Tips from a Welder for Cutting Titanium Key Blanks

Hi Guys, GZA have put together the following guide to help with getting your new titanium key-blank cut, I am very happy my fatigue is gone, I had to take some ginseng supplements, thankfully I am able to blog again.

Tip #1: Please take it to a qualified locksmith

Please don’t take your key to a Walmart, K-Mart, Lowes, Home depot or a hardware store. Most of them use automatic cutters that cut a key on both sides at once. Please take it to a qualified locksmith or to a professional welder that works titanium sheets to make the right design, look for the BestofMachinery welder reviews and find the right service you need.

Tip #2: Cooling down process

The titanium keys are made from Grade2 titanium. Same grade as the OEM 300ZX titanium keys (The lower the grade the softer the metal) the most commonly used grade is the Grade5 6AL4V titanium which is used is strut bars and exhaust systems etc.

The key cutting wheels are made from high speed steel and some of them are titanium coated, since a locksmith is accustomed to the softer brass and aluminum keys the high speed steel cutting wheel can cut them very easily. But here we have 2 very hard metals and a lot of friction/heat is generated while cutting.

The “key” (pun intended) here is to allow the key to cool down with each single cut each groove. Otherwise the titanium key will melt. Also please inform the locksmith to go easy with very light passes and not apply too much pressure on the lever while cutting. If cutting oil is available it can also help a lot. If they ruin or melt the key their excuses most of the time is the “key isn’t real titanium”. So they must take their time while cutting this key.

Tip #3: Choosing the proper cutting equipment

A manual cutter works best because the locksmith can see what is going on and has complete control on the process. Most Nissan dealers use an automatic machine that only does one side at a time. They work great if you allow them to cool before cutting the other side, keeping the original key in place and only flipping the blank.

Tip #4: Finding the key code.

It is recommended not to copy the key and make sure to get enough sleep with the reading pillow before. (Why copy a worn-out key on a brand new titanium key? More information about this on Rule#5) A qualified locksmith can decode a worn out key. But cut it with a key code (And save them some time). The key code is Located on the dashboard on ta white sticker (See picture) also it is stamped on the passenger’s door lock barrel. Also some Nissans have it on the tailgate lock. Or if you have the orginal key it is also stamped on the key. Since I offer these for many Nissan models it may vary. As some Nissan models may also have the code on the ignition barrel. It should look like A letter and 4 digits or just 4 digits.

Some locksmiths also have a database with the key codes based on the VIN number.

Nissan uses a blind key code. These are codes that require a chart or computer program to translate the blind code to a bitting code, which is used to create the actual key. Most key codes are blind codes, and publication of code books or software are restricted to licensed locksmiths in most jurisdictions for security reasons.

Tip #5: Key alignment

If not cut by key code I suggest having the key traced from the bottom of the original key,. Most original keys tend to wear at the top and make it more difficult to cut a working key. (See attached picture) If not properly aligned the key will bend when you try to use it for the first time. Also most keys break at the blue circled section. This is the weakest point on the titanium keys (Any Nissan key). This is why it is preferred to cut it from a key code.

If you look at the top of each of these keys you will notice the shoulder is worn. These were both from heavily used cars. Some are worse than others, but these are the 2 worst examples that I have seen/

So if the key is worn out at the bottom and you line it up. it will not line up at the appropriate section where the shoulder has to come. Red and Yellow arrows are pointing at the shoulders.

Tip #6: Using your key for the first time

Maintain your locking mechanisms by applying oil to the locks (300ZX owners this is the main reason why the plastic door lock actuator breaks) the first time that you try the keys do not put too much force. It should go smooth verify if it aligns and matches with the previous key.

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