key duplicating machinesDuplication of keys on a large scale as a technical skill and professional activity came about with the economic expansion in the years immediately following the Second World War.

 

The incredible dynamism of that period resulted in everyone demanding their own set of keys, concrete symbol of autonomy and personal freedom which was becoming the popular style of living.

 

This was true both for house keys and for keys to the car, another symbol of the economic boom.

 

It was one of the many cultural changes of the time which thus created a need but still lacked a solution. The technology available at the time was not readily accessible and did not provide the necessary precision for keys that for security reasons had increasingly complex profiles. To fill this gap emerged the creative and technical genius of Camillo Bianchi who, at the end of the ’60s, laid the foundations of modern key duplication inventing, in fact, a new industrial sector.

 

From a technical perspective, this “revolution” was conceived from the application of technologies used in other sectors, such as systems for the grinding of lenses, adapted to the new situation with the addition of electric motors. But soon important improvements to the various stages of production would be introduced.

 

Let’s briefly examine the basic operation of a key cutting machine. The original key is introduced into a jaw against a tracer, while the key blank is positioned in a second jaw aligned with a cutting instrument.

 

The clamps are joined to each other thanks to a carriage that, moved by the operator, allows the tracer to detect the profile of the original and at the same time enables the cutting instrument to copy it onto the blank key.

 

A key duplicating machine is thus essentially a cutter that cuts a blank key following the template provided by the original key. The concept is that of a drafting machine that works on a scale of 1:1.

 

The cutting tool used changes depending on the type of keys to be duplicated. For flat keys a prismatic section circular cutter is used, for bit keys a rectangular section circular cutter is employed and for dimple keys and the keys of modern cars (laser keys) helical and conical section radial cutters. So you could say that in this process of “tracing” of the original on the copy, depending on the sheet of paper being written on (working key) the type of pen (cutting tool) changes.

 

Duplicating machines use different systems for the movement of the carriage. There are the manual models such as the Easy and the 201, semi-automatic ones such as the Carat, which use a lever combined with a spring to utilise the movement of the carriage, and the automatic duplicating machines such as the 105, equipped with complex electromechanical synchronism that autonomously completes the entire copying cycle.

 

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