PinExpress Free Software Gets Update

To download the free Locksmith Ledger PinExpress program, go to and follow instructions for downloading.

Editor's Note: PinExpress software has been improved to meet requests sent in by subscribers. When you are masterkeying several locks which each have different change key combinations, it is no longer necessary to insert master key cuts or control key cuts for each new change key display. Master and control key cuts are retained and only the change key cuts must be entered.  This speeds up and simplifies each keying procedure.

Another change involves pinning charts. Our original program only displayed pin numbers. PinExpress now allows you to display either the pin number or the actual pin lengths. With the exception of lock systems which require special pin kits,  our PinExpress pin length display provides an accurate way to more easily rekey lock cylinders when using standard aftermarket pinning kits. 

PinXpress is especially useful when rekeying IC core lock cylinders. New safeguards in the program test master key, control key and change key cut numbers inserted by the user. Deviations from factory specifications are flagged and PinXpress displays the problem and solution which is required. This prevents wasted time and possible multiple rekeying of the same lock cylinder.

Linus Yale is the person generally accepted as the modern era inventor of the pin tumbler lock. Yale pin tumbler lock cylinders were patented in 1863. Egyptians are said to have first invented the pin tumbler idea but Linus Yale made a compact pin tumbler version with a paracentric keyway to prevent a large object from being inserted into the lock.

A major improvement to the Yale pin tumbler lock was made by Frank Best in 1925. While many other improvements and high security applications have increased the usefulness of the original Yale pin tumbler invention, the Best interchangeable core invention leads the list of improvements.

One extra movable part in the Frank Best invention made the big difference. The moveable control sleeve serves as the retainer to secure the lock cylinder into the cylinder housing. The outer dimension of an IC core outer housing is approximately the same diameter as the diameter of a standard lock plug. Diameters of the control sleeve and lock plug must be increasingly smaller in order to fit inside the IC core housing. A smaller diameter lock plug did not leave room for existing commercial keyways, so downsized key blanks had to be used.

Best Lock Company eventually developed a series of approximately 25 keyways, smaller diameter pin tumblers and special A2, A3 and A4 pinning systems. All three pinning systems were designed to provide the largest number of individual usable key combinations while adhering to the limitations of the smaller diameter plug dimensions.

Over the years other lock companies have tried to compete with their own version of an interchangeable core lock cylinder with little success. As the original Best patents expired, many other lock companies have introduced almost identical IC core cylinders and in most cases the locks match popular Best keyways. This group of downsized IC core lock cylinders has been given the name small format IC core locks (SFIC).

IC core cylinders have been developed more recently to accept larger standard keyways. IC cores for standard-sized keyways became known as large format IC core cylinders (LFIC). LFIC cylinders now allow lock manufacturers to use their own private keyways and furnish a mixture of LFIC and standard lock cylinders which can all be part of the same master key system.

A major percentage of commercial buildings built during the last 20 years are using at least some IC core cylinders. Locksmiths may not have been involved with the original installation but they are often called to rekey IC core locks at a later date. The majority of SFIC cylinders will use original Best A2 pinning. A2 mathematics requires pins in each space to total 23. More mathematics is required for figuring bottom, master and control pin lengths in each space. If one space has been figured wrong, the only recourse is to dump the pins and start over.

Mathematics for LFIC cylinders depends on which company manufactured the cylinders. Each company has its own pinning mathematics. To add to the confusion, some lock types have different pin totals depending on the individual pin space.

PinExpress Software

We now have a simple, free solution for how to pin 98 different types of lock cylinders. Subscribers can download a pinning software program from our website, A loading program is included which will install a pinning icon on your start screen. The program will not operate on Apple computers.

The beginning screen shows a table with the 98 lock type choices (Photo 1). Use the sliding bar to display additional choices, then click on the lock type you are working on. A Best A2 system has been chosen for this example.

The next screen will display all possible tumbler amounts used by that manufacturer. Best IC core locks have been available as 5, 6 or 7 pin variations (Photo 2). Six pins have been chosen for this example.

Display 3 provides a choice of either a full system chart or a chart for pinning an individual cylinder (Photo 3). A single key chart is chosen for this example.

Display 4 requests key cuts for the specific top master key you are using. For this example the cuts entered were 010149 (Photo 4). After clicking on the TMK button, additional forms will be displayed which request the change key cuts being used (Photo 5) and the control key cuts being used. Change keys cuts of 256725 and control key cuts of 365476 were used for this example.

Display 6 shows the Best A2 pinning chart for the example key cuts (Photo 6). At the bottom of the same display, a pinning chart plus depth/space measurements are also displayed (Photo 7). Every popular domestic IC core or standard lock cylinder pinning chart can be displayed by using the same procedure.

Full Pinning Systems

Photo 3 shows a second “full system” choice. When “full system” is chosen, the program requests the top master key cuts as shown in Photo 4. If an IC core type has been chosen, an additional form will request the control key cuts to be used.

With a few exceptions, most commercial lock manufacturers use a two-step, 10-increment master keying system. If a master key cut is “0”, then the change key cut possibilities for that space would be some numeric order of cuts 2, 4, 6 & 8.

The program automatically develops a key bitting array dependent upon the key cut rules for the chosen key type. Key bitting array numbers can be changed, but in most instances the automatic display will include all possible cut numbers used by each manufacturer and dictated by the chosen TMK (Photo 8). The same 010149 TMK cuts and 365476 control key cuts were used for this example.

Photo 9 shows the final display. All 4096 possible change keys in this Best A2 IC core system can be pinned by using this one pinning chart page. Copies of either a single cylinder or full system chart can be printed by clicking on ‘print copy’ at the top of the screen.


To obtain the free Locksmith Ledger PinExpress program, click on the related content tab or go to and follow instructions for downloading.