Lesson 7: Drilling Locks - Part 2

Drilling a deadbolt cylinder
Drilling locks predominantly occurs in the field of emergency Locksmithing – a door is locked and you need access to the inside. Typically you would only drill a lock when picking has failed; if the lock has been damaged so that a key cannot operate it, or if the lock is pick-resistant. The easiest way to drill a deadbolt is to drill out the cylinder. The theory is that you aim for the sheer line. After you drill along the sheer line, all the pins should fall out, freeing the cylinder to spin. Stick the flat-head screwdriver into the cylinder keyway and turn. This should draw back the latch and open the door

How to Drill a Deadbolt Cylinder

      1. Put on safety gear.
      2. Set up your tools in an area around you. Pick out an appropriate drill bit to use. Establish the sheer line. This is the place you are going to drill. The sheer line is the space between the top and bottom pins which when flush, enables the core to spin. By drilling out the sheer line, the pins will fall from the cylinder, removing the mechanism which inhibits the cylinder from freely spinning.
      3. Drill the sheer line. You want to go in as straight as you can. Apply a light amount of forward pressure. If you apply to much pressure you will break your bit.
      4. You should hear 5 or 6 chunking sounds as your bit passes through each of the pins in the cylinder.
      5. Remove your drill bit from the lock. Using the handle of your flat-head screwdriver, bang on the deadbolt a few times to knock loose any broken shards remaining in the cylinder.
      6. Insert the head of your screwdriver into the keyway and turn. You may need to use some force here. If the cylinder does not turn, return to step 2 and repeat the process as many times as necessary.
      7. Use the screwdriver to rotate the cylinder and draw back the latch to open the door.
      8. Warning* If you break your bit you will need to remove it before continue to drill the lock. To remove a broken key bit you can try needle nose pliers and a key extractor. You might need to drill around it to free it from the shrouding.
      9. Warning* if you drill too deeply you may remove the cylinder tailpiece. If this occurs you will have to remove the lock by drilling out the retainer bolts.
Series Navigation<< 07 Part 1 – Tools needed to drill a lock07 Part 3 – Drilling the Retainer Bolts >>