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How Are Keys Made?
secondary March 25

How Are Keys Made?

Keys lock or unlock automobiles, houses, and other similar items. Keys are made with specific and complex patterns cut into them, making them easy to unlock with the key made for that item. When a manufacturer or locksmith makes keys, they are duplicated in an attempt to make many keys that match the original key. This process can be done at a small scale by hand or on a large scale using equipment and machines. Top St. Louis Locksmith helps with all key replacement needs.

Key Duplicator

The key duplicator has evolved, but it's still a key piece of equipment for any locksmith or hardware store. These machines are used to make copies of standard keys, such as house and office keys. They are relatively simple machines, which makes them easy to use.

The original key is placed in the duplicator to make a copy of a key. The locksmith then places a blank key on the machine and pushes it down to create the key replacement copy. The keys must be lined up properly or won't work in the lock. Some locks are easier to work with than others when making copies. For example, deadbolt keys can be hard to duplicate because they are often thicker and shaped differently than typical house keys.

Original Key

It's crucial to use the original key when you're having a copy made. Most hardware stores and locksmiths have machines that can make copies of keys as long as you have the original. If you don't have an original key and need a key replacement, a quality locksmith can make you a new one by examining your lock. They may need to take apart the lock to do this.

Once they have the lock open, they'll use a set of calipers to measure the keyway and pin-bitting depth, which are used to determine the cuts required for your key.

When it comes time to duplicate your key, there are two common methods: code cutting and impressioning. Code cutting is reading a code from a lock or physical key then entering that code into a machine that cuts a new key out of metal-based on that code.

Code cutters are fairly basic machines and can be found at most hardware stores. They typically can only make copies of simple keys that don't have complex and deep cuts (like car keys). But they are cheap and easy to use, so they work well for making copies of house keys or office keys using codes found on the keys themselves or labels attached to them. More complex keys will need a locksmith such as Top St. Louis Locksmith.

Impressioning is a technique used to create a working key without direct access to the original key. This technique relies on the fact that, in most cases, no two keys are exactly alike. Impressioning takes a great deal of skill and experience to do effectively.

Most locks have slightly different tolerances on their internal components and are therefore vulnerable to a technique called impressioning. An impressionable lock is susceptible to this technique.

Impressioning is a complicated skill and should not be attempted by anyone who doesn't have at least some knowledge of lock design principles. Impressioning requires practice, patience, and a basic understanding of how locks work.

Key Blanks

A key blank is an uncut key ready to be cut. A locksmith company gets the blanks from a manufacturer and has them on hand as they are needed. A locksmith can also get a key blank if they have an original key to copy a new key. They will make sure they use the correct blank when making keys so that the key will work when it's inserted into the lock.

If you need new keys made for your home or business, contact Top St. Louis Locksmith for your key-making needs.