Have you ever wondered how duplicate keys are made? The process is actually relatively straightforward, and only involves one thing: a machine known as a key duplicator!

These devices make it incredibly easy to create new keys in no time. If you want to learn more about how duplicate keys are made, then keep on reading. 

How Do Locksmiths Duplicate Keys?

Duplicate keys are created from a machine known as a key duplicator operated by a locksmith. It is composed of the following parts: 

  • A cutting wheel
  • An electric motor
  • A vice which holds the key blank
  • A guide
  • A key alignment device, which is composed of two bars that are connected together and always remain the same distance apart

The cutting wheels of key duplicators are made of carbide steel, which is much harder than the typically brass and nickel-silver material that keys are made of.

The cutting wheel may become worn out over time and this may likewise affect the alignment that is needed to duplicate keys. 

Additionally, cutting accurate keys depends on the alignment of the key blank relational to the original key.

While the cutting wheel stays at a fixed position, the guide can be adjusted in order to compensate for the possibilities of the cutting wheel becoming worn out. 

How Do You Use A Key Duplicator?

To begin using the key duplicator, the original key will be inserted in the vice located near the guide, while the key blank will be inserted in the vice near the cutting wheel.

The alignment device will align the keys horizontally so they are position in relation to the cutting wheel and the guide. 

Once this is accomplished, the motor is turned on and the cutting wheel will begin to spin.

The user or lock technician will trace the guide cuts of the original key using the guide, while the key blank will be dragged along the cutting wheel to duplicate the original key’s cuts. Once all the cuts have been made, the process is finished.

The lock technician will take the duplicate key and sand it out to smoothen. After this, you officially have a key exactly like the original!

This whole procedure only takes a few minutes to accomplish. At most, a complicated key can take about 25 minutes to finish.

However, the length of time it takes to duplicate a key may also depend on the place where you are getting your key copied. 

How Are Duplicate Keys Made

Can A Duplicate Be Made Without The Original?

The short answer: yes! If you lost the original key or somehow misplaced it. A locksmith can do this by using a code cutter which can measure the depths of the grooves in your lock’s key code.

From here, the locksmith will be able to cut the key so that it matches the codes of your lock. 

Are Duplicated Keys Accurate?

There are factors that affect how precise the key cut product can be. These factors include:

  • Quality of the key blank
  • The conditions of the original key
  • The state of the cutting wheel
  • The adjustment of the guide
  • The skill of the lock technician

However, there are some tips to get an accurate key duplicate. One tip is to make sure you go to a reputable place whose keys work.

Another tip is to ask the lock technician to use the manufacturer’s original key blanks, as this can increase the chance of a more accurate key cut.

How Are Duplicate Keys Made


The process of creating a duplicate key is relatively simple and does not take long to accomplish.

By using a key duplicator, one will be able to line up a key blank with the original key, which will serve somewhat as the template for the duplicate key. 

From here, the key will go through some finishing touches and it will already be ready to use! Though the precision and accuracy of the key cut may depend on a few factors, it is important that an experienced lock technician be the one to create the duplicate key for you. 

For all your locksmithing needs – residential, commercial, and automotive, make sure you only use qualified and certified locksmiths. Solid Lock Locksmith is Melbourne’s most trusted 24/7 emergency locksmith.

We specialise in safe sales and service, automotive locks and keys, and restricted master-key systems.

Let the experts ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones and business. We are Melbourne’s finest and most trusted.

For a fast, reliable locksmith in your area, please call us today on 0401 073 756 or contact us through our website.