It is usually uncommon for anyone not to have duplicate keys for their homes or cars. That’s because It can be frustrating to find yourself locked out simply because you misplaced the key or accidentally left it inside. If you’re in a hurry, the fastest way to get in is by breaking the window or prying the door open.
Both options will naturally result in a badly-damaged door or window, and repairs will have to be made quickly. This will mean unexpected and unwanted expenses. Obviously, the situation could have been prevented if you took the time to get a key duplicate.
Who Can Make Duplicate Keys?
It can be a costly mistake to lose your key whether it’s for your car or for the home.This can be easily prevented by getting a spare or a backup.
Below is a list of the people and places that you can seek out when looking to have your key copied or duplicated.
There is a common misconception that locksmith services are expensive. While this could be true with some, key duplication is not one of them. Many locksmiths are known for producing quality key replicas at affordable rates.
If you don’t have the original key, a professional locksmith can simply decode your lock and create a duplicate. Unfortunately, this no longer qualifies as duplication work and will be quite costly.
2. Retail Stores
Retail stores that sell keys of varying models are also known to offer duplication services. The only problem with these shops is that they don’t provide the same level of locksmith service and speed as an automated machine. This is because the in-house locksmith may not have the required expertise in case you have a sophisticated key that needs duplication.
Key duplication services are also available in automated self-service kiosks where there is no direct interaction with a locksmith. In this modern locksmith service, a duplication machine will initially scan your key to identify its type and the depth of the cut. Within minutes, the machine will produce a perfect duplicate key.
Depending on the model installed in the kiosk, some duplication machines are capable of copying house padlocks. Others can make a duplicate of car keys or RFID chips/cards.
Methods in Duplicating a Key
The pins that comprise a regular key are usually made from either brass, or a combination of brass and nickel. These pins can become damaged over time. When this happens, a duplicate key acquires greater importance.
Below are some of the ways you can have your keys copied.
1. Machine Method
This mainly involves the use of a machine known as a key duplicator. It normally has a vise that holds your original key in place and lined up with a blade or cutting tool. A blank key is also placed in the vise, and when the key duplicating machine is turned on, the blade will cut the blank key using the original key as a template. A lock technician will then sand the duplicate for a smooth finish.
2. Punch Method
Aside from a key cutting machine, keys can also be duplicated by using a punch machine like the Curtis Key Clipper. Under this method, the depth of every key notch is initially measured with a gauge before this is placed in a numeric slider. When the slider reaches the required depth, a lever is pressed to cut all of the key notches simultaneously. The lever is then raised to allow the key to advance to the next index position. The cycle continues until the duplication is completed.
Keys produced under the punch method often have smooth margins, and duplicates can be made even when the original key is not available provided that the depth of the key notches can be determined. This type of locksmith service is especially useful for establishments that have numerous locks. The only downside of the punch method is that it requires the involvement of highly-skilled locksmiths.
3. File Method
This uses a triangular file and a vise that will work on a blank key to match the original. The two keys are placed side by side in a vise. Once secured, the blank key gets filed using the original as guide. When filing is completed, you can insert the spare key into the lock for testing.
The file method, however, works only with pin tumbler lock keys. Other types or models, especially keys designed for high security locks, are not compatible.
4. Mold Method
This is a time-consuming and labor-intensive key duplication method. It uses molded clay, but soap bars and even bubble gum can be considered as molding material. The best cast, however, are those made from steel, copper, and aluminum.
Casted keys are functional to a certain extent, but they are not durable compared to those made from a key cutting machine. At most, they offer a quick and temporary solution to your key problems.
5. Tracing Method
This will involve tracing your key onto another material, and then cutting out the traced outline. The material to be used has to be strong so key copying will succeed. Suitable candidates are old credit cards, soda cans, and metal objects like a butter knife.
In the tracing method, the first step is to heat one end of the original key using a lighter until it turns black. While waiting for the key to cool, a large piece of clear packing tape should be prepared. Afterwards, the blackened side of the key is placed onto the tape and pressed firmly so an imprint can be made. The imprinted tape is then placed atop the material with which a key copy is to be made, cutting around the area with complete precision.
If you’re still unaware, a key can be duplicated in many different ways apart from using a key cutting machine. This is especially important in cases where you need a quick key copy and the locksmith is taking time to arrive.
However, if you prefer durable and fully functional key copies, it’s still best to settle for skilled locksmiths. While some of them may have high service charges, there are many who generally offer affordable rates and may even give you tips on how to care for your locks and keys.
Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths is your best choice when it comes to your locksmith requirements.
Losing a key, either for the home, your car, or even for the office, is a terrible experience. Don’t let this happen to you, especially in emergency situations. Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths can help produce duplicate keys for you in a matter of minutes.
We offer more than key copying services though. Contact us and our locksmith in Arvada will give you a detailed description of all the locksmithing services that we offer. Call now.