Advanced foil impressioning

In 2002 I already demonstrated the theory behind the ‘foil impressioning‘ method at the H2K2 conference in New York. The foil impressioning method is nice because it will open quite a number of high security locks and requires relatively little skill to do so. The only thing you need to have is a key cut to the deepest position (preferably a little deeper) and some adhesive aluminum tape that is used in the automotive and heating industry. You apply the adhesive tape over the holes of the key, trim the edges a bit and insert it into the lock. All you need to do now is put some turning pressure on the key and make small ‘up and down’ movements. The pins that are not in the correct position will bind and become stuck in the lock. These pins will push the tape in a little when the key is pushed upwards, and in the next round of ‘turning and rocking the key up and down’ these binding pins will keep pushing in the tape deeper and deeper until shear line is reached. The interesting thing is that once a pin reaches the ‘shear line’ (opening position), it is no longer stuck and will not push in the tape deeper. The key will fit itself …

It is a great technique that is around for quite some time. In my collection of picktools I have some impressioning kits made for the locksmith market in 1995 and 1996. These kits use either foil or candle wax to keep the pins in place. If you take a close look on this key for example, you can see they milled a small fraction of the thickness of the key to make room for the foil. The key including the foil will push all pins to the highest position (or so we hope).

This brings us to the two disadvantages with this method. First of all, if there is a high cut and a deep cut next to each other, the foil is not flexible enough to cope with the difference. In this case you must pierce the tape if the lock does not open in a couple of minutes to allow the deep pin to sink deeper into the foil. And if the pin in the lock is short (a low cut in the key), there is a chance the pin will start to bind because it is not exactly on ‘shear line’. And once this short pin starts pushing the foil in, you lost (as it will sink in deeper and deeper and you will never open the lock). One other disadvantage is that if the profile of the key is not fully flat (meaning if has a serious profile) the tape can not be applied correctly. If you try to put tape over (for instance) this profile, the edges of the profile of the lock will tear the tape when entering the lock. But that latest problem has been solved now by a Chinese tool manufacturer!

Before and after a round of self impressioning

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!

There is something to complain though. The tool itself is made from ehrm …. not the best quality steel and will break after several tries. Nevertheless it is a great tool for it’s value, and I am sure this new method of ‘foil tubing’ can be applied to many more locks too ….

Thank you Raf (and friends) for the good time, and of course for your excellent video demonstration of this great new tool!

20 Responses to “Advanced foil impressioning”

  1. Jos Weyers says:

    Did you bring some back from Israel?
    In other words: can we play with it at the next Toool meeting?

  2. american lockpicker says:

    Its nice to see a fellow UKBumpkeys forum member on Blackbag. Well done Rafael!

  3. Gilles says:

    Way cool ! Like Jos said, wanna play 😉

  4. Cybergibbons says:

    So where do you get hold of one of these kits? “Be able to see price after verify” is all I see. Disturbingly another cybergibbons appears to have already registered.

  5. Travis says:

    Wow, that is really cool. To bad that tool seems to bee poor quality and will “break” eventually.

  6. Raf says:

    Thank you for this article Barry,it was a great meeting.You are top exports and a true gentleman’s

  7. jos weyers says:

    Anyone actually managed to order something from ?

    I keep on getting the message:
    ↓ prompted anti-injection system parameters do not contain illegal characters try to inject!
    and I still can’t see any prices.


  8. henk says:

    Become a member,I guess then they check your membership,my 2 cents

  9. jord says:

    No the site is not working I had contact with them http:// they are working on there site.

    Try it in a couple of days again.

    Gr. Jord

  10. gogokey says:

    Hi , the price of this tool is 58.20 USD.
    Regards from Bulgaria.

  11. mh says:

    For USD 58.20 they offer a set with a number of profile options; if you are only interested in the Kabbah lock there’s also one for USD 20.89: Can quickly open the Kabbah lock, new users can perate it easily. With one bag of hoil and the Chinese VCD. High quality product 😉

  12. jos weyers says:

    Now I DO see prices. But after I fill up my shopping cart (some stuff is cheaper than dealextreme!) I get the same message again when I try to check-out.

    Sometimes it’s hard to spend money online…..

  13. Raf says:


    Keep in mind that the shipping cost is very very high(more than the tool)

  14. justkidding says:

    hi i tried to order this set from but it seams it can be send only too some countries my is not one off tham :(( i am from serbia.Can sombody pls help me end tell me where can i buy this ukbumpkeys is out off stock too…. if somone have this kit for sale or now where can i buy it on line pls conntact me.

  15. crankov says:

    does this tool work on every kind of dimple locks,because of the different lock profiles?

    maybe someone did alredy tried a couple of different locks?

  16. Barmaley says:

    Advanced foil impressioning. Prompt please where possible buy such.

  17. Angela says:

    Hello everyone I am writing you from Spain I had a good look the tool and seems like it could work for Spanish dimple locks but not sure, does anybody try it and if you have where can we buy it from, this site it doesn’t work or they just don’t want to sale it , as there are no prices i am not going to spend money on something i don’t know how much it cost, anyway I see you can buy it from Bulgaria but it’s not the same it’s a bit different and they are out of stock the same as ukbumpkeys , does anybody know if the dimple pickgun works for spanish dimple locks, this chines version.
    i am very good at picking locks but not dimple locks, so i am trying to find a way to open dimple locks faster, thanks a lot guys, hope anybody could help.

  18. kendal says:

    I’m really interested in getting the basic kit for this, but having trouble finding it. Has anyone else found it?

  19. binno says:

    Hi guys…in this tool are there european\italian profile keys?

  20. Dewald Swart says:

    I have tried this technique before and it isn’t as easy as it sounds.