Pin Tumbler Lock vs Disc Tumbler Lock

Hand unlocking the door
  • 1-5 hours
  • Intermediate
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When considering the purchase of pin tumbler lock, determine first the differences between the pin tumbler lock and another common type of tumbler lock - disc.

Pin Tumbler Lock

Pin tumbler lock is also referred to as the Yale lock. It was first manufactured by a notable manufacturer of locks - the Yale Company. It is a device that has varying pin lengths. These are very common cylinder locks and are also employed in radial locks, or tubular pin locks. It has an opening which is cylindrical where the plug will be found. In order for the lock to be unbolted, the plug has to be rotated. This plug contains a niche, also called the keyway, and a key is allowed to be inserted into the plug. On the inside of the device, there are a series of levers or cams that sets into motion a system to withdraw a locking device. This keyway includes overhanging ridges so key pins do not reach to the plug. This enables the pin lock to be opposed to picking.

Pin Tumbler Lock Assembly

Within the plug is a chain of outlets that are about five to six in number. These outlets have different key pin lengths. Each pin is rounded so the key can enter above them with ease. A group of spring-loaded driver pins is over each of the key pins. For every key pin, a simple lock will normally have one driver pin. However, those locks that have the master key, for a multi-keyed entry, may possess an extra driver pin, which are called spacer pins. The spring-loaded driver pins are held by vertical shafts in this outer casing.

How Pin Tumbler Lock Works

key in a lock

Pins are depressed by springs inside the plug when the outer casing and the plug are connected. Shear point is the area where the cylinder and plug meet. A key that is well-made is inserted inside the hole at the plug’s end. This makes the pins rise and align at shear point. It will make the plug rotate and the lock will open. The pins will be on the shear point whenever the key’s not within the lock, and this will stop the rotation of the plug. Those master key locks have two shear points sets. One will be similar to the other and another one will be unique for that lock.

Disc Tumbler Lock

The disc tumbler lock, also known as the Abloy Disklock, was invented by Emil Henriksson in 1907. This high security level lock was manufactured by Abloy. This type contains slotted rotating discs. A specifically cut key will be able to rotate these discs in order to have the slots aligned, making the sidebar drop inside the slots. This causes the lock to open. This type of lock does not utilize any springs. It is considered as a high security level lock as it is quite difficult to pick. When it is picked, it will require a lot of time using professional tools and mastery of the trade.