Introduction: How to Make a Manual Pickgun - Wiper Insert
This instructable will walk you through the creation of your very own manual pick gun.
A pick gun (in this case a snap gun to be specific) is a tool locksmiths occasionally use in lieu of picking. It's thought that these tools helped those incapable of picking, but really they prove useful, even to the experienced picker. The tool works by bouncing all the pins above the shear line while you apply tension via tension wrench. The goal, as in all tumbler picking, is to get all the lock pins above the shear line at once. This tools sometimes expedites hat by bouncing them all in a bit of a random fashion. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's a good idea to find and read the MIT guide to lockpicking.
This particular tool is created using a windshield wiper blade insert. There are plenty of designs floating around the internet, usually using a coat hanger. I just happen to have a surplus of these wiper blade inserts.
Whatever medium you use, it's probably best I tell you that this is not my original idea. I just wanted to share it. Being my first instructable, I expect errors in grammar, punctuation and such. I'll probably even give some false information. I only ask that you take it easy on me when informing me of such mistakes.
Also - NEVER PICK A LOCK YOU DON'T HAVE A RIGHT TO!
Step 1: Basic Design.
I made these two without a precise design, and they worked out anyhow. I recommend you at least have a good mental image of the finished product. I didn't think to document the first one, so I recorded the steps for #2.
#1 (green background) has a shorter throw
#2 (wood background) has a longer, curved throw, theoretically giving more of a snap.
The only tools you'll *need* are a pair of pliers and/or vice grips and a Dremel or similar grinding tool.
For this tool, it's ideal to use one of the longer wiper inserts (if nothing else, just to have extra material). 20 or 22 inches will do nicely. For anyone wondering, these wiper inserts are the two metal strips found in almost all windshield wiper blades. Save them when you change your wipers, or maybe go scavenge some from the auto parts store's rubbish bins. Sometimes, those guys will collect these for you, if you're nice.
I also use these to make my tension wrenches, since I go through them so frequently (made an instructable for them - see it here).
So, let's get down to it.
I'll be using three different types of bending techniques with this instructable:
The bend - usually 90 degrees. Made by holding the piece with one set of pliers and bending against those pliers with your hand.
The twist - always 90 degrees. Use two sets of pliers, holding the flats of the piece, and twist away from one-another.
The curve - much tricker. Hold the non-flat sides of the piece with two sets of vice grips (pliers would theoretically work), and curve gingerly - so as to not break it along the curve.
One last note - I didn't actually measure anything. I think the best way to go about this is to do what looks or feels right to you.
Step 2: Pending for a Bending.
The very first bend should be the loop. Just bend it around something round. I used a jeweler's ring sizer. Obviously, not everyone has one of these, but use what you got. That is, after all, the main idea behind this instructable.
This loop should be approximately 8 inches or so from the side you intend to be the pick end. One full turn is enough, don't get fancy.
Step 3: The Right Stuff.
Right angle, that is. Using a pair of pliers, bend a 90-degree angle in the metal somewhere around 3/4 the length of the pick side. In other words, if you made the pick end 8 inches from the loop, make this bend at about 6 or so. Again, these measurements won't be exact. Use what looks good.
Step 4: Do the Twist
Use your vice grips and/or pliers to give a couple twists. The pick end twist should be close to the loop. The snapper end should be near the 90 degree bend. I'll explain all those black lines in a bit.
Step 5: Measure It Up
This was the first time I pulled out a ruler. It proved useful, though I eventually flubbed it up anyhow. Actually , I didn't even use the ruler for measurements so much as ensuring I would get an even, squared end. This helps ensure a good, sharp snap. Bend in a box toward the loop. In other words, the end coming from the loop will be off-center - bend the box in the direction to compensate for this.
Also, for this example, I had to put a couple curves in the box to make it snap-to at the right spot, and at a flat angle. This proves tricky, unless you have some vice grips (and some patience), but it can be done. Just grip the metal on the non-flat sides and bend just like any other bend - just more gradual.
Also,put a twist in the last end, just further along than the twist in the other side of the box. Hopefully, the pictures will help. Use that twist to bend the end around itself and clip off the excess.
Step 6: Pick in a Box
That's right - put your pick in that box. You're done - sort of. You can take this time to grind the pick end down a bit. You'll probably want it smaller in width and height, but the length should be fine. I even added a pick end to the underside. May as well make it useful.
Step 7: Go Try It Out.
To use it, hold your thumb on the flat end while gripping the pick side. If you made the loop big enough, you can even stick a finger in there to get a better grip. Push down with your thumb. Slide your thumb off and let it snap back up. Don't forget your tension wrench (not shown in the photos - only one hand here). I usually try about 8-10 snaps, reset the pins, and repeat.
One could easily create an entire instructable on using this device to the best of its ability, but that's for someone else - not me. Rest assured, it does indeed work, better on some locks than others, once you get used to its use.
As ever - NEVER PICK A LOCK THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A RIGHT TO!