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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Orange County NY
    Posts
    323

    Default Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    I do some unusual work for my commercial customers at times.

    Last Monday I was asked to go reboot a server that was in an outside enclosure. (They know that while I do handyman type work now I also have a computer background) Instead of taking my big truck I used my pickup.

    When I got there the combination of the lock had been changed. Since they own the equipment they asked me to cut the lock off if possible. If I had my big truck I would have had a grinder and cut off wheels.

    I realize there are varying hardening techniques used in padlocks so the metal varies from very soft (hack sawable) to very hard.

    The company has already asked me to be on call for future work and I want to be prepared in case this happens again.

    So... what techniques have you all used to cut locks off?

    I know bolt cutters will cut off the softer locks, but will a good bolt cutter (ie the expensive ones with hardened jaws) cut off hardened locks? (I have seen several bolt cutters with nice round indents in the jaws that were used to try and cut locks off).

    Will a 4" grinder with a cut off wheel work on hardened locks?

    Suggestions, recommendations? Thanks!
    -> Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,763

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Cordless/corded Dremel tool w/ the small black cut-off discs works pretty well and doesn't take up much room :)
    "I'll bend over backwards to help anybody, but I ain't bending over forwards for nobody"

    Paul

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,338

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    I cut the shackle on one of these: http://www.allpadlocks.com/cgi-bin/e...ayout_0100.xsl
    With a pair Ace hardware fence cutters. I was in a pinch and had to get into my container that apparently someone changed the combo on, It's all I had in my truck and me and another guy put all our weight on the little 12" cuttlers and pop, cut the shackle no problem. I couldn't believe it, it didn't mess up the jaws of the fence cutters either!

    Kye

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Martinez, California
    Posts
    14,687

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    I bought a 4' set of bolt cutters and have been successful with some effort.
    “‎A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.” ― John Stuart Mill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,963

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Cordless Dewalt grinder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    All those movies and tv shows might not be real because I never had much luck with a .44 so we went to the 4' "Texas master key" like Dick uses.
    It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

    I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

    ParkWest Homes LLC
    Working Man Online Store
    Living Healthy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    sonoma ,calif
    Posts
    1,818

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    well more of a story ,when i was following my brother about as a teen we came upon a lock that was in his way .with a pick ,the type used to break up earth he easily popped it ,i mean easy .he put the tip in and must of pryed against the latch .no damages were visiable and when we left he closed the now broken lock and unless you pulled on it you would not know.
    it left me really doughting the value of the average pad lock .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Nothern California
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Thermite.






    ;-)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    east tennessee
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    i believe there are thieves among us

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    St. Catharines, ON Canada
    Posts
    542

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    When I worked in a factory, the maintenance guys would often break the locks off using a 3 or 4ft bar through the loop of the lock and a twist it was off. Very easy. This may not be a good idea if it has a flimsy latch though. You would be surprised at how easy some of them break.

    scott

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Desloge, MO
    Posts
    1,035

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Do something like this, or this, or make one of these!

    (Like any true geek, I have a fascination with lockpicking and combination cracking)
    -----------------------------
    Dustin Wyatt
    -----------------------------

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,842

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Working out of the back of a pickup truck
    #1 choice: cordless mini grinder w/ zipcut blade
    #2 choice: cordless skil saw w/ zipcut blade
    #3 choice: Sthil quick cut

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    southeastern South Dakota
    Posts
    1,739

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    spray it with butane 'til it frosts up and smack it real hard with a hammer.
    Mark


    If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "If I had a dollar for every time....", I'd be a rich man.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Upstream
    Posts
    10,012

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Three words: Dy-No-Mite...
    Richie Poor

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Orange County NY
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Cutting padlocks off - Suggestions

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I will try the dremel and also the angle grinder since I already have them. I did not think they would work on hardened locks but since y'all have done it I'll give them try.

    The 36" hardened bolt cutters I priced ran about $150 which is why I am hesitant to buy them on the chance will need them once in a blue moon. If I run into another job where I need them I will bite the bullet. I don't mind buying tools that I will use, but over the years my cheap 18" cutter has worked well on the wire, fencing and wire shelves. I know it would not stand a chance against a padlock.

    After posting the initial inquiry I realized that it is actually cheaper to buy a good padlock to play with than buy a good bolt cutter so if either of the cutoff tools work it will be a savings. I will try the butane also.

    Unfortunately I can't strong arm the lock and risk damaging the enclosure or latches. I know some locks pop open quite easily.

    Since everybody got into details - its along the lines of the butane trick. If you freeze a lock with nitrogen and hit it they will shatter - and this works on really hard locks too. Its just not too practical carrying around nitrogen!

    I had a chance in to 70's to learn some legal lock picking - it is not hard to pick many basic locks with a little training, a few tools and a lot of practice. I lost the "feel" over the years so when I tried it at home a couple of years ago I had no luck. I never learned the more advanced techniques, but even back then there were some lock types that were just not pickable. GM Cars were one of them - however the GM locks were so easily bypassed back then with a slim jim there was no need to pick them anyhow.
    Last edited by Dave-A1; 10-14-2008 at 01:09 PM.
    -> Dave

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