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How to Drill Out a Tubular Lock with a Power Drill – An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

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Written By John Gibbs




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If you’re wondering how to drill out a tubular lock, then you’ve come to the right place. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of drilling out a tubular lock. We’ll cover the necessary tools and supplies, the drilling process, and some tips to ensure a successful outcome. With this guide, you’ll be able to quickly and easily drill out your tubular lock.

Tools and Materials Required

Tools And Materials Required

Tools Materials
Electric Drill
Drill Bits
Lock Pick
Small Flathead Screwdriver
Vice Grips
Graphite Powder

Drilling out a tubular pin lock requires an electric drill, drill bits, a lock pick, hammer, lubricant, a small flathead screwdriver, vice grips, and graphite powder.

Understanding the Tubular Lock

Understanding The Tubular Lock

Tubular locks are commonly used in many household and commercial items, including safes, filing cabinets, lockers, and vending machines. These locks are cylindrical in shape and are operated by a special type of key, known as a round key. The key is inserted into the lock cylinder and rotated to unlock the device.

Drilling out a tubular lock is a relatively simple process, but it requires a few special tools. To successfully drill out a tubular lock, you will need a tubular lock pick, a drill bit, and a drill.

  • The tubular lock pick is a tool specifically designed to open tubular locks. It is made up of a series of pins that are inserted into the lock cylinder. As the pick is rotated, the pins will move the lock’s pins into the correct position, allowing the lock to be opened.
  • The drill bit is a specialized tool designed to cut through metal. It is usually made of hardened steel and is used to bore a hole through the lock cylinder.
  • The drill is used to power the drill bit and create the hole in the lock. Cordless drills are preferred, as they are easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

Once you have all the necessary tools, you are ready to begin the process of drilling out a round key lock.

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Drilling Out the Tubular Lock

Mark the Centre of the Lock

To drill out a tubular lock, first you need to mark the centre of the lock. Place the lock in a vice and use a centre punch to mark where you want to drill. If you don’t have a centre punch, use a nail and hammer to make an imprint.

Make the Hole

Take a drill bit slightly smaller than the keyway and drill into the centre of the lock. Take your time, and don’t use too much pressure. Otherwise, you may damage the lock. Keep drilling until the drill bit penetrates the entire lock.

Unscrew the Lock

After you’ve drilled through the lock, unscrew it using a pair of pliers. Be careful, as the internal components may be fragile. Once the lock is unscrewed, you’ll be able to open the door.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Drill Bit Should Be Used When Drilling Out a Tubular Lock?

When drilling out a tubular lock, it is important to use the right type of drill bit. To ensure that the lock is successfully drilled out, it is recommended to use a carbide-tipped drill bit with a diameter of 5/32”. This will help to ensure that the job is done quickly and accurately.

Is it Possible to Rekey a Tubular Lock After Drilling it Out?

Yes, it is possible to rekey a tubular lock after drilling it out. Here’s how:

  • Remove the cylinder and any remaining pins from the lock.
  • Purchase a new key blank and tube plug that match the number of pins in the lock.
  • Remove the old pins and springs from the plug.
  • Insert the new pins into the plug according to the pinning chart and key code.
  • Reassemble the plug, cylinder, and key blank.
  • Test the new key in the lock.

Rekeying a tubular lock after drilling it out is a viable option for those who want to save money on replacing their lock. It’s important to ensure you have the correct parts and understand the pinning chart and key code before attempting to rekey a tubular lock.

What safety precautions should be taken when drilling out a tubular lock?

When drilling out a tubular lock, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions. Wear protective eyewear, gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from metal shavings. Make sure the drill bit is firmly attached to the drill and that the drill is set to the correct speed for the job. Be aware of the surrounding area and keep all body parts away from the drill bit. Additionally, carefully inspect the drill bit for any damage or wear before and during use.

Is Drilling Out a Tubular Lock a Permanent Solution?

Drilling out a tubular lock is not a permanent solution. It is a temporary fix and should only be used as a last resort. It will not provide long-term security and will need to be replaced with a new lock. Drilling out a tubular lock is a time-consuming and difficult process, so it is important to make sure that all other options have been exhausted before attempting to drill it out.

Is it necessary to use a drill press when drilling out a tubular lock?

Drilling out a tubular lock can be a tricky task, and using a drill press can make the job easier. Although it is not absolutely necessary to use a drill press, there are several advantages to using one:

    1. Accuracy: A drill press is designed for precision drilling, meaning that it is more accurate than a hand drill. This is especially important when drilling out a tubular lock, as any misalignments could cause the drill bit to slip and damage the lock.

    2. Consistency: Using a drill press ensures that the same amount of pressure is applied to the drill bit throughout the entire drilling process. This makes it easier to guarantee a consistent and even hole.

    3. Speed: A drill press is also much faster than a hand drill, which is beneficial when drilling out a tubular lock as it can be time-consuming.

    4. Safety: Finally, a drill press is much safer than a hand drill as it eliminates the risk of slipping or misalignments that can cause injury.

In conclusion, while it is not absolutely necessary to use a drill press when drilling out a tubular lock, the advantages of using one make it far easier and more accurate.


Drilling out a tubular lock can be a daunting task, but with the proper tools and knowledge, you can do it quickly and easily. It is important to be patient, as it can be a time-consuming process. Use the right drill bit and be sure to practice caution as you drill out the lock to avoid damaging the lock or yourself. When you are done, you will have a fully functional tubular lock.

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About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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