The Intricate Process of Making Duplicate Keys

happy couple holding and showing a house key

It’s useful to have spare keys because they can save you if you’re locked out, lose your keys, or need to share keys with someone.

Creating these spare keys requires precise work to ensure they fit the lock perfectly. This article will explain in detail how keys are duplicated, including the techniques and tools used to create precise copies.

The Process of Making Duplicate Keys

Duplicating keys comprises the following steps.

Assessment of the Original Key

The key duplication process begins with a thorough examination of the original key. Locksmiths in Stansted or key duplication services assess the key’s shape, size, and features. The type of key (standard, high-security, transponder, etc.) is identified to determine the appropriate duplication method.

Choosing the Right Blank Key

Once the original key is assessed, the locksmith selects a blank key that matches the specifications of the original. Blank keys come in various shapes and sizes, and choosing the right one is crucial for creating an accurate duplicate.

Traditional Key Cutting

Traditional key cutting is a manual method that has been employed for decades. A skilled locksmith uses a key-cutting machine to trace the contours of the original key onto the blank key. The machine’s cutting wheel or blade carefully carves the corresponding notches and grooves into the blank key, creating a replica.

Laser Key Cutting

Laser key cutting is a more advanced method that utilizes laser technology for precision. This method is particularly effective for high-security keys and those with intricate designs. A laser cutter is programmed to reproduce the exact pattern of the original key onto the blank key with remarkable accuracy.

Code Cutting

Some modern key duplication machines are equipped with code-cutting capabilities. In this method, the locksmith inputs the key’s unique code into the machine, and the code-cutting technology interprets and replicates the key’s pattern onto the blank key. This method is efficient for generating duplicates without the need for an existing physical key.

Transponder Key Duplication

Transponder keys, common in modern vehicles, have an electronic component that communicates with the car’s ignition system. Duplicating transponder keys involves replicating the physical key and programming the electronic chip. Specialized equipment and knowledge are required to duplicate transponder keys accurately.

Impression Technique

The impressioning technique is manual when the original key is unavailable. A locksmith in Hertford carefully inserts a blank key into the lock and makes slight adjustments while turning it. The friction and pressure leave marks on the blank key, allowing the locksmith to refine the duplicate until it successfully opens the lock iteratively.

Key Duplicating Machines

Key duplicating machines vary in complexity and capabilities. These machines streamline the duplication process from simple hand-operated machines to fully automated systems. Automated machines, especially in retail settings, often combine traditional and laser-cutting methods for versatility.

Quality Control Checks

Key duplication involves a meticulous quality control process regardless of the method used. Locksmiths or key duplication services perform checks to ensure that the duplicate key matches the original precisely. It includes verifying the key’s dimensions, notches, and overall accuracy. 

Testing the Duplicate Key

The final step in the key duplication process involves testing the newly crafted key. Locksmiths insert the duplicate into the lock, ensuring it turns smoothly and effectively operates the lock. This testing phase is crucial to confirm the accuracy of the duplicate.


Key duplication is a blend of artistry, technology, and precision. From traditional key-cutting methods to advanced laser cutting and code-cutting technologies, locksmiths employ various techniques to create accurate replicas of original keys. Whether it’s for residential, commercial, or automotive purposes, making duplicate keys showcases the skill and expertise required to ensure seamless functionality and security.

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