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Generator QR Code ISO/IEC18004 in .NET Copyright 2005 by Bill Phillips. Click here for terms of use.

Copyright 2005 by Bill Phillips. Click here for terms of use.
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Figure 7.1 Pin tumbler cylinder key-in-knob lock. (Schlage Lock Company)
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Figure 7.2 Pin tumbler cylinder deadbolt lock. (Schlage Lock Company)
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Figure 7.3 When you look into
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the keyway of a pin tumbler cylinder, you can see a bottom pin hanging down.
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Pin Tumbler Locks
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Figure 7.4 Pin tumbler cylinder for rim locks. (Ilco Unican Corp.)
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Figure 7.5 Pin tumbler cylin-
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der for key-in-knob locks. (Ilco)
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Figure 7.6 Pin tumbler cylin-
der for mortise locks. (Ilco)
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Figure 7.7 Cutaway view of a mortise pin tumbler cylinder from the side. (The Locksmith Guild)
How pin tumbler cylinders work
When a key is not inserted into the cylinder, the downward pressure of the springs drives the drivers (top pins) partially down into the plug to prevent the plug from being rotated. Only the lower portions of drivers are pushed into the plug, because the plug holds bottom pins. There isn t enough room in a lower pin chamber to hold the entire length of a driver and a bottom pin. There is a small amount of space between the plug and the cylinder case. That space is called the shear line. Without a shear line, the plug would fit too tightly in the cylinder case to rotate. When a properly cut key is inserted, it causes the top of all the bottom pins and the bottom of all the drivers to meet at the shear line. While the pins are in that position, the plug is free to rotate to the open position (Fig. 7.8).
Plug. The plug contains a keyway, usually of the paracentric (off-center) type.
Although they usually contain five or six lower pin chambers, some plugs have four or seven. The lower pin chambers are spaced fairly evenly along the upper surface of the plug, and they are aligned as closely as modern production techniques allow. By putting a plug with bottom pins into a plug holder and inserting a key, you can see how the plug will work in a cylinder (Fig. 7.9). The plug may be machined with a shoulder at its forward surface; this shoulder mates with a recess in the cylinder and provides
A reference point for regulating the alignment of pin chambers in the case and the plug. A safeguard to prevent the plug from being driven through the cylinder, either deliberately or through resistance developed as the key enters the keyway.
Pin Tumbler Locks
Figure 7.8 Cutaway view of side
of a pin tumbler cylinder. (The Locksmith Guild)
Figure 7.9 A. The right key brings
all the bottom pins to the top of the plug, allowing it to rotate in the plug holder as shown (or in a lock cylinder). B. The wrong key causes some pins to rise too high or too low, not allowing it to rotate in the plug holder as shown (or in a lock cylinder).
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A safeguard to discourage a thief from shimming the pins. Without this shoulder it would be possible to force the pins out of engagement with a strip of spring steel.
The plug is retained at the rear by a cam and screws, a retainer ring, or a driver that locks the plug into the cylinder.
Pins. Top and bottom pins are usually made of brass. They come in a variety of
lengths, diameters, sizes, and shapes (Fig. 7.10). Although they re small, pin tumblers are very strong. The shape of the pins helps resist attempts to pick the lock. A standard cylindrical driver easily can be lifted to the shear line with a pick while a tension wrench is used to apply a little turning force to the plug. However, a top pin with a broken profile will tend to hang up before it passes the shear line, which makes a lock more difficult to pick (Figs. 7.11 and 7.12). (To learn more about lock picking see Chap. 14.)
Tailpieces and cams. Most pin tumbler cylinders have either a tailpiece or a cam attached to the rear of the plug (Fig. 7.13A, B). The tailpiece is loose to allow some flexibility in the location of the auxiliary lock on the other side of the door. Alignment should be as accurate as possible; under no circumstances should the tailpiece be more than 1 4 inch off the axis of the plug. On the other hand, pin tumbler cylinders for mortise locks do not have such tolerance. The best is driven by a cam on the back of the cylinder (Fig. 7.13C). If the lock is used on office equipment, the cam is probably a milled relief on the back of the plug; it might also be a yokelike affair, secured to and turning with the plug. It is important that these locks are aligned with the bolt mechanism.
Disassembly To disassemble a pin tumbler cylinder, you need a small screwdriver, a following tool of the correct diameter, and a pin tray. Proceed as follows: 1. Turn the plug about 30 . That is done with the key, by picking the cylinder, or by shimming the cylinder.
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