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DIY skeleton keys

Отмычки своими руками

A master key is a specialized tool used to open locks without using a key or breaking a lock.

The manufacturer of the first "professional" master key was the American inventor Alfred Hobbs, who received several patents on his master keys and in 1851 founded the company Hobbs Hart & Co. Ltd trading in master keys.

Lock picks can be used to break locks by criminals. According to the “Forensic Encyclopedia” by R. S. Belkin, master keys can be classified according to the type of locks for which they are intended to be cracked (cylinder, level, spring); the principle of operation of each type of master key is somewhat different. Ustiti (a term from the thieves' jargon, derived from the English name for the marmoset - the genus of small South American monkeys), which is a handicraft tool similar to tongs and designed to capture the tip of a key left in an inside-locked door lock, can also be used to break locks. S. I. Potashnik in his work “Forensic investigation of locks” distinguishes uystiti as a separate type of device for opening locks that is different from a master key.

At the same time, master keys can be used, for example, by locksmiths in the event of a lock or key breakdown or a key loss. In addition, sometimes opening your own locks with master keys can be a hobby or even a kind of sport, with the presence of “interest groups”.

The attitude to master keys and their use in different historical and modern states is different, but mostly negative. For example, in the Brazilian Empire, it was considered unlawful to store or sell any items that could be considered hacked. In some states - for example, in the UK, and Japan - even the storage of master keys is actually prohibited.

How and from what to make master keys

What do we need for this

  1. a drill or a machine, or rather a sharpener;
  2. productive circle (if only a drill) (Photo1);
  3. a folding meter (Photo2) or a suitable plate 0.5-0.7 mm thick (the main thing is to be of good metal and not too bent, for example, a knife, a red-hot plate or a spring suitable in size) we will make the master key out of it;
  4. the small hexagon of it we will make a knob;
  5. testable (any suitable castle, but it’s better to have some kind of Korean, since it’s easier to start a training session);
  6. teski (without them it will be very inconvenient);
  7. patience and hands from the right place.

Let's get started!

First you need to choose which master key we want to make (their huge selection). We will do one of the three simplest and most common. We disassemble the meter for this, we need to grind the rivets on the sides, only do not throw them away, they will still be useful to us (see Photo 3).

The next stage is the processing of the meter link, we process it according to the dimensions given in Photo4. Processing is carried out using a stone nozzle (see Photo1) the main thing is not to overheat the meter link. Too long a working part is not worth doing, as it can break, and we just need to get the master key to reach the last soldier (see Photo 5).

After we made the master keys, we need to polish them so that they do not cling to anything, so that no one speaks, and it is easier to work with polished master keys (opening locks with master keys is a very delicate science).

Now we fix the ready-made master keys in three pieces with the same rivets, but you can also not fasten them as you prefer (see Photo 6).

The following what we will do is a pusher, it is needed to give a turning force to the lock.

We take hexagon 3 or a suitable bar of good metal and make a “poker” (see Photo 7).

It is also possible to make a pusher from a key (see Photo 8), we simply delete the working part, leaving only the upper part of the key.

Consider other types of locks, master keys to them and methods of opening without master keys.

The first one we will look at is the Finnish castle, the so-called disk lock with semicircular keys .

It usually opens in two ways:

  • 1. It is made with a collar from KRAFTOOL nozzles (bits) or similar well-known companies, but not from STAYER and similar consumer goods. You can make it from bars of a good alloy by checking it by poking. It’s best, of course, to make it from titanium, you can get it from the turners and process it there. The convolution looks. See Photo9 as a blank of a key with a hexagon on the end under the head. Processing bits with the same stone, see Photo1 and most importantly, the temperature of the bits during processing should not exceed 80 degrees, as this will lead to tempering of the metal. After processing, the finished convolution must be polished, this is done so that it does not break. Imagine if you make a scratch on the glass and hit it, then the glass will break in this place on the convolution, the same thing if there is a scratch, then it will collapse in this place, Verified! Well, how to use it is clear to everyone. Insert the collar all the way into the lock, put on the head and turn it clockwise.
  • 2. Using a puller. Self-tapping screws are bought. The self-tapping screw is screwed into the discs all the way so that the bolt head protrudes from the lock by a centimeter, this is done in order to catch the puller. The puller looks like this Photo 10. In the same way, you can open the English lock (pin).

Consider padlocks

Well, here it’s all just to open padlocks, it makes no sense if you can get around it. We take an adjustable wrench with a length of 40 centimeters, the longer the easier it is to wield it. Clamp one of the door darling and bend it.

Bambing was invented by this method in 1950, it was based on a simple method. We all played billiards, if we hit ball 1, then we give him the impulse of the blow. Ball 1 hitting 2 ball stops, and 2 starts to move. As we know, cylinder locks have two soldiers in each cell. If we hit the upper soldiers, they will remain in place and the lower ones will go down to the stop for a few nano seconds. If at this moment we begin to turn, then the lock will open it is not difficult as it will seem the first time. According to this method, they came up with pistols of the spring that hit the soldiers. But more recently, the ingenious thing came up with the BUMP key, see Photo 11.

Now I will explain the meaning of the alteration. We need to open the lock, no matter how good the company is, we get the key from the same lock, we groove the maximum secret length, now we grind the spout and the key stop, this is done so that after we inserted it, leaving a gap between the key and cylinder 0, 5-1.0mm. Now, if we hit the end of the key, it will go 0.5-1.0 mm into the cylinder, forcing the soldiers to go down. Forward lower energy soldiers and at this moment we turn the key. In this way, you can even open Mul-T-Lock and absolutely any cylindrical locks with vertical and horizontal cutting secrets.

Good luck in your endeavors and do not break the law!

Original article in English

In order to be able to open a lock it is important to have the right tools for the job.
This section will teach you what tools are required for the particular lock you are attempting to open.

The majority of warded locks come in the form of padlocks. The tools needed for such a lock can either be made or purchased at low cost. These being skeleton keys. This type of lock is the only type which skeleton keys are available for. At this point it should be noted what a skeleton key actually is in order to dispel any myths about them.
A skeleton key is simply a key which only consists of enough metal to open the lock. With the warded lock, with reference to the mechanisms section, it can be seen that part of the lock does not move, ie the actual ward. This is where a key which only has enough metal to operate the locking part, comes in. The diagram below illustrates the function and operation of the skeleton key.

master keys

As can be seen, part of the key has been filed away preventing the key from being stopped by the ward, thus allowing the remaining end section to come into contact with the locking mechanism and open the lock.

These skeleton keys can be bought quite cheaply, however, they can also be made with little difficulty. A skeleton key for a particular make of a warded lock which opens other locks in the same series can be made quite easily by removing part of the key which would be obstructed by the ward. The diagram below shows how a key to a lock can be made to open other locks of the same series and possibly warded locks of other manufacturers.

master keys

The following illustration depicts other skeleton keys which can be manufactured.

Pin Tumbler & Wafer

The tools required to open these two types of locks are similar and will therefore be looked at together.

Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, there are no skeleton keys which open this type of lock as is depeicted in films, but is more down to skill and practise.

Hook picks

These are for the use of 'pure picking' as will be explained in the techniques section.

All that is needed here is to understand what they are and to appreciate that they come in a variety of sizes.

master keys


Rakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The diagram below shows some fo the major ones.

Turning Tools / Tension Wrench

A vital requirement in the picking of these types of locks.

master keys

Bypass pick

This tool can be easily made by grinding a hacksaw blade to a tapered point similar to that shown below.

master keys


Lifter pick

The size of this will be determined by the lever lock to be picked.

master keys

Turning Tool / Tension Wrench

This tool, although has the same name as that used for pin and wafer locks, is very different in construction. Both by way of shape and strength of metal used. The reason for this will be discussed in the techniques section.

master keys

Combination Brief Case

Combination probe

This type of probe doesn't require the strength of the similar bypass pick used for pin tumbler locks but instead must be extremely thin.

This probe is for the sole purpose of opening brief case combination locks.

master keys

The probe which I constructed for this use was made from a feeler guage. In particular a number 12

Constructing picks

Although picks are relatively cheap to purchase it can often be quite difficult finding them and finding outlets which will sell them to you.

This need not be a serious problem as adequate picks can be constructed by oneself with a little hardwork and patience.

In order to make a pick it is a vital requirement that you have a grinder, as files will not shape the metal required to make a strong and long lasting pick.

This brings us to an important issue, ie, what metal should be used and where can it be obtained? Well for a pick to be of any use it must fulfil two main criteria. It must be strong and it must also be thin, (to get past any fancy key hole which stands between you and the mechanism).

Such metal can easily be found in the form of hacksaw blades. These can be marked into the shape of picks by use of a permanent pen and can then be ground carefully to the shape required. This metal is extremely useful and can be used to construct the hook picks, rakes, bypass pick and lever lock lifter pick.

Feeler guage sets, as available from hardware or automobile shops, also provide metal which can be used. Although some of these are only useful for shims they can be used for picks or probes, (especially combination probe), depending on their strength and thickness.

The metal used for turning tools both for pintumbler / wafer and lever will vary. For a turning tool used to open a pin tumbler or wafer lock any springy metal which can be bent to the shape illustrated above, ie, the straight forward simple turning tool type A, without the tool losing its shape will be sufficient.

The lever lock turning tool must be constructed from a much more rigid and stronger metal. It should be such that once in the required shape will not bend as it must be able to exert a strong turning force.

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