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If you do have access to some blanks, you can try a couple times to get through. The key (no pun) is to cut one key depth at a time. You might be able to create a key that works on multiple locks. You produce a master, then you become the master. Sounds like Star Wars, right?
The key itself is hollowed out. There is an angle that shines up into the lock mechanism. You can take pictures of what you see in the key. There are six possible depths you need to measure. This works on Schlage locks, even the secure ones.
This is a subset of what's known as impressioning. Like with rake keys, you start with a key blank. Then you use the lock itself to get information on how to modify the key to fit. You will need a file to carve the key. You will also need a magnifier to spy on the lock you are trying to bypass.
You should have a couple of key blanks if you are trying this technique. You should also have something to hold the key steady like vice grips. You put the blank in the lock and turn it. The marks on the key indicate how you should cut it.
You can color the key with a sharpie to see where the lock interacts with the key. Or your could use ultraviolet rays to do the trick. The goal is to produce a real key that works in the lock.
Next up we have the New York City metro transit authority. They use Yale locks throughout their travel systems. Those locks have been hacked. In fact, you can pick up a master key on the black market for about $50.
A prominent reporter bought an NYC MTA master key to use for a story he was writing. Ooops. The reported showed a picture of himself and his key. Now you average Joe does not even have to shell out the fifty bucks to bypass the MTA security.
You can make an impression of an existing key very quickly. Talking about a few minutes here. This works for all but high security locks. Put the working key in some putty. Makes a three dimensional impression. Let it harden and you are good to go for cutting a copy.
So if you lose access to your keys for even a short time, you are as good as owned. This is true even for secure locks. And you just don't have to lose physical possession of your key. Someone can take a picture of the key and clone it. Experts can just look at your key and figure out how to replicate it.
If you are trying to dup a key, you should try a couple different combinations. One of them is bound to work if you have a little skill. You can take advantage of the possible layouts of keys.
If you cannot take possession of a key, you can use long range photography to get the 411. Software now can even take into account the rotation of a key in a picture.