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Theodore Turner
Theodore Turner

How To Crack A 3 Dial Safe


At some point or another, you'll probably need to use a combination lock. These can seem a little tricky if you've never opened one before, but don't worry! We'll walk you through the process of opening a 3-digit lock that has 3 dials as well as a circular spinning lock. We'll also show you what to do if you've lost the combination or need to reset the code.




How To Crack A 3 Dial Safe



If you've forgotten the combination to your safe, resorting to a professional locksmith could cost a lot of money, while forcing your way through could ruin both tools and safe. Cracking the combination yourself takes a great deal of patience and effort, but you are rewarded with a full wallet, an undamaged safe, and a sense of satisfaction. The highly detailed steps in this article can also provide fantastic details for any writers of fiction wishing to include a dramatic safe cracking scene in their work. Read on from step one to found out how to open a safe you have permission to crack or a fictional one!


This Instructable will teach you how to crack the code of any combination lock in a matter of seconds! This skill is only to be used legally and I am not responsible for anything other than teaching you how to unlock your own combination locks that you may have forgotten the code to.


A combination lock (using a bike lock as an example as shown in the pictures above) has three or more dials with a keyhole through the centre of them. When correct code (in this case 9-2-4) is entered the keyholes of all the dials on the lock become aligned and toothed pin (second picture) can be inserted. When the dials are moved or jumbled, the keyholes become dis-aligned and the toothed pin cannot be removed and is therefore locked in place.


When picking/cracking a combination lock a length of rope can be used to create a makeshift handle to give you a better grip of the lock. A good grip is necessary because in order to crack the lock you will need to apply a strong and even upwards force on the shackle throughout the entire procedure and this can be difficult to obtain with just bare hands. Being able to apply strong even force on the shackle is vital in order to put a greater amount of friction on the locks dials so that when a dial is turned to the correct number it will result in a resounding 'click' and a slight upward movement of the shackle. When you feel the shackle move upwards slightly and release a 'click' you can move on to the next dial and repeat the procedure until all the dials on the lock have been completed and the lock has been cracked. If the lock is locked onto a solid object such as a gate or a door then a length of rope most likely won't be necessary as having it locked onto something gives you more control and grip thus meaning you will be able to complete the whole procedure with just your bare hands.


First of all you will have to thread your length of rope through the loop on the lock and fold it in half around the shackle as shown in the first photo. This will become your makeshift handle that will give you a sturdier and stronger grip of the lock to make the procedure easier. Next clasp the rope tightly in your hands and push down on the top of the lock as hard as you can using your thumb finger and make sure to keep exerting the same amount of force on the lock throughout the whole procedure. While still keeping even pressure on the lock you now need to rotate each of the dials slightly in each direction. You will quickly find the dial that is the hardest to rotate which is the dial you will begin with (in my case it was 'C').


Start to gradually rotate the dial that is the until you hear a resounding 'click' and feel the shackle move upwards slightly. Check the dial and make a note of the number that it 'clicked' on then continue to gradually rotate that same dial to double-check (in my case dial 'C' was the hardest to rotate and it 'clicked' on '7'). If it continues to make a 'click' sound on the same number every rotation then you have successfully figured out the first digit of the code and you can now move onto figuring out the next dial. Once again rotate each of the remaining dials to find which is the hardest to rotate (in my case it was dial 'B'). Repeat the same process you used on the first dial until you have figured out the second digit of your code (in my case it was '1'). If you have a three digit combination lock like what I have demonstrated with, you should now only have one more dial to figure out. All you will need to do now is keep constant pressure on the lock and slowly twist the remaining dial in a full rotation. As you rotate the dial the last remaining digit needed for the code will match up with the other two you had previously figured out and the shackle should open.


It's been some time and it would be easier if I had it in front of me but if my memory serves me right. You want to push down in the top of the lock box then use the nob as your tensioner. Then spin dials until you hear a click or nob turns slightly in the direction of opening. Not 100% sure if these lock boxes have them but I know some that have if you apply to much pressure on nob you can get what is called a false set. It feels as if it's going to open but never does it's pretty much jamming the dials. Hopefully this helps, as I stated it would be a lot easier if I had it in front of me to try myself. Let me know if it works.


Lock manipulation requires a certain level of acumen that other methods of safecracking do not. You may be familiar with the concept of taking either the high or low road. Among many safecrackers, lock manipulation is considered to be "taking the high road." This is because lock manipulation represents safecracking at its most pure form. Technically, lock manipulation is the process of opening a locked safe without drilling or defacing the safe in any way. As the name implies, you use the lock against itself to discover the combination.


This method is ideal because it requires few, if any, tools and is, by far, the most discreet way to crack a safe. It does, however, require tremendous patience. The safecracker must also possess a clear understanding of the mechanical actions of locks in the various forms they take and/or some knowledge of the characteristics of the safe owner.


The art of lock manipulation is based largely on the scientific approach created in 1940 by Harry C. Miller. Just as in the movies, the safecracker uses sound to discover the combination. But what you don't see in the movies is that a safecracker needs more than a few seconds and a good ear to pull it off.


You must first determine the contact points on the lock. The drive cam also has a notch in it like the wheels in the wheel pack. But this notch is sloped to allow the lever and fence to pass through when it comes around. When the nose of the lever makes contact with this slope there is a small click. This is the first thing the safecracker wants to find. By listening for the click, the safecracker can determine which numbers on the dial face correspond to the left and right side of that sloped notch. That space is called the contact area and is the first step in discovering the combination.


The combination can be made up of anywhere between one and eight numbers. Each one of these numbers has a corresponding wheel. The next thing the safecracker wants to do is determine how many wheels are in the wheel pack. By knowing the contact area, the safecracker dials the number on the lock that is in an opposite position from the numbers of the contact area. The safecracker lets the dial rest here. This is called parking the wheels.


For example, on a one-hundred-number dial if the contact area is between 10 and 20 the safe cracker would park the wheels around 60. When the safecracker turns the dial slowly to the right, the drive cam is re-engaged to begin spinning the wheels from that position. Now every time the dial passes 60, the drive pin will click as each wheel in the wheel pack is picked up one at a time. The safecracker counts each click until there are no more, and this indicates how many wheels are in the pack: three clicks = three wheels.


Knowing the contact area and number of wheels, the safecracker resets the lock by turning several times to the right. Then parking the wheels at zero, the safecracker turns the dial slowly to the left. The safecracker listens for the tell-tale clicks that indicate the position of the left and right sides of the contact area. Making note of this on a graph, the safecracker repeats this step, only this time parking the wheels three numbers to the left of zero. Each time the process is started from a different position, the contact area will vary slightly. The safe cracker repeats this process in intervals of three until all the positions on the dial have been graphed. You don't see that in the movies!


Though the graph will reveal where the wheels are in the proper position, it won't reveal in what order the wheels are to be lined up. The safecracker must now dial the numbers, in all possible variations, until the safe opens. A three-number combination could have six possible variations. Let's say the three numbers the safecracker must use are 4, 37 and 61. Therefore, the six possible combinations are:


First of all the briefcase I am describing hacking is a typical black leather briefcase with a 3 dial rotary combo lock that goes from 0-9 on each dial. Now this particular case, as is true with all modern cases, have a lock design that has a spin lock mechanism. What I mean is this: picture holding the case on your lap so the top will open upward once you get it open. When you spin the dials from bottom to top you can only get to zero, then the dial locks, but if you spin in the opposite direction(top to bottom) there is no stop for the dials. Now what you do to figure out each combination is this: place the first digit of each of the three dials to 9. Good, now continuously hold the little button that releases the latch in the position that will open the case once the proper combination is inserted. You are going to be spinning the dials from bottom to top; THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! You must spin the dials "backwards" like this in order to feel the dial click into the proper digit. If you spin in the normal direction,(top to bottom), every digit will "click" into place! Leaving you clueless as to which is the correct digit! While spinning you will press down on the dials. You must press down or you will not be able to feel the latch "catch" once the proper combo is achieved. I used my index finger to spin the dials because the dials are so close together, and your index finger is the most sensitive finger. Ok; while holding the button release in the open position, press down on the first dial with your index finger, and VERY, AND I DO MEAN VERY, SLOWLY tun the dial from bottom to top. As you turn you will not feel anything until you get to the proper digit, now it will not be a loud resounding "CLICK", but it is faint, and it is noticeable. It will feel like the dial has just lowered itself further then you can press it down, it also feels like it just "seated" itself into a crevice. Now once you get the first digit... test again with the same method to make sure that this is the digit. While testing make sure you YOU DO NOT LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE DOING for 2 reasons:


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