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I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need advice

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:14 am
by coderz
So I'm getting pretty crazy into the lock hobby in general. I was thinking of starting a business, but after research and talk with people on here I'm thinking of keeping it a hobby. I was thinking of buying a I want to buy one of the more expensive electronic or key code card ones, but I feel that's getting out of the hobby range and into the holy crap this is insanely expensive 2,000 minimum just for the machine range. You can get for under $500.00 a Jet 9000b manual key cutter and buy some depth and spacing keys to use as your code keys.

Do you really need a key cutting code based machine, or will a manual one do with proper depth keys as a hobby?

The machine I was thinking of buying for using codes is the HPC1200CMB Blitz Code Machine
https://www.clksupplies.com/collections/code-machines/products/hpc-1200-blitz-code-machine

That is 4 times the price though of like this Jet 9000b which I was thinking of to buy on the cheaper end
https://www.clksupplies.com/collections/manual-key-machines/products/jet-9000b-manual-key-machine

Do you really need a machine that uses codes though, or can experience with space and depth keys and a machine like the 9000b work just fine? I'm confused and I appreciate the help?

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:34 am
by GWiens2001
Depth and space keys can work fine, but require that you already have the needed D&S keys.

Used to cut keys for my hobby locks with a file and sandpaper, so a cheaper machine will work as long as it is in good condition and you have calibrated it properly for both depth of cut and spacing. Now I have several machines, from cheap to the same code machine you are looking at. The code machine can make a job easier, but is by no means mandatory for a hobbyist.

Gordon

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:07 am
by ghost_os
While the HPC Blitz is the standard of the industry, and for good reason, it's definitely a huge investment for a hobbyist. You don't even have to go with the Jet model. Pick yourself up a used Foley Belsaw model 200 key machine. If it needs replacement parts, they're available and pretty inexpensive. With a properly calibrated machine and depth / space keys, you're all set. You can even pick up the direct read depth and space micrometers if you wanted to invest a little more in your hobby, and then bam, you've got yourself a code cutter for well under $500, probably under $300. All you'll need is depth and space information for the keys you want to cut, and you don't even have to worry about depth/space keys anymore. Something to keep in mind if you go this route - cut depths are a function of the width of the blank key blade minus the cut depth specified = the setting of your micrometer.

For instance;

Schlage SC1 keys have an uncut width of .343 inches

a "9" depth cut for Schlage keys is specified as .200 inches

So, you set your depth micrometer to .143 inches

.343
-.200
.143

This will allow you to duplicate as well as originate keys.

You could also go for a cheapish (~$250) chinese import, such as a DEFU. They make a "standard" style horizontal duplicator in this price range, as well as a vertical milling model. There's no real option for originating keys with the vertical models (I would not recommend trying to use depth keys with it, although I suppose you could), but the vertical milling models allow you to copy sidewinder and dimple keys. The DEFU 339C and 998C can also copy tubular (Ace) keys. The DEFU 368A CANNOT. So there's another option for you.

I would honestly recommend the Foley-Belsaw model 200 with the upgrade depth and space micrometers. Much more versatile, unless you really want to duplicate tubular/dimple/sidewinder keys. In which case you could invest in a DEFU for that purpose.

Hope this helps =)

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:57 am
by coderz
ghost_os wrote:While the HPC Blitz is the standard of the industry, and for good reason, it's definitely a huge investment for a hobbyist. You don't even have to go with the Jet model. Pick yourself up a used Foley Belsaw model 200 key machine. If it needs replacement parts, they're available and pretty inexpensive. With a properly calibrated machine and depth / space keys, you're all set. You can even pick up the direct read depth and space micrometers if you wanted to invest a little more in your hobby, and then bam, you've got yourself a code cutter for well under $500, probably under $300. All you'll need is depth and space information for the keys you want to cut, and you don't even have to worry about depth/space keys anymore. Something to keep in mind if you go this route - cut depths are a function of the width of the blank key blade minus the cut depth specified = the setting of your micrometer.

For instance;

Schlage SC1 keys have an uncut width of .335 inches

a "9" depth cut for Schlage keys is specified as .200 inches

So, you set your depth micrometer to .135 inches

.335
-.200
.135

This will allow you to duplicate as well as originate keys.

You could also go for a cheapish (~$250) chinese import, such as a DEFU. They make a "standard" style horizontal duplicator in this price range, as well as a vertical milling model. There's no real option for originating keys with the vertical models (I would not recommend trying to use depth keys with it, although I suppose you could), but the vertical milling models allow you to copy sidewinder and dimple keys. The DEFU 339C and 998C can also copy tubular (Ace) keys. The DEFU 368A CANNOT. So there's another option for you.

I would honestly recommend the Foley-Belsaw model 200 with the upgrade depth and space micrometers. Much more versatile, unless you really want to duplicate tubular/dimple/sidewinder keys. In which case you could invest in a DEFU for that purpose.

Hope this helps =)


Hopefully I'm making the right hobbyist beginner's choice. I decided to order the Jet 9000b with depth and space keys for major brands like Kwikset and Schlage. It seems like a refined step up for manual models from the Foley where I can spend the extra 200 to 300 but I don't want to spend 2,000. It's 500 dollars but this is still only 1/4th of the price of the HPC Blitz. The HPC blitz is really cool, and when I have more money that I want to blow I could see myself buying it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but like you were saying, having a multiple machines like a manual and the HPC Blitz would be even better?

I'm assuming these key machines hold their value pretty well too? I could probably sell it in a couple years for 300 or something and upgrade to the Blitz then? Hopefully I won't regret my choice, as the Jet 9000b at this point seems like a good manual starter machine for basic keys.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:09 pm
by ghost_os
coderz wrote:
Hopefully I'm making the right hobbyist beginner's choice. I decided to order the Jet 9000b with depth and space keys for major brands like Kwikset and Schlage. It seems like a refined step up for manual models from the Foley where I can spend the extra 200 to 300 but I don't want to spend 2,000. It's 500 dollars but this is still only 1/4th of the price of the HPC Blitz. The HPC blitz is really cool, and when I have more money that I want to blow I could see myself buying it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but like you were saying, having a multiple machines like a manual and the HPC Blitz would be even better?

I'm assuming these key machines hold their value pretty well too? I could probably sell it in a couple years for 300 or something and upgrade to the Blitz then? Hopefully I won't regret my choice, as the Jet 9000b at this point seems like a good manual starter machine for basic keys.


Having multiple machines can certainly come in handy, it really depends what your goals are.

The Blitz removes the need for having code knowledge or books, as long as you have the requisite code cards. There are also micrometer cards available for the Blitz. If you want to duplicate an existing key with the Blitz, you'll first have to decode the key in question, as the Blitz has no built-in function for duplicating, nor does it's predecessor the Code-A-Key by HPC. Now, the HPC Switch Blitz can both duplicate and originate, thus it's name. The code cards are interchangeable, and the Switch Blitz isn't all that much more than the Blitz. If you are in fact planning to invest in a Blitz down the road, I would personally spend a little more and get the Switch Blitz.

If you don't mind manual code cutters but wanted a higher dollar machine (again, down the line a bit), you could also check out Framon key machines - they're bulletproof. You can cut 1,000 keys by code on those, drop it off the back of a parked truck, and cut 1,000 more without ever re-calibrating it, and it'll still be accurate.

Rytan makes very nice machines, and the RY100 is a very nice little duplicator.

Lots of options, as I said, it all depends on your goals and needs.

I have no personal experience with Jet machines, but I just watched a couple videos about your 9000b, looks like a nice machine, you'll have to let us know how you like it once you've used it a bit.

Oh, and yes, key machines hold their value pretty well, so as long as you take good care of it, you shouldn't have any issues re-selling it for a good price. Hey, if you decide to, shoot me a message, I might take it off your hands, lol.

Good luck! =)

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:38 pm
by DIY Dave
I would go with a good used ilco manual or semi automatic duplicator. I have an ilco 044 with the V shaped cutter and guide, and it works well with depth keys. If you don't like it sometime down the road, sell it for what you paid for it.

If youre wanting to do locksmithing professionally, the HPC blitz is a great machine, and so is the Framon code machine. Don't buy a switch blitz, they're not good for code cutting or duplicating. The shop I work at bought 3 of them and only 1 really works and stays calibrated.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:36 am
by Werewolf
GWiens2001 wrote:Depth and space keys can work fine, but require that you already have the needed D&S keys.

Used to cut keys for my hobby locks with a file and sandpaper, so a cheaper machine will work as long as it is in good condition and you have calibrated it properly for both depth of cut and spacing.


Keep in mind that a lot of the lower budget machines will not have adjusments for spacing, only for depth.
I doubt the Jet machine will have this.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:43 pm
by ghost_os
Werewolf wrote:
GWiens2001 wrote:Depth and space keys can work fine, but require that you already have the needed D&S keys.

Used to cut keys for my hobby locks with a file and sandpaper, so a cheaper machine will work as long as it is in good condition and you have calibrated it properly for both depth of cut and spacing.


Keep in mind that a lot of the lower budget machines will not have adjusments for spacing, only for depth.
I doubt the Jet machine will have this.


Thinking back on the video I watched on it, no, it doesn't. That won't matter if you have space keys though. You can even make your own, as long as you have a lock for the key in question. Let's say you want to make a Corbin key, but all you have are depth & space keys for Kwikset and Schlage:

Disassemble your Corbin lock cylinder so that you have just the plug and can plainly see where the bottom pins go. Stick in your key, making sure that it's fully seated. Now you'll either need a nail with a 1/8" shaft diameter or, ideally, a center punch with a 1/8" diameter pointed tip. With your key all the way in, stick your punch (or nail) into each pin chamber, and give it a little whack with a hammer so that it marks the key. There's your space key, perfectly centered. From there, you can use code information to cut yourself a full blown set of depth and space keys if you want to (cheaper than buying them, and faster than waiting on the post).

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:32 am
by coderz
ghost_os wrote:
Werewolf wrote:
GWiens2001 wrote:Depth and space keys can work fine, but require that you already have the needed D&S keys.

Used to cut keys for my hobby locks with a file and sandpaper, so a cheaper machine will work as long as it is in good condition and you have calibrated it properly for both depth of cut and spacing.


Keep in mind that a lot of the lower budget machines will not have adjusments for spacing, only for depth.
I doubt the Jet machine will have this.


Thinking back on the video I watched on it, no, it doesn't. That won't matter if you have space keys though. You can even make your own, as long as you have a lock for the key in question. Let's say you want to make a Corbin key, but all you have are depth & space keys for Kwikset and Schlage:

Disassemble your Corbin lock cylinder so that you have just the plug and can plainly see where the bottom pins go. Stick in your key, making sure that it's fully seated. Now you'll either need a nail with a 1/8" shaft diameter or, ideally, a center punch with a 1/8" diameter pointed tip. With your key all the way in, stick your punch (or nail) into each pin chamber, and give it a little whack with a hammer so that it marks the key. There's your space key, perfectly centered. From there, you can use code information to cut yourself a full blown set of depth and space keys if you want to (cheaper than buying them, and faster than waiting on the post).


Thank you so much. So I feel proud of myself. This Jet machine has to be one of the better manual ones I'm assuming as it's even able to cut the tiny #1 cuts for kwikset with space and depth keys.
I had an old crappy key I got made at wally world and they did a horrible job cutting it, and by getting the code to the lock I was able to cut a much better key. Overall my initial impression is good for a sub 500 dollar machine. Someday I'll get the HPC Blitz machine when I have more time/money for this hobby.

In any case, go Jet! I thought I would ask you though friend, do you know how long these cutting wheels last on these machines? How many keys can you cut before they dull to the point of needing replacement from your experience? Also, if you want me to review this jet machine I'd be glad to perhaps in a video or something?

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:19 pm
by ghost_os
coderz wrote:Thank you so much. So I feel proud of myself. This Jet machine has to be one of the better manual ones I'm assuming as it's even able to cut the tiny #1 cuts for kwikset with space and depth keys.
I had an old crappy key I got made at wally world and they did a horrible job cutting it, and by getting the code to the lock I was able to cut a much better key. Overall my initial impression is good for a sub 500 dollar machine. Someday I'll get the HPC Blitz machine when I have more time/money for this hobby.

In any case, go Jet! I thought I would ask you though friend, do you know how long these cutting wheels last on these machines? How many keys can you cut before they dull to the point of needing replacement from your experience? Also, if you want me to review this jet machine I'd be glad to perhaps in a video or something?


Oh, thousands. I mean, it depends on the quality of the cutting wheel, and I have no experience with Jet, but I expect they're well made and should give you at least 1,000. Just don't abuse it and you should be good for a long time. Even when the cutter eventually does start to wear down, if your key guide isn't fixed in place, you can back that off a little bit to adjust for the wear, until the point when the cuts are getting too wide and would be throwing the spacing off. Even if the key tracing guide on the Jet is not meant to be adjusted, you should still have no worries about replacing the cutter for a long time. Take care not to let anything smack into the teeth obviously, cause they can break off.

I didn't see too many videos of the Jet when I went looking, so I would say to go ahead and upload one once you're familiar with it. Good luck and enjoy!

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:14 pm
by GWiens2001
Also, avoid cutting steel keys as they will dull the blade very quickly.

Gordon

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:29 am
by ghost_os
GWiens2001 wrote:Also, avoid cutting steel keys as they will dull the blade very quickly.

Gordon


Yes, I meant to mention that as well. Personally, I think brass looks a lot better anyway.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:45 pm
by vorfeed
ghost_os wrote:
GWiens2001 wrote:Also, avoid cutting steel keys as they will dull the blade very quickly.

Gordon


Yes, I meant to mention that as well. Personally, I think brass looks a lot better anyway.

I like the look of brass too, but wife can't stand the smell of it so I use nickle silver for her keys.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:37 pm
by MartinHewitt
I am sure you could make your wife even more happy if you made her keys from gold. Though maybe not pure gold as it is to soft.

Re: I want to buy a key cutting machine and I really need ad

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:34 pm
by vorfeed
MartinHewitt wrote:I am sure you could make your wife even more happy if you made her keys from gold. Though maybe not pure gold as it is to soft.

She prefers silver things.. lol