How to make a lock picking set with spare scraps of metal



Lock picking is a very useful skill when you are trying to open up a gate, a door, or a secret passageway. And the tools needed for the task can be found nearby, eliminating the need to purchase a set online.

First things first. You will need to know how a key works. Image

If you look on your key ring, you will notice that each key has ridges on it. This allows the key to fit perfectly inside the lock aligning the pins within to a level position. Once the pins are correctly placed, the lock mechanism can then be turned. If any of the pins are not aligned properly, then the lock will not open. This is why putting in a different key doesn’t unlock the lock because the ridges aren’t correctly positioned with the pins inside.


Now that you understand how a lock works, you can begin to gather the materials needed to fashion together a lock picking set. A good place to look is on the streets, specifically on the roads that have regular street sweeping. There you should be able to find broken off bristles. Typically you can tell that you have the right item by seeing how beat up the metal is. This is because of how much wear-and-tear the machines usually go through when scraping trash off the asphalt streets.


If you aren’t able to locate one of the street bristles, then you can use blued steel metal tape usually found at a local hardware store. Spring steel materials are also good. It doesn’t quite matter where the metal is coming from, as long as it is somewhat strong and thin enough to fit inside a lock.


After you got the material, the next step is to grind the metal down to the right shape and size. A nice tool to use is a simple bench grinder that can be found in hardware shops, warehouses, and possible even in your garage at home.


Get the grinder and put a bucket of water nearby. Put on safety glasses and don’t wear gloves (very important! You don’t want the glove material to get caught in the grinder. It’s better to get a small burn than to lose a finger). Start up the grinder. Then, position the metal and begin to shape the metal like the picks in the photo above. The goal is to create something with a finger-like tip that will go all the way to the back of the lock to push the pins down. Every second or so of grinding, dip the metal into the water to cool it down.


The intended products are shown above. As you can see, you need two different types of metal tools. The item with the red tape on it is called a finger or a hook. This is the one that pushes the pins down. The other metal bar is the tension or turning wrench.

To make the tension wrench, just take a straight piece of metal and heat it up using a blow torch or an oven at the end where you want to make the bend. Use some pliers to hold the metal because it will get very hot. Then take another set of pliers and bend the metal when the material is glowing red.Image

Once complete, you will be able to test the set. Just take the tension wrench and put it in the middle of the lock placing your thumb or index finger on the metal pushing it up slightly with a small amount of force. Then position the finger into the lock with the point facing down. Push down a pin and turn the wrench. Move the finger to the next pin and repeat the process. When all of the pins are down, the lock will open. If you don’t turn the wrench through at the same time as the pin, then the lock will reset.


It really takes some time figuring out how to explore the lock. It might get frustrating for a while, but the reward once you actually open the lock is worth the effort. You will be surprised at how good it feels the first time you do it.


After opening up one, try as many other locks you can find. Just don’t be breaking into places where you aren’t supposed to be there. Test your skills on your own locks, not other peoples’.

Article written by @hackertrips

About Matt Terndrup

I'm a virtual reality, wearables, and technology art journalist who focuses on emerging trends in the maker, hacker, and inventor cultures. I like to travel around from place to place researching what is being made.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Turning Street Sweeper Bristles into Lock Picking Tools…For Science!

  2. Pingback: Turning Street Sweeper Bristles into Lock Picking Tools…For Science! - Tech key | Techzone | Tech data

  3. Pingback: Turning Street Sweeper Bristles into Lock Picking Tools…For Science! | Ad Pub

  4. Pingback: Turning Street Sweeper Bristles into Lock Picking Tools…For Science! | Hack The Planet

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