If you own a business that involves cutting keys, or if you are looking to cut keys for personal use, a key cutting machine can be an invaluable tool. However, if you are new to using a key cutting machine, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
The way most key cutting machines work is by clamping the original key into a "guide" spot and the key blank into a "cutting spot". The machine then moves the keys in one direction (usually right to left), guiding along the grooves/cuts of the original key while the key blank is being cut by a blade according to the grooves/cuts of the original key.
In this blog post, we will guide you through the basics of using a key cutting machine for beginners, specifically the Wenxing 288G Automatic Key Cutting Machine.
If you're looking for a reliable, effecitve and budget-friendly key cutting machine, check out the Wenxing 288G Automatic Key Cutting Machine - we use it here at MinuteFob and it's been fantastic.
How to Use the Wenxing 288G Automatic Key Cutting Machine
How to Cut Keys for Beginners: Video Walkthrough
Here's a video walkthrough on how to use the Wenxing 288G Automatic Key Cutting Machine. Step by step instructions are below the video as well.
Step 1: Gather the Correct Key Blank
Before you start cutting keys, it is important to have the correct key blank. The original key will usually have a combination of some letters and numbers to indicate what type it is so you can ensure your key blank matches up. However, sometimes the key won't have a type labelled on it. In this case you would need to carefully examine the grooves (cuts) in the blade, as well as the length of the blade to find the correct key blank.
Step 2: Prepare the Machine
Once you have gathered your materials, it is time to prepare the machine. First, ensure that the machine is plugged in and switched on. Next, select the correct key blank and clamp it securely in the machine's vise (on the right hand side). Make sure the key blank is level and straight, as this will affect the accuracy of the cut.
Then you'd do the same with the original key but on the left hand side of the machine.
Finally, move the arm holding both keys all the way to the left so that the guide pointer (black plastic piece touching the original key - looks like a flat head screwdriver) is touching the top of the original key's blade (before any cuts/grooves on the key blade; all cuts/grooves on the original key should be on the right hand side of the guide pointer).
If the machine prevents you from moving the arm enough to the left, it just means you need to "restart" the key cutting motion as it was turned off mid-cut. Do this by pulling the arm and handles toward you so it's away from the blade (as you are not cutting anything yet, just restarting the process), and then turning on the machine and letting it run by itself (the arm will move left by itself) until you hear a CLICK. Now you'll be able to move the arm to the left enough to go before the cuts/grooves on the original key.
Step 3: Measure & Double Check
Before you begin cutting, measure the original key and the key blank using the machine's calibration slot (visible lines to help you measure the length of both keys to ensure they are the same length).
Step 4: Make the Cut
Once you have measured the original key, you can begin cutting the new key.
Simply turn on the machine and let it do the work! Once the cut is complete, turn off the machine, unclamp the key blank and turn on the key brush to brush off any small metal pieces left over from the cut.
Step 5: Clean and Lubricate the Machine
After you have finished cutting keys, it is important to clean and lubricate the machine. This will help ensure the machine operates smoothly and accurately. Remove any debris with a small vacuum and peridoically wipe the machine down with a damp cloth. Apply lubricant to the cutting wheel and other moving parts as recommended by the machine's manufacturer.
Using a key cutting machine can be a useful skill to have. By following these simple steps, you can confidently cut keys for personal or business use. Remember to always read the manual for your specific machine and use the appropriate materials and safety precautions. With practice, you will become more comfortable and efficient in using your key cutting machine.