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How Does a Key-Cutting Machine Work?

Posted on : June 3, 2020

When many people think of locksmiths, they immediately think of key-cutting, and replacement keys for the ones they’ve been unfortunate enough to lose or damage. It goes without saying that our MPL Locksmith Training Courses cover key-cutting machines and how to use them.

Key-cutting machines may only be one small part of the many things you’ll learn on our courses, but they’re an important part. So, let’s start learning about them. How does a key-cutting machine work? Is it dangerous? And how accurate is the key it produces?

What is Key-Cutting?

Don’t worry if you don’t know what key-cutting is – many people don’t. Key-cutting is undoubtedly the most popular way to produce keys in the United Kingdom. It can be done in one of two different ways: you can either make a duplicate of an existing key, or you can produce a new key altogether.

When used correctly, key-cutting machines are safe, accurate, and effective devices. They produce replacement keys in a matter of minutes – but only if you know how to use them efficiently.

Even as technology continues to develop and locksmiths use more and more electronic tools, the key-cutting machine remains ever-present. Quite simply, there will always be a demand for security keys, and for their spares as well.

Are There Different Types of Key-Cutting Machines?

Like every technology, there are several different types of key-cutting machines. Thankfully, on the whole, they tend to use the same mechanisms. Although there may be one or two parts that differ from one machine to the next, key-cutting machines are normally very similar.

On our Locksmith Training Courses, you’ll learn how to use the most popular key-cutting machines in the industry. And if you should ever come across a different type of machine, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to pick up its subtleties quickly.

One of the most important things we teach on our courses is to always use the instructions manual when negotiating unfamiliar key-cutting machines for the first time.

How Do Key-Cutting Machines Work?

The truth is that as locksmith technology has advanced, key-cutting machines have become faster and easier to use. This is great news for trainee locksmiths!

Key-cutting machines work on the ‘copy’ principle. As you trace the teeth of one key with the key-cutting machine, a separate part of the machine simultaneously grinds the replica teeth into the blank key that is being cut.

First of all, try and select a blank key which is similar in appearance to the original key. Insert the original key into the first vice – make sure that the teeth are visible and facing upward. You should then insert the blank key into the second vice. This is where the cutting blade is located. Ensure that both keys are tightly secured and won’t move during the cutting process.

Before switching the machine on, be sure to close the protective cover.

Once it has been switched on, your machine will automatically detect the speed and angle at which the cutting wheel should be spinning. Simply trace the teeth and grooves of the original key and, once you’re finished, switch off the machine. Use a wire brush to remove any debris and polish off any rough edges.

Make sure that there are no sharp edges to the key. The last thing you want to do now is insert a sharp key into the lock and damage the lock irreparably. Especially now that you have two keys!

Compare the two keys side-by-side. Are they an identical match? If they are, then your key is good to go. However, if you have any doubts about the outline of the new key, then re-insert the original key, grab another blank, and try to create a more accurate key using the same method.

Key-Cutting and Locksmith Training with MPL

You’ll learn everything you need to know about key-cutting and key-cutting machines on our City & Guilds Accredited 5 Day Specialist Locksmith Training Course. The fundamentals are also covered on our 3 Day Training Course. Key-cutting is not compulsory for locksmiths to offer as part of their services, but is a very useful skill to learn.

Anybody can train to become a locksmith with our friendly and professional team – our testimonials speak for themselves, and there’s nobody better to get you started on the right course for you.

Find out about the availability for our next training courses, and how you can begin your journey to becoming a fully qualified locksmith today.


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