Lock Picking Trainer

Introduction: Lock Picking Trainer

About: I get a kick out of making stuff from wood, bytes, food, pixels, plastic and silicon, and occasionally metal and fabric. I aspire to be a jack of all trades. Member of Halifax Makerspace.

A lock picking training set can be a valuable way of teaching yourself or others to pick locks. I made this one to learn the craft, and to entice others to learn it through my local Makerspace. Essentially, a trainer set will be small enough to be portable, sturdy enough to let you pick without wobbling, and contain a number of locks in a spectrum of difficulty to allow the budding picker to get a quick, easy win without getting bored. This one is about 12x12x21 inches.

I am entering this in the Epilog laser contest. Cutting and drilling the 1/4 plywood would have gone a whole lot quicker, and with a lot less sanding, if I had a laser cutter. I would really appreciate your vote!

Step 1: Getting the Locks Ready

I was lucky enough to score 5 deadbolt locks from a box of old junk (you could ask at a locksmith's if you're not a pack rat). Even luckier, 5 of them were rekeyable. This means I could easily remove any pins I didn't want to pick. The cylinders were kept in the lock with a single screw. My rekeyable cylinders had a metal retainer over the pins that held them in place. I removed that retainer with a pair of pliers, put my finger over the holes of the pins I wanted to keep, and turned it over. The unwanted pins, drivers, and springs fell out. I then pushed the retainer back in place. I removed one to four pins from my cylinders and left the fifth as-is (it wasn't rekeyable anyway). If you have non-rekeyable locks, you can drill out the pins, but that's a lot more work. It's best if you remove the pins farthest in, so you can still see at least the first pin close to the opening.

I engraved each deadbolt so I wouldn't forget which was which, and the few corresponding keys I had.

I also had a transparent padlock with easy-to-pick pins, which I got at DX.com.

Step 2: Assembling the Structure

I thought a keyhole design would be nice. I made a ~11 inch circle and drew some straight lines to make a keyhole shape on some 1/4 inch plywood. I used carpet tape to tape 2 pieces together, and cut them together on a bandsaw, then glued some 3/4 inch hardwood spacers around the perimeter and in the center of the circle. I glued the top on, and set a bunch of cans on it as it dried. I used a compass to drill out 1 3/4 inch holes every 72 degrees, starting from the top in the front, and 3 holes in the back to accept the mounting bolts and spindle (the tail piece on the cylinder that would transfer the rotational force from the cylinder to the bolt in a real door).

I cut a piece of almost square 3/4 inch plywood for the base (not pictured). I sanded everything with a random orbit sander and sanded the sides of the keyhole with a belt sander.

I glued and screwed the keyhole to the base, spray painted everything and added some nylon feet. It's quite sturdy.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

I installed all the locks. Most simply used 1/4-20 bolts, but I needed the original backing plate, knob and screws for one of the locks. I added a clasp for the transparent padlock. I added an eye hook to the back, to hold the keys and an extra, normal padlock for extra picking practice. I also added a piece of pvc pipe spraypainted silver to hold my picks (also from DX.com).

I plan to print some instructions on lock picking and set them on the base when displaying this with my makerspace. The only thing I might do different is paint the base a different color, to really highlight the keyhole shape of the project. Happy picking!

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