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Description Seidenstrasse is a pneumatic tube system made using vacuum cleaners and drainage pipe
Has website
Persons working on
Tags seidenstrasse, pneumatic tube, soc, hoc, heinzelmann, saugbläser
Located at assembly Assembly:Seidenstrasse
Other projects...


Also known as Heinzelmann Operation Center or SOC


Seidenstrasse is a pneumatic tube system built from vacuum cleaners and drainage pipe. You can send capsules through it using one of the stations located at the venue.

The current plan features a star topology of nodes in hall 2 with the central node located at our assembly. To find it, just follow the tube ;)


There are two types of nodes: switching nodes and exit nodes.

Switching nodes are points where multiple pipes arrive and where people feel like performing the switching functions. Feel free to visit us and help us switching packets (you'll find us, just follow the yellow tubes!).

Exit nodes can be at any place in the building and can be used to send and recieve capsules. We'll provide you information howto send capsules at every station.

Numpad Usage

Enter "B" to set the location and then the destination-ID. Enter # to send it to it's destination.

Remember: Routing is currently in debugging it may not work correctly. There can't be two routes at the same time, since it's centraliced to 4 vaccuums.

Destination Node IDs

Destination ID
Seidenstraße / Silkroad.onion 01
TBD 02


Silkroad V6 RC1:

(a.k.a. preliminary dead tree edition)

34c3 Seidenstrasse preliminary map.png

Adressing Scheme

Each exit node is adressed by its switching node designation plus its pipe number. Each switching node handles its pipe numbering as it sees fit. Re-numbering is strongly discouraged, if pipes fail or are shut down, just leave its number dormant.

Naming Convention

The basic adressing scheme consists of the Switch Node Number followed by a : and the Endpoint Pipe Number at this node. e.g. 23: 42 (meaning: switching node No. 23, Endpoint No. 42). A barcode representation of the basic adressing scheme should be developed. Additionally, memorable naming is allowed, at least if the switching node is operated by humans.



If you want to help building the Seidenstrasse, do not hastitate to contact us. Try #seidenstrasse on or our Mailinglist seidenstrasse AT

How to make your own capsule

Everyone who wants to participate can build their own capsules. Please post your pictures, drawings, instructions and experiences here as inspiration for others.

Important: Capsules without light will not be allowed in the system! Attach at least one LED to each capsule, so stuck capsules are visible. No exceptions!

Tube dimensions (verified by measurement): Outside diameter: 100 mm Inside diameter (the tube is corrugated): 90-92mm

Capsule properties (verified by experiment):

min max optimal? comment
Diameter 75mm 90mm 85mm also depends on capsule's sides, if soft, thicker may be better
Length 100mm 220mm 180mm too short might cause it to turn and get stuck, too long will not get around corners. (rounded and narrowed ends can be longer)
Weight -10t 550g 250g large weights need to be tested more on long tubes going up

The ends of the capsule should be round or narrowed, so it can easily glide around bends. Take a look at how commercial capsules look like for inspiration:

Do NOT buy commercial capsules. They won't fit!

A capsule made by cutting a ring out of a 85mm 1.5l PET water bottle and putting the ends back together worked really well in experiments (see picture below).

At the largest diameter a ring of felt or the soft side of velcro should be applied to ease the gliding through the pipes and provide a better airtight seal between tube wall and capsule.

Capsule Ideas: Multicolor glowing capsules, capsules with e-paper displays, encrypted capsules (with puzzles or locks).

3D Files

  • [1] by protofALk
  • [2] by LongHairedHacker

Not fully tested:

  • [4] Nalgene 16oz/500ml bottles. Bring wide Mouth ones without that strap thingy to us, so we can test them. (They are the most expensive ones from all bottles. The cheapest being the 1.5 L PET.)

How to send a capsule

First, write the receiving address on the capsule (optional: return address) or use our address stickers: LINK TBD. Then bring your capsule to the nearest exit node, put your capsule in and call the nearest switching node with the phone provided at the node.


Github: "es saugt und bläst der Heinzelmann."