Can I make my own keys?

I’m just curious, can I legally make or duplicate any of my own keys? If so, how would you do it?

You can make you own keys. There are several varities of key making machines or if you are really good with a triangular file …

As for doing it as a business, I think most states have licensing for locksmiths under a department of consumer protection of one kind or another.

You can get key blanks at almost any hardware store (where you can also get keys cut.)

Look for warding files.

Making keys is pretty easy. Usually, it’s finding the right blank that is the tough part.

In my last home, I had a sliding glass patio door with a lock, but no key. I had no real success in finding a repa\lacement lock for it, so one day I removed the lock cylinder and took it to the hardware store with me. After a bit of searching, I found the proper blank, purchased two in case I messed up the first, and proceeded to cut a key to fit the lock cylinder. The method is simple, if tedious. You insert the blank into the cylinder and see how far the pins (or slides) extend out, then file the key so that they are all equal. It’s probably harder to explain than it is to actually do. I didn’t know very much about locksmithing, but it was pretty obvious to me as soon as I saw how the pieces needed to fit together.

Now, if you want to make your own blanks, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, involving many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of specialized equipment.

To produce thousands a day maybe.
A small mill and the required tooling would come in under $1000.

That would be overkill for making keys. A key cutting machine is made specifically for cutting keys.
** Key Duplicating Machines ** There are others to cut keys to fit cylinder.
Take a locksmithing course.

This was in reference to making blanks not cutting keys. Cutting keys is certainly an easier process.

There’s also the process of impressioning a key, which takes time, patience, a warding file, a sharpie, and more patience. Not a task for those seeking immediate gratification. :wink:

In PA-no licensing whatsoever. Never sat for the CML exam, never joined ALOA. Have machine, pin kits, and all the rest of the goodies. Installed a new lock on the front door of a church today-gave them 25 keys, fixed the panic hardware and installed weatherstripping and an anti-jimmy plate.

I bought a small key machine on eBay for $170. Blanks are pretty cheap, if you know what you are looking for.

Can you duplicate your own keys? Sure. I do it all the time.

With a proper keyblank, you can get a micrometer and file and go that route, or use a key machine.

Making your own blanks can be tricky but is possible ( I do it from time to time)

A small milling machine is best, although I have had some sucess in sand casting keyblanks.
If your making keyblanks avoid Aluminum and Steel.
In Most cases Aluminum keys are to weak to last any real amount of time.

Steel keys in some locks causes more problems than they solve. Many pins and wafers in locks are of brass. Steel keys will wear down the pins/wafers in the lock very fast and cause failure.

Duplicating patented or restricted keys while possible might be illegal. Some locks use a patented keyway. IINAL (not a lawyer) so, I will not hazard a guess.

To address the second post in the thread. Alabama does not require anything other than a standard buisness licence. Hair dressers and barbers have more requirements than locksmiths here. Pretty screwed up huh?

In fact until a few years ago, Inmates at the state prisons were allowed to take correspondence classes. One of which was locksmithing.

Osip