If you’ve been stuck trying to open a lock you’ve forgotten the combination to, you’re in the right place. Number locks carelessly slip through our minds and having an easy lock picking technique is always handy. Here’s how to pick a combination lock with a paperclip and some effort. It might be a little tricky initially but you’ll get the hang of it.
Methods To Crack A Combination Lock With A Paperclip
A lot of padlocks commonly use the tumbler lock system. This system uses pins of different lengths that correspond to the key. These locks can be picked using paperclips by making a tension wrench and a rake.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Step 1 – Collect Required Materials
You just need a few reasonably strong paper clips. One, for use as a tension wrench and another as the rake. The stronger the clips, the better. Once you straighten it out, it should be long enough to go inside the lock and still have some bit outside to hold.
Any kind of pliers would work and this is used to bend the paperclip to imitate a key. It’s better to bend the paperclip with a pair of pliers than your hand to be more precise.
Step 2 – Unfold One Paperclip Into A Lock Pick
Unfold the first paper clip to make the lock pick or rake. Unfold the first two bends of the paperclip and straighten it out. You can leave out the small bend at the end. The lock pick or rake imitates a key. Using the pliers, you can create 3 small bends on the straightened clip.
For this, bend the clip at 45 degrees at least 6 times to have 3 zig-zag bends, which will act like the ridges on a key. You can also use the straightened paper clip as a rake however it’s easier for beginners to use the one with bends.
Step 3 – Create The Tension Wrench with Another Paperclip
The tension wrench is an L-shaped clip that goes into the lock to align the sheer line. The tumbler lock system aligns the key or lock pick and the pins inside in a straight line. This opens up the lock. To rotate the pins inside and align them, we use the tension wrench.
Use the second clip to make the tension wrench. Straighten out the clip halfway until there’s a small bend or a loop at the end. Tighten or squeeze this loop and bend it at 90 degrees to make an L-shaped clip. This acts as the wrench. The best part of the paper clip will go inside the keyhole.
Step 4 – Slip The Tension Wrench Into The Keyhole
Insert the tension wrench into the keyhole’s bottom. This is the sheer line where the pins line up and open the lock. Keep applying pressure in the direction in which the lock turns to open. It’ll take some practice to get this part right but stick with your intuition. Make sure you don’t force it so much that the paperclip breaks.
Step 5 – Turn The Wrench In The Same Direction The Lock Opens
Now exert slight pressure in the direction in which the lock opens. To figure this out, try twisting the lock both clockwise and counter-clockwise. You’ll feel slightly less resistance while rotating the way in which the lock opens.
Step 6 – Insert The Lock Pick Into The Keyhole’s Upper Side
Raking is the process where you move the pins up and down to line them up at the sheer line. Use the lock pick or the rake which you made using the first clip. Insert it into the upper part of the keyhole and push it up and down. Jiggle the rake while exerting force on the tension wrench.
Step 7 – Locate The Pins Inside The Lock
Once you insert the lock pick or the rake, move it up and down to locate the pins inside the lock. Basically, you need to move the pins up and down to match them with the rake. This is what a key does. There are these ridges that match the length of pins of the inside to align as a straight line until the lock opens.
Step 8 – Depress The Pins aka “Raking”
This is the raking part. Move around the rake inside while applying pressure on the tension wrench and you can feel the pins unlock. These locks usually have around 5 pins. As each pin in the lock, you’ll feel resistance at the sheer line.
Step 9 – Move The Pick/ Rake Till Each Pin Unlocks
Keep repeating the process aka raking until all the pin unlocks. This step needs some practice. It might be hard for beginners to get a grip around it. Apply pressure on the tension wrench as you intuitively feel while moving around the lock pick and you can feel less resistance as each pin unlocks. Repeat the process until all pins are unlocked and the tension wrench rotates completely to open the lock.
- A Few Paperclips (At Least 2)
- The Lock
How To Crack A Combination Lock With 3 Numbers?
This method of picking the combination lock does not involve raking as we previously discussed. The pins are going to be aligned not with the key but with the rotating panel of numbers. Straighten out a paper clip only leaving out one bend. Completely straighten out the rest of the clip.
You can find a small hole near the shackle on top of the padlock. The shackle is where the lock goes in which is aligned with the rotating numbers. We need to figure out the right combination of numbers to unlock.
Insert the paper clip through the hole near the shackle and move it around exerting pressure downwards while rotating the numbers. Keep doing this until you feel it open or hear a click as the clip drops down through the opening on the number wheel.
Repeat this process until the paper clip drops through all three number wheels, and reaches the end.
You will find a combination of numbers. However, you need to move this combination towards the inner side of the lock. Rotate the number panels either 2 or 3 places inwards respectively. This will unlock the padlock.
How To Crack A Combination Lock Master?
This can be a little bit tricky as master locks don’t work like a tumbler lock system. Without getting into the technical details, here’s what you need to do to figure out the combination of a master lock.
To find out the first number of the lock, use your index finger and put pressure upwards on the shackle.
Rotate the master lock clockwise and you’ll feel resistance in one spot. Don’t put too much pressure that the lock doesn’t even rotate. Rotate a few times to see at which point the lock has resistance. Note down the point which is the number at which the lock stops. In case it falls between two numbers, round it up to the higher value. Add 5 to this number. This is the first digit of the combination.
Next, we can use a method of discovering the anomaly to find the third digit of the combination. To do this, start around 0 and exert upwards pressure on the shackle. Now move the lock anti-clockwise and clockwise, to sense resistance.
Find the set of numbers around which it shows resistance. Not these points. Let’s say it’s -1,0,1. Add 10 to the starting value, which is 0, and repeat the same step. These are to test the anomalies in the pattern. You need to find the point which breaks this pattern of resistance. Repeat this in sets. After 0, go for 10, 20, 30.
Start with the next pattern. To find this spot, move after the 1 from the first set, exert pressure on the shackle, move the lock clockwise and anti-clockwise and find the set of numbers where there’s resistance both ways.
Let’s say it’s between 3 and 4. Add 10 to 3 and repeat the process. Find the number where the pattern breaks. Keep doing this until you find an anomaly and this is the third digit of the combination. The value of these digits will be different for different people.
Use the trial-and-error method to find the second digit of the master lock. Once you know the first digit, fill that in. Try out a few numbers for the second digit. Start from 0 and try increasing by adding 2. 0,2,4,6…until the lock opens.
Lock picking is an interesting skill to have at your disposal. Especially using easily available materials like paper clips. Sometimes we may forget the combination or you might want to open up some old lock. While using paper clips to pick locks, make sure you don’t apply too much pressure which ends up breaking or bending the clip out of shape. Even though paper clips aren’t the most reliable instruments for lock picking, they do work in emergencies and keep practicing until you get better and faster the picking.