How To Drill A Lock Easily – IN / OUT

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Drilling through a lock happens to be the last-resort to gaining entry into locks that can’t be opened by other methods/means. However, lock-drilling will destroy the lock-plug but must leave the mechanism in a working order.  So, if you’re going to drill through a lock, then you need to learn or examine the lock in order to accomplish the drilling task properly. Additionally, make sure that you have and use the right drilling equipment in order to achieve best results. All in all, below are some of the steps that you may follow when drilling a lock and they will actually be of great help if followed carefully.

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  1. Examine your lock: locks are made of different materials and even feature different shapes or sizes. In fact, some tubular-locks feature a center-pin made of hardened-steel while other locks have a ball-bearing in the middle pin so at to prevent drilling. So, in both lock-designs drilling will seem to be ineffective and only alternative lock-picking methods should be used. On the other hand, incase you’re not sure if the lock features hardened center-pin, then consult any local hardware-store or lock-expert and provide them with all the information you know about the lock so that they can be able to help you. All in all, it’s very crucial to double-check the lock in order to ensure that it’s a basic tumbler-lock that you can easily knock-out and to also ensure that there are no other locking-mechanisms on the door that may keep you out even after breaking-through the lock.


  1. Buy or get proper drilling-equipment: because you will be using a primitive-method to get your lock open, you won’t actually need many sensitive-tools to accomplish the job properly. So, in case you have to drill through a lock then you will need a variable-speed power drill in order to easily break through the lock-mechanism, different sizes of drill-bits in order to select a drill-bit that matches your lock-size.


  1. Attach the 1/8-inch (3-mm) drill-bit onto the drilling-machine: you will actually be able get started with the drilling by using an 1/8-inch wide drill-bit but if you don’t have a drill-bit of that size then get something solid, relatively-small and capable of going through the lock-mechanism rather drilling it out entirely.


  1. Get a hammer and then create a center-punch just above the key-hole: grab and hummer and small piece of metal with a sharp ending and then create a center-punch at the point directly above the key-hole because this helps to create a guidance-point for drilling. In fact, this point must be below the shear-line (the line between the outer and inner cylinder of the lock) because this helps to keep the bit on the center-plug. Additionally, this point should be high-enough in order to effectively drill through pin-tumblers. However, in case you experience any difficulties finding the right point to place/sink the guidance-hole, then buy a lock-drilling template in order to get steps on how drill a specific type of lock.



  1. Drill a hole through the guidance-point of the lock-cylinder: drilling the lock-cylinder through the guidance-point actually destroys the inside pins of the lock-cylinder hence forcing the lock to open-up. In fact, most lock-cylinders feature about 5 tumbler-pins to drill through while other locks feature 6 or more tumbler pins. On the other hand, you are supposed to feel more resistance as the drill-bit encounters each tumbler-pin and after a decrease in resistance as the drill-bit cuts through the tumbler-pin. However, if the drilling-machine binds during the drilling-process, then consider putting this drill in reverse-mode so as to pull-it out of the lock in order to remove any excess metal-filings caused by drilling through metal.


  1. Drill at a slow-rate: drill your lock at a slow-rate and avoid working to quickly or pressing too-hard because this may break or jam the drill-bit. Additionally, if you experience any difficulties getting the drill-bit through the tumbler-pins then stop and try lubricating the drill-bit head with some synthetic-oil or water so as to make drilling much easier.


  1. Try switching to a slightly larger drill-bit: after the smaller drill-bit goes through lock-cylinder, remove it from the drilling-machine and then attach a 1/4-inch (6.5-mm) or larger drill-bit onto the drill and start drilling through the lock-cylinder again in order to break-up the tumbler-pins more so as to open-up the lock easily.


  1. Insert a flat-headed screw-driver into the lock-cylinder head: you have to insert the blade of any flat-headed screw-driver into the lock-head and then begin turning the lock-mechanism in the same direction like you would do with its key. In case you drilled the lock-cylinder correctly, then the lock-mechanism will easily turn so that you can gain entry into the previously locked-door. But if the locking-mechanism refuses to turn, then you may consider destroying the whole lock-cylinder.


  1. Try to improvise if it’s necessary: some locks tend to be more complicated and this actually means that you may have to drill through entire lock-cylinder in order to open-up the locked section. So, try switching to a larger drill-bit with 3/4-inch (19-mm) or using specially-made cylindrical, tubular lock-bits. In fact, these cylindrical tubular lock-bits are about 3.75-inches (9.53-cm) and are even similar to hole-saws used in drilling large-holes for installation of locks within doors. However, drilling through the entire locking-mechanism destroys the entire lock but you will be able to access the previously locked-section again.



  • Never touch the drill-bit or lock during the drilling-process with bare hands/fingers because you may end-up burning your fingers.
  • Always wear safety-goggles while drilling a lock since metal-filings tend to spread into air coming from the area drilled so it very important to wear something that can protect your eyes and even the nose while working.
  • Try disabling any lock-alarms before you attempt to drill through a lock-mechanism because the alarm will make a lot of irritating noise during the drilling-process.
  • There are lock-drilling templates for a variety of lock-systems and these are actually available for sale at locksmith-stores and hardware-stores.
  • Try to keep at drill-level when drilling through a lock-mechanism because in case you drill at an angle, then you may accidentally drill other unnecessary lock-components and then damage the lock-system more.

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