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How Do Locks Work

How do Locks Work?

Locks have been around for a long time. There are many different types of locks which all work in a slightly different way. Some are simple and open with a key or combination of numbers, and other locks are complicated, opened with fingerprints or keycards.

Pin and Tumbler Locks
Pin and tumbler locking mechanisms has as series of spring-loaded pins, loaded into a series of small cylinders. Each cylinder has a bottom part called a pin, and the top part is called a driver. When the key is inserted, the springs are compressed as the key lifts the pin, pushing the driver into the upper chambers of the cylinder. When the correct key is in the lock, the bottom and top pins align the space between them around a track similar to a ward, which is the shear line. When the pins and drivers are aligned to clear the way for the shear line, the key will turn.

Combination locks
Combination locks can be found from gym lockers to diaries. A typical combination pack contains one wheel for each number in the combination. Each wheel has a small tab. As you turn the combination dial, a spindle that extends through the wheel pack turns a drive cam, as this turns; an attached drive pin makes contact with the wheel fly on the nearest wheel. As you dial the correct combination, the wheel fly makes contact until all of the wheels are spinning. When you get to the last digit, the wheels will line up. Notches cut into each wheel will be aligned, the notches form a gap that allows the lock to be opened.

Mechanical Locks
These types of locks operate by one or more pieces of metal falling into a slot in the bolt, preventing it from being moved. Most mechanical locks need a key to open the lock; the proper key serrations that raise the metal pieces allow the bolt to slide.  

Electronic Locks
These operate by means of electric current. They are sometimes stand-alone with an electronic control assembly mounted directly to the lock, allowing access by a code or key.

To discuss which lock options may be best for you, contact Bedford Lock & Key at 781-275-1597 in Bedford, MA or 978-433-5262 in Pepperell, MA.

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