How does a Pin Tumbler Lock work?


When you open up a lock with a key do you ever stop to think about what’s going on inside? Only the correct key will open the lock. Why is that? Each key has its own unique shape. These ridges on the key have to match exactly with the lock for it to work. There are many different types of locks, but the most common one is called a Pin Tumbler Lock. Let me show you how this works. This outside part is called the Case. The inside part is called the Plug; this is the part that turns when the correct key is put in. The opening here, is called the Keyway. On the inside, there’s a few more parts. There are several vertical shafts that go through the Case and the Plug. Each shaft has a Spring, Driver Pin, and a Key Pin. The springs press all the pins down so that they all rest on this ledge. You’ll notice that the pins meet at a different level for each shaft. For the Plug to turn, the pins must line up with the Shear line Now watch what happens when we insert the wrong key. The pins are not lined up, which means the the Plug won’t rotate. When we insert the correct key, everything lines up, and the Plug turns. So we’ve covered the case of one key for one lock; there’s another case. Let’s say there’s a building, where there’s a different key for each door, but there’s also a key that opens every single door in the building. This is called a Master key. For the Master key to work, there must be an extra pin in at least one of the Vertical Shafts. We call this the Master pin. Now the Plug will turn if there is a key that raises the pins either to here or to here. So here’s our regular key going in; Now here’s the Master key going in. Both keys allow us to turn the Plug. Some master key systems will have more than one Shaft with a Master pin. So that’s the basics of how a Pin Tumbler Lock works. There’s a whole lot going on every time you use a key to open a lock. If you liked this video, then you’ll enjoy the video I made about door handles. I go through and show all the little pieces inside and how they work together. I’ll go ahead and put a link for it right here. My name’s Jared Owen; If this if your first time hearing my channel, I would love to have you subscribe and stick around. I make 3D animations and I show you how things work. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

100 Replies to “How does a Pin Tumbler Lock work?

  1. If the core turns by breaking the driver pin away from the key pin, why then wouldn't the lock open if the key pins are anywhere below the shear line? In that case, someone could just make a key with deep cutouts for each pin, thus dropping the key pins as low as possible.

  2. If you are reading this…

    God bless your family and you…stay happy forever
    Btw…I am a really small channel trying to grow…any help is appreciated.

  3. One day i was about to open my locker in the school, i accidentaly put key in a locker next to mine,
    I couldnt pull it out so I tried to open it and after few times I opened it.

    Im a master

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