Time to dig out some of my DEC XX2247 keys

tony duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Thu Jul 16 06:40:19 CDT 2015

> It should be possible to duplicate a flat key on something like the Roland Modela 3-d milling machine. It might 
> take a day to scan and a day to mill but it should be possible...

For a cylinder (Yale type) key, it is trivial to cut a copy if you can get the blank. The blank has the side
grooves already cut, you have to cut the 'jagged row of notches' in the top to make it the right key. At 
least one person here has a keycutting machine to do that.

The problem comes if the blank is 'restricted'. Sometimes locks were made with unobtainable blanks to 
prevent keys being copied. Often the side grooves are a mirror image of a standard blank. For example
the keys to my bedsit and the keys to the place where I worked were like that. The former blank could be
obtained, the latter could only be obtained (and reputable locksmiths would enforce this) if you had the right
paperwork from the owner of the local (== company where I worked in this case). Makes a lot of sense.

Of course with a milling cutter you can make just about anything. But as with all locks the idea is to make 
it more attractive for the criminal to go somewhere else :-)

I would be surprised if the blank for the 11/05/GT40 key was restricted. After all you can bypass that
secutrity with a screwdriver and a bit of wire. But it may well be that it is a non-standard blank that most
locksmiths don't carry (at least in the UK), and that they would rather not take on the work. I have met 
countless examples of that from all trades in my life

The same might be true of the ACE key. It takes a special keycutting machine to cut those, and most
of the high-street key cutting places over here don't have it. 

The next issue is making a key if you don't have one but do have the lock. This is considerably
harder than copying a key, and again the keycutting (only) companies can't do it and locksmiths
may not want the work (or may think you won't pay a fair price for it). Often if you have the bare
lock mechanism they will make a key if you are prepared to pay, on the grounds that you have got
past it anyway, so having the key is no risk to security. But you have to talk to them.

In the case (!) of the IBM5170 lock, you can remove it by opening the case (Hard if locked, but 
a screwdriver in the right place will get it free), then taking off the LED panel, removing the label
from the front of it, taking the nut and locking lever off the back of it and then sliding off the clip.
I think this is shown in the HMS manual. 

Now, the lock will come apart. On the side is a metal pin. Either drill it out, or drill and tap a centre
hole and use a screw to pull it out. The latter is preferable in that the pin can then go back. The internals
of the lock all slide out, scattering pins and springs everywhere. IIRC there are 8 springs and bottom pins
(all the same) which go in the housing and 7 upper pins which go in the rotating disk. By changing the 
latter you can make the lock take any key. I have often thought I should re-pin my 5170 to take the XX2247
key (it will fit apart from the pinning). Kits of pins are available, but not easily, and locksmiths don't like
selling 7 pins (or any other spare parts). Whether they think you are taking work from them, or whether they
have the incorrect idea that anybody who fiddles with locks is up to no good I do not know. But....

I am going to have this problem soon I think. It appears the key to my P854 was one of the (far too many)
things to go walkabout during the move. I want to keep that machine original, so I am going to have to
dismantle the lockswitch (Yale type key) and cut a replacement... Oh well...


> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Chuck
> Guzis
> Sent: 16 July 2015 02:04
> To: General at classiccmp.org; Discussion at classiccmp.org:On-Topic and Off-
> Topic Posts
> Subject: Re: Time to dig out some of my DEC XX2247 keys
> On 07/15/2015 05:39 PM, Ali wrote:
> > Maybe on the DEC keys but trying to make a key for an IBM lock proved
> > impossible (i.e. make a key from the lock - not copy a key). Most lock
> > smith I talked to said they did not do that kind of work.
> Sure, and there are locks for which blanks are not available.  I ran into that
> with a bit of Mitsubishi gear--I had a loaned key and went around town trying
> to get a duplicate for myself.  Initially, the reaction was "sure, no problem"
> and then the oddball key dimensions sunk in.  I ended up removing the lock--
> it was simply easiest.
> But it sounds as if these XX2247 keys aren't particularly rare, nor are they
> beyond the possibility of duplication.
> --Chuck

More information about the cctalk mailing list