Automated key duplicators

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5,231
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San Francisco Bay Area
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Today I was at Home Depot and I just needed another SC1 key. I like keeping mine on a lanyard, but then there isn't one on my normal keychain. My key is kind of old and a bit worn, and I don't have the original. I know traditional key machines copy the pattern and maybe lose a little bit in the copy. Besides that - the semi-manual key machine operated by an employee had a line of customers. I think the price was $2.49. So instead I just used their Minute Key machine. I've also used another brand years ago at WM to make keys for another house, although I still have the original key. They seem to work differently. The one I used years ago required placing the key flat on a tray and it would scan it. Minute Key requires inserting it into a slot, where it clamps down and scans. I thought maybe it would be better since it doesn't copy the pattern (including the wear) exactly, but it assesses the bits (I think that's what they call them) and then cuts as if it were a new key from a code. The only thing odd about it was that I just wanted a standard SC1 style key and they're typically shaped just like an original Schlage key. This one has a square head, but it works.
 

4WD

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13,107
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Texas
I cut a half dozen on that machine lately … all worked great … They did come out with burrs … but used my beard to smooth them off … (or my Gerber lock blade, LoL ...‚)
 
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Under the Hood
When ever I have an 'original' key, I always file two small notches on the finger part. That way I always know they are originals. I keep one set of 'originals' in my Safe for any future keys duplicating.
 
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24,603
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Upstate NY
Well according to the locksmith where I get keys made the normal key cutting machines around in big box stores are not calibrated very often and he does his every few months. I do not think he charges more than the big box stores. The last time I was there he cut the keyfob key for my Ford pickup ($100 blank) and we were talking and he got a phone call and waved me on to say no charge. A few years ago I brought in a $20 chip key for my Jeep that a hardware store had cut and did not work. I had the original and another blank chip key. Took him a little while to stop laughing after he determined how bad a copy the chip key that did not work was. I do agree with only getting keys made from original. But keys are used less and less these days. Will be like wrist watches soon. Support your local locksmith.
 
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13,343
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1/2 hr N.E. of Detroit
The machine instructions seemed complicated for me. I sought help from a Lowe's worker. With his help, the new keys worked perfectly afterwards. I did not use an original key for processing. What I used was a cheap aluminum-type copy of the original. Happy camper so far.
 

4WD

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13,107
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Texas
They can also provide a digital backup which might be handy if you have out of town properties and change vehicles … or whatever causes you to not have a key 2 hours from home …
 
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14,115
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Central NY
Originally Posted by 4WD
They can also provide a digital backup which might be handy if you have out of town properties and change vehicles … or whatever causes you to not have a key 2 hours from home …
There's a locksmith by work that I've had make a few extra keys for my chip keyed vehicles. I always have a spare key somewhere. Even if I have to break a window to get to it after losing my keys, I should be able to get home
 

4WD

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13,107
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Texas
I was making keys for a condo that's going up for sale this week … (plenty trips to HD and Lowe's anyway) … On road trips … my wife and I hand over our 2nd set for that vehicle just in case …
 
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5,231
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San Francisco Bay Area
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Originally Posted by MasterSolenoid
When ever I have an 'original' key, I always file two small notches on the finger part. That way I always know they are originals. I keep one set of 'originals' in my Safe for any future keys duplicating.
My originals come in the package with a lock. So I know they're the originals since they have the manufacturer's name on them. I generally use duplicates. Locksmiths seem to charge a lot for a new key on an old lock, so I'll just buy a new lock or deadbolt and then just get other locks rekeyed to the new key.
 
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24,603
Location
Upstate NY
Originally Posted by doitmyself
Would it be able to cut a simple vehicle chip key blank like this: [Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com] thank you
Go to a locksmith if the blank costs any amount of money more than a few dollars. But you need to program the car to chip key after its cut unless its just just to open a door to get the keys you locked in vehicle. Easy with 2 programmed keys. Not easy with only one.
 
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7,530
Location
MI
Thanks Donald, This is for my Patriot and the owners manual has simple instructions how to program the key IF you have 2 already (I do). I bought U.S. made Stattec key blanks locally for $11 each. The old time locksmith shop that cheerfully cut some 6 years ago is out of business. I am fearful that like last time, most locksmiths don't want to cut self purchased keys. They want to sell you a key for triple $ and charge for programming it. I don't blame them for needing to support their over-head. I'm a die hard diyer, frugal to boot, but willing to pay more than fairly for their cutting services. Myself and the old way business operates are dying breeds. After the last time, I sent business their way and did several media reviews. I guess that doesn't matter anymore? I have two local locksmiths to check out. Time will tell.
 
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5,231
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San Francisco Bay Area
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I'll add that many of these machines have different setups. I've seen some at supermarkets. Different Walmarts have them. Usually those are self-service with a credit card purchase at the machine and sometimes even bill acceptors. The Minute Key setup at my local Home Depot wasn't quite like that. It's almost like getting a key made by an employee where it's made first then paid for at checkout. The key itself had a barcode sticker, although it's not like the regular keys glued to a hang tag.
 
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1,436
Location
Northeast Nebraska
I get all my keys copied at a locally owned Ace and they charge the same whether you bring the blank in or buy it from them so they're actually making more money when you bring your own in.
 
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