Laser-Cut, Machine-Cut And Stamp-Cut Keys: Explaining The Differences And Why They're Important

Commercial lock services often include key cutting services so that you have a backup method of opening the commercial locks and doors in your building. Keys are cut one of three ways; by laser, by machine (grinding), and by stamp-cut (machine "punches" key pattern through a blank key). Here are the cutting differences explained, and why these differences are important.

Stamp-Cut Keys

Stamp-cut keys are keys that are placed in the cutting "machine", over the top of a pre-assigned jig or pattern. Then a hard slamming block forces the blank key down onto the pattern/jig. The pattern or jig cuts through the blank from underneath. The reproduced image of the pattern/jig on the blank key creates a very rough cut line, which may require a lot of sanding to get the newly "stamped" and cut edges smooth and keep the key from getting stuck in the lock. Extra sanding may also be required to avoid having to jiggle the key in the lock to get the tumblers to fall into place.

Machine-Cut Keys

Machine-cut keys are more precise than stamp-cut because the machines have cutters and grinding components that smooth out the rough edges on the newly-cut keys. Machine-cut keys can also reproduce unique key patterns, rather than just reproduce keys from common patterns and/or jigs. You may still have to jiggle the key in the lock from time to time until the newly-cut key adjusts to the worn-down tumblers inside the lock, but you will not have the kinds of problems you typically might have with stamp-cut keys. Most hardware stores tend to use these types of machines rather than the stamp-cut machines because machine-cut delivers higher quality, cut key results.

Laser-Cut Keys

Minute hot lasers, programmed by computer, cut the pre-programmed key pattern out of a blank key. The laser and its programming are far more precise than the other two methods of key cutting, which means that the keys rarely need any sanding or refining to fit the locks perfectly. Because of the laser and the computer program that controls it, keys cut this way are a little more expensive, but you will never have to jiggle your new keys in the lock to get them to unlock the doors properly. Commercial locksmiths tend to use laser key cutters because the vast majority of commercial locks are extremely finicky locks; the least little differentiation in the key and the commercial lock may block the key or refuse to unlock even when the key can be pushed all the way into the lock.

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Improving Our Entryway With New Locks

As soon as we moved into a new house, I realized that the front door was going to be a problem. The door had an older deadbolt that required a key, and I knew that our kids wouldn't be able to keep track of their copies for very long. To ward off lock-outs and frustrating issues, we decided to talk with a locksmith about replacing our older version with a brand new electronic deadbolt. After the change was made, getting into our home was a breeze. Because nobody needed keys, our kids could come and go as they needed to, without jeopardizing our home security. Read this blog to learn more about locks, safes, and keys.


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