I have just budgeted a new key originating machine. I don't have any
experience with this type of tool except for a couple of punches we use now.
Everyone seems to "love" a different one. Can anyone give me a little
feedback about yours? I'm interested in both the pros & cons of the various
models available, so don't hold back :)
It really depends on your particular need. A high volume shop that
produces many "original" keys might want a Framon. The are a great
machine. However, in order to cut different manufacturers keys, you have
to purchase the different drums for each. If your doing many different
keys, you might want to use the HPC1200. Normally, purchasing this
machine will include most of the cards that you need, and the 2 most common
wheels. All in all, for commercial work, I bought two additional wheels
and that machine will do everything that I need. If you have any further
questions, don't hesitate to ask them. Its an exspensive purchase, but
one WELLLLLL worth the price.
Allied Lock & Security, Inc.
My "needs" stem from a property management outfit I founded that couldn't
even get lousy service from the local mechanics. I'll tell you that story
some other time. I do Titan, Ilco, IC and Medeco for the low-line
mechanical stuff (cheap to costly). I prefer the electronic side but it's
hard to find customers that will pay for that kind of stuff.
Don't you like any of the automated units? I've seen a blitz, I've been
told the Ilco Universal II is an excellent buy, but I can get a Blue Shark
out of Seacaucus for $4500.00. So I'm asking, why pay $3500 for the Blitz
when I can get the latest for a lousy grand more? On the other hand I don't
know if this is a decent product. And there are other 'pushbutton' jobs
that were highly recommended by their owners. By the way, my budget is
$5000.00 but that can increase for a justifiable cause.
For SFIC ("Best"), NOTHING beats a punch - period.
For the Tiatn (no idea what you mean by "ilco" unless it's really old) the
1200 will work fine. If someone told you $3500 for a blitz, shop around.
As far as the Medeco... what Medeco? Medeco (other than Keymark) can be
cut (theoretically) on a 1200. But you'll only be able to buy the old
"commecial" ans "Sky" keyblanks (that may change in the not too distant
future for Biaxial) unless you become a dealer with your own keyway. (VERY
expensive up front "buy-in" - too rich for my blood) Otherwise you'll buy
your keys already cuy from a distributor or directly from Medeco.
BTW - If you're looking for a good High Security keyway with a lower
"buy-in" check out ASSA.
my opinion says HOW MANY A DAY are you cutting???
the bigger the number, the more you need the electronic..
FWIW.. AFAIK.. the TITAN is the 'weird one' to cut, due to the
first cut being SO CLOSE to the shoulder..
my Framon will NOT make that first DEEP cut on a titan..the front
edge of that cut MUST BE straight in..with the V on the point
I agree with Bob, if your seeing $3500 for the Blitz, then continue to shop
around. On sale you should shave QUITE a bit off of that. As far as the
Ilco machine goes, I don't have any experience with it and haven't talked to
anyone who has. Looks like a good machine, but not sure what support
you'll get for it. Code programs support the blitz readily. If I throw
a code at the program and it comes back using a card that I don't have, I
can simply print the card out and cut the keys. I'm not sure if the 1200
cards will work on the Ilco machine. As far as the electronics go, I
would stay away from them unless I'm a very high volume shop. I like the
KISS (keep it simple stupid) method. Just my opinion.
Just how much are you budgeting for your code cutter?
I don't generate a lot of keys and rely mainly on what's in my "shoe box"
for doing rekey jobs. I don't do automotive work at all.
If I were cranking out a lot of different (manufacturers) keys, like
masterkeying large facilities, I think I'd go to one of the higher priced
electronic. I've used the HP and liked it. If I only did small
quantities of one blank or series, i.e. Schlage or kwikset, I think I'd be
satisfied with a punch like the Pro-Lock. The new Framon #2d is
interesting. If I had all kinds of money to spend I'd like one that is
But, that said, my code machine is a Framon 2a that I picked up used for
$700.00 a few years ago. It's simple, reliable, and accurate. I sent it
back to Framon once for a "tune up". Mine has a 12 volt motor attached
too so I can run it off the truck 12v outlet when necessary. I made up a
brand-oriented set of worksheets to use when generating keys which
simplified the task quite a bit. Yes, it requires more attention to the
task compared to the "card" machines but it sure is versatile. I can even
make bias-cut keys.
Get ready to laugh...I bought an EXACTA III a few years ago when my local
mechanic left me in a pinch. That was before I decided to bring my keying
operations in-house. The die rotates to make the flat cut next to the
shoulder. Anyway, you're not the first to tell me that about BEST. I'm
loath to shell out a grand on a dedicated punch. Is there some special
reason for this? Even though my jobs are typically first-rate, by-the-book,
no corners cut...I have a philosophy about customers' requests. After doing
a big buck job for a customer I will go to their residence or boat house or
where ever they ask, which always has a schlage or some other brand that I
don't specify. So I need to be brand-agile when it comes to originating
keys. You see, at their office, I decide what gets installed, but I'm not
as rigid for their personal requests.
Ilco makes a very cost effective semi-private keyway. It had a low ($500)
buy-in which is all hardware. I'm interested in the ASSA you mentioned, can
I get it from Seacaucus? Do you use this one? Tell me about it.
Thanks for your thoughts
I'm sorry that I wasn't more clear. My daily volume is negligible...in
other words I don't have any walk in business. My property mgmt service is
by contract only. It's like a snowplower's service: you don't buy it over
a counter. Just yesterday I accepted another property when the owner asked
my advice about updating the current security system. I don't advertise or
letter my vehicles...that's part of my approach to the security business.
But don't be fooled, we passed the million square foot mark long ago.
Having said that, I don't want my (relatively) low volume to prevent the
recommendation of the right machine. If the electronic model gives me more
ability, and I don't mean speed or convenience, then I want to spend the
extra grand or so. I don't want to be in the position of wishing I spent
more money on a better machine.
By the way, I can't remember if --Shiva-- is the good one or the bad one :)
ignore the Titan.. for the moment,
now, take A punch machine set to A certain brand..
a Schlage for discussion..
you walk over, cut a key, no fiddling with punching in I need
this brand of key, how many cuts, and the cuts.
the punch allows you to insert key, rotate the depth of cuts, and
you are done..
TIME WISE, I am thinking it is faster for cutting a 'few'
If you were masterkeying for instance 50 locks in one building,
and needed the individual for each lock plus master.. AND are
doing this on a semi regular basis, THEN I would suggest getting
a computer controlled machine..PLUS, given some of the software,
it I believe can 'store' the key generation chart for that
particular job, allowing you usually to go back in and add/alter
as needed, without compromising the system.
input a stack of blanks onto the machine, tell the computer, cut
me 55 keys with the following cuts, of this brand, and walk off.
IF you were- again, for instance, cutting a LOT of Schlage, or
Best for example, and already had the computer and master key
program, then I might look at individual punches..
plus whatever code machine struck your fancy..
If I was looking right now-with a big budget I would look at the
new Framon, JUST BECAUSE for me, the being totally adjustable by
the thousands in depth of cut, is useful.. For someone cutting as
an institutional 'smith' as you are, that might not be a much
needed option. you instead are going to 'factory depths'...
now, PERSONALLY..and I am going by my experience, and 2 other
bigger shops as well, I do not 'copy' ANY Best. they are all code
cut.. a punch will hold the tolerance needed, but the usual
duplicating will not.
I want to say, and i cannot find the particular issue of
National right now.. (or maybe LL) they recently ran an article
on the bigger key machines-the pro's and cons..you might look for
the info there.
In 1999, I bought a La Gard code machine that is probably 20 years old
for $200. All I had to do was get the 4 cutting wheels sharpened and
replace the power cord. It looks just like an HPC 1200, probably
because HPC bought the license to make them from La Gard. It takes
the same cards as HPC 1200, same cutting wheels, tip stops, etc.
Except for some cosmetic changes the only difference I can see is that
the worm gear that adjusts the depth and spacing are not as fine as
the HPC 1200s. It works great and I have no plans on replacing it.
If you check with locksmith associations, there's a good chance you'll
fine a used machine that appeals to you.
Can't remember which HP. It was at a class I was taking at the time. I
was doing a lecture and demo of the Framon (just 'cause I actually had one!)
and someone else brought in the HP. I thought it was easier to use than
the Framon but I still like my Framon. I don't have the justification to
get the new Framon 2d but it sure looks like it would be a champ to use.
HPC 1200 PCH:
HPC 1200 CMB:
I have the A1 Pak-a-punch.I don't do alot of high volume I/C, but one
does show up now and then.I use it more for auto origination.Like the
portability-You can adjust to cut half-steps fairly easily.
No elaborate calibration-chop one cut and mike it.
Chop one off on the spot-no running to the van.
I've got plans for a CMB.
There are two primary sects of code-cutting; the HPC1200 cult and the
Framon #2 coven. The impression I have is that the HPC, due to the card
concept, may be faster to use when churning out lots of keys or moving
between different systems, but the Framon is probably a hair more
precise and better able to handle special cases. Aesthetically my own
preference runs to the latter, just because it's such a clean design,
but to each their own.
Then again, it's _possible_ to do code cutting with nothing more than a
Foley/Belsaw... or a file and a micrometer, for that matter. Painful,
And at the other end there are all the computerized machines. Which,
again, I sorta like from an aesthetic point of view -- they're
essentially miniature numerically-controlled machining setups -- but I
think you'd have to be doing a lot of good-sized systems before they'd
WOW (again)...the blitz is only 19hunnert? Boy I really like it now. What
book is that price from? I'm going the the HPC site to find out what that
1233 is all about. I had one of those 1200 punches in my hands but didn't
get to punch a key with it. Do you think it's good enough to originate IC
keys? The locksmith at the warehouse was emphatic about selecting the "blue
punch" for IC's but he could probably grab as many (dedicated) blue punches
off the shelf as he wanted. Do you think it's as good as a blue punch, for
I've seen those A-1 jobs in pictures, but never handled one. What do they
sell for (approx) these days, and how do they stack up quality-wise?