Travel Door Lock




Introduction: Travel Door Lock

Nothing new here; I just wanted to document my make of a travel lock for hotel rooms. This design is widely available online. I am making one for a friend who is travelling somewhere with a history of people breaking into hotel rooms. Needed something easy, secure and very portable.

Step 1: What You Need to Make This

1. A sturdy stainless steel fork. I used one from Ikea. Reckon they cost about a dollar each?

2. Any cutting tool capable of cutting through steel. I have an abrasive chop saw but a hacksaw will do the job just fine.

3. Any grinding tool or diamond-based sandpaper. I just use my bench grinder.

4. Drill bit and drill - remember that if you are using stainless steel, you need harder bits.

Step 2: Test, Mark and Test

First make sure the tines of your fork fit into the strike plate of your door frame. Their size is pretty much standard. This is where you may have to decide to change forks. Once decided, just use a pair of pliers to bend the tines about 10mm off their tips at right angles. As you can see in the photos, that leaves about 10mm to 20mm of the tines that run along the strike plate to stick out the door after you close the door.

Step 3: Cut and Grind

It’s into the chop saw and grinder to smooth down the cut edges, but very importantly also to create a gradient along the sawn off handle. This allows the lock to be used in a variety of doors and strike plates. When grinding the gradient I would just occasionally put the edge against the table to see where I need to grind down just a bit more.

Step 4: Customise (Optional)

If you feel that the handle is short enough, don’t worry further but I wanted to make this as small as possible for my friend to conveniently bring it around so I cut it down further.

Step 5: Curve the Handle

I realized when testing this lock that a long handle was not ideal. There can be a variety of blockage in different situations like door knobs, walls, irregular door frames that will block a long straight handle, and so I decided to bend the handle into a curve to occupy less space.

Step 6: How to Use

Made a quick video here to demo this:

Youtube Link



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    16 Discussions


    Tip 2 months ago

    It would be better to use a sanding belt or sanding disk for grinding sharp edges as stated using a grinding wheel for something another than what it’s made for is taking a risk.

    Excellent instructable! Very practical, cheep and easy to make. Thanks!


    2 months ago

    Great idea. I love the way this community can show us so many different cool things

    I guess I'm a little confused, this is tor prevent people from breaking into a room your already in? It's not for after you go out and come back and find your stuff missing?

    Come on in while stareing down the barrell of my 1911 45cal


    2 months ago

    Nice idea. A wedge installed on the bottom works too...

    1 reply

    Though you can easily remove a wedge with a ruler or some other thin fairly strong material.

    I guess it works in an emergency but watching the video it damages the door.

    2 replies

    Well! Don't use it at home then.

    Or anywhere that will charge you for damaging their door lol

    Really great idea, I like it and you explained really well. Many thanks.

    But as a general rule, never use a grindstone for anything other than normal iron or steel. With any other metal, and certain types of stainless steel, the metal can build up and cause the grindstone to basically explode apart!!

    Soft things like plastics can do the same.

    Be safe!!

    If I traveled and stayed somewhere I expected someone to break into my room while I was in the room I believe I would have a far better method to keep them out. Anyone over 120 pounds could break that in about 5 seconds, then be in the room with me. That's when I would get worried.

    you could always just bring 4-5 wedges and insert them along the top, sides and bottom of the door. the door won't open without a ridiculous amount of force

    I made on of these a while ago, and found I had better results by bending the "wedge" portion into a "U" shape. The wedge portion is then used upside down from the video. It prevents falling out of the "lock" if the door is forced back-and-forth.

    I also saw one designed using an old butter knife in place of a fork. It took more work to cut out a slot for the wedge, but was a bit sturdier. However, I've found that using a fork has worked just fine. "To each his own" as the saying goes...

    I still carry my fork version after a couple of years. On one trip when I left it at home by mistake, I bought a fork from a dollar store and made one using a multitool I usually carry. Fairly easy to make in an emergency, but just be careful of sharp edges in this case.

    Nice instructable!

    So sad that there are those out there who just want to rip you off. Thanks for sharing this.

    Neat trick, this might come in handy one day!
    Thanks so much for sharing :)