The Proper Way to Use a Key Cutting Machine

By Prev Info - October 18, 2022

 Modern key cutting machines allow you to make dozens of copies in minutes. There was a time when copies of keys were handmade and making a single copy was a laborious task. In their modern form, key cutting machines use a variety of methods including lasers and cutting wheels to make exact replicas of the original in seconds. 

Key Cutting Machine

The most basic key cutting machines use cutting wheels and guides to help the locksmith create the key. The proper way to use a key cutting machine depends on the particular model. However, all basic machines share a few of the most important steps.


Moderately Easy

Things You'll Need

Key cutting machine - Original key - Key blank


1 - Purchase a key blank that is the same size and shape as the original key. Key blanks are uncut keys that do not have any ridges on the body. Most common keys have exact match key blanks for sale at a local hardware store or online.


2 - Insert the original key into the guide vise. The orientation of the key depends on the model of key cutter. In general, insert the key with the ridges facing toward the guide block on the back of the machine.


3 - Insert the key blank into the second vise slot. Some machines may have additional slots to make multiple copies at once. The key blank must be inserted facing the same direction as the original. The second vise is directly in front of the cutting wheel.


4 - Turn on the key cutting machine and allow the cutting wheel to reach maximum speed. This may take longer on older models.


5 - Position the guide rail holding the keys so that the original key's point of impact with the guide block on the back of the machine is the first ridge at the base of the key.


6 - Push the guide rail into the guide block. Maintain the original key firmly against the guide block as you move the guide rail along the length of the original key, allowing the guide block to trace the ridges in the original key body. The cutting wheel will cut the same pattern in the key blank.


7 - Turn off the cutting machine. Remove the keys from the vises. Hold the original key up to the original and compare the ridge patterns. Test the copy in the lock, if possible. If the ridge patterns match or the copy operates the lock properly, you have a good copy. Create additional copies, if necessary.



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