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How to Get a Key Made for a Lock Without a Key – 4 Steps

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to get a key made for a lock without a key

Want to know how to get a key made for a lock without a key? Purchase a blank key and smoothen it using a file. Once done, insert it to the lock and move it in different directions to get the marks. After that, file the key and remove the excess parts. Keep on getting the marks and filing the key until you successfully duplicate the key.

Through this tutorial, you can make duplicate key without original. This method is called key impressioning. It is the method used by locksmiths, especially if the original key is missing.

What You Need


To make a key without a key, you need the right items. Using the wrong item may lead to a couple of broken blank keys. You can find these items at the nearest local store or you can also purchase them online.

1. Blank key

For the blank key, the best option is a soft brass. Compared to other metals, soft brass is versatile and it is easier to spin, cast, and forge. You can also use a bright plated brass blank; however, you will need to remove the plating using your file.

As much as possible, avoid using a blank key that is made of steel since it is more difficult to file because of its hardness. An aluminum blank key, on the other hand, easily cracks if too much force is exerted. Also, have some spare blank keys in case you broke a blank key while doing the tutorial.

2. File and vise grip

The best file to use for preparing the blank key is a six-inch #4 Swiss-cut round file. Unlike other Swiss files, it can create fine yet somewhat dull and corrugated marks on blank keys. If you want to have a comfortable grip, look for this kind of file that includes a handle.

Using your hands alone cannot deliver the right amount of force needed to mark the blank key. You will need a regular vise grip to help you with getting the marks from the pins of the lock.

What to Do


Step 1: Purchase a blank key and smoothen it using a file

Purchase the right kind of key for this tutorial and smoothen it using a swiss cut #4 file. Since a blank key is rough, you need to smoothen it first so you can easily see the marks from the pins of the lock. Be careful in doing this so that the file won’t shine too much, which may cause distraction.

Step 2: Insert it to the lock and move it in different directions to get the marks

After the blank key has been prepared, insert it inside the lock using a vice grip. Move the lock up and down but be careful not to exert too much pressure since it may break the key. If you don’t use enough pressure, the blank key won’t be able to get the marks clearly from the lock.

Step 3: File the key and remove the excess parts

If you cannot see the marks clearly, you can look at them from a different angle. You can put the key under the light and look for tiny shiny dots. After that, start filing the spots where they are located. If you are not sure if it is the right mark, don’t file on it. Also, position the file at 45 degrees so that the cuts may look like the letter V rather than U.

Step 4: Repeat the procedures until you successfully duplicate the key

Unfortunately, you won’t duplicate the key by inserting the key inside the lock once. You have to repeat the procedures until you get all the marks. Stop inserting it inside the lock once the pins don’t make marks to the blank key anymore. If you can turn the key inside the lock, you have been successful in making a duplicate key.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much will it cost me if I pay a locksmith to duplicate my key without the original one?

The average cost ranges from $97 to $214. Locksmiths can also add charges for emergency trips, after-hours rate, and trip charge. It would be helpful to ask for quotations first.

2. How long will it take to duplicate the key?

For a professional locksmith, it will only take ten minutes to make a key for a lock without key. However, for a beginner, it may take 25 minutes or longer. Using a key machine or a punch type code machine can speed you up.

Maybe you are also looking for quality locks for your home. You can refer to detailed guides in related articles, such as the top-rated high security door locks, most popular locks for apartment door and the necessary tools to pick your locks.


Have you had some fun following our tutorial on how to get a key made for a lock without a key? By following the steps, you can make a copy of a key without the key. It is challenging if you are a beginner, but practice will make it easier the next time you do it again.

If you find this article helpful, you can share this post with your friends who also want to learn how to duplicate their keys. Also, we would love to hear your most favorite part of the tutorial. Just leave a comment below.

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