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Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

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tumbl3r

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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Sat May 21, 2016 9:23 pm

Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

So I picked up an ASSA Twin from the "Large Lot" section of Security Snobs. I'm happy to learn by progressive pinning, so I pulled it apart to learn how it works.
I started out by working slowly up from driver chambers [1,2] + side pin [1,2]. After a LOT of work, I was getting it. Learning the feel, and generally being happy.
I progressively added side pins until I could get all five along with driver [1,2]. Then I added driver 3 and things went to hell. I only got it once, and could not do
it again to save my life.

Now, this lock came with ASSA drivers unlike any I had seen before. They were not the :dblspool: that we are all used to seeing, but very very deep single-sided spools.
Picking them CW, I could lift all five stacks up past the countermilling, picking them all to sheer, but once on the side pins, they would wedge so badly that I could not lift them. Backing off
on the tension and manually counter-rotating the plug would just cause everything to start dropping. Picking them CCW, the lock would fall into a very deep false set and the
spools could not be lifted out of the countermilling without manually counter-rotating the plug. Compounding this, the very deep false set in countermilling was indistinguishable
from everything being picked to sheer and sitting on the sidebar.

So, I could pick the top pins CW, but it would wedge up the side pins. I could pick the side pins CCW, but could not tell when the drivers had all been lifted past sheer and I was on the sidebar.
I worked on this for a long time, bending up picks and shaking my fist at the damn thing. Eventually, as I was juggling around pin arrangements, I lost one of the drivers. Unable to find the
single-spools for sale anywhere, I ordered a set of ASSA double spools that I understand are newer. After replacing the original single-spools with these, I had the lock picked with all stack on
camera the same day. I thought I was lucky, so I picked it again, and again. The lock had become much easier to pick because lifting the double-spools up through the countermilling was no more
difficult than your average threaded challenge lock. I could also easily tell when everything was past sheer and ready to work on the sidebar because the core would counter-rotate and feel spongy
as XEO describes in his writeup.

So I guess the first thing I am wondering is if the deep single-spools were even from ASSA, or if they were somebody's customization. Assuming they are older ASSA pins, why in the world the company
would have consciously made the decision to move away from a spool / countermilling combination that made the lock very near impossible to pick to one that actually gives an attacker a fairly clear
path to opening it?

I'm also wondering if anyone else has experience with the deep single spools? Did you get it picked? Do you have an extra pin that you would sell me? I'm thinking of making one that is as close as possible
to the original just to see if I am ever able to get it picked in that configuration.

Finally, I'm wondering if I cheated by using the newer spools? Is there something I just don't know about newer ASSA locks that make the double-spools more effective than they were in my lock?

Thanks for your time guys, and your help understanding this oddball situation I find myself in.

Here is the video if it clears anything up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu90_npXo3w
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DroppedTensionWrench

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Location: Arizona

Post Sun May 22, 2016 1:50 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

I never got why they moved away from the old style assa pins either. They really grab hard with counter milling. Maybe a production cost measure? Who knows. Oddly when I took mine apart to clean it up it had a mix of old and new style pins. It was gifted from my local locksmith. I haven't seen him since to ask if he did that or not.

There was old style Assa pins on eBay for sale but I believe they are gone. You could buy one of these and pull the driver pins http://m.ebay.com/itm/Assa-Key-in-knob- ... SwMpZUoKmZ I reckon it should have the old drivers. I sent my extras to the UK several months ago.

Old or new style pins a pick is a pick.
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Malekal

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Post Sun May 22, 2016 1:57 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

Wow nice job! I can't seem to pick 3 chambers without the sidebar... Just not there yet I guess.
Malekal: I guess I'll try... I thought you had to go light
xeo: you do whatever the lock wants
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Farmerfreak

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Posts: 456

Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:00 am

Location: SLC, Utah

Post Sun May 22, 2016 2:35 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

When those driver pin and deep countermilling are new. They are virtually pick proof.

However, and I believe this is why they aren't used anymore. When they are older and a little worn out. They act exactly like normal spool pins.
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Malekal

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Post Sun May 22, 2016 2:44 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

Farmerfreak wrote:When those driver pin and deep countermilling are new. They are virtually pick proof.

However, and I believe this is why they aren't used anymore. When they are older and a little worn out. They act exactly like normal spool pins.


uh that could explain it lol need to put them to good use!
Malekal: I guess I'll try... I thought you had to go light
xeo: you do whatever the lock wants
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tumbl3r

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Posts: 95

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Sun May 22, 2016 4:05 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

DroppedTensionWrench wrote:There was old style Assa pins on eBay for sale but I believe they are gone. You could buy one of these and pull the driver pins http://m.ebay.com/itm/Assa-Key-in-knob- ... SwMpZUoKmZ I reckon it should have the old drivers. I sent my extras to the UK several months ago.

Old or new style pins a pick is a pick.


Thanks for your thoughts! After all the time I put into that sucker, I'll certainly take the pick, but I'm not really going to feel good about it until I am able to do it will all the original pins. Good to know that lock should have the older pins. I'll order one up and start banging my head against the wall again when it shows up.
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tumbl3r

Familiar Face

Posts: 95

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Sun May 22, 2016 4:06 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

Malekal wrote:Wow nice job! I can't seem to pick 3 chambers without the sidebar... Just not there yet I guess.


Thanks man! :smile: Keep at it and it will come. One thing I found helpful was to put the sidebar in with just one or two pins. That way you learn to tell when you have rotated enough to put the load of your tension of the bar and off the drivers. I can't imagine trying to learn how to pick these things without progressive pinning!
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tumbl3r

Familiar Face

Posts: 95

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Sun May 22, 2016 4:08 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

Farmerfreak wrote:When those driver pin and deep countermilling are new. They are virtually pick proof.

However, and I believe this is why they aren't used anymore. When they are older and a little worn out. They act exactly like normal spool pins.


That's interesting! I wonder how many years this lock has on it... Maybe it was not used much, because the older drivers are sharp and the countermilling looks pretty fresh. I can see how those thin, sharp edges would wear down though.
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tumbl3r

Familiar Face

Posts: 95

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Fri May 27, 2016 3:24 am

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

I picked it with the original drivers! It was substantially more difficult because the deep spools gave no feedback when hung up in countermilling. In order to pick them, I needed to use the counter rotational force provided by the picked sidebar springs to put backwards pressure on the core. Then, and only then, could I pick them like regular spools. What a nightmare!



No Flash:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlrKKtuS1dQ
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Patrick Star

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Location: Sweden

Post Fri May 27, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

See US patent 4,577,479, complete with drawings of them caught in the counter-milling:
https://www.google.com/patents/US457747 ... IQ6AEIHDAA
Seems to be the same pins as in the gutting video.
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tumbl3r

Familiar Face

Posts: 95

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Fri May 27, 2016 10:51 pm

Re: Question about ASSA Twin Drivers

Dude, NICE FIND! That looks exactly like them. They seem to have very deliberately matched the countermilling to the spools themselves. That explains why it was such a nightmare! The irony of this is that I was actually completely unable to pick this lock without the sidebar in it. Without the counter rotational force provided by the sidebar springs, I was never able to get all of them out of their countermilling. I could get a few by manually counterrotating the plug, but would end up dropping some before I could get them all. The ah-ha moment came when I tried to pick it with three top pins and one sidebar pin. It was then that I found the spring tension of the sidebar could counterrotate the plug, allowing me enough control to nudge the spools up to sheer.

When I say "no amount of force would give feedback or push the spools out of countermilling", I mean it! Just to see, I got the lock into a deep false set, removed all tension and lifted hard with an old 0.025" pick. It bent the hell out of the pick, but nothing else happened. Once those pins are in countermilling they really really want to stay there!

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