Test Driving The ITL Sidewinder Machine

Jan. 1, 2009
ITL's sidewinder key machine easily originates sidewinder automotive keys.

Sidewinder key systems were first introduced by Mercedes in approximately 1980. The first sidewinder key systems were treated almost as curiosities on a low volume, high-cost car line. BMW changed to sidewinder keys in 1988. Several other companies such as Saab, Volvo, Lexus and Infiniti added sidewinder key systems during the 90s and the rush was on.

For some reason domestic vehicles have resisted the change to sidewinder lock systems, but sidewinders are used on rebadged vehicles such as the Pontiac GTO and G8, Saturn Astra and Chrysler Crossfire. During the last few years, sidewinder key systems have appeared on mid-priced foreign models such as Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and VW. A large percentage of new vehicles now use some form of sidewinder system.

Simple sidewinder duplicating machines have been available for many years, but making sidewinder keys by code was usually a time-consuming process which a few dedicated locksmiths completed with depth/space keys.

Intralock Tools (ITL) saw the need for a faster, easier way for locksmiths to originate sidewinder keys. The result is their ITL Sidewinder machine.

The machine is loaded with features:
• A unique universal jaw which firmly holds keys both by the edge and by a top hold-down fixture.
• Built-in tip stop adjustable to four different key lengths.
• LED indicator for cutter height adjustment.
• Popular sidewinder code series pre-loaded into machine memory.
• Communication port for downloading new information.
• Lightweight portability for mobile or shop use.

Begin by inputting a key code on the database search screen, for example code 02323. The ITL LED screen will display all series using 02323. In this example one code for Lexus, Toyota is displayed. The LED screen then shows the possible key blanks to use. Instructions are displayed on the screen directing the user to the next procedure. Key cuts for 02323 and the required tip-stop setting of “2” are shown next.

Cutter height adjustment is done manually. Bars of different thicknesses are furnished with the ITL Sidewinder. In this example bar “A” is required. The bar is inserted into the key vise and a dial on top of the machine is turned to lower the cutter against the bar. When a green indicator light is illuminated, the cutter is tightened into position and the depth bar is removed from the vise jaw. Note also in photo 6 that the tip stop adjustment has been set at “2”.

The next step is to install the proper blank into the key vise. Key blanks are inserted through a hollow plate and then into the vise jaws. The plate serves as a third holding surface for the key blank. This adds more firm positioning when compared to normal two-sided vise jaws.

The cutting process is then begun. The ITL Sidewinder automatically completes all depth, space and tip cuts as needed. 
One cutter blade is used for all sidewinder codes now available.

Sidewinder key codes in memory include selective series for Audi, BMW, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mecedes, Pontiac GTO, Range Rover, Saab, VW and Volvo.
For more information contact your local locksmith distributor or Intralock Tools at www.intralocktools.com