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How To Drill Out A Lock

How To Drill Out The Tubular Lock On A Gumball / Candy Vending Machine

Question: I’ve lost the keys to my gumball / candy vending machine. How do I remove the lock so I can replace it?

Answer: Assuming you have a tubular or barrel lock that you need to remove, you will need the following tools:

  1. Drill
  2. Drill bits - 1/4 inch drill bit and a small sized bite 1/8 inch bit or smaller
  3. Masking tape (optional)
  4. Ruler (optional)
  5. Large screw driver (optional)
  6. Needle nose pliers or vice grips (optional)

Time required is approximately 5 to 10 minutes.


Step #1 - Ensure that you your gumball / candy vending machine is in a stable and secure location for the drilling process.  We want to avoid having the machine tipping over and possibly breaking the globe.

Step #2 (optional) - You will be drilling a hole down the center of the lock that is 1/4 inch deep. For each drill bit, use a ruler to measure 1/4 inch depth starting from the tip of the bit. Wrap a piece of tape marking off  a 1/4 inch depth on the bit (see photo below). This tape will be your depth guide and will ensure that you don’t drill too deep into the lock causing damage to internal parts your gumball / candy vending machine.

Drill Bit

Step #3 - Start with the small drill bit (1/8 inch or smaller), this makes the project go much faster, and bore a starter hole into the center of the lock. Drill approximately 1/4 inch deep (stop drilling when you reach the masking tape).

Drill into the lock here

Step #4 - Finally, using the larger 1/4 drill bit, bore a second large hole through the initial hole, this will destroy the internal parts of the lock and will free it for removal. On your initial attempt try not drill beyond 1/4 inch depth. Thus will usually free up most locks. In some cases you may need to drill a little deeper (1/8 inch) to reach the black pin that holds the lock to the nut. Note: sSome locks are stubborn and you may need to insert a screwdriver into the drilled out lock and twist to remove the housing, needle nose pliers can also aid the process. Now you should have access to your gumball / candy vending machine.

To order a replacement lock and key, see ourgumball machine parts department.