ABC's Of Key Cutting

Call Now For A Quote

At one time or another, you might have been in a situation where you were locked out of your house / car, lost your keys, or needed a duplicate.

Whatever the case might be, you will need the services of a locksmith, and not just any locksmith, but a professional.

Key cutting is the most common service that a locksmith uses to fix the problem. Here's how the process works.

Basic Key Cutting Process

The locksmith uses special machines to cut your keys. Which machine he / she uses depends on the type of key, skill set and experience of the locksmith.

Keys are made by matching a blank key with a flat blade to the specific design of the original key.

The machine used, despite the key type, will shave/cut the metal until both keys are identical.

The process of creating new keys for new locks is usually simple and quick, as the locksmith will have to create a key pattern that corresponds to the lock’s internal pin arrangement.

Machines Used In The Key Cutting Process

The machines used in key cutting can either be Manual, Automatic, Laser or code. Here is a brief description of each.


Manual key cutting machines are mostly used to create standard house keys. The blank and original key is held together, one on top of the other, after which the locksmith will use the machine to manually trace patterns of the original key on the blank key, until both match.


Automatic machines are much faster than the manual machines, though they are more expensive. The blank and original keys are placed independently on different vice grips. Using a stylus, the machine traces the pattern of the original key onto the blank key at the same time.


Laser machines are similar to the automatic machines, though the use laser for cutting the blank key than a blade. Some advanced key systems require dimples on a key surface, and a laser machine can be able to provide that also.


Code machines can operate normally without supervision. The machine understands the key’s pattern using codes either manually entered into the system or through a card. Once the machine understands the pattern, it can duplicate it with a blank key.

You Can Cut These Keys

The type of key you want to duplicate highly determines the complexity and cost of the key cutting process.

This is a list of the best key types for duplicating:

  • Household Mortice Key
  • Household Cylinder Key
  • Patio Double Glazing Keys
  • Tubular Keys
  • First Level Security Keys
  • Caravan Keys
  • Motorbike Keys
  • Car Keys (Non-Chip Keys)
  • Window Lock Keys
  • Keys Cut By Numbers
  • Safe Keys

You Shouldn't Try To Get These Keys  Cut

Worst key types for duplicating:

  • Transponder Key
  • Laser Cut Car Key
  • VAT Key
  • Chip Keys
  • Tubular Keys
  • Abloy Keys
  • Internal Cut Keys
  • Four-Sided Keys

Security Restrictions On Some Keys

Some manufactures use restrictions to reduce unauthorized key duplication.

Knowing that your house or car key can be duplicated easily can be frightening. Therefore, key manufactures have put in certain key duplication restrictions that helps reduce illegal key duplication.

One way they do this is by having restricted keys blanks. Having a restricted key blank enables a manufacturer to create a controlled amount of sales and distribution.

Protected by a patent, restricted keys bans other manufacturers from engaging in unlawful key blank production.

When seeking the services of a professional locksmith, one will be required to provide an ID if the key has a restricted key blank. This helps ensure the highest level of security.

Some manufactures have gone ahead and put special in-laid features in restricted keys such as small computer chips, magnets, different types of metal, or even prevented duplication all together.

Another mechanism manufacturers use to avoid key duplication is creating “Do Not Duplicate” (DND) keys. The key is stamped “do not duplicate” on its surface.

This helps discourage unlawful key cutting and acts more like a key control system. A professional locksmith will not duplicate such a key without getting in contact with the manufacturer who originally made the key.

Though this mechanism is supposed to discourage key duplication, the unauthorized copying of DND keys by individuals is still a security problem.

Having keys with movable mechanisms or electronic components on the key blank offers the best security and are difficult or impossible to duplicate.

Michael's Keys | 238 North Main Street | Keller, Texas 76248

SHARE If you like Michael's Keys!