How to Pick Any Padlock or Combination Lock

Forgot the key – or combination – to your lock again? No worries; we're going to help you pick that padlock without breaking it.

You will need

  • A razor or box cutter
  • An aluminum can
  • A marker
  • Scissors
  • A cylindrical object the size of your padlock shackle

Step 1 Cut off the ends Using a straight-edge razor, carefully cut the top and bottom off an aluminum soda can.

Step 2 Slice from top to bottom Cut the can from top to bottom using the scissors, and then fold the aluminum down so you have a flat sheet. Trim the edges so they are straight.

Step 3 Mark rectangles Using a marker, draw rectangles on the silver side of the aluminum sheet that are 1 ½ by 2 ½ inches, and cut one of them out.

Step 4 Quarter one strip Take one of the strips, draw a vertical centerline across the middle, and mark the strip horizontally into four equal sections.

Step 5 Draw an "M" Draw an “M” whose top reaches the halfway point of the middle line and whose sides are about a quarter of the way in on each side. But instead of the center of the “M” looking like a “V,” round the bottom so it looks like a “U.”

Step 6 Cut out the triangles Using scissors, cut out the M with the rounded middle tip that you drew. Fold the top quarter down to the middle of the rectangle, and the two legs of the “M” up from the bottom so that they cover the piece of metal you’ve just folded down.

Step 7 Roll the center Find something the approximate circumference of your padlock shackle, like a pen or marker, and wrap the shim (the “U” shape) around it, shaping it to fit into the narrow space between the shackle and the lock. Fold back the wings.

Step 8 Pick the lock Using the wings as handles, wrap the cylinder part of the lock pick around the shackle and insert the curved part in the space between the lock and shackle. Maneuver it around until the lock pops.

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