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MHM

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Posts: 122

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:33 pm

Location: Napier, New Zealand

Post Thu May 09, 2019 3:21 am

Re: Members Say Hi

alan wrote:
MHM wrote:Welcome to the group, both of you guys.
@Alan - what's your invention?


Thanks for the welcome. Let me explain my invention, and ask a question.

I have a new key core design. Briefly, its strengths are very high security at low cost. I've already filed for a patent, and am in the process of building a prototype.

This lock is provably bump-proof. It is extremely pick resistance (perhaps even Bowley lock difficult). I do not believe any impressioning will be possible. It is highly resistant to force because of inherently robust parts, and is designed to be made easily drill resistant with a single anti-drill pin.

Please assume for a minute that all of the above is true: this is a bump-proof, virtually pick proof, robust deadbolt at roughly Home Depot Kwikset/Schlage/Yale prices. Would it be commercially advantageous to have such a lock which also has a pretty conventional looking inexpensive key that can be easily copied on conventional key cutters? That is, does it make sense to market a lock with superior security, but an easily and cheaply copied key?


Wow that's a really interesting question Alan.

First I'll answer as a businessman: No-one is going to sell a better product at a budget price, it doesn't make any kind of sense. A premium lock MUST be sold at a premium price...thus, if your system really is good then you (or more likely a major manufacturer under licence) would manufacture it for cheap, sell at the top end of the market, and reap the better margins. (There's not really a lot of margin in the low end security hardware stuff, which is why most of it is now made in China as cheaply and nastily as possible - I'm not suggesting that you should do that of course.)

Second, the key. If you want the product to be taken seriously by manufacturers, locksmiths, and consumers, then key control is mandatory. A high security lock with an easily copyable key...is not a high security lock. Manufacturers spend an awful lot of time and money adding complex features to keys for exactly this reason, and you'd need to do the same. From the locksmith's point of view it's a very good thing if he can cut a key for your system on his existing machine, BUT you would absolutely have to make sure that the blanks he cuts the key from are unique, patented, and ONLY available from you. This is why the major high security lock makers make a HUGE deal out of patenting their special key blanks, and then when the patent is close to expiry they add an extra feature to extend the patent and keep the system (and the profits) secure. If you think that this sounds like the pharmaceutical industry, you'd be correct.

I'd love to have a look at your new design once you have a working prototype...

Best wishes,

Michael.
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alan

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Posts: 4

Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 pm

Location: Phoenix

Post Thu May 09, 2019 8:52 pm

Re: Members Say Hi

MHM wrote:
alan wrote:
MHM wrote:Welcome to the group, both of you guys.
@Alan - what's your invention?


Thanks for the welcome. Let me explain my invention, and ask a question.

I have a new key core design. Briefly, its strengths are very high security at low cost. I've already filed for a patent, and am in the process of building a prototype.

This lock is provably bump-proof. It is extremely pick resistance (perhaps even Bowley lock difficult). I do not believe any impressioning will be possible. It is highly resistant to force because of inherently robust parts, and is designed to be made easily drill resistant with a single anti-drill pin.

Please assume for a minute that all of the above is true: this is a bump-proof, virtually pick proof, robust deadbolt at roughly Home Depot Kwikset/Schlage/Yale prices. Would it be commercially advantageous to have such a lock which also has a pretty conventional looking inexpensive key that can be easily copied on conventional key cutters? That is, does it make sense to market a lock with superior security, but an easily and cheaply copied key?


Wow that's a really interesting question Alan.

First I'll answer as a businessman: No-one is going to sell a better product at a budget price, it doesn't make any kind of sense. A premium lock MUST be sold at a premium price...thus, if your system really is good then you (or more likely a major manufacturer under licence) would manufacture it for cheap, sell at the top end of the market, and reap the better margins. (There's not really a lot of margin in the low end security hardware stuff, which is why most of it is now made in China as cheaply and nastily as possible - I'm not suggesting that you should do that of course.)

Second, the key. If you want the product to be taken seriously by manufacturers, locksmiths, and consumers, then key control is mandatory. A high security lock with an easily copyable key...is not a high security lock. Manufacturers spend an awful lot of time and money adding complex features to keys for exactly this reason, and you'd need to do the same. From the locksmith's point of view it's a very good thing if he can cut a key for your system on his existing machine, BUT you would absolutely have to make sure that the blanks he cuts the key from are unique, patented, and ONLY available from you. This is why the major high security lock makers make a HUGE deal out of patenting their special key blanks, and then when the patent is close to expiry they add an extra feature to extend the patent and keep the system (and the profits) secure. If you think that this sounds like the pharmaceutical industry, you'd be correct.

I'd love to have a look at your new design once you have a working prototype...

Best wishes,

Michael.


Thank you so much for the thoughtful and informative reply, Michael. Much appreciated! I understand that the low manufacturing cost is primarily a profit advantage, and not a low cost volume advantage. I am more than happy to take such advantage!

An aside, but I LOVE your country. Spent three weeks exploring both islands a couple years ago and had a fabulous time. Do you ever get to Arizona? Now, back to the lock...

I actually started with a very patentable key, but then realized the patentable feature was counterproductive to security. That is, once I carefully studied the multitude of picking techniques on various lock picking sites like this, I realized the extra internal pins that would create the additional patentable feature on the key blank was both easily enough picked, and weakened the internals against other attacks. I do not see an easy way to add any other patentable device patent to the key blank, but I suspect I could pursue a design patent on the key as is. Design patents regarding how something looks are much weaker than device or process patents that protect functionality or purpose. I'm not sure I want to go back to the prior design to get a patent on the key blank, knowing that it creates a small decrease in lock security, although there is a tradeoff of usefulness that should keep it patentable. I suppose that could be an option to anyone wanting to license the design. This should be a great discussion I'll be having with my patent attorney soon.

The current key certainly does not look like a conventional key, but will not appear out of place on any kind of key ring, and it is similar enough to easily fit into a conventional key cutter. The bidding is quite unique, but well within the envelope of what a standard cutter can cut. The bidding is very easily noticed by a locksmith at arm's length, but will not likely be noticed by a layperson at all. I suspect the cut key is patentable (as a device) due to the unique bidding, but not the blank. I could easily be wrong about the patentability.

Note that having a blank does not make the lock less secure. Impressioning and bumping and other techniques that can make a blank useful to a lock picker simply will not help with this lock. Homemade blanks will not be particularly hard to make, as the key outline and keyway is not complex. The patentable blank idea only adds the need for a few cuts with a thin Dremel saw for a homemade blank. Since even a homemade blank would be a patent infringement, it could easily restrict all legally made blanks to what I or a patent licensee makes available. That is, it may be more like the pharmaceutical industry than desired. Like many drugs, these key blanks would be easy to duplicate, only not legally. I would think the bearings and magnets and off-axis machining and such on some of the more uniquely protected key blanks are also very important, more so than just being unique, patented and *legally* available only from me.

This lock has radically different kind of pins than anything else, but are fairly easily manufacturable, easily adopted to master keying, and easier for a locksmith to rekey than most other cores other than user-rekeyable designs like the Kwikset Smartkey.

I haven't, however, figured out how to do construction keying yet. I hope to figure it out, but a ball bearing technique is not going to do it. I'm thinking it will take a common de-construction key that will convert any construction core from the construction key to the owner key with a simple insertion and turn. Not quite as simple as being completely automatic with the first use of the owner key, but do you think this would be generally acceptable for the purpose?
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MHM

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Familiar Face

Posts: 122

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:33 pm

Location: Napier, New Zealand

Post Sat May 11, 2019 8:56 am

Re: Members Say Hi

Boy this is getting fascinating.

A lot of this key-related stuff is best worked out by whoever you licence the design to - there are engineers whose sole job is to figure out how to make keying systems work. But in general, the manufacturer will see patenting features of the key as being at LEAST as important as the lock itself. It really is a big deal, not least because it safeguards the company's profits. Us lock nerds often get wrapped up in the lock itself and forget that the big manufacturers are NOT lock makers at heart. They're just publically traded businesses with shareholders demanding a return on their investment...that just happen to make security products. They ain't in love with the lock, they're enamoured with the bottom line.

As far as construction keying is concerned, I can't imagine that a system that wanted a one-and-done key to be used to disable the construction keying would be out of the question - locksmiths are familiar with the concept of a control key and you're just suggesting a variation on that. Another system particularly beloved by our Oriental brethren is to have a small breakaway element that is snapped off by the owner's key on first use. Imagine a two part keypin, which is sheared in two when the owner first turns his key. The sheared off portion drops into a hole in the core in the same way that lost balls do. Another thing to consider is that many high security locks just don't support construction keying, full stop. It isn't a deal breaker.

Just be aware that bringing an entirely new lock design to market by yourself is a phenomenally, astronomically, difficult thing to do. A guy in my part of the world has done it twice...but he's a freak of nature. If I had just one piece of advice to give you, it would be to sell or licence your idea to one of the big guys and on no account try to do all the manufacturing yourself.

FWIW.
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alan

Newbie

Posts: 4

Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 pm

Location: Phoenix

Post Sun May 12, 2019 4:23 pm

Re: Members Say Hi

MHM wrote:Boy this is getting fascinating.

A lot of this key-related stuff is best worked out by whoever you licence the design to - there are engineers whose sole job is to figure out how to make keying systems work. But in general, the manufacturer will see patenting features of the key as being at LEAST as important as the lock itself. It really is a big deal, not least because it safeguards the company's profits. Us lock nerds often get wrapped up in the lock itself and forget that the big manufacturers are NOT lock makers at heart. They're just publically traded businesses with shareholders demanding a return on their investment...that just happen to make security products. They ain't in love with the lock, they're enamoured with the bottom line.

As far as construction keying is concerned, I can't imagine that a system that wanted a one-and-done key to be used to disable the construction keying would be out of the question - locksmiths are familiar with the concept of a control key and you're just suggesting a variation on that. Another system particularly beloved by our Oriental brethren is to have a small breakaway element that is snapped off by the owner's key on first use. Imagine a two part keypin, which is sheared in two when the owner first turns his key. The sheared off portion drops into a hole in the core in the same way that lost balls do. Another thing to consider is that many high security locks just don't support construction keying, full stop. It isn't a deal breaker.

Just be aware that bringing an entirely new lock design to market by yourself is a phenomenally, astronomically, difficult thing to do. A guy in my part of the world has done it twice...but he's a freak of nature. If I had just one piece of advice to give you, it would be to sell or licence your idea to one of the big guys and on no account try to do all the manufacturing yourself.

FWIW.


I really can't thank you enough!

First, for an idea that should allow for a construction key! You gave me the spark I needed for a design that will allow the owner key to disable the construction key, using a push-away part where a slightly longer owner key simply pushes the part out the back of the keyway. However, this may not be a great solution as it does not require the correct owner key to disable the construction key, just a full size key. That is, the construction keying can be easily disabled by vandalism. I could add a spring that returns the push-back part into the construction position such that this spring only gets disabled if the key is rotated while the part is pushed back, which would only be possible with the owner key. I don't like the added complexity of two parts, both more complex than some ball bearings or a simple break-away piece. That is, the construction lock option would be more expensive to provide than the same option on competitor's locks. I also don't like the fact that the construction/owner key difference is exactly the last pin bidding. Having a construction key for an owner-converted lock won't do much to make picking easier, but it would reduce the number of blanks needed to be cut to insure a correct key down to only half dozen or so.

Second, thanks for the business perspective. Nothing new to me, but it was certainly out of my focus. I very much need to keep the business perspective in focus! I have no current plans to build this lock myself beyond the prototype. My hope is to license the patent.
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Rick 22

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Posts: 1

Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 1:49 am

Post Fri May 17, 2019 1:57 am

Re: Members Say Hi

Greetings,

Name is Rick been doing locksmith work for over 20 years in Florida. Never messed with automobile work just commercial and industry. See alot of interesting topics look forward to reading and helping out if I can.
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

Posts: 4337

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Tue May 21, 2019 10:30 pm

Re: Members Say Hi

.

Hi Rick. Welcome! Good to have you & hope to see ya around often.
Over two decades of locksmithing... bet you've got some stories :D
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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