! They say in the vault industry that “any” vault / safe can be breached…eventually. To this day I try to imagine what would be involved in breaching that one. And about the only thing I can think of would be nuclear weapons! Seriously.

When finished the vault was truly a sight to behold, but the secrets it held behind those walls would be something I would never forget.




posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:33 AM
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If we don't get any answers after reading all that, we will, collectively...well I'll leave the rest to your imagination!



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:35 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I cant even begin to imagine how much that thing cost. Can you say what bank / where? Maybe there is some info or pictures online from the day it was delivered. Thanks for the story!




posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:40 AM
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a reply to: The GUT

Heh, what "answers" would you be looking for???

I'll be glad to tell you what I know...well, some of it anyway.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:42 AM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

For obvious security reasons I can't say the location, but I can say the bank it was originally constructed for was acquired by BoA (go figure).

Guessing when wouldn't be very hard.



edit...oh, and to the best of my knowledge it's still in place.


edit on 4/6/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Hmmm...well damn it BoA has bought a lot of banks! Did it look like this?



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:09 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk

If you even touched the material it would cut you to ribbons.....
....It was sticky / tacky to the touch


how do you know? did you touch it? did it cut you to ribbons? how does a sticky substance cut?

im imagining a tar like substance filled with razor sharp strips of metal, is that about right? if im off base plz correct me.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:14 AM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

Well, sort of. That's not the one, and the hinges were on the other side, but that's the general idea.

The hinge arrangement was a lot different than that one too. I'd like to see the backside of that door to understand how it closes. The hinges on the vault door for the one described above were sort of articulated so the door could get out of its own way when closing. The door would swing around about 120 degrees and then the hinges would extend, so the door could rotate into position for closing. From there, the door closed straight into the opening like a plug (via a combination of angular movement of the hinge coupled with retracting the extension). The whole mechanism was pretty slick and ingenious.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Interesting. Mechanical engineering like this is fascinating. In the picture I posted above, the door is below the floor line. From what I can see the hinges look pretty strait forward but there has to be some way it lifts the door up in order to close.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:25 AM
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a reply to: pryingopen3rdeye

Yes I did touch it (as infrequently as possible, but I did touch it...mostly with thick leather gloves). Heh, yes, I did get cut actually, more than once too. Not to "ribbons", but I was being very careful, and we were all trained on handling the material ahead of time.

It doesn't cut...not at all! There is no way in creation to cut this stuff. Not even an option!

Your imagination isn't far off. It wasn't tar or bitumen like, but it was similar to a semi-rigid epoxy like substance (except epoxy is flammable, this stuff wasn't). And yes, it was impregnated will all manner of razor sharp metallic elements. Imagine a porcupine with long curly razor sharp fur (bad analogy, but best I can think of). Again, I've never seen anything like this stuff before, or (frankly) since.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:27 AM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

There also has to be a way to align the door so it doesn't hit the frame on the way closed. If you look, if the door (in the picture) swung shut just the way it is the leading edge of the door would hit the jamb before the rest of the door was lined up to close.

This is one of the big challenges with vault doors...and why they are such engineering masterpieces.






edit on 4/6/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:41 AM
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originally posted by: FauxMulder
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Interesting. Mechanical engineering like this is fascinating. In the picture I posted above, the door is below the floor line. From what I can see the hinges look pretty strait forward but there has to be some way it lifts the door up in order to close.


Actually, if it's like some other ones I've seen, I think you'll find they actually pick up the floor panels through the entry way before closing the door. So the door closes into a perfectly round opening.

If you look in the picture, you will see no cross-bolt holes in the floor, yet there are cross-bolts on the door. So the floor pretty much has to come up in order to close and latch.

It's just removable panels to facilitate a flat walking surface.

edit...the front half probably slides back and downward under the other section of floor via motorized track mechanism. The back side (the inside) probably just tilts up (similar to a draw bridge), leaving the opening clear for the door to close and latch. No expense is spared on these big vaults, no expense at all. I guess it's understandable when one considers what's inside. (and contrary to most people's imagination, it's not gold, cash or jewels either...these things are all chump change compared to what they really put in them!).


edit on 4/6/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 11:53 AM
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So what's inside these mammoth vaults???? Heh, heh...it would probably surprise just about everyone!

It's not cash, it's not gold and rarely is it even jewels. Nope, the physical contents are worth absolutely zero or very near to it. Most of it is just paper. It's what's on that paper which is PRICELESS!




edit on 4/6/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 04:53 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I.O.U's??



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 05:32 PM
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Super cool.


Thanks for the read.


a reply to: Flyingclaydisk



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 09:49 PM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

is that even a real photograph ?



posted on Apr, 7 2017 @ 12:23 AM
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originally posted by: The GUT
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I.O.U's??


Yeah, pretty much! Great big, gargantuan, dripping, drooling, incomprehensibly large I.O.U's...ones which would bring even GOD himself to his very knees!!!



posted on Apr, 7 2017 @ 05:36 AM
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I never expected to read this when I clicked on it! All of a sudden I want to look at pictures of vaults, ha! Thanks for the very interesting read OP.



posted on Apr, 11 2017 @ 06:41 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

"Safe" Porn. Is that even appropriate? Sorry yall, I had to say it.




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