Where can I find detailed info on how locks work?
April 19, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for reputable articles on how locks(ie. tumbler locks, pin locks, ect) work. I have to write a 5-page paper on the physics of locks for a class but I'm having trouble finding articles other than just Wikipedia explanations. I need a few sources Wikipedia besides that because this is a college course. Any suggestions?
posted by kitsully to Education (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The MIT Lockpicking Guide is your friend. I don't think it's been officially published, which may make your teacher look down on it, but it's a good explanation.
posted by gauche at 2:46 PM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: You could try searching out patents, or asking the science librarian at your college for help.
posted by spunweb at 2:56 PM on April 19, 2012

Seconding the MIT guide. It's probably the most frequently referenced lockpicking document.

None of your sources should be Wikipedia.
posted by griphus at 3:03 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

In addition to the legendary MIT guide, this doc covers bumping. There is a list of references at the end.
posted by jquinby at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

What kind of research have you done already?
posted by box at 3:19 PM on April 19, 2012

You might look for books on this rather than articles. E.g. the first google books hit for "locks" is "The Complete Book Of Locks And Locksmithing" which seems promising.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:25 PM on April 19, 2012

Best answer: yeah, google books is your friend. When I worked a reference desk, we skipped the catalog- full text indexing is the way to go.




These should get you started. The Find in a Library Link of the left hand side will find you a local library that has it- all three of these should be in a large university library system, since they are by major academic presses- Cambridge and Elselvier.
posted by rockindata at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2012

Don't forget that people are a great resource. Interview a locksmith.
posted by plinth at 4:12 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, talk to your local reference librarian, especially at the engineering library- they will be a great resource, most likely, and be able to find lots of stuff.

um, also. Have you tried anything other than straight Google? Google Scholar will probably help you out a lot too.
posted by rockindata at 4:14 PM on April 19, 2012

It's not a book about locks, but this video is really great if your having trouble visualizing how combination locks work.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:24 PM on April 19, 2012

Matt Blaze and his team at UPenn have done some really interesting lock analyses. Here's one to get you started: Safecracking for the computer scientist (pdf), Matt Blaze, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2004.
posted by zippy at 5:09 PM on April 19, 2012

You might want to lok for a local toool meeting.
posted by Brian Puccio at 9:05 PM on April 19, 2012

If it's for a college course, you probably have a library and a librarian. Ask them for guidance (but don't expect them to do the research for you).
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:15 AM on April 20, 2012

Most Wikipedia pages have their sources listed at the bottom of the page. For example, the page on Pin-tumbler locks has References from Haley's and MIT and External links to Yale (the lock company) and Popular Science. Some of those articles might have even more sources listed. Follow the trail.
posted by soelo at 1:05 PM on April 20, 2012

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