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Tubular Key Cutter | A Key Machine That Fits In Your Pocket!

Are you familiar with the HPC Pocket Cut-Up, part number TKM-90? If not, it's a little manual tubular key machine. To be more specific, this will allow you to cut tubular keys by code. You can duplicate as well by first decoding and cutting them. The HPC Pocket Cut-Up comes factory preset to cut seven-pins, both Chicago Ace and Fort lock tubular keys. It does both the standard with a center cut and the offset cut. This cuts in the .016 depth increment, which is the most popular out there, and almost all the locks you're going to encounter tubular-wise. This machine has been set up and ready to go right out of the box. Let's go ahead, and get it into action.


Here are the parts and the pieces and what they are for. The on the left is what stabilizes and holds the key and everything into place.


You need to dial at the end, and as you start spinning, it will begin cutting. Typically, there's a belt and a motor that move in something like this on a standard key machine, but you will be doing this by hand.


The cutter is located here.


The part where the numbers 1 – 7 are, sets the depth. Wherever you set that, that's where you're going to be able to turn this cutter too, and that's how it's going to stop it.


'How do you hold in place the depth that you've set?' All you need to do is take the piece with two long metals in it and push it through the holes of your depth, and it will lock it in place. So when dial-in, you're not going to have to worry about messing anything up.


This is where we're going to be putting the key you want to cut.



We've done a basic overview of how this works. The center is the standard, and then there's offset. You can see that it's set in the center.


If you're going to be doing offset, take a tubular key, it comes with two any of them is fine. Set it up to where that little shoulder on the top of the key, and put it right in line with the C. Once you have that, take the Allen wrench, put it into the bottom hole, and loosen it. The Allen wrench is provided.


Once loose, hold the tubular key and turn it from C to O. Make sure that the little shoulder is facing O. Once you got it there, tighten it down using the Allen wrench. It is now set to offset. Do the same process when shifting back to C.



The first thing you need to do is to know that there will be seven cuts on here. Count it.


On a sticky note or a piece of paper, do this. This will help you not to get confused and lose anything.


I will decode this, starting on the right side and going to the left or clockwise. It's the same way I'm going to cut the key. However you decode it is the way you're going to want to cut it; otherwise, you're going to get confused.


So HPC provides this little depth gauge right here when you buy it. So you can use this to get to the depth of the cut on the tubular key. You're going to find the perfect depth that fits into the groove like this—giving us #4 as our first cut.


Fill the chart with the correct code on each cut. If it's a little questionable, and you're not quite sure what the proper depth is, go on the shallow side and make like a little star next to it or something because that way, if the key doesn't work, you can go back and fix that key and not have to start over.  

Repeat the same process to every cut and track your progress.

Once we have all of our cuts from decoding this key, time to cut it.



Put in the tubular key facing C. But to get it to the first actual position we're going to cut, we need to move the key one space over, clockwise or right to left.


Once it is in the first position, consult the chart you've made and set the depth. In this example, it is #4. Lock it in. This will hold the key and the depth selector in place. Once you've done that, push in and dial until it quits moving.


When it spins nice and freely, back it off and open it up, go to second space, and turn it counterclockwise because we want to move. We're going to cut clockwise; we're going to move that second space. Time to set the second depth in line with mark, which is #5, hold it in place, and lock it in. Start turning and cutting the key.

Do the same process until your last cut.


Try it to a lock to see if there are some adjustments to be made. When the key manages to turn lock, it is a success.


That is how you cut a key with the HPC Pocket Cut-Up. What I did in this example is show you how it works, how to decode, and then cut it. If you have a code and print it out in your code program, you can go right to cutting. But I think you'll find it a pretty nice easy method, especially if you're going to be doing this in a place that doesn't have electricity or you want to keep it handy and do it on the spot. The other thing you can do with this is to pick a lock with your tubular pic, and then you can use this gauge to decode your pic and then cut it by code. So, that's the HPC Pocket Cut-Up. Thank you, and we'll see you next time.

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