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Old 06-30-2019, 06:43 PM   #31
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


Here is how it works in our neck of the woods (upstate NY). I know every place the procedure may be a little different.

We had a similar situation with a condo association. They own the cluster boxes and are responsible for changing the locks when someone leaves or looses the key, or whatever. They do not keep individual keys for every mailbox at the PO or have a master key that is able to open all the individual mailboxes in our neck of the woods. When someone spoke of a master key I assume they mean the arrow key the carriers have so they can open the entire cluster box so they can put the mail in.

The condo association calls the post office servicing their cluster box. They let them know a lock needs to be changed. A maintenance person from the PO or supervisor/postmaster comes out with the arrow key which opens the entire cluster box and allows you to remove and replace the lock. Done.

This service is free and can be scheduled so both party's do not have to wait for hours for someone to show up.
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:47 PM   #32
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


I know it's too late now. So my suggestion is to take an adjustable channel lock pliers grasp the lock firmly and keep twisting and turning until the metal clip bends/brakes and lock comes right out. Done. They are a bear to drill out, I've tried that route.

Believe me it's just a little thin metal clip that holds the lock in place. So make sure you have a new one. They usually come with the new lock. Or you can use the one you just bent a little. Don't ask me how I know this.

Last edited by jmon; 06-30-2019 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:04 PM   #33
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


But the whole the lock body goes into is not round but has substantial flats.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:00 PM   #34
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


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Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
But the whole the lock body goes into is not round but has substantial flats.

You are correct. But as you are turning cw and ccw you are bending that thin metal clip holding the lock in place and eventually it bends/pops off and lock comes out. It does take a little time, but works in a pinch.


Locking pliers work best.



Last edited by jmon; 06-30-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:14 PM   #35
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


But I notice in the picture of the lock he tried to drill out, it specifically says usps right on the lock. Only USPS can get/order that specific type lock.

So that tells me a maintenance postal employee has to do that lock change. So all that has to be done is go to the PO servicing that cluster box and pay the 30 dollars for a lock change. Done. Just for future reference.

There are A and B type locks. One turns to the right one turns to the left. It depends how the cluster box is designed as to what type is used. If you use the wrong type it won't work correctly and the customer will not be able to open his or her mail box. Some cluster boxes it doesn't matter, they will accept either type.

Just for future reference. It doesn't matter now, the lock is all torn apart and ruin anyway.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:25 PM   #36
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


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But I notice in the picture of the lock he tried to drill out, it specifically says usps right on the lock. Only USPS can get/order that specific type lock.

So that tells me a maintenance postal employee has to do that lock change. So all that has to be done is go to the PO servicing that cluster box and pay the 30 dollars for a lock change. Done. Just for future reference.

There are A and B type locks. One turns to the right one turns to the left. It depends how the cluster box is designed as to what type is used. If you use the wrong type it won't work correctly and the customer will not be able to open his or her mail box. Some cluster boxes it doesn't matter, they will accept either type.

Just for future reference. It doesn't matter now, the lock is all torn apart and ruin anyway.


I called the local post office and they informed me to call a lock smith. FYI you can buy a lock on amazon that says USPS. See the pic I posted from amazons site.

Essentially I own that lock and itís my responsibility.

Iíd try your idea with the channel locks but I donít want to mar up the cluster boxes face. Thatís the property of the condo. I know I can tape up the face, but one scratch and Iím going to get a bill.





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Old 06-30-2019, 09:42 PM   #37
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


Hinge right and hinge left applications use the same lock barrel
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:56 PM   #38
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


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I called the local post office and they informed me to call a lock smith. FYI you can buy a lock on amazon that says USPS. See the pic I posted from amazons site.

Essentially I own that lock and it’s my responsibility.

I’d try your idea with the channel locks but I don’t want to mar up the cluster boxes face. That’s the property of the condo. I know I can tape up the face, but one scratch and I’m going to get a bill.


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my apologizes jake, I just read the whole post. Sorry about that. You are correct, you do own it and it is your responsibility. Disregard my advice.

Hope you get figured out soon. I wouldn't pay 200 dollars for a lock smith either. That's crazy. As far as the marring goes you could use duck tape so you don't scratch up the paint. But last thing you need is bill from the condo association. I'm sure it would be more than 200 dollars to.

The best solution, imo, was the one to wait for the carrier and while they are putting up the mail, you could ask them. Let them know you are the owner and need to change the lock. Hopefully you have an understanding carrier that will oblige you. All you need to do is pop that thin metal clip off. all you need is a pair of plierrs.
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Last edited by jmon; 06-30-2019 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 11:41 PM   #39
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


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I believe Iím drilling in the wrong location. I have to drill where the lock pins are. See diagram.

Iím going to hold a drill block in the desired location and start the hole. Iím also going to bring some cutting oil.

Will this drill bit work better than a diamond or carbide bit? It says itís for hard metal.


@de-nagorg - Thereís no master key with the managerís office. The condo board hired a private company to install the mailbox. The board gave me 3 copies of the keys (canít find my spare).

I drove to the rental site last week and waited for the mail person. She came 30 minutes before her usual 3 hour window. Bad luck. Iím going to go there this week and change the lock once she opens the entire box. While Iím waiting for her, Iím going to try to drill the lock again.

Yes I have a replacement ready to go.



@jproffer arenít carbide and diamond grit bits for tile, masonry, glass etc. I thought steel needed cobalt bits.

I canít use a hammer or pry that box open. If I scratch that surface or bend the mailbox door, Iím going to be charged big money by my condo board. They are money hungry.
They make twist drills that are carbide. Whether a drill is for tile or steel or whatever is based more on the shape than what it's made of. Carbide is harder than Cobalt.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:39 PM   #40
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I just wanted to clear this up if box is for an apt or condo or trailer park etc it is purchased by the owner the Usps only services the arrow lock (which you could look at it as a master lock) I won’t divulge how they designate what locks and how many they fit but will tell you they won’t open every box in the country
The owner/ landlord should always have a spare key so they don’t have to call Usps to open main box door to access lock. To get back to original questions these are low grade locks but drilling any lock will break bits because there will be multiple lasers of materials your cutting through and they will bind up and break cutting flutes on the bits to drill any lock you can start small but will have to end up with a bit approx same size as lock cylinder(where key goes in) once tumblers are drilled out or fall out just stick a flat blade screwdriver in and turn cylinder.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #41
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


Reminds me of a story years ago - i was a little tyke. My aunt was staying with me while mom and dad went on a trip. dad was waiting for an important piece of mail which was being delivered to his business PO Box. they forgot to leave the key for my aunt, so when they called to check in, she informed them she needed a key, so mom mailed it to her - at the PO Box! LOL
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:44 PM   #42
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


I wonder if a predicament like this was the motivation for the first mail bomb . . .
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:40 PM   #43
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


Quote:
Originally Posted by Saldo View Post
I just wanted to clear this up if box is for an apt or condo or trailer park etc it is purchased by the owner the Usps only services the arrow lock (which you could look at it as a master lock) I wonít divulge how they designate what locks and how many they fit but will tell you they wonít open every box in the country
The owner/ landlord should always have a spare key so they donít have to call Usps to open main box door to access lock. To get back to original questions these are low grade locks but drilling any lock will break bits because there will be multiple lasers of materials your cutting through and they will bind up and break cutting flutes on the bits to drill any lock you can start small but will have to end up with a bit approx same size as lock cylinder(where key goes in) once tumblers are drilled out or fall out just stick a flat blade screwdriver in and turn cylinder.

USPS never gives out keys for the Arrow lock...by Federal law that is USPS property only. Mess with an Arrow lock and a US Postal Inspector will be knocking on your door. The numbered Arrow locks are assigned by local USPS to service an area. The key blanks are controlled and against Federal law to possess. The Arrow locks are still in use by USPS and have been replaced by similar Medeco keyed locks in high crime or problem areas.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:39 PM   #44
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


I used these diamond tipped hole saws and work great but the smallest they come in is 6.5mm. They are dirt cheap and it is what I use for when I break off a tap. I would not use a caribe drill as they are very fragile and break easy unless you use a carbide tipped cement drill. You can find these on ebay and I have not posted here yet so can't poet the leak.
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:36 PM   #45
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Re: Drilling out a USPS mailbox lock


I would not expect drilling to be successful by going in through the key cylinder. Since you already started, I would suggest a much tougher bit. My friend is a professional clocksmith and frequently drills laterally into the end of super hard rod stock and this usually requires specialty bits that are measured in the 1000th of an inch and are rated at 50 HRC or higher.

As has been mentioned already, you need to drill very slowly and remove the bit often to ensure you are not super heating the metal or the bit. Anytime you drill into metal you need low rpm but especially when working with harder metals.

I would start with a better bit at the size you already started with and then drill it again with a incrementally larger bit and continue that process until you have most or all of the lock drilled out. I wonder if you could have inserted a saw in the space where the door and frame meet??

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/76552751
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