key cutting faqs

The Key Cutting Process

key cutting faqsMost (if not all) of us have reached a point in our lives where we’ve needed to contact a professional locksmith. Could be that keys were locked in the house, locks needed to be rekeyed, security needed to be installed, or maybe a key broke in the ignition. All of these are reasons to call a locksmith and have them come to assist in a problematic situation.


Key cutting services are the most common services requested of a locksmith. Perhaps a key is lost, broken, or someone needs a duplicate key made. Key cutting is more complex than some would realize; we are hoping to address a few of the most common curiosities here.


What equipment do locksmiths use?


There are several types of key cutting machines, each model addressing a specific kind of key: house keys, car keys, skeleton keys etc. There are four different styles of key cutting machinery:


  1. Automatic
  2. Code design
  3. Manual
  4. Laser


Depending on the locksmith, their company budget, their provided services, and their experience, a professional locksmith will utilize one or more of these key cutting machines.


What does the process look like?


Keys are created using what is called a blank key (this is a flat metal blade without cuts).

These blank keys are shaped by the key cutting machine, in order to match the uncut blade to the original key. The machines are designed to cut/shave away the metal until the blank key matches the other key.


What if there is no original key?


If your locks are new or the original key has been lost, a locksmith (with the correct equipment) will sometimes use what is called a key code; a set of numbers that allow for the correct pin placement inside of the machine. The machine will then cut the key according to code, instead of copying it using another key.

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