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How Cylinder Locks work!

June 12, 2013

Ever wondered how cylinder locks operate?  Such a small lock and so wonderfully simple!

Standard cylinder locks have three main components;

  • Cylinder – which hold the top pins
  • Plug – This part of the lock takes the key and also holds the bottom pins
  • Pins – Top and bottom pins that move up and down when a key is inserted

lock pins Click on image to show animation.

As can be seen from the above image as the key is inserted into the Plug part of the lock the top and bottom pins move up and down according to the different depths of cut, when the correct key is fully inserted into the lock the pins will line up with top of plug allowing key to turn.

This example cylinder shows 7 pins, other types of cylinder can have 5, 6 and sometimes even 10 pins, high security cylinders use side pins for increased security in similar fashion to normal top and bottom pins.

Posted in: Keys, Locks
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