How to make lock picks

In order to make any pics, you'll need a grinder. Of course you could try to make them with a file, but considering the time that would take, you'd be better off purchasing a set for $15. But if you do have a grinder, why pay that for 5 minutes worth of work? There really isn't anything sacred about these picks. All measurments can be guestemated and still result in a pick just as functional as any commercial pick on the market.

Important Note: When you're done making your tools, be sure to sand the head and shaft of your tool where the grinder was used. If the edges are not smooth, your tools will not glide smoothly across the pins in a lock. So make sure there are no visible marks on any portion of the tool which will come into contact with the lock.


The measurements don't have to be exact, but they can't be too far fetched either. In the following table "Commercial" applies to the images on this page. All images are of the same scale (when viewed full size). The optimal size depends on the size of your hands and the size of objects you feel comfortable working with. Don't automatically assume you should stick with the size which commercial picks are made, experiment.
Shaft length1.50 inches1.25-2.00 inches
Shaft height0.1875-0.0625 inches (tapered)Same
Handle3.00 inches2.00-4.00 inches
Double sided pick4.00-4.50 inches 3.50-5.00 inches
Torque wrench head0.50-0.75 inches 0.50-1.00 inches
Torque wrench handle3.00 inches 2.00-4.00 inches


The material which best suits the manufacturing of picks is hacksaw blades. They're only about 50 cents each, and you can make about 3-5 picks out of each one. If you want a nice handle on your pick, you can use a small screw driver, and just grind down the sides. But I find the handle gets in the way more than it helps.
For torque wrenches, I recommend an allen wrench which is about one or two sizes too big to enter the keyway. Then taper the head so that it slips easily into the keyway. The taper will allow you to use the same wrench on most locks you encounter. Other acceptable materials are: screwdrivers, paper clips, forks (with all but one prong removed), etc.

Some Examples

Here's an idea of what some commercially made picks look like:
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And here's an idea of what a homemade pick looks like:

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If you want to reduce the number of picks in your set, you can make both ends of the pick functional. Here are some examples of double sided commercial picks:
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Here's a homemade torque wrench:
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