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Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

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piotr

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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:32 pm

Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

The following is derived from Rai's textual description of his procedure for making one of his snappers. Credits for the original design and procedure go to Raimundo. Any errors are mine. I have retained Rai's use of the first-person account. My annotations will appear in square brackets ([]) If you perform all of the Modification steps you will have a distinctly Raimundo-style snapper with all the bells and whistles. If you leave out these steps you will have a basic -- but still functional -- snapper.

[Add photos for trap narrowing procedure (4/11/2012) -Piotr]
[Typos; grammar; punctuation (5/11/2012) -Piotr]

THE SNAPPER: THE EASIEST PICK TO DIY

Here's a tutorial on how to make your own snapper from a bike spoke, with my recent improvements.

You will need a bike spoke from a normal full-sized bike, these are just the right length. [In the photographic procedure I have used 301mm (~12-inch) bicycle spokes. -Piotr]

snappers_2 015.jpg


(1) Make a 90-degree bend at approximately 1 inch (~2.5cm) from the nailhead. You can easily do this with a small smooth jaw plier. [The smooth jaws won't leave tool marks. But if you don't have smooth-jawed pliers you can use regular pliers. -Piotr]

snappers_2 021.jpg


(2) Bend the 1-inch segment to 90-degrees to form a 1 inch x 1/4 inch rectangle (with rounded corners). [The bicycle spoke is very springy so you needn't worry about closing the rectangle. -Piotr]

snappers_2 022.jpg


(3) Make a bend that leaves the 'rectangle' -- henceforth referred to as the trap -- at 90-degrees from the rest of the spoke. Before making the bend you need to decide whether you want a right-handed or left-handed snapper. If you put the trap to the right, that will make your tool what I call 'right-handed'. [The photograph illustrates a right-handed snapper.-Piotr]

snappers_2 024.jpg


(4) Modification At this stage you can optionally add a "thumb spinner" which will make the snapper more comfortable to use. This feature is not on any of the snappers you may have seen on the WWW. Use a piece of a Bic Stic pen or any other rigid plastic tubing that will not easily fracture as a result of repeated use. You can also use a short piece of metal tubing but plastic will be quieter.
This spinner will try to fall into the way as you perform the next step so it must be secured near the trap with a rubber band.

snappers_2 027.jpg


(5) To wind the coil a pair of rosary pliers or wrap and tap pliers can greatly simplify the process and give you a tightly wound coil. These sorts of pliers can be purchased from jewellers' suppliers.

snappers_2 031.jpg


The length of the hand-held portion of the tool will be established by the length between the trap and the coil. An optimal length is around 3 inches. A longer length will have less striking power. Short hits harder. You will (hopefully) be making a few snappers so you will see how that works.

The interior diameter of the coil is around 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch[Rai's earlier coils are about 1/2-inch but the more recent are about 1/4-inch -Piotr]

If you don't have a pair of these specialised pliers use a small mandrel (bolt or whatever cylindrical object that has the required diameter).

You will want to wind the coil so that the thickening of the tool is on the side where the trap also thickens the tool, i.e. wind towards the direction in which the trap laterally extends the snapper.

snappers_2 034.jpg


[I think I have this correct but I need Rai's confirmation. -Piotr]

For a first snapper one loop will do, later you can try two turns on the loop. You already have the trap on one side of the bike spoke, that is the side that you should wind the coil to put its width on, you do not want the coil to have its width on the opposite side. Why? Because I say so; it would screw the asthetics of my design. Also there might be problems I don't know about because I don't make them any other way.

The two tangent arms coming out of the coil should be at about a 30-45 degree angle to each other. This angle affects the power of the tool
but it is also an issue in loading the needle arm into the trap so it might not be possible to make that angle greater without actually resetting it while lifting it into the trap under coil resistance.

protractor_with_range_overlay.jpg


snappers_2 038.jpg


[I think my arm angle may be a tad small. -Piotr]

(6) The arm that extends beyond the trap -- that will run through the trap -- is here termed the needle arm. The needle on the needle arm will be formed by shortening and flattening the needle arm segment that extends beyond the trap. This can be done after putting the arm in the trap, but its easier to do it outside the trap. Don't make the needle longer than a six-pin full-size key because excess length will make it harder to use. This should be roughly 1 1/4-inches.

(7) Modification To create a needle with a small pick head at the tip (to be used to ensure that the needle is placed just passed the last pin in the cylinder), at the 6-pin keyblade length, grip the needle stock in any plier with the jaw over the five and six pin area, then bend the outer excess length upward, and cut the excess off just in the middle of that bend. With a file you will rough form a very small hook or half-diamond at the tip of the needle using just a small part of the bend, most of that remaining bend will be filed off.

snappers_3 013.jpg


snappers_3 022.jpg


snappers_3 025.jpg


snappers_3 029.jpg


(8) To thin the needle you can initially use a grinder if you have the skill at it. Be sure to quench often, you do not want to cause uneven temper in the metal by overheating. If you are not skilled at grinding just go straight to the file, its too easy to overdo and cut too deep with a powertool. Grind a little bit off one side of the needle from root to tip, not the other way around because that technique will overthin the tip. Then grind the same amount off the other side. Repeat in small steps, do not try to bring it to final shape with the grinder, the powertool is only for mass wasting and speeds up the job. Haste will make waste. Final shaping is done with a file, with the needle held in a groove in a block of wood held firmly in a vise (or a bench pin if you have one). The groove can be made with a hacksaw blade and should be shallow enough to expose the metal above the groove. When you think you are almost there, use 220-grit sandpaper wrapped on a thin stick and rubberbanded on both ends. The 220-grit is aggressive and will still be shaping the tool, so use it to round the edges as well as take out the marks from the file. Inspect the result and if you are satisfied move on to 320-grit to take out the rough marks from the 220-grit. Now fold a small piece of 320-grit over the needle and push and pull the needle through this so the marks are parallel to the needle, remove all the marks and then if you like you can do this again with an even finer grit.
[I had a photographic continuity problem at this point. The spinner cracked so I had to remove it leaving me with a "bare backed" snapper. I will sort this out shortly and make another snapper with the blue tube spinner. -Piotr]

snappers_4 007.jpg


(9) Modification The trap can be narrowed, producing a flatter snapper that is more easily carried and has less lateral play of the needle arm. Set the needle arm in the trap and permanently close the trap if you haven't already done so. You want to narrow the width of the trap but no so much so that it pinches the needle arm and interferes with its motion. A vise will make this task easier. To prevent the trap from being narrowed too much, insert a thin strip of metal that has the desired dimensions of the trap; you can use the handle of a cheap stainless steel butter knife as a "spacer". With the spacer inserted above the needle, place the non-nailhead side of the trap in the jaws of the vise, and clamp the vise so that the trap narrows and elongates towards the end of the trap opposite the nail head.

snapper_crush_trap 001.jpg


snapper_crush_trap 002.jpg


snapper_crush_trap 004.jpg


snapper_crush_trap 015.jpg


You can use some wet-and-dry sandpaper to remove the tool marks.

(10) Modification Make the ergo-banana-nomic shape. This is done by hand to eliminate the possibiltiy of tool marks on the spoke. Press the top trap arm all the way down (as far as the trap will allow) and hold it there. Now hand bend the ergonomic curve to the the needle arm. Note that you are bending the needle arm away from the trap arm. This is easy to do with no tools at all, but be careful not to put any bend in the needle in front of the trap. This will have the effect of a more comfortable grip as the banana shape fits more comfortably in the hand. The trap arm can be most easily bent before the spinner is placed on it, but it can also be bent after a short spinner is on and the coil is formed. Bend each arm of the snapper separarely but give both arms the same degree of curvature to produce the banana shape.
[Images forthcoming-Piotr]

(11) Modification Use needle files to reduce the nail head so it dosen't interfere with the thumb spinner.
[Images forthcoming-Piotr]

(12) Modification You can increase the power some by bending the needle arm of the snapper by hand at the point between the coil and the trap while the tool is complete and the needle is in the trap, this has the effect of spreading the effective angle of the two arms.
[Images forthcoming-Piotr]
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Last edited by piotr on Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:01 am, edited 17 times in total.
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clearmoon247

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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Very nice writeup, I got a free bike with flat tires...you know what im thinking. So now i plan on making quite a few snapper tools. Who knows, may even figure out a mod to make them even more effective. Still, excellent job with making that, how well does it work for you, if you've tested it out yet
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Ragnar

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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:45 pm

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

THANK YOU!

In another lifetime I rode Mountain Bikes fairly hard & have quite a few spokes on hand. I've experimented several times with making these snappers, but have had zero luck with my trial & error. Really appreciate the measurements & look forward to finally making a few that count.
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s1deshowmick

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:58 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Fantastic writeup piotr, your attention to detail always makes my head ache, lol.
the only problem i have found with returning to locksport and this awesome site is the amount of time i spend looking on the web for all the new tools i don't have.
You must excuse me now while i leave this great site and purchase a pair of freaking ROSARY PLIERS!!!!!!!!!!!! :yep:
If you can't be good, Be good at it.

http://au.youtube.com/S1DESHOWMICK
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piotr

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:17 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

clearmoon247 wrote:Very nice writeup, I got a free bike with flat tires...you know what im thinking. So now i plan on making quite a few snapper tools. Who knows, may even figure out a mod to make them even more effective. Still, excellent job with making that, how well does it work for you, if you've tested it out yet


Thank-you. I will update and add photos as my fidelity to Rai's design improves. I think the coil size may be too large in the pictured snapper. I will make a version with the smaller coil and also wait for Rai's response. Regarding performance, I am able to snap open those same locks that I am able to open using my E-Z Pick Gun, namely cheap locks such as Kwikset,Kwikset knock-offs (like the one pictured in the last photo) and generic Chinese pin tumblers locks. I am not great with snappers and guns as I've barely ever used this method. If anyone has some good advice for using a gun or snapper I'd be pleased to hear it. I've had my pick gun for years and this is the first time I've actually sat down and made an effort to learn its use. The snapper pictured is only the fourth that I have made, the previous three unintentionally deviated too much from Rai's basic pattern. So I'm a quite new to percussive methods in general and completely new to homebrew snappers. For the sake of completeness I will make try and make a snapper with all of Rai's peculiarities. I remain uncertain about some details and methods of Rai's design (eg. producing the banana shape) so I skipped over some and estimated others. Treat the tutorial as provisonal at this stage.

Update:- I managed to open a knock-off of an (Australian) Lockwood 201 rim cylinder with the pictured snapper. I remain unable to open a genuine Lockwood 201 with the snapper.
Last edited by piotr on Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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piotr

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:38 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

s1deshowmick wrote:Fantastic writeup piotr, your attention to detail always makes my head ache, lol.
the only problem i have found with returning to locksport and this awesome site is the amount of time i spend looking on the web for all the new tools i don't have.
You must excuse me now while i leave this great site and purchase a pair of freaking ROSARY PLIERS!!!!!!!!!!!! :yep:


Thanks Mick. I purchased the wrap-and-tap pliers from here: http://myworld.ebay.com.au/prestige.handtools/
The one pictured is this one: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/230824859080

Rosary (which are conical) or wrap-and-tap (aka 3-stepped forming pliers) are both good for coil forming but the stepped will give you a more even coil if you will be winding more than one loop (because it doesn't taper).

Agree on the tools and that is part of the beauty of the hobby: it has so many facets and pulls in tools and techniques from many diverse areas.
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Oldfast

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:43 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Brilliantly detailed write-up! Thanks so much Piotr and Rai for the time to share it.
I certainly plan to experiment with this eventually and this will be VERY helpful!!

Rai's write-up in case anyone has trouble finding it... viewtopic.php?p=61013#p61013
Some picture's of his snappers from LP101... http://www.lockpicking101.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55700
And some more pictures of Rai's various snappers... viewtopic.php?p=60310#p60310
Last edited by Oldfast on Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MBI

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:11 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

My thanks to Rai and Piotr, for the development of this tool and making this writeup.

Stickied.
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femurat

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:01 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Great job Piotr, seeying the pictures really helps to easily understand the process rai described.

Cheers :)
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rai

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Post Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Piotr,

I think I was un clear or just had a mental drop out, on some of the discription

crushing the trap in a vice is about making a thinner tool, in your photo # 2 you show the trap as it is during the making of the tool

however, I thought it would be better to thin the interior demensions of the trap after the needle is mounted in it. and this is done by putting the handle of a cheap stainless butter knife in the trap above the needle then crushing the trap in a vice, which mostly reduces the diameter of the one rounded end, and the handle of the butterknife keeps it from pinching too much, it just preserves the long space the end with the nailhead of the spoke should not be in the jaw of the vice.
narrowing the trap in this way reduces lateral play of the needle arm during the strike and the narrowing also has the effect of slightly elongating the trap as that is where that metal goes when pushed.

I make plastic thumb spinners somewhat shorter but its a matter of choice, do what works for you

your thumb spinner broke off, there is only one type of spinner that can be put on without deconstructing the trap and sort of messing it up, this is a coil spring that can be screwed on to the wire.

place a fairly tight coil spring on the trap arm perpendicularly and screw it so that its almost screwed off the end of the spring, this will allow the last wrap of the end of the coil to drop the end of the coil wire over the trap arm,
when that happens reverse screwing and it will feed the coil onto the arm.

chose a tightly wound coil spring of suitable diameter ( you decide whats suitable) made of not too thick wire,
thick wire will make it hard to screw this on. and if the ends of the coil are sharp in a way that might some day cut your finger, they should be sanded before being screwed on.

Im not looking at the orignal tutorial, likely theres an inconsistance in my train of thought here but reducing the inner width of the trap is not part of the banana nomic shaping, its just for thinning the tool and making the trap guide the wire into the rounded end of the trap during the strike,
when I write a long tut or some such thing, whole parts of my thought might get left out.
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piotr

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Post Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:11 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Thanks for the feedback and clarification Rai. I will make the required edits and add more photos.
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rai

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Post Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:49 pm

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

piotr,
in your final photo, you show the needle and a five pin key, the difference in apparent length is more than one pin space, this could be causing you trouble in the other locks, and this is where a kind of pin indicator is useful, I have used small diamond or hook shapes filed right into the needle and this means the top edge of the needle is thinned out,
If you think you need the full width of the of the needle, you can also simply cut a small concavity on the top of the needle tip, leaving the length of the needle full size, and when a pin rides down into this concavity you can feel it. In fact it could be a more effective position feeler in many locks, where the other objects encountered on the far end of the plug are tail pieces or locking dogs that will be too large to drop into a concavity.

I see all my modifications are now "optional" :smile:
you really can increase the strike force of the final tool by pressing the top trap arm all the way down and holding it there while hand bending the ergonomic curve to the lower arm. its easy to do with no tools at all, but be careful not to put any bend in the needle in front of the trap.
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piotr

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Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:55 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Thanks for the feedback Rai. The optional steps are now named "Modifications". I will try and make another snapper today with a shorter needle and with the other modifications and take more photographs. Question. In making the banana shape do you bend the trap arm at the same time as you bend the needle arm or do you bend each separately?
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rai

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Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

the trap arm can be most easily bent before the spinner is placed on it, but it can also be bent after a short spinner is on and the coil is formed, you can see the difference if you have done it both ways,

the needle arm can be bent before the needle is trapped, or after, by pressing the trap arm all the way down and hand bending the needle arm.

snappers made in the old way can actually be converted to this ergonomic form after they have been finished, I can't remember but that may have been how I made the first one of these. I make a lot of picks and things and never remember the individual tool, just about the modifications that I like, some become part of the process and others do not endure, such as the tubing that I first was using to keep thick fingers from dampening the strike of the needle arm, that has now mostly disapeared, even the bogotas once were bent opposite to the way they now are, with the bend at the twist going up rather than down. theres a guy in the netherlands who has a lot of the old ones, hes the guy who collaborated on the tutorial back in '03 or '04
Jan is his first name and i remember his last name but won't put it online.
Last edited by rai on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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piotr

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Post Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:47 am

Re: Making a Raimundo-Style Snapper

Photos regarding making pick tip added.
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