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Automobile keys can wear out after years of use, and cutting a backup set of keys is a wise precaution. Most hardware stores will cut keys with a specialized machine, and this machine uses an automated process that can be manually completed by the average backyard mechanic in about 20 minutes.

Cutting a car key by hand

1,Grip the blank car key to the original key with the table vise, so that the cut grooves of the original can be transposed onto the blank when viewing from the side. If the key has a plastic grip on the end, it can be spaced from the blank with a small piece of wood or a coin. The top of the spacer should not impede the cutting of the blank key.

2,Dremel the blank along the top edge, to exactly match the cut grooves in the original. Care should be taken not to cut into the original key. Each tooth in the key will need to be close to the original, so they can set the lock tumblers correctly. A well lit work area is important, as shadows can cause the key to be cut incorrectly.

3,De-bur the new key with the brush, or the de-bur dremel attachment. A de-bur brush simply has many hard, wire bristles that will rub off any excess metal shavings when run across the key. These metal scraps can become stuck in the lock, so the process of de-burring a fresh key is critical.

4, Test the new key on all locks that it fits into. Most manufacturers will have one key fit all locks, including the doors, trunk, and ignition.

via:How to Cut a Car Key
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