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FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 12:56 pm
by least
the FAB was here pretty much a synonym for a euro cylinder and it was my first lock to try and pick a few years ago (already FAB Assa Abloy at that time). Here is what I pocked through so far...

FAB 50
The basic cylinder of only grade 1 - to be used where pretty much no protection is needed - garden door, construction lock and so on.
Yet it still contain 3 spools and each one of them that I own has a quite radical biting. The keyway is not that bad, not as roomy as the schlage used on the training locks, but manageable with standard euro hooks from Southord...
It looks like the spools are only in chambers 2-4 - each of the ones I have has it in the same order.

FAB 100
Grade 2 cylinder - recommended as a lock for a garage door or similar.
The key has an interesting notch on its nose, that seems to do the same work as a shoulder on a normal key, plus it might allow them to reuse the profile without a danger that old key would open a new lock...
It has way stiffer springs than the 50, and also features a special driver pin that should prevent bumping (and also a bit frustrates a picking too, especially when it is in the chambers farther down the keyway). That driver (saw it referenced as RBC, but I haven't found what does it stands for) causes the key pin to stick way lower (when mounted pins down) than the rest of the pins and also its position changes cylinder to cylinder (I have 3, and it was in chambers 1, 2 and 5); also this pin seems to always bind first, which is great in case you manage to overset something - just let go a bit of tension and you can easily free the rest of the pins while keeping this one set.
There are also two spools, and the two last pins are standard.
The piece of wire interacts with the key nose, but it doesn't prevent the plug from turning.

Will post more as soon as I get my hands on them (FAB 200 should be on its way).
Kind regards,


Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 3:20 pm
by least
This is a grade 3 cylinder - recommended for front doors of a house or flat.

As you can see, the bumping protection is taken to another level - pins 1 and 5 are like the double sided RBC pin used in the FAB 100; there is just one spool (not that much effective as it is combined with pretty high keypin) and the rest are standard drivers.
The bitting is quite nasty - especially the pin 5 is giving me a lot of trouble; I have to use the deepest hooks that I have and so far I was not able to set it reliably (will work on that), because even the deepest SSDev hook is starting to contact the previous pins, ruining the feedback. Also the tolerances seems to be a bit better compared to FAB100, as the feedback is much more subtle; a bit more tension helps to make it more pronounced.
I also noticed, that the lock doesn't seem to have very rigid binding order - pins 1 and 5 must go first, the rest doesn't seem to matter that much.

Next stop are grade 4 cylinders - I procured an older one, that is a six pinner (FAB 2060BDN), with the warding similar to FAB1000 (the next candidate)...

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:02 am
by least
This is an older grade 4 (the highest here) cylinder, and it was certified to fullfil the requirements for level top secret (whatever it is supposed to mean :smile: ).
It is a 6 pinner with quite restricted keyway, similar to the new FAB 1000. Although the absence of security pins could hint that it is easy to pick, the tolerances are quite good and the pins 1 to 4 are tapered, so it provides very little feedback and takes quite some time to pick (10-15 minutes is my best time, compared to <5 minutes for the previous locks).

One thing that really surprised me is the anti-drill protection; there are three steel pins embedded in the core, two on one side of the pin stack, one on the other side, the bible has two in the front on both sides of the pin stack, all that seems fairly normal. But not the pin 5 and the driver in the 6th chamber - they are steel too; my expectation was, that these should be on the front of the pin stack, but they seem to be more like a last resort...

The keyway is very nasty and I'd like to thank to Sparrows and our German friends from SSDev, because their 15 thousands picks are truly worth their weight in gold...

Last thing I'd like to point out is the bitting - if it was the other way around, I really doubt if I'd be able to pick it (maybe one day I'll try, when I feel particularly masochistic)...

The next in the line is the FAB 1000.

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:02 pm
by femurat
Congrats on the opening. It doesn't seem an easy lock at all.

I see the pins have a thinner and rough central part. It suggests they act like spools, but softer.

Cheers :)

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:58 pm
by least
Thank you - it took me quite a while to get it open (had to progressively pin it to get the feel for the response), but it is a good preparation for the FAB 1000 that I plan to tackle next...

To be honest I didn't notice any dragging from the center part of the pin, but it might be that I didn't concentrate on that.
Kind regards,


Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:59 pm
by femurat
least wrote:To be honest I didn't notice any dragging from the center part of the pin, but it might be that I didn't concentrate on that.

Or maybe they don't. I was just guessing, by the aspect of the pins. You have first hand experience, if you didn't feel it, there wasn't.

Good luck for your next challenge!

Cheers :)

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:58 pm
by edocdab
It's nice to read the changes for better security in this thread. The way you build it up is showing the differences clearly and it's interesting to see the next parts of this series! Good luck with picking the next lock Michal :)

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:41 pm
by least
femurat wrote:Or maybe they don't. I was just guessing, by the aspect of the pins. You have first hand experience, if you didn't feel it, there wasn't.

Actually today I tried the other side of the lock and I definitely felt a different feedback - not as smooth as the part near the top...
The thing is, that today I feel things that I didn't feel a month ago (I really started only a few months ago), so thank you for pointing that out...

edocdab wrote:It's nice to read the changes for better security in this thread. The way you build it up is showing the differences clearly and it's interesting to see the next parts of this series! Good luck with picking the next lock Michal :)

To be honest I'm also interested in what the rest of the line is going to offer - will report back as soon as I manage to get them and pick them... If only these better lock weren't so expensive...
Kind regards,


Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:32 pm
by least
FAB 2018?
This euro cylinder (if I managed to identify it correctly) is an older version of FAB 200, and was a grade 3. It contains no drilling protection whatsoever, and very decevingly no security pins... The keyway is paracentric and the bitting on this particular lock is also quite nasty.

One might assume it would be easy to pick (I did - boy was I wrong) - but the drivers are slightly thinned at the end and they make picking very frustrating (you never know if the lock pops in the next second or the next week :smile: )...

This particular lock was in daily use in a boiler room for many years - taken that into account, it looks quite well. I was able to pick it with normal pins just fine (although a deep hook was necessary), but with the original pins I gathered enough courage to try to pick it only now (this half took longer than the 6 pinner above).

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:17 pm
by least
FAB 1000 U4BDNs
This is a grade 4 cylinder, the second best that FAB currently offers.
It is a five pinner with a narrow paracentric keyway, similar to the 2060 above.
It features a passive side pins used probably for some master-keying schemes, a ridiculous amount of anti-drill protection and also two anti-bump pins.
The key bitting is usually fairly challenging thanks to the RBC pins (here especially pin 5 hidden behind pin4).


This particular lock taught me two important lessons:
First - don't overestimate your enemy. I spent almost an hour trying desperately to make any pin bind; I suspected the RBC (anti-bump) pin is causing this trouble, because they mostly bind first and can be a pain to set if hidden behind a high pin. I I felt three pins, then a gap that I suspected the RBC pin sits in and then there was something that somewhat resembled a pin, but not quite. Funny thing is, that I felt the actual chamber one, but I haven't felt the pin in it, so I ignored it. I tried both sides of the lock, both tensioning directions, to no avail. Finally, when trying different tension wrench, I noticed that the pin 1 is sitting very low in the core - I completely missed it and that was the reason why I was trying to set pin 5 without a success - there was none...
Second - make sure you know where the pins are :???: I was so keen to pick this lock, that I was constantly overlooking the pin 1 (as it was hidden behind my tension wrench). When I realized what was going on, after setting pin 1 the rest pretty much fell into place in a few moments.

To be honest, besides the pin 1 blunder, pickingwise the lock much less of a challenge than many of the lower grade locks that I managed to pick so far - besides the RBC pins, that are a problem when you don't have a deep enough hook, that one spool doesn't cause too much of a grief.


Funny thing is, that this lock might take longer to drill, than pick - there are 5 steel inserts in the bible, two steel driver pins, one ball bearing and whooping eleven steel inserts in the core...
What also puzzles me is a complete absence of anti-snap protections...

Now all that remains is the FAB 2000; fortunately I managed to find a FAB Dynamic (no longer in production), which is a five pins/10 sliders monster; I just started to practice with Yale Superior, so when I feel I can handle the sliders well enough, I'll give it a shot.

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:31 am
by least
FAB Dynamic
This is a grade 4 cylinder, that is not mass manufactured anymore, but it can still be found if one looks for it and it can also be manufactured on demand (although it costs ~ 30% more than the current top model FAB 2000).

This cylinder features five standard pins and 8 sliders in two rows on each side of the keyway. Interesting twist is, that the sliders do not interact with a sidebar(s), but they directly bind to the core (see the smaller holes in the top and bottom of the core). This has one interesting consequence - when a slider that is supposed to sit low gets pushed high by the key track, it would stick out of the top of the core; for that reason there are two gray rubber strips glued over the slider holes on the top of the core - the rubber allows the slider tip to rise a tiny bit higher than the top of the core is without blocking it.
The clearance between the slider tips is less than a milimeter, which makes their manipulation quite challenging. But when the slider is set, there is a noticeable play, which gives out the slider state quite clearly, if you manage to manipulate it...



As can be seen, the five pins are just plain standart pins (they didn't even used the tapered drivers), which combined with the pretty much open keyway, presents only two challenges - the bitting is quite radical (although a deeper hook is an easy solution to this problem), and the sliders can bind together with the pins. This problem had an easy solution in my case - the lock was brand new and I never seen so much grease/fat in any lock I ever encountered so far; this caused the sliders to stay put wherever you slid them and all I had to do was to slide them all to the top. That way only the key pins were binding and I could pick them easily; a false set gave a clear indication to switch to the stage two - the sliders engaged and manipulating them opened the lock (sounds easy, but it took me about an hour on the first try and ~30 minutes on the second, but I'm still working on it).
Were the sliders free to move under the gravity, they could mess up picking the key pins, so one would have to check them if none of the key pin was binding, or to use something to keep them up until the key pins are picked.

I had a chat with a locksmith and from what he told me, there were some problems with the reliability of those locks - my guess is, that the sliders are the weakest point there. Also the slider groove has to be cut with a CNC I guess, so the keys aren't cheap and the lock itself was quite pricey; the demand was not all that high and the lock was discontinued some years ago.

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:57 pm
by edocdab
Again, very interesting posts about interesting FAB locks. Glad you could share more of them. Tapered pins are fun to play with, if you're not in a hurry ;)

Nice job on the picking of all these. What did you use for the sliders? I see all sorts of solutions for different slider locks... I liked short or deep hooks so far. With some slider locks (e.g. bike cable or chain locks) I noticed they are like wafers and extend on the side of the keyway. Then they can be picked with a deep hook on the side, ignoring the slider tip that interacts with the key. Obviously that doesn't work for this FAB.

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:53 pm
by least
I'm glad too - these older locks are much more interesting than the current production... I was lucky enough to get also the FAB Variant - and that is the best lock that I've ever laid my hands on... I'm working on it right now, so hopefully soon(ish) I'll have more to report...

As for the Dynamic, I used a half diamond to rise the sliders up and then I used an upside down shallow euro hook to lower them, but it isn't very comfortable... I'm thinking of creating some specialized tool, as a stepping stone towards more complex locks like EVVA 3/4KS... Will see how exactly will I be able to bend the thing.

Kind regards,


PS. Actually I like the tapered pins too - they feel relaxing...

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:31 pm
by least
FAB Variant
FAB Variant used to be the top model of the FAB portfolio way back when; unfortunately the manufacturing of these beautiful locks was stopped years ago. The locksmith that I bought it from told me, that supporting it was quite a pain - keys had to be made on a CNC machine, they had to buy a special measuring device and log not only each key manufactured, but also they had to measure each cut and log the deviations from the spec. If a key was cut wrong, it had to be sent back to a factory and for the blanks and logs they had to have a special safe. Also the price of the lock was quite high - roughly 30% more compared to the current top model. Another problem was that the core protrudes from the lock body much farther than usual, which interfered with most security fittings that guard the keyway.
Probably all these were the factors that led to the bitter end of this magnificent lock.

I acquired several variants of this lock - the one I present now is a half cylinder that lacks the secondary locking mechanism (sidebar blocked by sliders controlled by a secondary bitting).


The lock was a grade 4 cylinder, six pinner with mildly annoying keyway - the keyway is quite open at the top, which allows use of 25 thousandths picks, although the lower parts are annoying if you mistake them with a pin.


All chambers contain spools, there are three master wafers (the lock was a part of master-keying exposition). Pins are standart, springs too.

Picking is very entertaining (and hunts for the last binder often quite frustrating) - the precision of this lock is very good and the spools used in it are very sharp. That, combined with undercuts in all chambers of the core makes the picking similar in feel to a Zeiss IKON that I have, although the last nugde needs a bit more force...

At the moment I work on the "full" lock with the sidebar (luckily, I managed to get a mortice cylinder, so I don't have to disassemble the beautiful euro cylinder that I got too), so hopefully soon I'll be able to continue this series with the full lock in all its beauty...

There is a very interesting similarity between this lock and some of the ASSA products (looking at the photos on the net, never had one in my hands); the key looks like Twin Combi, the cylinder with protruding core resembles P600, the spools look like ASSA barrel spools, and the finger pins used in the full version of this lock that have to be rotated and pressed ring some bells too... Chances are that this lock is actually a relative of the ASSA Twin Combi, although I was not able to find any definitive info in that regard.

Re: FAB euro cylinders

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:54 pm
by PappaPig
You inspired me to look out a FAB half-euro I was sure I had somewhere. It is probably the lowest security, but I'm still chuffed to get it open...