Key cutting machines are used in key duplication. In simplest terms, key cutting machines work by tracing out the shape of the original key, and carving out the same curves and lines on a key blank, which is an uncarved key. This is done through computerized systems, or through manual comparisons.
Currently, the most high-tech key cutting machines work in conjunction with software and computer programs. Some versions use sensors and photocells in order to trace the depths and outline of the original key, and use strong steel, such as titanium blades, to cut into the blank key. A high-speed brush is then used to brush off any excess metal from the new key.
There are many types of key cutting machines available, and what is used depends mostly on the type of key that needs to be duplicated, and how fast and precise the duplication needs to be done. Here are some of the types of key cutting machines and their uses.
Manual key cutting machines. These represent the traditional method of key duplication. The original key and blank key are clamped together, then a blade is passed over the original key, so that its curves and shapes are replicated into the blank key.
Automatic key cutting machines. As the name implies, most of the work is done by the machine itself, with little manual intervention required. All the operator needs to do is to place the original key and the blank key onto the machine. These types of machines are generally the most expensive.
Laser key cutting machines. As with the automatics, laser key cutting machines require little manual labor from the operator. What is different between the two types is that a titanium blade is what cuts the blank key, while with laser key cutting machines, it is a laser that does that job. This method also enables the formation of special marks to be placed on the surface of the key, which are mostly used in high-security institutions.
Semi-automatic key cutting machines. This is similar to the automatic key cutting machine, but there is more manual intervention required on the part of the operator. For one, the machine must be regularly re-calibrated to maintain its precision. And another, the keys must be carefully compared so that an accurate duplication is acquired.
Code key cutting machines. These types of machines are used with coded key cards that many hotels and business offices use. These key cards have a special pattern of notches, and the key cutting machine works to duplicate the original pattern to a blank key card.
Bit key cutting machines. These machines are used to duplicate a skeleton key. With skeleton keys, the shape, curves and lines are not the only essential factor to duplicate; the size and depth of the key’s end is important too. The bit key cutting machine measures the original key’s size and depth, and carves a duplicate key accordingly.
There you have it! These are just some of the kinds of key cutting machines available. Hope this helped you out. Good luck!