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Ball bearings

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Rjohn16

Newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:32 pm

Post Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:36 pm

Ball bearings

Hi, I remember seeing ball bearings in high usage locks to reduce key wear. Would those help reduce the odd of success in bumping ?
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MHM

User avatar

Familiar Face

Posts: 135

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:33 pm

Location: Napier, New Zealand

Post Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:24 pm

Re: Ball bearings

It's all about energy transfer so it depends where the ball bearings are. If they're in direct contact with the keypins in between the keypin and the key as per jail moguls, they *might* make bumping harder simply by adding some more randomness to the system...but not much. Think about a Newton's cradle...it works just as well with one stationary ball as it does with five.

If you can suspend the balls somehow either above or below the keypins such that there is an airgap, then yes, definitely this would make bumping harder. Even more so if that airgap was somehow randomised in size between chambers.

And if you make the ball bearing part of the top pin assembly (one manufacturer puts a captive ballbearing inside a few of the springs, at random) then this will also make bumping less reliable.
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6275LA

Newbie

Posts: 3

Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:21 am

Post Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:14 am

Re: Ball bearings

Ball bearings in all chambers run the risk of "combing" where you simply lift all stacks so the ball bearing is at the shear line. In short, it makes picking the lock much easier. Very old Corbin cylinders were keyed like this.

Later, Corbin started only putting ball bearings in the first two chambers to reduce the risk of combing. The pins in the first two chambers get the most wear as the entire key blade has to pass them before the key stops. Ball bearings in the first two chambers offers the ideal balance of wear resistance and security.

New advances in alloys made for stronger bottom pins, reducing further the need for ball bearings. New Corbin cylinders don't have them.

I remember reading somewhere about a locksmith who was called frequently at a bank to service the vault day gate cylinder. Keys stopped working, so he repinned it. The same thing happened a few times before he put two ball bearings in the first two chambers. The wear slowed down considerably after that.
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Rjohn16

Newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:32 pm

Post Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:58 am

Re: Ball bearings

I thought that maybe the balls rotating would lessen the amount of force transferred to the pins.

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