I’ve always had the worst experience getting duplicate keys made for the many places I’ve lived. Old apartments have been particularly problematic. I recently had two keys made at Home Depot and, of course, they didn’t work. I even bought some small files to try to massage the keys into working. It helped a little, but I’m obviously no locksmith.
I don’t really understand why it’s so hard for your typical key duplicating machine to create good copies. It’s really not rocket science and interestingly its the “valleys” on the key that are important, not the “peaks”.
Anyways, there is this new service at Shloosl.com which will make a duplicate key from a photo! Each copy costs just $5 including postage so I figured what the heck. Well, I got the copies yesterday–it took just 3 days from the time I ordered–and they work like butter! So smooth. Perfect!
It’s quite an amazing process and very simple. You basically take a photo of each side and email to them. That’s it. (Note: The image to the right is not my key…duh!)
The whole process is automated, and it’s fast too! 2 minutes after I emailed the photos I got an email saying they had analyzed my key and could send a duplicate out tomorrow. There’s a link you click to make payment which I did. 2 minutes after that I received an email saying the key was on its way! Attached to the email was a cool video showing how *my* key was analyzed.
The company is based in San Francisco. Looks like they’ve created a team consisting of a Computer Science/AI PhD from MIT, a mechanical engineer and a locksmith. I guess that about covers everything you need :-)
I was a little leery about doing this but I suppose it would be easier for someone local to make a duplicate using an imprint. They say that your information is stored with bank-grade encryption and your shipping information is redacted a few days after they ship your key.
Anyways, I HIGHLY recommend Shloosl! The duplicates work like they were the original keys!