Long time lurker, occasional poster here.
As usual I have a query. I'm trying to build an external box to that
my postie can put parcels in. I work nights you see so I'm usually
asleep when the parcel guy shows up.
At the the moment I have constructed a small suitable wooden box which
will be attached to the wall. It has a slant lid on a piano hinge and
is looking alright. The trouble is I can't think of a way of securing
the packages that wouldn't involve giving Royal Mail a key. I was
thinking of a means so that the postie puts parcel in box, closes lid,
pulls a lever which would lock the box and it would require a key to
open. After the lever has been used it would be useless for unlocking
and would require the keyholder to reset. I'm sure there must be
something like this on the market or something that could be knocked
up in a weekend, but I can't seem to get my head round the intricacies
of it all. (I blame the night shift.)
Any ideas or links to products on the market? I'm UK based, so any
products, I'd prefer to have them based here please.
The traditional solution is a "magic box". The lid possesses a tray and
baffles which receive the package and dump it into the box when closed. The
baffles block all entry into the box when the lid is open, and the lid
blocks entry when it is closed. There are no "mechanisms" except for the
one moving lid/baffle arrangement.
Look closely at a street-side letter drop box for clues on how to construct
a magic box. It's dead-simple.
Just a simple idea: If it doesn't need to be big, how about some
variation of the simple public mail box method. Arrange some internal
spring loaded flapper that only pushes downward and key a door below.
A house-door type lock, of the "spring-latch" rather than deadbolt
variety. You leave it unlocked, you hope you can convince the postie to
be nice enough to spring the latch and close the door when packages are
delivered, and then you hope the package thieves are not overly
determined. A lip covering the seam between door and jamb will help with
the classic "credit card attack" on cheap spring locks.
What we do around here is just put a box (or boxes) securely attached to the
porch. They have a padlock and hasp on each. Delivery person puts the
package in the box, closes lid and locks it. We get home, unlock the box
and remove package. Simple.
I think the letter drop box is probably the simplest method, although
it will be more than twice as large as other solutions, since the
tilting carrier must be large enough for largest expected parcel, plus
storage must be large enough for largest expected group of parcels.
Somehow I had gotten the idea that the mother country was a bit more
civilized than the former colonials...
I live in a 1970's vintage neighborhood. We've been here a little
over two years and have never had anything "go missing".
The US Postal Service leaves parcels either by the garage doors or on
the front porch. FedEx Ground uses the garage door location; FedEx
Express uses the front porch. UPS uses the front porch.
No, it's not a small town in middle America or a gated community with
guards at the entrances - it's an unincorporated area just west of
Atlanta, GA. Public transportation, two supermarkets, pharmacy,
sandwich shop, mexican restaurant, cafeteria, dry cleaners, bank and
more all within 1/2 mile. Lowes and HD are about 2 miles (across the
road from each other). If the location sounds good, there's a house
for sale across the street (brick, about 2400 sq. ft, garage,
basement, ballpark price $200000). If you're interested, better jump
on the opportunity - at most one house in the neighborhood goes on the
market each year.
Many thanks for the replies.
Firstly to the subject of the civilised state of the "mother nation".
Very civilised around here too and my general little slice of England
is safe. It's generally hidden from view from everyday foot traffic.
The box is there now to keep the weather off, the lock which I aim to
add is to keep a very vindictive ex-partner from destroying or
stealing my packages which I know she has been doing because I caught
her at it one morning.
Now as to the ideas for securing the parcels.
The magic box is a nice idea but the box would need to be rebuilt and
I wouldn't be able to make the box big enough to accommodate the
Had a couple of DOH!!! moments at some of the ideas. The simplicity of
Padlock lock and hasp. Simple, efficient and cheap to fix.
A Yale "spring latch" is again genius.
Wonderful ideas. Keep them coming.
PS. Thought how to make a magic box work for my situation while I've
sat here, it's if I can scale it down though.
Drop box, hasp and unlocked padlock - simple and effective.
That, and a small video camera hidden up out of reach or inside a
window that covers the box area, set as a webcam to your computer
inside the house.
Set the software to capture and timestamp an image whenever anything
moves, and to send an IM or E-Mail alert to your cellphone when
tripped with an image capture. You'll get a false alarm when the
postman delivers that will tell you when the package arrived, but the
next alert will be the real one.
(Audio might be a nice thing to grab too, if that won't cause legal
problems. If said person talks to themselves while committing the
acts of burglary and trespass you might get insight into motives.)
Hopefully you have serviceable laws over there about tampering with
the mail, criminal trespass, petty theft or grand theft depending on
the value of the items, etc...
--<< Bruce >>--
Thu, May 10, 2007, 4:14am (EDT-3) firstname.lastname@example.org (TrailRat)
<snip> Any ideas or links to products on the market? I'm UK based, so
any products, I'd prefer to have them based here please.
I'd say contact the delivery people, they may have some rules on
the type of box. Here in the U.S. the post office has certain standards
that have to be met - height of box, distance from the road, and
whatall. So they could have some rules on the size of the box, and so
on. Or, tey might even have some recommendations. Who knows, they
might even have an alternate solution that'll save the cost of making or
buying alogether. Never hurts to ask.
What is life without challenge and a constant stream of new
- Peter Egan
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