Open Pad Locks and Combination Locks With a Soda Can

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Use an aluminum soda can to open your padlocks or combination locks in the event that you have forgotten the combination or lost the key.

When you're done here be sure to check out my youtube channel and website for more fun tutorials!

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Step 1: Watch This Video!

Watch this video to see me open a combination lock with a soda can!

Step 2: What You Will Need

Just a can, and some scissors or a box cutter. Here I'll demonstrate with a combination lock, but this technique applies to several other kinds of locks, including padlocks that need a key to be opened.

Step 3: Cutting the Can

First cut off the top and bottom of the can. Next cut a strip of metal (for this lock I cut a strip slightly wider than an inch). Then cut the strip into the "M"-like shape shown in the picture. It's important to make sure you round the bottom of the middle section (the part circled in red). This will make it much more effective than if it's flat.

Step 4: Folding Into a Shim

Now take your "M"-shaped piece of aluminum and fold down the top. Once you've folded down the top, fold both sides upwards. You will probably need to wrap them around several times.

The tool you have just created is known as a shim.

Step 5: Shaping Your Shim

To achieve the proper shape for your shim, simply place it on the shackle and gently press so that it forms to the same circular shape.

Step 6: Opening the Lock

Once your shim is properly rounded you can slide it to the inside of the shackle's arch (make sure you are on the side with the locking mechanism, usually the left side). Press the shackle upwards and hold it there. While holding the shackle up, work the shim down into the locking mechanism. Once the shim is as far down as it can go, pinch it and continue to press it downward towards the mechanism as you push down the shackle. After this motion is finished, the shackle should simply lift and open, just as if you had entered the combination.

Opening a lock in this way will not damage the lock, but as you can see from the picture it will chew up your shim a fair bit. (Shims are usually only good for one use.)

Step 7: Shimming Other Kinds of Locks and Anti Shim Locks

Recently, Master Lock has been advertising anti-shim or shim-proof locks. These locks can actually still be shimmed, however they are a bit more difficult. Many padlocks that need a key to be opened have locking mechanisms on both sides of the shackle. For that type of lock you'll have to use two shims.

I hope this instructable will come in handy for you. Enjoy!

If you'd like to see more of my how to's and tutorials check out the links in the intro to this instructable!

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67 Discussions

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ge562419

1 year ago

i could bang byonce but id rather use my hand....damn

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JohnD316

2 years ago

There are tools called "fingernails" available to locksmiths that are made from thin very flexible and strong stainless steel that will do this. Not sure if the general public can buy them because they are considered "lockpicking tools" and may be unlawful if you are not a licenced locksmith.

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EricA143

2 years ago

Looks like fun, I'll have to try it. Thanks.

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RadhaK15

2 years ago

It seems like burglars also use the same technique to unlock the padlocks requiring a key. This shows there is no any security of a padlock with a key. Its better to use a padlock called Tapplock as mentioned here > http://www.giftick.com/raj/90/ which doesn't even require a key to open it. Simply unlock it via your unique fingerprint which is registered with your smartphone app. No other fingerprints will work to unlock it. This should give more security and piece of mind.

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ElfinberryPial Biswas

Reply 2 years ago

Yup. fingerprint scanners can't detect 3D. They unlock for for decent photo copies of the finger print.

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KISELIN

2 years ago

What? My soda-cans are NOT locked, they just have this "thing" there you put your finger in, and then pull it up till it says "phfiuu...", then you pull it towards you, and then it kind'a "pops" and then you "push back the thing you did put your finger in",and voi'la...your done ...:) humor

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supernoodle2014

2 years ago

This is pretty cool, I'm going to have to try this sometime. And to all the people who say you have showed a criminal how to do a crime,the criminal doesn't care if he/she brakes the lock or door to get in, they most likely won't waste the time to pick or shim the lock. Locks are simply to keep honest people honest.

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JackA57

2 years ago

I'm a locksmith and this will work for I've done it many times all it takes is practice lots of prac

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Cayotica

2 years ago

nothing works like the "master key" a.k.a. bolt cutters.

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Cayotica

2 years ago

a cheap gimmick to open cheap locks, slaymaker had a lock that would open if you just yanked on it hard enough. I only use high security shank free padlocks and they're aonly a few dollars more.

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BennieB3

2 years ago

I have a 19 oz claw hammer that i use on those cheap padlocks.

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StephenC139

2 years ago

I made it and tried to open my combination lock but it never works and the shim always breaks apart. I did it in the right part of the lock, too. I don't know why I can't do it.

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kijion

2 years ago

Wow this is awesome!!!

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wpace

3 years ago on Introduction

Has this actually worked for anyone? There is a latch assembly inside a combination lock. It can not be pushed out of the way unless the correct combination sequence is used creating a gap for the pawl to drop into.

I have not tried this so maybe it works, but based on my understanding of how combination locks work you can not simply push the latch assembly out of the way with a shim...

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joeB120wpace

Reply 2 years ago

depends on the age of locks, as you can tell an way to open locks like its is to easy for a manufacture to no overlook it so they just change the mechanism in which the locks are opened. this prevents shimming as it dosent use springs as it used to now it uses ball bearings. but if you want to check if it does work, unlock your lock and look at the holes in the shackle, if they are rounded like a semi circle then you wont be able to shim them, if they are more like a right angled triangle then they are vunerable to shimming

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joeB120Orange Shadow

Reply 2 years ago

usually locks nowadays use ball bearings instead of springs so if someone tryed to shim a lock open it'd just end up dmaaging the shim as now springs are present to push the acutator back in the first place.