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A Master padlock and homemade M1 bump key


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#1 the_charlatan

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:44 PM

I've been reading these forums for a few months now, and finally decided to try my hand at making my own bump key.

I'm wondering what the pros here have to say about improving it. In ~200 attempts it hasn't worked once, although that's probably due to my inexperience.

I assume that the grooves are a bit too deep (should be flatter), and the teeth are a bit too far apart. Any constructive comments will be appreciated.

Also, is it sensible to start out with padlocks, or should I get a Kwikset first? All I care about in the real world is bumping padlocks, but I'll be willing to learn on something easier if that's what you suggest.
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#2 theopratr

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 07:17 PM

People are pretty split on what lock to start on. I started on a Kwikset, so I'm rather biased. Many people start with Masters to go on to long, happy bumping careers, so to start with a Master lock, I gather, is not a terrible thing.

As for your key... not a bad attempt at all. Your self-analysis was largely correct. The spacing is sufficiently off such that the key will never work. The peaks were a bit large, but that could have been fixed. Get yourself another blank and try it again. Take an existing key (regular key, not a bump key) and mark on your blank the relative horizontal positions of the grooves, and file those down first. Once your grooves are all set, then go about making your peaks into nice little triangles. This way, you'll be guaranteed a key that can be made to work.

On the key that you made, the quality looked great. You mentioned that your grooves should be flatter... and although machine cut keys do have nice, flat grooves, you don't necessarily need them. It just makes the key look better, but as long as the cut is wide enough to let the whole pin rest at a point that is below the deepest cut for that particular keyway, you're good, whether or not the groove surface is flat. The angles on your peaks looked great, and the key has a nice sense of uniformity on it. If you mind your separation intervals between grooves, your next key should work like a charm.

I know I just posted, but my explanation was a bit sketchy. This diagram should clear it up a bit. Best of luck.

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#3 the_charlatan

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 11:06 PM

Thank you, theopratr, for your quick and hugely useful responses.

I cut my blank based on a photo I printed, and I'm guessing the scale was a bit off. I've got the original M1 keys so I can see where the pin grooves should be - shouldn't be a problem now.

Now I just need to figure out an excuse to buy more blanks from the hardware store - they're already a bit suspicious of me, I'm afraid.

#4 BLK

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 08:55 PM

Thank you, theopratr, for your quick and hugely useful responses.
Now I just need to figure out an excuse to buy more blanks from the hardware store - they're already a bit suspicious of me, I'm afraid.


Just go to a different store....key blanks are key blanks so it doesn't matter where you get them.

Another suggestion on making your own...measure twice, file once.
Bump it to the next level.

#5 the_charlatan

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:54 PM

Here's my second attempt. The second tooth from the front chipped while I was filing it, and so I had to work around that. Ss far out of ~25 tries it hasn't worked. Any thoughts?

#6 BLK

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 06:20 PM

Master Locks are fairly tight tolerance, in fact, some locksmiths use a Master Lock to make sure their key cutter is adjusted correctly. You might want to change over to a KwikSet to file your first key...much easier, sloppy tolerances.

The key does not look that bad, much better than the first. The peaks should be about 45 degrees up and down. /\_/\_/\_/\ This is not 45 degrees but you get the idea. Also the valleys should have a little flat space between the peaks. Hope this helps.
Bump it to the next level.

#7 theopratr

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 10:09 PM

Looking much better this time around. When I first got into bumping back in the day, I made an M1 key that looks very much like that, and it worked for some of the cheaper Master locks and clones. BLK makes a series of good points; Master is a quality lock manufacturer, and although with a professionally cut key they are quite easy to bump open, to fabricate one from scratch can be a trick if you have a lock that's anything more than easy to bump.

Your key, however, is quite workable. If BLK says to do something, in my experience it's always a good idea to comply. This is no exception. Make your peaks a tad bit smaller, thus leaving a little more room in between them, and leave that area flat. Make the slopes on your peaks nice and flat and at an angle that approaches 45 degs. Your actual spacing on this key is perfect... lines up exactly. If you find it difficult to make your peaks perfectly flat "ramps", so to say, I find this trick to help a lot: take a file, with one flat and one curved side, and used that tapered curved side to finish off your groove, thus making a slightly concave face to your peak. (see diagram)

Posted Image

It's a cheap way to finish, because you get a workable surface that's only applied once everything has been coarsely filed down to the correct depth.

#8 Ronny

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 06:51 AM

above description is very nice and very easy to understand the whole process. thanks