Foil impressioning: lock-picking technique that uses the lock to form a new key

Here's a fascinating post on "foil impressioning" -- a simple lockpicking technique that uses the lock itself to fashion a working key out of soft aluminium tape. You just stick a key loaded with this stuff into a lock and wiggle it around in a special way and the lock opens itself.

Just brand new on the market is a kit that uses a clever technique to also open dimple locks that have a serious profile (and are not one solid square piece of metal). The kit was brought to my attention when visiting Israel with Jord Knaap and Han Fey last week. A local locksmith called Raf (well known from the UK bumpkey forum) invited us to his shop and proudly showed me this tool and technique. The way the tool works is that you first take some aluminum foil and make a 'U shaped' form (using the special tool to do so) and make small incisions on pre-determined positions. Next thing you do is put the foil over a special blank that already has the profile of your target lock. The clever thing about this tool is that the 'U shaped foil tube' is wrapped around some sort of needle, and the foil can not be pushed in when entering the lock! Once the key is inserted, the needle is taken out from the back of the tool, and the pins are now resting on the foil. Because of the cuts in the foil, each pin will stand on it's own 'island' of foil, and when it is pushed in will not disturb the neighboring pin! I have played around with it a little, and the design is really very clever and works fast and reliable!

Advanced foil impressioning (Thanks, Bruce!)


  1. The demonstration video took 6:44. If I had access to a key and needed a copy, a key copy machine can do the job in less time.

    1. I do believe the point is that you do not have the proper key, but rather have a “blank” of the proper fit for the lock. Also, this looks very cheap, low-tech, and arguably fairly legal.

      ~D. Walker

  2. Fairly legal??? If the lock you are opening is yours anything you use to open it is legal. If it is not yours nothing you use to open it is legal. Charges lodged may vary slightly depending on country/state.

  3. The video may be 6:44 long, but that’s 6:44 as a demonstration and with a sales pitch. The lock itself was actually unlocked at the 3:44 mark.

  4. “certain keys you cannot copy such as medico keys”

    umm.. medico was broken ages ago. in fact there was a talk at The Last Hope back in ’08 discussing medico and how they’re not as secure as everyone thinks they are. in fact medico have been vulnerable to attack since about 1974.

    “What exactly are dimple locks?”

    dimple locks use impressions in the key as opposed to teeth to open. not sure how to really describe it, but here’s a pic of a key that opens dimple locks.

  5. to FOIL (pun) bumping, picking and this new foil device.. get to a commercial O ring supplier.. pick up a Silicone O ring with a section diameter or 0.104″ have your lock smith replace the last spring with a cut to size chunk of the Silicone Oring.. have them cut it so it is really hard to reload the top pin…

    this will prevent any lock picks from being able to lift the last pin to the shear point so the lock plug will rotate… picking uses skinny tools.. they are not strong enough to compress the top pin back into its hole… this also anybody from getting in and out without the exact key.. it will still work on master keyed locks…

    i have called many lock manufacturers about this.. they hung up on me… what you want to make a cheep lock, pick proof… bam!!!!

    many locks use pins of 0.114… so the silicone chunk to replace a single spring can expand in the hole… this is the trick…

    it won’t stop people from sawing your locks out.. but long hardened steel pins driven into holes drilled into the door sure will …

    one more thing.. how come car manufacturers are not being hauled into court for cars that are too easy to steal.. from loved ones of car theft crash victims..

  6. Having a problem locating a locksmith supplier who sells the auto foil impressioning kits. Think someone out there can help me out.

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