Why Key Copies Sometimes Fail

Why Key Copies Sometimes Fail: The Copy of a Copy Effect

Why Key Copies Sometimes Fail: The Copy of a Copy Effect: Hi, I’m Terry from Mr. Locksmith. Have you ever wondered why sometimes a key copy just doesn’t work, no matter how much you try? Today, I’m going to share some insights from my experience with a Schlage key and explain why multiple copies of a key can lead to failure and sometimes Key Copies Fail.

Why Key Copies Sometimes Fail

The Copy of a Copy Effect

Unlocking the Mystery of Key Copies

The Process

Starting with the Original

We’re beginning with an original Schlage blank and an original Schlage mortise cylinder. It’s important to understand that using original components provides the best starting point for making key copies.

I will show you what happens when you start with a perfect key and then make copies of it repeatedly. Surprisingly, making some copies work flawlessly, while others fail miserably over time.

Good Key Machine

We’re using a high-quality key machine for this process. This machine ensures that the first key we cut is perfect, and the process seems seamless initially.

Experimenting with Copies

First Copy

The first copy of the original key works perfectly. It’s smooth and fits the lock without any issues.

Second Copy

The second copy still works fine. This is typically what most customers expect when they get a duplicate key.

Subsequent Copies

As we move on to the third, fourth, and fifth copies, everything continues to work flawlessly. This is because our initial key and the key machine are still providing accurate duplications.

The Degradation Begins

By the time we reach the sixth copy, we start to notice minor issues. The key begins to stick a little bit, signaling that degradation has started.

The Breaking Point

By the seventh and eighth copies, the keys hardly work at all. The eighth copy of a copy doesn’t work, even after I attempt to clear it off. This deterioration highlights why you sometimes can’t get a key to cut properly, especially when you are several generations down from the original.


Understanding Key Copies is Key

Through this experiment, we’ve learned that the first few copies of a key can work well, but as you make more and more copies, the chances of failure increase. This happens because each copy introduces minute imperfections that accumulate over subsequent generations.

When you’re dealing with a duplicate key, keep in mind:

  1. Original Keys Are Best: Try to use the original key whenever possible. Making copies from an original results in far fewer issues.
  2. Quality Matters: Ensure you’re using a high-quality key machine, like the one I used here. Lower quality machines might fail even sooner.
  3. Know When to Stop: If you find yourself far down the line of copies, be aware that you might need to go back to an earlier generation or an original to make an effective key.

Thank you for following along with this experiment. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at Mr. Locksmith. We’re always here to help with your locksmith needs, ensuring you have access to the best advice and service possible.

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Why do keys become unreliable after multiple copies?

Each time a key is copied, minor inaccuracies and imperfections are transferred to the new key. Over successive generations of copying, these small errors accumulate and can lead to a key that no longer fits or turns smoothly in the lock.

How many times can you copy a key before it stops working?

The answer varies depending on the quality of the original key, the accuracy of the key-cutting machine, and the material of the key blank. In our experiment, a high-quality machine allowed us to make up to eight copies before the key stopped working. Most standard machines, however, might only support four or five generations before problems arise.

Can a poorly made original key affect the quality of the copies?

Absolutely. If the original key has any imperfections, those will be magnified with each subsequent copy. Starting with a well-made original key is crucial to ensuring the best possible duplicates.

What should I do if my copied key doesn’t work?

If a copied key doesn’t work, it’s best to have it checked by a professional locksmith. They can determine if the issue is due to wear on the cutting machine, a problem with the key blank, or if it’s simply a matter of making too many generations of copies.

Final Thoughts

The Importance of Professional Locksmith Services

At Mr. Locksmith, we pride ourselves on delivering precise key duplication services. The next time you need a key copy, consider the value of professional expertise. A professional locksmith will have the right tools and experience to ensure your key works perfectly, saving you time and frustration.

From everyone here at Mr. Locksmith, thank you for taking the time to understand why key copies sometimes fail. With the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure your keys remain reliable and functional.

Terry Whin-Yates

Terry from Mr. Locksmith demonstrates the common issue of duplicating keys multiple times using a Schlage mortise cylinder and original Schlage blank. He shows how each subsequent copy of a key can degrade in quality, making them progressively less functional. Through a practical demonstration, Terry cuts keys repeatedly until they stop working, highlighting the importance of using an original key for accurate duplication.

Follow along to see how many copies it takes before the key fails, and understand why original keys are crucial for reliable key cutting. Mr. Locksmith demonstrates the effects of duplicating a Schlage key multiple times using an original Schlage blank and mortise cylinder. By cutting a copy of a copy up to eight times, Terry shows how key functionality deteriorates, with the eighth copy failing to work.

Emphasizing the importance of using an original key for duplications, he notes that while a high-quality key machine can handle up to eight copies, average machines might fail after fewer duplications.

Hi, I’m Terry from Mr. Locksmith. Today we’re going to cut a key, a Schlage key, for a Schlage mortise cylinder, and I’m using an original Schlage blank, with an original Schlage mortise cylinder. I’m going to show what happens when you cut a copy of a copy of a copy. A lot of times you’ll have a customer come in, you try to cut the key, it doesn’t work no matter what you do.

Duplicate Key

That’s what happens, and it’s usually a duplicate key, And I’ll show you what happens. We have a good key machine here. So I’ll just show you on the machine. So here’s a good, good key machine. It’s a bore key. So I’m going to cut keys and we’ll keep on cutting them until they no longer work.

There’s our first key.  It works perfect.  So now what I’ll do,  I’ll put the Schlage over here.  I’ll cut the copy now.  So this is our first copy.  Or a second, however you want to count it.

So this is our copy of a copy, and it works good.  Now I’ll take that,  and we’ll cut this one.

This is our third copy now,  and it works.  I’ll cut another copy now.  This is our fourth copy.  Perfect.  Our fifth copy of a copy.  Perfect.  This is our sixth copy of a copy.  And it’s starting to stick a little bit.  And our seventh copy of a copy.  And now it’s hardly turning at all. So this is copy number seven.

Now copy seven onto eight.  Here’s the eighth copy of a copy.

Doesn’t work,  even if I clear it off.

Copy of a Copy

So we got copy of a copy of a copy, we went up to number 8, it didn’t work. 7 was really tight, 8 didn’t work at all. And this is why you run across keys sometimes where you can’t get a key to cut properly because you’re cutting a copy of a copy of a copy. Try to get the original key, then you can cut hundreds of keys off, thousands of keys off.

Here we go.  But if you have a copy of a copy of a copy we made it to number eight on this key machine. This is a really good key machine, though. The average key machine wouldn’t last, you know, four or five copy of a copy. But this one, eight. If I put in a wheel on it, I could probably go as high as ten.

But sooner or later, I’m going to have a key that doesn’t work, and again,  eight copy of a copy of a copy. Number eight key didn’t work. That is why Key Copies Sometimes Fail. Okay, again, thank you.

This is Terry from Mr. Locksmith.com.

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