Originating Sidewinder Keys With Clue Cards

During the last 10 years almost every major car manufacturer except Mitsubishi has joined the sidewinder key revolution. The new Clue-CardTM program is a less expensive way to originate many such sidewinder keys.


Mercedes introduced a new type of key 30 years ago which came to be known as a sidewinder. Key cuts were not made completely through the blade as with previous automotive keys. Instead, each key cut was milled onto the surface of the blank. This required a new type of key making machine with...


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Two different sizes of cutter blades are required. Most sidewinder keys can be originated by using a .097” diameter cutter, but a few keys will require a cutter diameter of .118. Each Clue-Card contains information for which cutter diameter to use.

Cutter height is the final adjustment to be made before originating a sidewinder key. During key cutting, material is removed from both sides of the key blank. A center portion of the key blank remains in order to provide strength and rigidity to the finished key. This center portion is called the ‘web’. Depending on the key blank shape and size, the web thickness dimension can vary from .025 to .040. If the web is too thick, the key either cannot be inserted or the tumblers can become deformed if the key is forced into the lock. If the web is too thin, the key blank will be more easily broken or bent during use.

The Sieveking manual suggests two methods for setting the cutter height. First, any original key from the same code series can be used to set the cutter depth. A second method is to make a step gauge key which contains steps with the correct thickness. Thicknesses can be mathematically determined from measurements provided on each Clue-Card. The Sieveking manual states that only four different depths (steps) are required in a gauge key he uses.

Once the cutter height is complete, the contour from the pattern key or keys is duplicated onto the proper sidewinder key blank. When ordering a Clue-Card system, you must indicate the manufacturer of the sidewinder duplicator you are using. Vise jaw movement depends on which key machine you have. Different Clue fixture dimensioning is needed to compensate for the vise jaw designs.

The Sieveking Clue-Card system provides a simple answer to sidewinder key originating at an economical cost.

For more information, contact Sieveking Products, telephone 815-874-4030. Website: www.sievekingprodco.com.

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