Making another pickproof lock (but better)

Works By Design
14 Jun 202415:14

TLDRIn this inventive project, the creator attempts to engineer a superior pickproof lock inspired by adaptive vices and fractal vices. The new design features an adaptive pin mechanism and a core tensioning system that resists picking attempts. Despite initial setbacks and complexity, the lock undergoes testing and modifications to enhance its security. The video culminates in a professional locksmith's challenge to pick the lock within 35 minutes, offering a thrilling insight into the lock's resilience and the creator's dedication to innovation.


  • 🔒 The lock presented is designed to be pickproof, featuring complex internal mechanisms to resist lock-picking attempts.
  • 🔧 The creator previously made a custom lock also intended to be unpickable, but it was successfully picked and has since been shelved.
  • 🔨 The new lock is inspired by adaptive pin designs and fractal vices, using ball bearings and pins in a unique arrangement to enhance security.
  • 🛠️ The lock's pins are in direct contact, allowing them to move and adjust in response to manipulation, similar to the action of a vice.
  • 🔄 The core of the lock is spring-loaded and uses rolling bearings as wedges to eliminate gaps, which is a common point of exploitation in lock picking.
  • 🚫 An innovative feature of the lock is the elimination of the ability to apply rotational tension, a fundamental aspect of most lock-picking techniques.
  • 🔑 The key for this lock has a unique design, requiring the user to push the core inwards to free the wedges before turning, which adds an extra layer of security.
  • 🛡️ A pressure plate at the front of the core prevents linear tension attacks by clamping the pins in place when pressed.
  • 💡 The lock's design was inspired by the creator's previous unsuccessful attempts and the desire to create a more secure locking mechanism.
  • 🔩 The lock is constructed in layers, making it easier to manufacture from flat sheets of metal and assemble like a Lego set.
  • 🔄 Despite initial issues with the pins getting stuck, adjustments were made to improve the lock's functionality and resistance to picking.

Q & A

  • What makes the lock in the video pick-proof?

    -The lock is pick-proof due to a series of mechanisms that squeeze and flow, responding to potential attacks, which are designed to stop a professional locksmith from picking it.

  • Why was the creator's previous custom lock not successful?

    -The previous custom lock was picked, which was not its intended design. It was supposed to be unpickable, but it failed to prevent a professional from picking it, leading it to be shelved.

  • What was the main issue with the creator's first attempt at an unpickable lock?

    -The main issue was that the pins were connected to a bar that locked through the core on both sides, which was intended to prevent tension from affecting the pins. However, this design flaw translated the picking feedback to the serrated arms, making it easier to pick once the picker understood how it worked.

  • How does the new Adaptive pin lock work?

    -The Adaptive pin lock is inspired by a vice that uses small metal ball bearings behind a set of fingers. In this lock, all pins occupy a single void and are in direct contact with each other, mimicking the vice so that manipulation of one pin affects the others, forcing them back down.

  • What is the core tensioning issue in lock picking and how does the new lock address it?

    -Core tensioning is a common method in lock picking that involves applying rotational torque to the core. The new lock addresses this by spring-loading the back of the core and adding rolling bearings to act as wedges, eliminating the ability to tension the core by creating an illusion of perfect tolerance.

  • How does the pressure plate on the front of the core contribute to the lock's security?

    -The pressure plate, when depressed, activates arms with small ramps that force ball bearings upwards, clamping the key pins from both sides and preventing a linear tension attack, thus enhancing the lock's security.

  • What design consideration was made for ease of use with the new lock?

    -A laser-cut key with a fold-out tab was designed to make the process of unlocking more enjoyable and less straining on the fingers, as the standard cut key required pushing inwards which was uncomfortable.

  • What was the outcome of the professional locksmith's attempt to pick the new lock?

    -The professional locksmith was unable to pick the lock within the given time of 35 minutes, suggesting that the new design was successful in increasing its pick resistance.

  • What was the creator's experience with the lock's assembly process?

    -The assembly process was likened to putting together a Lego set without an instruction booklet, which involved improvisation and dealing with pieces that didn't fit together perfectly.

  • How does the creator plan to involve the community in testing the lock?

    -The creator plans to circulate the lock as a challenge among members of Lock Pickers United, a group active on Discord and Reddit, where the lock will be passed on from one member to the next after each attempt to pick it.

  • What tools and software did the creator use in designing and modeling the lock?

    -The creator used Onshape for CAD software to design everything, including the lock and the models for animations. A Formlabs printer was also used for making parts at home.



🔒 The Quest for an Unpickable Lock

The script introduces an attempt to create a lock that is impervious to lock picking. The narrator discusses a previous custom lock that was unfortunately picked, leading to the development of a new lock design inspired by Shane's unpickable locks. The fundamental principle of lock operation is explained, which involves aligning pins to allow the cylinder to turn. The previous design's failure to prevent tensioning is acknowledged, and a new concept, the 'Adaptive Pin Lock,' is introduced, inspired by a fractal vice that uses ball bearings to adapt to pressure. The goal is to create a lock where pins support each other, resisting manipulation. Additionally, the script discusses a method to eliminate core tensioning by using a spring-loaded core with rolling bearings to create a 'perfect tolerance' and a pressure plate to prevent linear tension attacks.


🛠️ Over-Engineering the Ultimate Lock

This paragraph delves into the design philosophy behind the new lock, emphasizing the excitement of over-engineering without commercial constraints. The lock's assembly from layered metal sheets is likened to constructing a complex Lego set, highlighting the challenges faced during assembly. After assembling the lock, initial tests reveal a sticking issue due to the pins' chamfering, which is addressed by rounding the pins to improve their movement. The use of a specially designed key with a fold-out tab is also mentioned to enhance user comfort. Despite the lock's complexity, the narrator expresses a desire to test its resilience against professional lock picking, culminating in an unsuccessful attempt to pick the lock and the decision to seek a professional locksmith's opinion.


🔨 Lock Picking Experiments and Iterations

The script describes a series of lock picking experiments, beginning with the narrator's own unsuccessful attempts and leading to a professional locksmith's evaluation. The locksmith's initial failure to pick the lock is contrasted with a late-night discovery by the narrator that a rake pick could bypass the lock's defenses. This revelation prompts further modifications to improve pick resistance. The narrative then shifts to the locksmith's second attempt, which is successful, sparking a discussion about the lock's design and the inherent challenge of creating an unpickable lock. The paragraph concludes with the narrator's intention to engage the lock-picking community for further feedback and improvement, as well as a call to action for community involvement in testing the lock's security.



💡Pickproof lock

A 'pickproof lock' is a type of lock designed to resist being picked, or opened without the original key, by incorporating mechanisms that deter common lock-picking techniques. In the video, the creator discusses the development of such a lock, which includes innovative mechanisms to prevent professional lock-picking attempts, and is a central theme of the video.


In the context of this video, 'mechanisms' refer to the various components and systems within the lock that work together to provide security. The script describes how these mechanisms are nested within the lock to counteract potential lock-picking efforts, emphasizing their role in creating a secure locking system.


'Lockpicking' is the practice of opening a lock by manipulating its components without the original key. The video script delves into the techniques of lockpicking, such as applying tension and using tools to manipulate the pins within a lock, and how the new design aims to overcome these traditional methods.

💡Adaptive pin lock

The 'Adaptive pin lock' is a new concept introduced in the video, inspired by the way fractal vices use ball bearings and fingers to adapt to the object being gripped. The lock's pins are designed to behave similarly, moving and adjusting in response to manipulation, making it more difficult for a lock picker to gain the necessary feedback to open the lock.


Tensioning is a fundamental aspect of lock picking where a tool is used to apply rotational force to the lock's core. The script explains how most lock-picking techniques involve tensioning and how the new lock design aims to eliminate the ability to tension the core, which is a significant departure from traditional lock mechanisms.


The 'core' of a lock is the central part that turns when the correct key is inserted, allowing the lock to open. In the video, the creator discusses various methods to secure the core and prevent it from being manipulated during lock-picking attempts, highlighting its importance in the lock's overall security.


A 'pin' in a lock is a small element that obstructs the rotation of the core when not aligned correctly with the key's cuts. The video script describes how the pins in the new lock design are interconnected and how they respond to picking attempts, which is integral to the lock's security features.

💡Translucent housing

A 'translucent housing' is used in the video to create a see-through casing for the lock, allowing the viewer and the creator to observe the internal workings of the lock. This helps in understanding the complex interactions between the pins and other components during the picking process.

💡Laser-cut key

A 'laser-cut key' is a type of key manufactured using laser technology to achieve precise cuts that match the lock's pin configuration. The script mentions a custom-designed laser-cut key with a fold-out tab to improve the user experience when interacting with the new lock design.

💡Professional locksmith

A 'professional locksmith' is an individual skilled in the craft of lock and key services, including lock picking. In the video, a professional locksmith is invited to test the new lock's resistance to picking, providing a real-world challenge to the lock's security claims.

💡Lockpicking community

The 'lockpicking community' refers to a group of individuals interested in the art and techniques of lock picking. The video script mentions engaging with this community for feedback and to further test the lock's security, indicating the importance of peer review and real-world testing in the development process.


The creation of a new pickproof lock inspired by previous unsuccessful attempts.

Introduction of the Adaptive pin lock, inspired by fractal vices using ball bearings.

The innovative design of pins in a single void, mimicking the adaptive vice mechanism.

Elimination of core tensioning as a vulnerability in lock picking.

The concept of creating an illusion of perfect tolerance with spring-loaded core and rolling bearings.

A new key design with a fold-out tab for a more comfortable user experience.

The challenge of assembling the lock from flat metal sheets without a guide.

Testing the lock's functionality and discovering a sticking issue due to pin chamfering.

Use of a translucent housing to visually diagnose and correct the lock's internal mechanisms.

The difficulty of picking the new lock design due to its complex internal structure.

The idea of a pressure plate to prevent linear tension attacks on the lock.

The lock's resistance to traditional picking methods, even when the picker knows its design.

The lock's assembly and testing with a professional locksmith.

Unexpected failure during the picking trial with a rake, leading to late-night modifications.

The introduction of a challenge lock circulating among lock pickers for community involvement.

The use of Onshape CAD software for designing the lock and animations.

The collaboration with Formlabs for 3D printing parts of the lock.

Invitation to join Patreon for behind-the-scenes content and project files.