What is a Cam Lock? The fast and simple answer is a small lock that has a “Locking Cam” attached to the back. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations and prices from about $.80 for a small mechanical cam lock to $150.00 for an electronic version. Where have you seen or used a them: tool boxes, mail boxes, vehicle glove compartments, vending machines, slot machines, desks, cabinets and lockers, to name a few.
That’s a lot of information in a few sentences. Let me explain this a little further. The Locking Cam on the rear of the lock is the locking mechanism and usually made of steel that can be straight, offset or have a hook. It can really have any design so that when the key is inserted into the lock and turned the locking cam will lock or unlock whatever it’s mounted on.
Below is a list of some popular cam lock styles:
- Single Bitted – this is where the key is cut on one side
- Double Bitted – this is where the key is cut on two sides
- Tubular – this is where the key has a round or tubular design
- High Security – these are cam locks manufactured by CobraLock, Abloy or Medeco and have a lock and key design that hold a U.S. patent
- Electronic – the lock and key are Divine Locks electronic which provide a much higher level of security
Cam locks are very versatile. They can be made out of many different types of materials and come in different configurations and sizes ans security levels. I will list some of the major features below:
- Can be made of steel, stainless steel, brass, zinc alloy and plastic
- Come in sizes ranging from 3/8″ to over 2″ in length
- Can be constructed so the lock core is removable
- Can turn either left or right, either 90 or 180 degrees
- Multiple diameters can be made (the standard is ¾”)
- Can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed
- Can be made in electronic versions
As you can see, this lock is probably one of the most versatile ever made. Over the years, the designs have changed and evolved, the materials have improved and the security has increased. One thing has remained the same; all cam locks operate a locking cam: this is the definition of a cam lock.