Auto key machines are undoubtedly one of the most useful inventions of today. They produce unique, individual keys that can fit inside a door lock – and multiple copies of the exact same key can be generated at the touch of a button.
It would be incredibly difficult to replicate the job of a key cutting machine yourself to any level of perfection. If you’re curious to learn how exactly an auto key machine works, this guide will cover everything you need to know.
- The original key is placed
To begin, the original key is placed in something called a vice, which is typically located on one side of the key duplicator.
- The key blank is placed
The original key is then lined up with the cutting tool, and the key blank (which will be cut to the original key’s shape) is placed in a vice on the other side of the machine. Near the vice is an alignment tool, a metal component that is in line with the blade. To make sure the keys are in line with one another, the machine will use an alignment bar.
- The machine is switched on
The machine can then be activated, which triggers the machine to move the original and blank keys horizontally.
- The key blank is cut by the blade
When the key passes under the blade, it cuts the shape of the original key, which is uses as a template.
- The key is sanded down for a smooth finish
Finally, the locksmith will sand your new duplicate key to smooth its edges. You’ll be left with a final product that resembles the original key in every manner. Generally, the whole key-cutting process takes a matter of minutes, though it could take longer if the key in question isn’t a standard design.
Key cutting: what else you should know
The only thing that affects the outcome of this duplication process is they key blank used. There are hundreds of different key blanks out there, but if you just need a spare key for your home, a locksmith will use a residential key blank for the job.
Note also that it’s not advised to make a key duplication of a duplication. If you can, it’s useful to always have the original on hand, providing you haven’t lost it or had it stolen.
You may be also wondering whether you can duplicate certain keys that are marked “do not duplicate”. In this case, your locksmith will probably still duplicate it for you (if not a little awkwardly). There’s no law to say that “do not duplicate keys” shouldn’t be duplicated – it’s just a recommendation.
Finally, if you want to know whether you can get a key duplicated without a key, the answer is yes. A professional locksmith can cut a key for a particular lock by examining the lock in person and using the details they’ve gathered to create a key that will fit.
If you’re adventurous enough to want to try duplicating a key by hand, it’s possible, but tricky. This video shows you how to do it in detail.