Introduction: Make Lock Picks (with Optional Handles)

Picture of Make Lock Picks (with Optional Handles)

This instructable will show you how to make high quality reusable lock picks (what makes it high quality is the steel used which contains a very small amount of impurities). These lock picks will be able to pick locks (duh) and will open most locks if you have a little bit of skill. It is unlikely that they will break and they are fairly durable and flexible but not as good as bought lock picks. This tutorial will not cover how to pick locks.

Do not use this on locks that
1. You do not own
2. Are in use (ex. Locks on your doors)
3. Rusted shut locks (might break the picks)

Owning or using lock picks can be illegal in some states or countries, please check your local laws before using this instructsable. also, if they are legal do not carry these around (especially if you're thinking about committing a crime), if you are arrested by the police for any reason and they find lock picks on you, your crime will most likely jump to a felony for criminal intentions.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Picture of Gather the Materials

*Spring steel - This can be taken from the metal inserts from windshield wipers in cars. Just take the long wiper and peel away the rubber and more than enough spring steel will come out. Most cars have them and if you plan on buying them, it's around $15 but make sure it says metal. Some cheap ones contain plastic and they will not work. I've made this mistake before.
*Vice or pliers - used to shape the tension wrench
*3D Printer (optional) - this is to print the optional handles
*A propane torch (optional) - This is the bend the spring steel into shape but if you have a vice you should be about toe achieve the same result
*Bench grinder (optional) - This can be used to better shape the steel
*Super glue - needed if you are going to make the handles. Used to glue the spring steel and the handles together
*Sand paper (optional) - used to sand off the color change from the heat when using the torch.
*Metal File (recommended) - used to shape the steel

Step 2: The Tension Wrench

Picture of The Tension Wrench

Use a vice or pliers to snap off a small piece of spring steel from your rod. It should be around 10cm long but any size above 8cm will do.
Use your vice to put a 1-2cm bend at 90°.

Step 3: Shaping the Pick

Picture of Shaping the Pick

Use a torch (if you have one) to heat up and bend a small hook at the end of a different piece of spring steel. If you're going to make handles, make the piece of spring steel around 8cm. If not it should be around 15cm long.

Step 4: Fixing the Pick (recommend)

Picture of Fixing the Pick (recommend)

Using a bench grinder or a set of metal files, make a better shape out of the pick much like the one in the picture.
You can also use sand paper to make the pick look cleaner but that's purely for looks

Step 5: The Handles (optional)

Picture of The Handles (optional)

Please make sure the spring steel you had just shaped in the previous steps is not longer than 8cm.
Using a 3D printer, print out your handles. Rafts or support material is not required and makes it harder if you include them.
Put some super glue or any other strong and light glued onto the other end of the pick, the one without the flick at the end. Then put that pick into the handle end with the space in between. Wait for the glue to set

Download the handle 3D models at:

Step 6: Pick the Locks

Picture of Pick the Locks

Learn to pick locks. I recommend watching a YouTuber called BosnianBill, or watching the tutorial on picking locks from NightHawkInLight or read the many tutorials of lock picking on Instructables. Make sure the pick doesn't break and you need both the tension wrench and the actual pick to open a lock without keys





mr.ante.sepulveda made it! (author)2016-08-06

Great instructable. I bought a Dremel 9901 (Tungsten carbide cutter) and used that to shape it, instead of using a torch to bend the pick. Then finished off with some grinding and polishing. The Tungsten cutter is the best accessory to have for your multitool (though I have a dremel knockoff, using their accessories makes a big difference).
For the grip I just used some shrink tube.

Generally, #2 is not directed at thieves, it's towards us. Don't pick locks you use (like your front door, not unless you forgot the key). Pins can get stuck and can break, if it does you need to fix it before you can lock your door.

prolocksmithsydney (author)2016-06-16


aclark49 (author)2016-04-27

hey just curious, could the handles be wooden? If so could you give a quick template for them that is near the same as the plastic ones? PS just made a set minus the handles they are awesome :-)

aclark49 (author)aclark492016-04-27

or at least give the rough dimensions for the ones you made?

Gorilla22 (author)2016-04-06

Do not use this on locks that

1. You do not own
2. Are in use (ex. Locks on your doors)
3. Rusted shut locks (might break the picks)

Now look at the picture right above it and think, why did he say #2?

haycurt (author)Gorilla222016-04-06

The door wasn't actually being picked, I just used it for a photo and took out the picks afterwards.

Gorilla22 (author)haycurt2016-04-06

Well, that makes me feel better.

mcarew2 (author)2016-02-05

besides people bashing this instructable (even though it is quite illegal) how about thinking using this constructively like say you accidentally locked yourself out of your house

haycurt (author)mcarew22016-02-07

Well I stated before not to use this on lock you dont own so it isn't illegal, and unless you're pretty good at lock picking it isn't a good idea to use this on any lock in use

Nyxius (author)2015-11-27

A thief that waits for a lock to be picked is a thief that is risking exposure. A can of propellant and a flat wrench will break and open a tumbler faster than picking a lock. And it works everywhere you find brass pins (which is most places). Security is just an illusion designed to keep opportunistic people from having first thoughts. Most home security is pitiful. These kinds of videos are a sort of public service because it helps inform people as to what their security actually does. I personally prefer shot bolts and electronic actuators because there is no way to mechanically crack it besides actually breaking down the door. My next house I'm building from scratch and the doors will be better.

2yz4cory (author)2015-11-19

As if criminals are going to pay attention to rules and regulations and you saying if the locks do not belong to you (them) don't attempt. Can I come to you for liability?

RogerD5 (author)2yz4cory2015-11-21

Just to add to haycurts response, do you really think that a smally sneak thief could A) afford the stuff and B) doesnt have a better one, and C) would even bother picking the lock? No offense, but the question is rather childish, considering the fact that you would think that criminals would get in a house with these lockpicks. For one thing, if they have a 3D Printer, why on earth would they need to get in a house?

haycurt (author)2yz4cory2015-11-19

not sure if you realised but lock picking isn't the only way to break into a house. And you would need quite a lot of skill to open a lock without taking a long time. And most importantly in most countries (not all) you can simply buy way better lock picks online. I thought I might as well include some rules for these lock picks so I'm not responsible for the stupid things people can do with them, it's better than me saying "Here's how to make lock picks, there are no rules for them. So go ahead and break into anyone's house."

TimothyJ999 (author)2015-11-19

Another option for the handles is to use Thermomorph or similar heat-moldable plastic pellets (Instamorph is another). You heat them in hot water until they go transparent; then you can mold or shape them (by hand or by making an actual mold from another handle). When the plastic cools it's hard and very strong. Amazon and Ebay both carry Thermomorph and Instamorph.

You could also make them from epoxy putty or Bondo.

Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-19

Hmmm, For all of the times that I robbed houses, I didn't use this strategy :)

NathanT13 (author)2015-11-19

It should be stated that even OWNING lock picks in certain States/Provinces is illegal without a license and WILL get you thrown in jail. Check your local laws before making a set.

Street-Wise Irish (author)2015-11-16

Could you make the handles without the 3D printer?

you could make wood handles.

That's a pretty good idea, I'll be sure to try it

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-11-15

Making lock picks be much better than just buying them. Thanks for sharing.

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