I remember when I was first starting out as a locksmith, I would hear all kinds of stories about a company who made key machines that we built like tanks, tough as nails and could even survive falling from moving service vans and still produce a precision cut key to one-half thousandth of an inch (.0005"). These stories were further reinforced by the inventor, who would even showed this off at many trade shows by dropping the machine from the table, picking it up and cutting a perfect key.
This company is Framon Manufacturing Company, Inc., 909 Washington Ave. Alpena, MI 49707 Phone: (989) 354-5623 and the inventor was Frank Agius. The Framon brand was built upon a code machine which was first shipped in 1972 and remains one of their best selling machines.The Framon #1 or #2 are the best code cutting machines a beginning locksmith can choose and here is why.
Aside from the durable nature of the Framon brand, their code cutting key machines cut keys using what is known as "In Line Feed" cutting as opposed to a "Radial Arc". With an In-Line Feed, the key approaches the cutter at a 90° angle, ensuring a square cut on the bottom of the key.
Even this is not absolutely perfect; high and low blade keys still have a very slight variance from one side to the other when compared to other machines using a Radial Arc Feed. Shown here, there is a very small effect on high and low blade keys (.0013” radial curve).
In comparison when we examine the Radial Arc fed keys we see where a double shear line can be created due to a larger variance. This type of problem is evident if you have ever cut a key that will turn a lock in one direction but not the other.While this factor alone will probably not affect many keys, it will become evident if the machine is not adjusted properly or if depth settings are off a few thousandths.
So the Framon product produces a near perfect key. Seasoned locksmiths know this and you can find a Framon in professional locksmiths around the world. But I mentioned this was the best code machine for beginners! The #1 & #2 code machines utilize a mechanical Space & Depth dial where the locksmith must manually rotate to exacting specifications. In contrast to Radial Arc fed mechanical machines which require cards. Cards cost money, specifications do not and are provided by Framon as new keys enter the market.
By having to dial the key specifications into position, the beginning locksmith quickly learns the nuances and appreciation of key making or the engineering behind it. I don't know of any seasoned locksmith who is willing to give up their Framon machine. So from beginners to old timers, the Framon key machines is a best choice.
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Tom Lynch, CRL