How to drill a lock cylinder?

Cylinder lock, also known as pin tumbler lock, is commonly used for locking doors, but what if you get yourself locked out and lose your keys. I experimented my way around to drill lock cylinder and found out some pretty useful tricks.

How to drill a lock cylinder? You can use a twist bit or spur bit to drill through the keyhole and open it using a slot-head type screwdriver. To remove the internal lock parts, you can drill the cylinder lock below the keyhole and open it.

However, there are different types of lock cylinders such as Euro cylinder lock, Key in Knob lock, and interchangeable core locks. All of these require a different technique in order to be drilled. So, to make things more clear, I have discussed each of these individually.

Methods to drill a lock cylinder

1. Drilling through a Euro cylinder lock

Euro cylinder locks are the most commonly used locks and anyone can get stuck with one of these locked cylinders. Here’s how you can drill a lock cylinder of Euro-type.

  • Mark the point right below the keyhole using a metal punch and a hammer.
  • Take a twist drill bit and use a key to measure how deep you would drill inside the cylinder lock. Tape the remaining lower side of the drill bit and plug it in the cordless drill.
  • Drill through the marked point until you see a spring like pin in the drilled hole. Remove the pin using a screwdriver with a slotted bit. Make sure that the twist bit that you are using to drill is big enough to remove the pin easily.
  • Continue the drilling process until all the pins are removed by following the above steps. As you have already taped the drill bit, tou can easily figure out when to stop drilling.
  • After removing all the pins, rotate the lock to align the position of pins using a screwdriver.
  • Insert a flat knife-like metal in the lock and rotate it to unlock the door.

After unlocking the door, open it and find the screw that holds the lock cylinder in the door. Remove the lock from the door and replace it with a new one.

2. Drilling through different types of  Yale (Key in Knob – K.I.K.) lock

Yale-type locks work on the mechanism of pin alignment at specific heights. So you have to find out a way to break the pins. Pins are placed inside the lock just below the keyhole. These pins can be broken by drilling right into them, take a look at how you can do that.

  • Hold the lock in a screw wrench or place it somewhere where it doesn’t move while drilling.
  • Use a multipurpose drill bit to drill right below the keyhole.
  • While drilling, if you see the drill bits jerking, know that the pin is broken.
  • Continue the drilling process untill all of the pins are broken.
  • Open the lock using a screwdriver.

3. Drilling a deadbolt lock


Drilling a deadbolt lock is easier than you might think, it only requires you to have a drill bit big enough to fit the sizes of the screws attached to the deadbolt lock. Here are the simple steps you can follow.

  • Start drilling a hole at each side of the keyhole.
  • Drill until you locate the screws.
  • When you have drilled half way through the screws, the deadbolt lock should come off easily.
  • Push back the screws and try opening the door.

4. Drilling a tubular lock

Now, if you have a tabular lock and got yourself locked with it. There’s no need to worry as I have a pretty simple drilling trick to get it unlocked.

  • Instead of using a hammer, use a drill that could fit the centre key hole and start drilling into it.
  • After a while, you will see that the keyhole is drilled entirely.
  • You can use a flashlight to see if it needs anymore drilling.
  • Next, take another drill bit of greater size than the previous one and begin drilling again. This time, you will see that the lock is broken and the door can be opened.
    check out the video for better understanding.

5. Drilling an arcade game cylindrical lock

An arcade game lock can be easily broken by drilling through it using the hammering action and a multipurpose drill bit. The idea behind this is that these locks consist of a large screw at the back end in order to hold the lock and you need to drill all the way through that screw to get it completely broken.
Wondering that the lock will be totally damaged? Don’t worry, as these are some of the most inexpensive locks out there and you can easily get a new one.

6. Drilling interchangeable core locks to open doors

Although the interchangeable locks are easy to recycle and budget-friendly, the process of drilling them out might seem a little tricky. You can drill such locks using the following steps.

  • Mark the drill bit with a piece of tape so that you know how deep you need to drill.
  • Carefully place the drill bit and drill through the face plate of the lock.
  • When you reach the barrel of interchangeable core lock, continue drilling till you feel seven pops. This indicates breakage of 7 lock barrels.
  • Make sure you take out the drill bit during the process of drilling after regular intervals. This would help in removal of debris from drilled hole.
  • Take a metallic pin and remove all the debris such as pins, springs etc from drilled part.
  • Put the metallic pin in keyhole to remove any debris from that portion.
  • Insert a screw in the keyhole and rotate it. Once it tightens in the keyhole, use a plier to pull out the lock by holding screw with the plier.

How to remove a broken key from your door lock

A broken key in the lock is something anyone would want to get rid of immediately. You can tackle this emergency yourself in no time with the help of a key extractor kit. However, if you do not have a key extractor kit, there’s always some alternative approach to the problem. Here, I have talked about how to remove a key from your door lock using simply the basic household items that anyone can get their hands on.

  • First, lubricate the keyhole using a lubricant.
  • Check if you have half of the key broken into the lock. In that case, you can just use the remaining part of the key to open up the lock.
  • If you just have key head, use a screwdriver to align the lock in vertical position.
  • Use a plier to hold the broken key and pull it out using a maximum force.
  • If that does’nt work, try using a basic set of tweezers.
  • Grab the key with the tweezers and pull it out firmly.

Opening locks without a key

Have you ever experienced a situation where you locked yourself out without keys and you don’t even have any tool to break your lock? Well, I know exactly how it feels and I can tell it’s not a good one. This is why I wanted to share a few ways to work your way around to solve this issue as well.

  • Use a tension wrench to rotate the keyhole in opposite direction of the resting position of key teeth.
  • Keep hold of the tension wrench in the same position and insert a rake in the keyhole.
  • Now, twist the rake to feel the sheer line in the keyhole and push it accordingly.
  • Then, try to twist the tension wrench in correct direction to align lock pins and open the lock.

For a car lock, you can use the “Screw and rod” technique that involves the use of a screwdriver and a thin rod. It is a simple yet effective trick that works amazingly. Read the following steps to know how it works.

  • Insert the screwdriver in the slit of the front door.
  • After cracking the door, insert a rod to unlock the car.

If this does not work for you, a shoelace can also prove to be a better replacement for this technique as it is comparatively less damaging and easily done. All you have to do is tie a knot and place it between the door and the car frame. Then, move the shoelace downward to open up the car lock. There you go, you have your door opened.

Some of the doorknob-type locks can also be unlocked using a knife or a hard card such as a credit card. just slide the card or the knife across the door slit in the lock area.

What are anti-drill locks? Can you drill into these locks to unlock the door?

Anti-drill locks have in-built ceramic plates to prevent the drill bit from penetrating further. You cannot drill such locks.

Which drill bits do locksmiths use for drilling and making locks?

Locksmiths usually use Tungsten Carbide Tip (TCT) drill bits for drilling and making locks because these bits can drill through hard surfaces.

Which drill bits work best for drilling bolts?

A cobalt or titanium nitride-coated steel drill bit works wonders for drilling bolts.