Will an Angle Grinder Cut a Lock?

If you have ever lost the key or forgotten the combination to a lock, you might have wondered if there is a way to cut through it and access what you need. While there are different methods to break a lock, such as using bolt cutters, a hacksaw, or a blowtorch, one of the most effective and efficient tools to use is an angle grinder. An angle grinder can cut through most types of locks, including padlocks, chain locks, and bike locks, as long as you use the right disc and technique. In this article, we will explain how an angle grinder works, what types of locks it can cut, and how to use it safely and properly.

What is an Angle Grinder?

An angle grinder is a handheld power tool that uses a rotating disc to cut, grind, or polish various materials, such as metal, stone, concrete, or tile. The disc can be either abrasive or diamond-tipped, depending on the material and the purpose. Angle grinders come in different sizes, speeds, and power sources, such as corded, cordless, or pneumatic. Angle grinders are versatile and can be used for various tasks, such as removing rust, sharpening blades, cutting pipes, or smoothing surfaces.

How to Cut a Lock with an Angle Grinder

To cut a lock with an angle grinder, you will need the following items:

  • An angle grinder with a cut-off disc. A cut-off disc is a thin, flat disc that is designed to cut through metal. You can find cut-off discs in different diameters and thicknesses, depending on the size and type of your angle grinder and the lock you want to cut. For most locks, a 60-grit disc that is 3/64 inch thick will work well.
  • Safety equipment. Angle grinders can produce sparks, noise, and dust, so you need to protect yourself from potential hazards. You should wear gloves, a face shield, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and ear plugs. You should also keep a fire extinguisher nearby and avoid any flammable objects or liquids.
  • A vise or locking pliers. To cut a lock with an angle grinder, you need to hold it securely in place so it does not move or vibrate. You can use a vise or locking pliers to clamp the lock to a sturdy surface, such as a workbench or a metal table. Make sure the lock is positioned so that you can access the shackle, which is the metal loop that connects the lock.
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Once you have everything ready, follow these steps to cut the lock:

  1. Plug in or turn on your angle grinder and let it reach its full speed. Hold the angle grinder with both hands and keep it at a comfortable distance from your body.
  2. Position the disc on the side of the shackle, close to the body of the lock. Tilt the angle grinder slightly so that the disc is perpendicular to the shackle. Do not press the disc too hard against the shackle, as this can cause it to overheat or break.
  3. Slowly move the disc along the shackle, cutting through it. As you cut, the angle grinder will produce sparks and noise, so be careful and alert. Keep cutting until you reach the other side of the shackle and it breaks.
  4. Turn off or unplug your angle grinder and set it aside. Remove the lock from the vise or pliers and discard it. You have successfully cut the lock with an angle grinder.

What Types of Locks Can an Angle Grinder Cut?

An angle grinder can cut through most types of locks, as long as they are made of metal and have a shackle that is exposed and accessible. Some of the common types of locks that an angle grinder can cut are:

  • Padlocks. Padlocks are the most popular type of locks that people use to secure their belongings, such as lockers, gates, sheds, or bikes. Padlocks have a U-shaped shackle that can be opened with a key or a combination. Padlocks come in different sizes and materials, such as brass, steel, or aluminum. An angle grinder can cut through most padlocks, except for those that are made of hardened steel or have a shrouded shackle, which is a metal cover that protects the shackle from being cut.
  • Chain locks. Chain locks are another type of locks that people use to secure their bikes, motorcycles, or other items. Chain locks consist of a series of metal links that are connected by a padlock or an integrated lock. Chain locks vary in length, thickness, and strength, depending on the quality and the price. An angle grinder can cut through most chain locks, as long as the links are not too thick or hardened.
  • Bike locks. Bike locks are a specific type of locks that are designed to prevent bike theft. Bike locks can be either cable locks, U-locks, or folding locks, depending on the shape and the mechanism. Cable locks are flexible and lightweight, but they are also easy to cut with an angle grinder. U-locks are rigid and sturdy, but they have a shackle that can be cut with an angle grinder. Folding locks are compact and convenient, but they have hinges that can be cut with an angle grinder.
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An angle grinder is a powerful and useful tool that can cut through most types of locks, as long as you use the right disc and technique. However, cutting a lock with an angle grinder is not always the best option, as it can be dangerous, noisy, and time-consuming. If you want to avoid cutting a lock with an angle grinder, you should always keep a spare key or remember your combination. Alternatively, you can contact a locksmith or the lock manufacturer for assistance.