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Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

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xeo

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:04 pm

Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

We rarely see people discussing picking techniques on here so I figured I'd try this out.

I'd like to get some input and compare notes with other members who have picked open or trying to pick Schlage Primus or Everest Primus. Schlage Primii... (spelling correction courtesy of your lovely Keypicking admin ElbowMacaroni). Perhaps we can come up with a standard technique to finally consider these locks destroyable and trivial. If you are so inclined, take a few minutes and discuss your method of attacking the Primus. Don't be afraid to go into excruciatingly excessive details.

I'll just start off with what I've observed. It seems to me that the top pins are a complete joke and will either bind before, after, or intermittently with respect to the finger pins just like any other sidebar lock with the exception of Medeco and maybe Scorpion CX-5 (I don't know if 3 is enough of a sample to make a solid conclusion) so we can pretty much ignore them as they are trivial. When it comes to the finger pins, I've noticed the following:

- When the top is fully picked, you get that signature plug rotation allowing you to keep resetting finger pins without compromising the top.

- With the standard Primus, the finger pins will retain their rotation when under zero tension.

- With the Everest Primus, the finger pins will not retain their rotation when under zero tension and will revert back to the CENTER position as a default.

- With the Everest Primus, the warding is actually deceiving you. The small curved warding protecting the finger pins does not reach all the way through to the back of the lock in one continuous piece and it actually has gaps in it to allow the finger pin tabs to move up and down which makes the actual warding itself irrelevant with a small enough tool.

finger.jpg
sidebar.jpg


- With both the Primus and Everest Primus, when rotationally incorrect you can lift and 'semi-set' a finger pin. I think the reason for this is due to the design of the finger pin and sidebar and how they mechanically engage. If a pin is rotated incorrectly and lifted to the sidebar groove, one of the gate millings on the finger pin will snag on the edge of the sidebar groove and sit there waiting to be fixed rotationally. So all I do is lift them all up until they semi-set, then push and pull them forward/back to lock them in place. Some may be more stubborn than others and sometimes I need to drop a few back down to try again. It seems there is some kind of highly variable binding order where a finger pin will bind vertically but not horizontally with this method. Meaning, you may need to lift a few vertically to the semi-set position, and then work a horizontal binding order where you're fixing the angles. Has anyone else noticed this?

- With both the Primus and Everest Primus, when rotationally correct, you'll hear a loud crisp snap when lifting. Done!

- Mostly due to ToolyMcgee, the default depth of the the finger pins under zero tension is not a possible ACTUAL depth that can be set by a key. This is important as you can pre-lift all of the pins making it easier to get underneath. On the standard Primus I insert my pick and lift them all up a bit before attempting any actual picking of them... some of them may just set themselves during this. The keyway on the Everest Primus is surprisingly less restrictive than the original Primus, so there's no need to do this.


Finally, here is the tool I use. It's a modified Southord Dimple pick. I took the smallest pick I could find, sanded down the shank and created a small rounded diamond or half-circle shaped pick to it. The rounded tool helps it slide around the tight keyway easier.

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The code is hidden in the tumblers. One position opens the lock, another position opens one of these doors...
http://www.youtube.com/xeotech1

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Kezo

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:06 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Perhaps we can come up with a standard technique to finally consider these locks destroyable and trivial.



Haha, I'm glad that someone finally said that.


- With both the Primus and Everest Primus, when rotationally incorrect you can lift and 'semi-set' a finger pin. I think the reason for this is due to the design of the finger pin and sidebar and how they mechanically engage. If a pin is rotated incorrectly and lifted to the sidebar groove, one of the gate millings on the finger pin will snag on the edge of the sidebar groove and sit there waiting to be fixed rotationally. So all I do is lift them all up until they semi-set, then push and pull them forward/back to lock them in place. Some may be more stubborn than others and sometimes I need to drop a few back down to try again. It seems there is some kind of highly variable binding order where a finger pin will bind vertically but not horizontally with this method. Meaning, you may need to lift a few vertically to the semi-set position, and then work a horizontal binding order where you're fixing the angles. Has anyone else noticed this?



I think you're right about that. After watching your video I started playing around with the Primus that I have and noticed that the pins will bind and stay put vertically under tension. I just didn't have a small enough tool to further continue experimenting with this. And I didn't want to modify my Souber dimple picks.
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james504

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:27 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

my primus, after picking top pins i cannot let go of tension because it will deff. reset so i always have to maintain slight pressure but i can let go to a certain point without dropping the top pins. and lifting all the finger pins up first is perfect thats how i started doing them now, after my old way was just taking forever .........great writeup AGAIN XEO!!! :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlqekSpvjHE thats me picking a classic primus...... :mrgreen:
Last edited by james504 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
http://www.youtube.com/user/MsJames504
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Farmerfreak

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:28 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

xeo wrote:- With the standard Primus, the finger pins will retain their rotation when under zero tension.
I think yours is only that way because it is either older/worn and or dirty. The classic ones I've been playing with recently center out when resting.

As far as technique goes. If it's the classic Primus, I prefer to look inside with my light while picking the finger pins. It makes it that much easier to tell if a pin is setting correctly.
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kulpnc001

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Post Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:53 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

I have been working on the Primus for quite a while now, and to date still not beaten it.

I have discovered quite a few interesting things though. I also have a cutaway and can post pictures if anybody wants them.

I agree that the key pins are not worth talking about. Different locks definately set in different orders, key pins-->sidebar, sidebar-->key pins etc.
But it's easy to figure the lock out with trial and error. The wrong order is completely un-responsive.

The notch on the finger pin is what controls height and rotation. Everything else is completely identical. However the notch is not milled perfectly.
The piece that fits inside the sidebar and controls rotation seems to be very exact. The height on the other hand does not seem to be exact.

The finger pins will have no resistance to rotation unless the height is set. Once you set the height the finger pin should stay above resting position.
The finger pin will still feel loose unless you try to overset. Then you should feel the pins trying to stick on rotation.

Once I set all of the pins rotation I use a piece of wiper insert to push them all up. That way I can do it without rotating them. Since the height is not exact it allows all of your pins to set and pull the sidebar in.

If you overset you can push the pin back down with your pick or let off tension.

Let me know what you think!
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xeo

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Post Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:52 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Good stuff kulpnc, you'll get it I'm sure, what tool are you using?
Image
The code is hidden in the tumblers. One position opens the lock, another position opens one of these doors...
http://www.youtube.com/xeotech1

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james504

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Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:12 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

kulpnc are you working with a classic primus or a everest primus?
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kulpnc001

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Post Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

I mostly use home brews made by Bryanxwhite, Plan B tools as I like to call them.

2011-06-26_19-49-24_72.jpg


Prybar tensioner, a simple short hook for the key pins, a piece of fish tape stock ground out to reach the finger pins. I also stole toolymcgee's idea and use a piece of wiper insert to control height on the finger pins. It allows you to set the height of several finger pins at once, since the height is not milled perfectly with the bevel of the sidebar.

I have been working mostly on the Everest Primus but now have some of the classics that came with my cutaway.

I hate the Primus because it makes me look like an idiot lol. Somebody please help me master it.
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ChemicalRobot

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Post Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:45 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Here's a custom tool that I've been working on. It... sort of works. The idea is (was?) for it to "wrap" around the Everest-Primus warding in order to provide better control.
DSC00711.JPG
DSC00712.JPG

Still working on it. I think brass is a bit soft for this but we'll see where it ends up.
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andrex66it

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Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:35 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Hello mates, nice to be here!
I belong to the "trying to pick" Schlage Primus category,it's my first high security lock,so I'm a bit puzzled.
I manage to pick the top pins,the plug rotates (just a few degrees,right?) then the sidebar engages.Now:

1)I'm trying to lift and semi-set a finger pin,then rotate it but it never clicks
2) I can semi-set at most the first 3 finger pins, the last two don't stay up
3) how much tension is needed to set the finger pins? I find that I'm using a lot (really) just to make them semi-set

I'm also using a wiper insert and rotating the pins back and forth as I lift them but I can't set any of them.
The lock was given to me by a nice locksmith I met in in Florida during my holidays. I think it's fully functional,but I don't have the key so I can't open it for inspection.
Surely I'm doing it wrong but I can't see my mistakes. Could someone give me some pointers?
thank you,
Andrea

Apologies for my english,hope the above is understandable :mrgreen:
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femurat

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Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

WOW, great topic, I can't believe I've missed it.

To pick the finger pins of my primus I made a tool like the one raimundo made a looong time ago.
With this simple tool it's possible to gently rake them till the lock is open. The tension must be very light.
I've tested it with just the side pins in the lock and it works like a charm!

Image

I made another tool like this, with a thinner shaft and just one groove, to set a pin which could be left unset even after this tool has been used. I don't have a picture at the moment, will add one soon. And will start again playing with my primus, if I find it! It was one of my first high security locks, maybe the very first one, but after a few unsuccessful tries I've thrown it somewhere and can't remember where :oops:

Cheers :)
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andrex66it

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Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:02 am

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Ciao Femurat :D

Cool tool you made, but I can't figure out the spacings 'cause I can't open my primus so I'll have to guess.
As soon as I'm home, I'll try to make one, will post results :mrgreen:
thanks for infos, I'm sorta newb to this!
Andrea
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xeo

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Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:12 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

andrex66it wrote:1)I'm trying to lift and semi-set a finger pin,then rotate it but it never clicks
2) I can semi-set at most the first 3 finger pins, the last two don't stay up
3) how much tension is needed to set the finger pins? I find that I'm using a lot (really) just to make them semi-set


1. Never clicks probably means its already set or isn't binding yet. How does it feel? Is it stiff? Does it give resistance? Is it completely loose? Increase your tension and see how it responds.

2. Can't really give you a silver bullet answer on this. This is where practice will come in. Something will bind, either vertically or horizontally. You'll need to learn how to differentiate. Perhaps you are lifting a pin too high causing everything else to unbind? Try picking in a different order. It also doesn't hurt to do some light raking/brushing/scrubbing whatever. Loosen your tension a smidgeon and then brush over the side pins with your pick to see if the binding changes at all on any of the pins. Usually if I get stuck I'll insert my pick in between 1 and 2 and push and pull back and forth, then I'll move to 2 and 3 working to the end then I'll test each pin for binding individually. If that doesn't work I drop them and start over.

3. I use my standard "hard" tension, which is more than a sane person would use most likely. I guess a better answer would be use the ammount of tension that you feel comfortable with and where you can adequately judge what's going on with the feedback. If you can't feel shit, increase it. If you're about to break your tensioner and you still can't feel anything, you're doing something very wrong as in haven't fully picked the side or top or whatever.
Image
The code is hidden in the tumblers. One position opens the lock, another position opens one of these doors...
http://www.youtube.com/xeotech1

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femurat

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Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:14 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

Andrea, It's very easy to disassemble the primus... belin! Just remove all the regular pins and the circlip on the back, the plug will came out straight away. Be careful because the side pins are spring loaded and tend to fly everywhere! To make a working tool is important to get the space right. Shove the wiper blade insert in the empty plug and mark the side pins positions with a thin sharp point, like a nail. Then file a little and put it back in to check if you're doing it right.

Good luck :)
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andrex66it

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Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:18 pm

Re: Discuss Your Schlage Primus Technique

@Xeo: Sadly I'm at work right now so I can't try out yous suggestions (I know I will be sitting here pretending to work and thinking about finger pins instead!).
I'll check them out as soon as I can

@Femurat: eheheh "belin!", I guess it's like a distinctive trademark of us Genoa people :mrgreen:

I didn't know that disassembling a primus was so easy, I supposed the sidebar would prevent the plug from leaving the shell,I'll try it as I am home.
After that, I'll try to craft the tool (and search for the finger pins on the floor,obviously...)

Thank you both,mates,for the precious hints, i'll keep you posted!

Andrea
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