How To Drill Out and Replace a Machine Lock

Lost your key to your arcade, vending or another machine? Learn how to drill out and replace your machine lock. There are numerous numbers of all kinds of machines that must be kept locked to keep them secure from unauthorized access. Each one more than likely has a different lock and certainly key number, so finding the correct key is almost impossible. The only solution is to drill out the old lock and replace it with a new lock and key.

Tools needed are a hand drill, 1/8″ – 3/16″ drill bit, study flat blade screwdriver, center punch, hammer, pliers or vice grips. Most locks are either a standard flat, double bit key or a tubular round key type of lock. Instructions for both are below.


 

Replacing A Two Bit Flat Key Lock

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Standard flat key type of lock.

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Using a 1/4″ or 3/16″ drill bit, line up the drill bit with the outside edge of one side of the key slot. Drill a hole 1/4″ deep straight into the slot. Do not over drill too deeply or you could damage something that is behind the lock.

Replacing A Two Bit Flat Key Lock 3 | moneymachines.com

You should see metal and brass shavings emerge from the hole. The brass shavings are the locking keys within the lock that we need to remove. When done there should be a clean 1/4″ deep hole in the lock slot.

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Now go to the other side and drill another hole just as you did before.

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When done you have two clean holes 1/4″ deep. Now drill at an angle in between the two holes and clean out the center of the slot going no more than 1/4″ deep.

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Now stick the blade of a sturdy flat head screwdriver into the drilled out key slot and twist counterclockwise to unscrew the lock. You may need to twist the screwdriver back and forth initially to help break the lock free. A pair of pliers or vise grips clamped around the screwdriver will give you better leverage if you have difficulty. If it still seems to not want to break free, you will need to drill the holes a little deeper or larger to get enough of the brass keys out so that you can break the lock free. Be careful not to remove too much or you could damage the surrounding area.

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Here the lock is out and the machine is ready for a new lock and key.


 

Replacing A Tubular Round Key Lock

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Tubular round key type of lock. Using a center punch and hammer make a starting indention by placing the center punch in the center of the lock center tab and striking it with a hammer several times. This will make keeping the drill bit in place much easier.

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Now using a 1/4″ drill bit, place the drill bit in the indention you just made and drill out the center tab of the lock to a depth of 1/4″. with the outside edge of one side of the key slot. Drill a hole 1/4″ deep straight into the slot. Do not over drill too deeply or you could damage something behind the lock.

Replacing A Tubular Round Key Lock 3 | moneymachines.com

When you have drilled out the entire center of the lock you should have a lock that looks like this.

Replacing A Tubular Round Key Lock 4 | moneymachines.com

Now stick the blade of a sturdy flat blade screwdriver into the hold and lean at an angle to get a bite on the inside edges of the lock and twist counterclockwise to unscrew the lock. You may need to twist the screwdriver back and forth initially to help break the lock free. A pair of pliers or vise grips clamped around the screwdriver will give you better leverage if you have difficulty. If it still seems to not want to break free, you will need to drill the hole a little deeper or larger so that you can break the lock free. Be careful not to remove so much that you damage the surrounding area.