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Lockpicking

Author: EiNSTeiN_  EiNSTeiN@g3nius.org
Created: Sometime in the past

Tools to pick lock are not cheap and depending on your location in the world they might be difficult to get, or maybe you just want to build your own tools because there is no comercialy available tool that fit your needs. Anyway, I've been there. I wanted the tools and I couldn't buy them, because you know, those things are pricy. So I experimented with a lot of different pieces of metal and I found that some small screwdrivers I had in my toolbox were just perfect.

Some brand new screwdrivers, ready to be turned into picks.
Some brand new screwdrivers, ready to be turned into picks.

But be careful, many 1$-store screwdrivers will not do the thing, they are merely cheap replicas. I manage to differenciate them by the inclinaison of the screwdriver's handle like on the image below. You can see at (1) that the sides of the handle are almost parallel, and at (2) it goes inward at the top. Don't use (1) to make your picks, because if you do, it will bend at the first lock you will try to open with it.

The difference between a cheap screwdriver and a good one.
The difference between a cheap screwdriver and a good one.

I also found out in my experiments that there is nothing like handmade tools. If you use a machine you will most likely take too much metal off your screwdriver, or you might heat it too much and it will bend the first time you use it. I suggest you use metal needle files to make your tools. It is likely to take several hours, but it will make a very nice job.

Needle files will do the work.
Needle files will do the work.

This next step is crucial, you need to use a file and remove the metal aroud the screwdriver until it's a flat rectangular piece of metal like in the picture below instead of round and tubular like an ordinary screwdriver. This is the base material to make your picks.

The blank tools after hard work with your file. Make it sharp.
The blank tools after hard work with your file. Make it sharp.

Now what you need to do is to choose carefully what kind of pick will better suite your needs. If you have experience with lockpicking, you already figured that part out. If not, then I suggest you shape the tip of the screwdriver like a triangle, which is my personal favorite. The picture below shows all the picks I made so far out of screwdrivers. You can see the upward-pointing point at the tip of each tool, this is how the picks should look like in thier finished form.

The tools once they are ready to pick some locks.
The tools once they are ready to pick some locks.

So now that you have picks, you need good torsion tools. I found that by modifying an allen key just a little, it will fit perfectly in the keyway of any lock, and it's still strong enough to support a good tension. I used a needle file again to flatten both sides of the allen key, but at an angle by respect to the direction of the handle of the allen key. The angle should be about 45 degrees when the key rest flat on a table.


How the allen key should look after you are done.
How the allen key should look after you are done.

Obviously, you will need all the sizes if you want to open all the locks. I also suggest you make two of each size, one with a 45 degree angle clockwise and another one with a 45 degree angle counterclockwise. The keyway of locks are not standard, and oftentimes you will find that one tool block the keyway when you apply pressure, and you will be glad you can switch to the opposite angle that will not block the keyway.

Obviously, you might be better off with a bunch of them.
Obviously, you might be better off with a bunch of them.

That's all. Now have fun with your locks!

Abstract Part 1 Part 2

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