Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22

Thread: self-service key duplicating kiosks

  1. #1

    self-service key duplicating kiosks

    I went to Lowes yesterday to get a couple of duplicates of my house key to give to a house sitter and a neighbor. At the desk where they normally duplicate keys I was told that no one who is trained on the machine was at work that day and instead I would need to use the self-service kiosk. I first put my key in and am told that it is an odd key and the machine will not be able to make it. It's from a schlage handset and is probably literally the most common house key type there is. I re-insert it and the machine decides it can make my key after all. Normally at a hardware store it costs $2-3 to copy a key. This one is $9 for the cheapest option, but there are numerous more expensive options, you know, in case you want a key that is blue with polka dots on it. Annoyed but needing the keys I order 2. After about 5 minutes of screeching sounds and numerous prompts encouraging me to sign up for their mailing list it spits out two keys that are easily the thinnest, flimsiest things I have ever felt. But hey, they are a cool green color, so they have that going for them. I am annoyed by the whole process but relieved to have keys before I head out of town.

    So I head home and try them...AND THEY DO NOT WORK! I tried them in all four handsets. I held them up against my actual key and the profile looks slightly off in multiple places. In a way this may be good because I am afraid that they are so thin they would break off in a lock.

    Is my experience unique or are these machines terrible?

    I guess I will head to Ace. It's a little bit out of my way but the one here is usually staffed by people who express some interest in doing their jobs.
    Last edited by Günter VögelBerg; 08-20-2019 at 12:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    1,482
    I can't comment on the self service key machines, because I don't even do self service checkout. We gave up on hardware store key cutting long ago and take all of our key business to the local locksmith.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,135
    I have avoided the machines because I don't trust them, but was never too sure with the kids running the machine either. I too go to a nearby family-owned locksmith for all this stuff now.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cav View Post
    I can't comment on the self service key machines, because I don't even do self service checkout. We gave up on hardware store key cutting long ago and take all of our key business to the local locksmith.
    I have literally only one locksmith within three miles of my house, and in that radius I have a Lowes, two Home Depots, two Ace Hardwares and a pretty good local hardware store. I went to that one locksmith and he told me I'd have to leave my key and come back the next day to get the copy. I decided I have better options.

  5. #5
    They have a similar Kiosk at our local Lowes, I have never used it. I did need some new keys made for our church and the machine at the hardware counter digitally scans the key and then makes multiple copies. All three keys I had made worked perfectly.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    2,464
    Interesting. I have used that kiosk at our local Lowe's for extra keys on more than one occasion and they always worked fine. Out of curiosity, did you try dressing those keys at home on a wire brush wheel?

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Interesting. I have used that kiosk at our local Lowe's for extra keys on more than one occasion and they always worked fine. Out of curiosity, did you try dressing those keys at home on a wire brush wheel?

    Erik
    Interesting. I have never done that. Is this standard practice with new keys?

    Yeah, I am not taking issue with the concept. Copying a key is a simple enough thing that surely can be easily and efficiently automated. I am generally fond of self-service and automation, mostly because I do not like interacting with people, but I expect some kind of cost or efficiency gain from it, and in this case I got neither.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    19,667
    Blog Entries
    1
    The first clue should have been the machine changing its statement about not being able to duplicate your key.

    When a machine does the same thing twice with different results, there is something wrong with the machine.

    To the best of my recollection every time one of my keys has been duplicated the person doing the work has given it the wire brush treatment to clean off the burrs.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #9
    Yep. Should have walked away at the first red flag.

    Trying to convince my wife I need a machine shop setup at home so I could just make all our keys by hand. She is skeptical.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    19,667
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Yep. Should have walked away at the first red flag.

    Trying to convince my wife I need a machine shop setup at home so I could just make all our keys by hand. She is skeptical.
    It can be done with a small vise and files. All you need are the correct key blanks.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    It can be done with a small vise and files. All you need are the correct key blanks.

    jtk

    shhhhhh. It requires a mill and a tig welder.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    19,667
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    shhhhhh. It requires a mill and a tig welder.
    Okay, LOL!

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    3,884
    I used one of those machines at Menards once a few years ago. I don't recall it being more than $2 or $3 for the key.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,907
    I had the machine at Lowers make one a few years ago. It does wire brush the cut key before it spits it out the slot. It did work for me. There are no locksmith shops in this town of 200,000. There are some trucks but I bet they charge $100 for a house call plus any work they do for you.
    Bil lD

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    232
    I use one of those machines a few weeks ago to make some duplicate storage unit keys. Base key was only $3 and the most expensive was $10 (College football team logo key)

    Worked perfectly.
    Jeff Body
    Go-C Graphics

    China 50W Laser
    Model # SH-350
    Controller RDC6442
    Vinyl Plotter Graphtec CE600-60
    Software used
    Inkscape, FlexiStarter, VinylMaster 4, RDWorksV8

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •