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Key-tape disintegrator

KD-100 is a disintegrator for punched paper tapes as used with Teleprinters and some historical cipher machines, such as machines in the mixer-class. The device is manufactured by Applied Magnetics Lab in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) and is also known as the Crypto-Stroyer™.

Cryptographic key tapes are generally used as One-Time Pad (OTP) or One-Time Tape (OTT), which means that they should only be used once and that they should be destroyed immediately after use. Some cipher machines, like the Philips Ecolex 4 are equipped with a small knife that cuts the tape in half immediately after use.

However, from a security point of view this is not sufficient and this is where the KD-100 comes in. It can process paper tape, Polyester-Maylar-Polyester (PMP) and plastic tapes and reduces them to nothing but dust within a few seconds.
KD-100 key tape disintegrator

The unit shown here has a black plastic valve at the left side for connection to an external vacuum cleaner. It was used for high-volume tape processing and was called KD-100-EXTVAC. Earlier versions of the KD-100 used a small internal dust-bag, similar to the ones used in hand vacuum cleaners. The KD-100-EXTVAC could be retrofitted to such older devices. The tape to be destroyed is fed into the device through a small port at the front right.

The KD-100 is approved for use by the US Department of Defence (DoD) [3] and is protected by no less than 12 US Patents, which is probably more that its total number of components ;-) Check out Brooke Clarke's KD-100 page for an overview of the patents and a nice video demonstration.

KD-100 key tape disintegrator KD-100 key tape disintegrator Front view Top view View of the right side Paper feed Exit port Opening the case
KD-100 with open lid KD-100 interior Close-up of the mechanism Another close-up of the mechanism Top view with open lid User Manual Maintenance kit Some Q-tips and grease
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KD-100 key tape disintegrator
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KD-100 key tape disintegrator
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Front view
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Top view
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View of the right side
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Paper feed
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Exit port
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Opening the case
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KD-100 with open lid
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KD-100 interior
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Close-up of the mechanism
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Another close-up of the mechanism
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Top view with open lid
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User Manual
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Maintenance kit
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Some Q-tips and grease

Warning: 110V only
Please note that most KD-100 devices on the market are suitable for connection to 110V AC mains only. They can not be used directly in most European countries where the mains power is between 220 and 240V. Connecting the KD-100 to 220V AC or higher will most certainly destroy the device. A 220/110 transformer should be used instead.

  1. Applied Magnetic Lab, Owner's Manual, Model KD-100, Key Tape Disintegrator
    February 2004.

  2. Applied Magnetic Lab, Owner's & Service Manual Supplement
    19 November 2004.

  3. DoD, Letter of Approval for use of the KD-100
    20 March 2002, see [1, p.20].
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 03 May 2012. Last changed: Sunday, 25 February 2018 - 15:03 CET.
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