How to Open a Padlock with a Coke Can

by June 29, 2010 06/29/10
Padlock Shimming

If you’re like millions of Americans, you put a lot of trust in simple padlocks to secure your valuables.

Today we’re going to continue to break down the veil of security by showing you how easy it is to shim open a padlock with a coke can.

Again, as with all our lock picking and security articles, we’re not advocating anything illegal and this information is for educational purposes and Locksport only.

Single Lock Padlock

Padlock Shimming

The first thing you’ll need to take note of when shimming a padlock is whether it’s a single or double-lock shackle. This can often be hard to determine just by looking a a padlock, but a general rule is that most numerical combination padlocks are just a single lock.

What this means is that only one side of the padlock shackle engages with the internal locking mechanism within the padlock. See the photo to the right for an example.

Double-Lock Padlock

Padlock Shimming

On a double-lock padlock, there are two locations on the shackle that engage with the internal locking mechanism. This is important, because this kind of padlock will require two shims to open.

Each side of the shackle will need to be independently shimmed to allow the locking mechanism to release. See the photo at the right for an example of the double-lock padlock.

Creating Shims

To create the shims needed to open padlocks, you’ll first need a coke can. Take the can and trim off the top and bottom, leaving the middle piece. Make a single cut vertically in the can to create one long piece of aluminum (You may have done this already when trimming off the top and bottom).

Padlock Shimming

Cut the remaining strip of aluminum lengthwise creating two long strips. From here you’ll need to cut multiple pieces approx. 2.5″ in width and 1.5 to 1.75″ in height. You should end up with around six shims out of a single can.

Once your blanks are cut, you’ll need to make cuts in each blank to create an “M” looking shape. The mid-point of your “M” can either be rounded as shown in the video below, or angular as shown in the photos. Either will work, but the rounded mid-point seems to wedge itself better into the locking mechanism.

After the “M” shape is cut, simply fold the top quarter in half and fold the legs of the “M” up and around (see photos and video). You can also shape the completed shim around a pen to give it the necessary curvature it will need to slide into the shackle.

Shimming a Padlock

Shimming a single or a double-lock padlock is essentially the same, but with the double, you’ll be using two shims. Notice that the locking mechanism for the single-lock padlock is to the inside and on the left.

What you’ll need to do is insert the shim into the space between the padlock body and the shackle, on the side opposite the shackle’s locking grove. Once this is inserted, simple turn the shim while working the shackle up and down.

Padlock Shimming

This will allow the shackle to almost pull the shim into the locking mechanism as you’re turning it. The shim acts as a bypass by moving the locking mechanism out of the way and opening the lock. For a better description of how to use the shim, take a look at the embedded video below.

The double-lock padlock again is just the same, but you’ll be working with both sides of the shackle to disengage both locks. The video will really help you to understand how this works, as words are simply not enough to convey these techniques.

Notes

Padlock Shimming

It’s important to practice on junk locks that you don’t care about, because your shims WILL break off and fall into the lock or get stuck. This will require you to open the lock to get these pieces out, or the lock could be rendered useless. At least useless to practice with until you get that piece of shim back out.

Remember to always get permission before opening any locks that don’t belong to you, and keep up your lock picking skill set! It’s depreciable!!


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survivallogistics
survivallogistics

a ole' tape measure works better...............more leverage............

tomboy
tomboy

Doubt it is so easy when attached to a door or chest which you can't flip around so readily.

Nobody
Nobody

I can pick a keyed lock much faster. They are REALLY easy. My 8 year can do it in about 20 seconds. I can do it in less than 5. I picked up some practice 5-7 pin locks (for doors, commercial doors, etc) at Defcon a couple of years ago. Those are a bit harder but once you figure it out, it's pretty easy. Easy enough for me to buy pick resistant pins for all my locks. They aren't flat, but are rather pointed - making them difficult to pick. I use this knowledge for legal purposes as I perform Red Team engagements against companies (both hacking and physical security + social engineering)

Ian
Ian

I lock my security bag because it's have a very important documents, now, I need to get that documents, My lock's key is accidentally lost. And I can't open it now, how can I open my padlock? My padlock is "BRAVO TOP SECURITY"

James Armstrong
James Armstrong

yeah well just figured out you don't need a coke can you just need something thin enough and flexible enough to get the job done. you can use a sliver off a thin plastic water bottle and that will work better and you don't have to wast time trying to the perfect coke can device.

john
john

stainless shim stock is the best to have on hand in yuor bug kit but dont preshape you can be arrested for b&e tools.

Israel Jensen
Israel Jensen

So I've been trying this for a few weeks now and can't seem to get it right. The shims I make are either to long and bending when I try to wiggle it down the shackle, or get caught between the detente in the shackle and the locking mechanize. Can anyone help me out with this problem I am facing?

Nick Price
Nick Price

I've found that the taller cans (arizona tea, monster or assorted beers) seem to work better. It could just be me, but the aluminum seems imperceptibly thicker which makes them slightly tougher.

John R
John R

Great video, but I would think it is a little easier doing it on a lock that is not locked on to anythng.

It would be cool to see it done on a lock that is attached to something such as a wall locker.

John R
John R

Great video, but I would think it is a little easier doing it on a lock that is not locked on to anythng. It would be cool to see it done on a lock that is attached to something such as a wall locker.

Lewis
Lewis

Great video but on those combination padlocks some guy showed me the with. heel of a shoe hit it hard and it will unlock with out damaging it relocking it after try it.

TonyRockyHorror
TonyRockyHorror

Why use the key in double-shim method? It's pretty obvious you're palming one once you come back from failing to do it the first time.

Even if the technique is legit, having to cheat for purposes of making a video is pretty lame.

TonyRockyHorror
TonyRockyHorror

Why use the key in double-shim method? It's pretty obvious you're palming one once you come back from failing to do it the first time. Even if the technique is legit, having to cheat for purposes of making a video is pretty lame.

Dan
Dan

Awesome video and great website. Thanks for all the good info.

Brian
Brian

This is unbelieveable THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!

Mark
Mark

Have a couple of theses in my E&E kit, simple cheap and easy to master.

Boxer
Boxer

Dude, great video

Agent000
Agent000

Great post!

Lock-picking and bypassing are great skills to have, and you guys are doing an awesome job with the posts!

If you guys start running out of locks to pick / bypass, and your local hardware store isn't cutting it, see if you can find a "ReStore" in your hometown. I just got a nice haul of cylinders for a buck each (no keys, but who needs them). Be safe and keep up the good work!

Agent000
Agent000

Great post! Lock-picking and bypassing are great skills to have, and you guys are doing an awesome job with the posts! If you guys start running out of locks to pick / bypass, and your local hardware store isn't cutting it, see if you can find a "ReStore" in your hometown. I just got a nice haul of cylinders for a buck each (no keys, but who needs them). Be safe and keep up the good work!

Phantom
Phantom

Shims or brute force to beat the locks off - this is why I prefer the "hockey puck" style locks. More expensive but why not spend a few bucks to safeguard your valuables? I've ordered multiples from a local locksmith so that they're keyed the same and take my key in when ordering additional locks so that they're ordered to match.

jeff house
jeff house

nevermind...brain fart. inside is the answer. duh.

jeff house
jeff house

any reliable means to determine which side of the lock bar has the detent? Im assuming you can tell while rotating?

thanks for these...love picking up a new skill...pun intended.

jeff house
jeff house

any reliable means to determine which side of the lock bar has the detent? Im assuming you can tell while rotating? thanks for these...love picking up a new skill...pun intended.

Mark
Mark

Nice post today guys! How about weaving this one, making lockpicks, and some other ideas into a DIY poorman's urban E&E kit?

Stefan
Stefan

When working with home made shims, it can help to round out the upper inside portion of the "M" by making the "M" with one long continuous cut. This helps prevent tearing off the tip of the shim from the wings.

It can also help to use a pair of pliers to grip the wings of the shim while turning it.

Great work with these.

Stefan
Stefan

When working with home made shims, it can help to round out the upper inside portion of the "M" by making the "M" with one long continuous cut. This helps prevent tearing off the tip of the shim from the wings. It can also help to use a pair of pliers to grip the wings of the shim while turning it. Great work with these.

Ken
Ken

You're spying on me arn't you!?! I was just reading about this on lockpicking101 last night, and tried it a couple times. Good write up.

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