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A new type of lock system was introduced by Mercedes in the late 1970s. Known as sidewinder keys, these blanks require a special machine to mill away the side of the key while the middle portion of the blank remains untouched. Sidewinder keys initially were in limited use on some luxury models but the keys are now becoming more commonplace. 2008 vehicles including Subaru Impreza, Pontiac G8 and Saturn Astra will be using sidewinder key systems. Add previous models such as Honda, Acura, Kia Amanti, Hyundai Azera, Mazda Millenia, Chrysler Crossfire, Pontiac GTO, BMW, Mini-Cooper, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo, VW, Porsche, Saab plus Range Rover and suddenly there is good reason for owning a sidewinder key duplicating machine. Even some GM trucks are rumored to be considering the use of sidewinder keys for 2009 models.
The ESP Multi-Function duplicator can basically duplicate three types of keys: tubular, sidewinder, dimple type keys.
A primary reason for owning the ESP Multi-Function machine is for duplicating sidewinder keys. Sidewinders come in several sizes and can use either internal or external milling systems. ESP furnishes four different diameter cutters and tracer pins (.078, .118, .157 and .197). Manually run each tracer pin against the key cuts to determine the largest diameter cutter you can use while still following the exact contour of the original key cuts.
Sidewinder keys can use either a shoulder or tip stop. Install shoulder stop keys directly into the vise jaws and set the shoulder against the jaw before tightening in place (photo 8). There are three grooves milled into each vise jaw. A stop block accessory is furnished. Insert the stop block in one of the three grooves and then insert the tip-stop type key blank tip against the stop block before tightening the blank in place (photo 9). Remove the stop block before starting key duplication.
The final step before duplication is to set the cutter depth. Machine instructions recommend laying a business card between the original key and the tracer pin. Loosen both the cutter and tracer pin, then bring the cutter down far enough to touch an uncut portion of the original key. Tighten the cutter in place. Move the tracer pin downward until it is touching the business card, then tighten the tracer in place. The cutter should then be set approximately .002 deeper than the tracer.
Remove the business card and move the cutter down against the cutout area of the original key. Turn a knurled knob on the left side of the machine to keep the cutter at this depth.
Note: When viewed from above, the cutter is rotating in a clockwise direction. It is important to move the tracer pin around the original key in a counter-clockwise direction so the sharp edge of the cutter can cut into the blank. Moving the tracer in the opposite (wrong) direction can damage the cutter.
Most sidewinder keys in use today also contain transponder coding. Even if you do not have the equipment necessary to complete the programming, you may be able to make arrangements with several local new car dealers to duplicate the keys while they can do the final programming.
Tubular keys of just about any diameter can be duplicated. A special section of each vise jaw has openings for holding tubular keys in a vertical position. A leveling bar which is fastened to the jaw assembly can be rotated above each tubular key. Tubular keys are then pushed upward against the leveling bar and tightened in position. This assures that the new blank and original key are being held at the same height. With the machine turned off, the tracer pin is moved downward into one of the cuts of the original key. A plate locking screw is then used to tighten the horizontal movement of the jaw assembly. Once set, the machine is turned on and the depth cut is made. The machine is then turned off and the same setting procedure is used for each subsequent cut position on the key.
Two types of dimple keys can be duplicated. A triangular jig accessory is used to set the correct angle when duplicating rod shaped keys requiring dimples. Flat style dimple keys can be held in the machine in the same manner as sidewinder keys.
A third machine is capable of manually duplicating double and single sided keys plus flat steel keys. A special adaptor allows the duplication of Abloy-style keys. We were not able to run tests on this machine, but the two other machines operated easily and accurately.
For more information contact you local ESP locksmith distributor or ESP Lock Products at: 800-434-8960.
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