Tubular Lock Picks
Tubular Lock Picks - The standard lock used on most vending machines and coin operated washing machines today is called the Ace Lock and was originally manufactured by the Chicago Lock Company. The Ace lock (also referred to as the tubular lock) is a higher security pin tumbler lock. The pin tumblers are arranged in a circle and the locks require a different type of key to open them - a tubular key. The key's bitting is disposed radically on its end. Depth and spacing of each cut have to match the arrangement of the pins. There are 2 notches on a tubular key, one on the inside of the key and one on the outer edge. The notches align the key to the lockface. Without these notches the key could enter at any position. The key bittings push the pins back, bringing them to the shear line. When all the pins are aligned, the key is free to turn the plug and attached cam. The pins within an Ace lock are very traditional in construction, with the exception of the bottom pin. A ball bearing is squeezed between the pin and its driver. The ball bearing reduces friction and extends pin life. The pin cannot be switched with others in the lock.
In absence of a tubular key, the lock must be picked or drilled out. A lockout can be very troublesome. Normal Ace locks, those that don't have ball bearings, can be drilled out with a piloted hole saw or tubular key lock saw. For those that want to preserve the original lock and don't have the key, purchasing a tubular pick is an option. It takes practice and a lot of patience to learn how to use the tubular pick properly. The basic instructions for using the SouthOrd Tubular lock picks are as follows:
How to Pick a Tubular Lock
- Be sure that the lock is clean and all the tumblers are free.
- Slide the picking needles back and forth several times to ensure that they move freely.
- Push the picking needles slightly beyond the end of the pick. Press the end onto a hard, flat surface to line the needles with the end of the pick. The collar and "O" rings allow adjustment of the tension that is applied to the picking needles. Tighten the collar to increase tension-loosen the collar to decrease tension.
- Insert the pick into the lock as far as it will go. Do not apply torque to the pick at this time. Inserting the pick into the lock raises all the pins in the lock to their individual shear lines.
- Withdraw the pick a few thousandths of an inch at a time. This allows the pins to move towards the shear line. At the same time, apply tension by torquing the pick left or right. This forces the fingers back until the pins reach the shear line. Once all the pins are trapped at the shear line, the lock is compromised.
- Once the lock has been picked, carefully remove the pick and tighten the collar to prevent any movement of the picking needles. You may then use your decoder to measure the depths of the needles and cut a key for the lock.
Tips for Tubular Lock Picking
- Do not apply excessive force when torquing the lock.
- Be certain that the pick is perpendicular to the lock at all times. If you find that the pick has moved off perpendicular, remove the pick and begin the picking process over again.
- Clean the tube, picking needles, and grooves regularly to ensure smooth movement of the needles.
- Do not overtighten te set screw which holds the collar. The screw should be set firmly, but the inner sleeve of the collar should be somewhat free-floating..
- Practice, practice, practice!