Sometimes called a radial lock, a tubular pin tumbler lock is often used to secure an item with rapid access later being possible. As such, this sort of locking mechanism tends to be used with things like bicycle locks or for pinning down valuable items in a shop, such as smartphones or computers. Because they are generally regarded as being harder to pick than many standard locks, they are frequently used in unmanned areas where a thief might attempt to gain unwarranted access to good. For this reason, you'll often see them fitted to coin-operated vending machines or sports clubs' locker rooms, too. How do they offer enhanced security and what makes them different from other locks?
The Locking Mechanism
A tubular pin tumbler lock has multiple stacks of pins on the inside which are spring loaded. As a tubular key is pushed into the lock via a circular aperture, these pins are pushed back by varying degrees. You can think of this design as being similar to a conventional pin tumbler lock but with the pins arranged in a circle, rather than in parallel with one another. With both systems, it is only when all of the internal pins are pushed down to the right level that the lock can be opened. Unpicking a tubular pin system requires a great deal more dexterity than other locks dues to this radial arrangement. In order that the tube of the key enters its corresponding lock with the correct orientation, a notch is added so that it can only go in one way.
Problems With Tubular Pin Tumbler Locks
Because they are good at deterring the average thief who is not well-versed with this sort of mechanism, tubular pin tumbler locks will continue to be used all over Australia in many security applications. However, professional thieves with particular devices, known as tubular lock picks, are able to beat them with relative ease. In addition, some criminals have been known to simply drill out the locking mechanism and gain access to the goods that should have been held securely. However, lock manufacturers have countered this issue by making one of the central pins from a toughened metal, usually stainless steel, which makes drilling them out much more time-consuming. If you lose the tubular key to such a lock, then don't attempt to drill it out yourself, but call on the services of a professional locksmith. Otherwise, all you will end up doing is wearing down your drill bit.