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Can a Locksmith Make a Key from a Lock? YES, and Here’s How?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

can a locksmith make a key from a lock

Can a locksmith make a key from a lock? Fortunately, a locksmith can make a key without a key by cutting new keys according to the code, impressioning the lock, and disassembling the lock.

Duplicating a lock is not a problem if you have the original key. However, you need a locksmith to make a new key once the original key is lost, broken, or worn down. Call a locksmith immediately if you need someone to make key from lock.

How Can a Locksmith Make a Key from a Lock

1. Cutting New Keys According to the Code


Cutting new keys using the codes is one of the easiest methods to repair locks. Key codes are letters and numbers that show the characteristics of a lock. The codes are entered into the software to process the inputs or manually do it to find out the lock’s specifications.

Although it is the easiest method, this process cannot be employed at all times, especially when there is no original key. Most of the time, the codes are engraved on the keys or the key code cards. Usually, a licensed locksmith will contact the manufacturer to find the code.

Read more: How do locksmiths make a car key?

There are two kinds of codes that locksmiths usually choose from: the blind key codes and the direct digit codes. A blind key code represents the specification of the lock through a combination of numbers and digits. However, a locksmith needs special software to process the code, and the manufacturer must publish the lock code.

Since blind key codes are more complicated to use, locksmiths prefer direct digit codes. The numbers and digits directly show the measurements of the lock and the cutting patterns. These codes are usually read from bow to tip or the other way around.

If you lost your car key, you could find the code in the vehicle manual, the label of the lock, or the metal plate. A standard lock’s code, on the other hand, maybe engraved or scratched in the lock’s housing. However, the lock must be removed first to find the code.

To provide key-cutting services, locksmiths use some machines. One of them is the punch machine. It doesn’t require any electricity to function, and it can be operated manually. Aside from that, it is designed to make an accurate cutting and last for a long time. However, this machine cannot cut complicated keys.

Another type of machine that locksmiths use is the electric code machine. Compared to a punch machine, this one is made for complex and technical keys. An electric code machine can also cut new keys manually through a physical card or automatically through key cutting software.

You can watch this video on “How to Cut a Standard Key by Code” to learn more about the process, and at the same time, you will see an actual demonstration of key cutting on the HPC Blitz key generator.

2. Impressioning a Lock


One of the methods to make a new key is to impression a lock. It is a straightforward process since there is no need to figure out the codes or disassemble the lock body.

Impressioning involves marking a key blank with the locations of pins inside the lock cylinder. This might be challenging for beginners, but it can only take 10 to 15 minutes once it is mastered. So you can trust that your locksmiths know what they are doing with this. Of course, it is possible for locks that are more complicated than a standard pin tumbler lock, such as a disk detainer lock, which may take more time.

The locksmiths often use a key blank, file, key grip, and magnifying glass. Instead of using tough key blanks made of steel, locksmiths choose key blanks made of soft brass since it is easier to impress the pins within the cylinder using softer materials.

In choosing the file, locksmiths preferred the 6-inch swiss #4 cut round file because it is designed for making fine and precise cuts. Aside from a file, a locksmith also uses a key grip to firmly hold the key in place while using forcing to create the marks. A magnifying glass is also used to achieve a precise cut.

The process of impression begins by inserting the key blank in the lock and jiggling it back and forth to create tiny marks on the key blade. Once there are necessary markings, the key blank is removed from the lock for filing to make the cuts. It must have the correct size so that the pins could be raised.

Here is a nine-minute video on “How to Impression a Key”. It shows how new keys are made out of locks. There is also discussion on every step to explain why the procedures need to be done. Furthermore, you will also see the common tools used for impression ing and know their functions.

3. Disassembling the Lock

If a locksmith cannot get the lock’s code or he failed to make an impression out of it, his last option is to disassemble the lock. Compared to the two methods, this one is more difficult since it involves reverse engineering of the key, alignment, and the position of the pins inside the lock cylinder.

To prevent damaging the internal mechanisms inside the lock cylinder, a locksmith needs to disassemble the lock in a non-destructible way. This is also the same method used by forensic locksmiths to investigate and analyze some locks. When dealing with pin-tumbler locks, locksmiths remove them from the door to disassemble.

When the original key is absent, the locksmith needs to pick the lock to disassemble it. The lock must be in an unlocking position so he can remove the screws located inside the shackle. Once it is done, he will remove the top cover, pin, and circlip.

After the lock is disassembled, he will get the necessary measurements of the pins and the internal mechanisms to make a working key out of the lock. To do this, the locksmith must write down the right order of the pins, starting from the tip to the shoulder. All of the pins must match the pinning gauge.

When the locksmith is done writing the new key, he must reassemble the lock by lining the tabs located at the back of the tumbler. After this, the spindle is inserted, and the lock is placed back on the door.

If you wonder how locksmiths disassemble the locks, you can watch this video on “Disassembling Your Lock”. It is a five-minute video that illustrates the step-by-step method of disassembling the lock.


Can a locksmith make a key from a lock? Yes, they can! So, you don’t have to panic in case you lose or break your key because locksmiths can make a key out of your lock. By using their skills, they may choose to cut the key from the code, impression the lock, or disassemble the lock.

The method that they will apply will depend on the kind of lock that you have. You need to know what these methods are so that you will know what your new key is going through.

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