Key duplication is now a simple process that only requires the right technology. It is possible for anyone to get their keys duplicated from a locksmith or even from stores like Home Depot and Walmart.
The key duplication machine works by placing the original key in one vice and the blank key in the other. When the machine is turned on, a blade cuts into each of the notches of both keys.
Getting a Duplicate Key
Keeping a spare key in case you get locked out of your house or need to give one to someone else is a smart idea. You can usually find a place in your community that makes keys fairly inexpensively. For example, the post office will make you a copy of your mailbox key for free and most banks will give you a copy of your safe deposit box key for just a few dollars.
Many hardware and home improvement stores offer a key duplication service, including Lowes, Home Depot, and O’Reilly’s. Some of them use kiosks, such as MinuteKey, while others have a person who can hand cut or program the key for you.
Some automotive stores, such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts, also have self-serve kiosks that can make standard house keys as well as some car keys and key fobs. Call your local store to see if they have these machines before visiting.
Finding a Reputable Key Duplication Person
There are several places where you can get your keys duplicated. One of the best is at a hardware or home improvement store. Many of them have kiosks that can make duplicates of common keys quickly and inexpensively. Other locations, such as Walmart, may have in-store key copying services.
Another option is to use the services of a locksmith. While this is more expensive, they will usually be able to handle more complicated types of keys.
Another popular choice is the automotive chain Pep Boys, which has self-serve kiosks that can make copies of most standard house and auto keys. These kiosks can also make key fobs and car transponder keys. They are available in thousands of stores, including some of the larger home improvement chains such as Lowes and Ace Hardware. You can use their kiosk locator service here to find one near you.
Getting Accurate Duplicates
As with any business, there are various expenses involved in running a duplicate key making business. These include the cost of rent, employee salaries and inventory, utilities, maintenance and repairs on machines, advertising and marketing, insurance, and taxes. By reducing costs and maximizing sales, duplicate key makers can ensure profitability.
Computer scientists at UC San Diego recently developed a MatLab program that can process photos of keys taken from almost any angle and decode their bitting code, providing the information necessary to make an accurate duplicate. The program works by comparing the depth of each cut, which are spaced at regular intervals.
Other significant expenses include the cost of utilities, such as electricity and natural gas. These are important for running a duplicate key making business and should be factored into budgeting. Additionally, it is crucial to have reliable waste management services for disposing of business-related waste. This can be costly, but it is necessary to maintain a clean and safe work environment.
Getting the Number of Duplicates You Need
Having a spare key will prevent you from getting locked out or having to deal with other problems in the future. It can also make it easier for you to give access to others, such as family members or friends.
Regardless of the reason why you need a duplicate key, the process is generally much faster and cheaper than people expect. Most locksmiths use a machine that will trace the original key and then cut a blank to create a copy, making it far more accurate than most DIY methods.
In addition to this, most of the time a duplicate will be made very quickly, often in less than a minute. However, there are some keys that cannot be copied unless the original is present. These types of keys are usually stamped with a “DO NOT DUPLICATE” message, which is a security feature that prevents someone from copying the key without permission. These types of keys are typically only found on high-security locks, which are usually used in commercial buildings or government offices.