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Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Having read the FAQ's you are still unfulfilled and seek more enlightenment, so post your general questions here.

Moderators: digital_blue, zeke79

Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby Eyes_Only » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:47 am

I was wondering, the Foley Belsaw key machine is technically a code machine as well since it has a depth micrometer and a optional spacing kit you can buy and install but if you were cutting a key by code without a original using only the depth and spacing kits, would the key come out looking right? I havent recieved my key machine yet but by the looks of it I have a suspicion that the code cut key would not have the ramps and valleys that a normal key should have. Am I wrong?
If a lock is a puzzle, then its key is the complete picture
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Postby jitter » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:51 am

Is it worth buying the extra attachments for the FB key machine for 177.00 or would it be better to invest in a different machine? Opinions?

Thanks,

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Postby Eyes_Only » Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:01 am

Thats what I was wondering as well. It sounds cheaper then having to buy a infinite amount of depth key sets so you can cut by code but then buying the depth key sets and just using the FB machine would still be cheaper than buying a full out code machine from HPC or Framon, especially if you're just doing this as a hobby.
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Postby WOT » Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:02 am

The micrometer would give you the depth + center-to-center x-axis spacing, but how do you make sure the width of each cut is proper spec?
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Postby ComTech » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:59 am

Foley also sell spacer keys, they offer 3 different sets in their catalog, you use the micrometer to set the depth of cut, and the space key to determine the spacing. If you are getting a new Foley machine, it will come with 3 cutters, one for duplicating, one for code cutting that is tapered on both sides and a straight cutter for flat steel keys.
Use the code cutter when generating keys.

If you don't have their catalog, call them and they'll send you one.

Using the spacer keys to me is faster that the space micrometer.
I put the direct read micrometers on mine, I can make usable keys either way. It OK for ocassional keys, or hobby use, but it's not HPC or Framon.
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Postby zeke79 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:00 am

From what I understand, the Foley belsaw uses a different wheel for code cutting. They may in fact have several for the different flats and angles of cut found in different locks. If not, you would take the std code cutting wheel which for instance may be .045" flat and make more than one cut for each position to widen the flat. So if using the .045" cutter to cut a kwikset key you would make a cut .045" before the center of the space and .045" after the center of the space to get the .090" flat required for kwikset locks. Using this method the two cuts you made should meet to form a .090" flat.

Hope that makes sense.
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Postby keysman » Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:17 am

Absinthe ( sp ) is the EXPERT on FB machines. perhaps he will chime in
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby jabraham » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:20 am

I just got the FB machine and set it up. I'm impressed. Sure it's low end but it works. My first key (probably a third generation) worked smooth as silk. I'm buying a wire brush ($3.73) 1/2 inch arbor to add to the machine which is ready for the deburring brush (nut, washers come with it). I followed FB's recommendations re making a base out of 3/4 inch plywood with a built in handle to carry the outfit to and from the shop (to the truck).
I have a large starter set of blanks but not sure how to organize them--I ordered two carousals but keys in what order?
Also I need a good reference manual (cross-reference) to get the full scoop on my inventory of blanks. As it is I have to rely on the bow shape only, but I think different bows cross over.
I want to maximize the FB capabilities by doing codes. Has anybody done them with the FB? The need for spacers is mentioned in the FB install manual almost in passing. It sounds like you make them your self--but I hear folks saying they can be bought from FB. Does the $177 kit mentioned on this forum do everything--well everything that say a Framon could do. By its looks the Framon is along the same lines as the FB, just more precise. A ton more expensive. Framon claims 1/1000 accuracy, FB says one to two thousands.

Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby straightpick » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:27 am

Ahh, the Foley Belsaw machine! Actually a diamond in the rough, you just have to know how to polish it. Have been using one for 15 years now, along with a Framon. Let me first say that it isn't a Framon and can't begin to compare to one. But, if you know what to do to it and know its limitations, it can become a sweet little code machine. I had written up an abstract on the modifications I had done to mine years ago - I'll try to find it and post it, along with pics, as soon as I figure out how to do pics.

First thing I did was to lose the motor. Replaced it with a small 1/15HP one from a mimeograph machine and a 3/8" V belt. Now we have power! Then I replaced the cutter with a HPC CW-1011 double angle cutter which has a 45 degree flat. Same cutter that is on the HPC 1200. This cutter has a 3/8" hole, and is the same diameter same as the Foley's code cutter wheel. The use of spacer keys is highly recommended, you only then have to take care of the depth calculations, which I had also figured out. I had made a ton of spacer keys for locks that the Foley set did not have. There is also a technique involved for code cutting on the Foley. I can honestly state that I can cut a perfect key on the Foley with spacer keys faster than I can cut one on the Framon.

The setup is perfect for mailbox, desk, file cabinet, padlock and house keys. The only drawback with the Foley is on many automobile keys. The jaws just cannot hold some of them securely. With the proper wire and flat steel shims you CAN cut a lot of them. Many a master key system was produced with that little Belsaw, all of them still in use! I always thought that if the Belsaw only had those four way rotating jaws for holding keys it would be the ultimate low cost code machine.
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby jabraham » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:16 pm

Straightpick, I see you are a FB machine devotee, although you recognized the need to buy a Framon at some point. What does the Framon do for you that the FB doesn’t? (You mentioned holding auto keys–anything else?)
I spent quite a bit of time on the web trying to analyze the Framon vs. the others. For one thing I was attracted by Framon’s offer to bundle Genericode with it. I tried out the Genericode trial net version. Looks like it doesn’t have the “frills” which maybe aren’t so much frills like auto lockout procedures that Instacode and maybe others have. It sells for $500-something while Instacode sells for almost $1000, unless you want to lease it for a year for $200. But if Genericode is really worth $500-something that amounts to a large discount on the Framon. Can’t help but wonder why is Framon willing to cut their price while HPC etc don’t?
I emailed Instacode to ask them why on their comparison chart Genericode wasn’t there, Was it too poor to deserve mention? No response. Instacode is in New Zealand and tells you don’t use our (American) telephone, email us instead, we’ll answer promptly/fully. My message was full of specifics and promised I was a potential customer but no response.
Back to Framon, I admit I was a little put off by their web site–the background colors (black/purple?) and overuse of contrasting fonts/other gadgets make it look something like a porn site at first glance.
I got the overall impression that Framon plays the Studebaker to HPC’s GM.
I came across a lengthy Framon-authored tech sheet on its product which was enough to send you running in its description of the intricacies of tuning it. This seemed to run counter to the general take that it is bullet proof, can be dropped from a five story building without losing its calibration, etc.
I also admit to being a little put off by Framon’s use (on the D model) of an easily recognizable cheap Chinese digital head off of a well known cheap Chinese caliper. I own two, the smaller one cost between 10 and 15 bucks and that included the metal part as well as the digital head.
But I got attracted to Framon all the same and kept comparing it to the HPC Blitz and the ILCO similar one.
Framon gets high marks on the forums, hardly a criticism. But that tech sheet ....... Made me think maybe I need the no-brain Blitz instead of the machinist’s Framon.
Your description of the mods you made to your FB is great info to think about. You mention using spacer keys–with the micrometer spacing feature you wouldn’t need spacing keys would you? I haven’t used these features yet so I’m pretty much in the dark in this area.
I really got a rush out of putting together that, face it, pretty crude looking machine, and finding out it did everything a key machine was supposed to do, including making a great key the first time out. And all for only a part of my already low FB tuition.
I will say, though, watch out for FB’s prices in their catalog. I think they are using their catalog sales to subsidize their tuition business. Prices I looked at were for the most part some 40% higher than published competitive prices.

Jesse
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby straightpick » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:38 am

Jesse, I got a Framon 2D because of the ability to cut Medeco keys but mostly for making safe deposit keys, which I do a lot of. It has the proper cutter wheels for safe deposit keys (various widths) which make originating the keys easy. The 2D also has a neat feature in that you can get cam sets for specific lock brands. One cam for the spaces and another for the depths. You can cut the keys much the same as you would on a punch machine. You set the space, set the depth and cut. Very useful if you work a lot with specific kets like Kaba Peaks, Schlage, etc. Plus all you need to originate a key is the shoulder to first cut measurement, cut to cut increment and depth increments. No cards, like the Blitz. You do have to think a little with the Framon the learning curve is not that steep.

In regards to the Genericode software, the full version that you get with the machine DOES have a lot of frills, especially for automobiles. Cuts for code, you can input the cuts and get the code number, tumbler information, transponder info and programming instructions, and car opening procedures, and tools used. Also keyblank references, manufacture info and contacts, etc.

I do not believe that the digital caliper readouts are quite the same as on the Chinese calipers you refer to. I do know that I have cut keys and checked the cuts with a good dial caliper and they were right on. The machine was fairly easy to set up and calibrate and I haven't had to readjust it yet. The keys cut on a Framon work much smoother than on a Blitz or most other code machines because the Framon utilizes a "straight in" cutting method as opposed to a tangental cut that the other machines use. By that I mean that on a Blitz, the carriage is turned into the cutter wheel, like a duplicator. What this does is it makes the cut at a very slight angle. Perhaps you have noticed that in some tighter tolerance locks the keys work fine in a clockwise direction but have a little "hitch" when turned counterclockwise. This is because of that slight angle of the cut - one side of the key is higher than the other. With a Framon it is smooth in both directions.

The Belsaw does have a spacer micrometer attatchment which I have used but I find it cumbersome to work with. I prefer the spacer keys more. But your mileage may vary. Hope I answered some of your questions.
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby WOT » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:19 pm

jabraham wrote:.
I also admit to being a little put off by Framon’s use (on the D model) of an easily recognizable cheap Chinese digital head off of a well known cheap Chinese caliper. I own two, the smaller one cost between 10 and 15 bucks and that included the metal part as well as the digital head.
Jesse


I too noticed it too. Although, the cheap knock off calipers, I got from Harbor Freight does look quite a bit like the top notch Mitutoyo ones. Even the cheap Harbor Freight ones are accurate enough for what calipers are good for. They're just not meant for machine shops where coolant is being used. Get 'em wet and all bets are off.

I'm not sure what's inside of the Framon #2D calipers.
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Re:

Postby WOT » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:38 pm

Eyes_Only wrote:Thats what I was wondering as well. It sounds cheaper then having to buy a infinite amount of depth key sets so you can cut by code but then buying the depth key sets and just using the FB machine would still be cheaper than buying a full out code machine from HPC or Framon, especially if you're just doing this as a hobby.


The Framon video makes it seem like "get the machine and bam, you can do just about everything properly" but I don't think it's what they've make it out to be.
You still need just as many types of cutting wheels as the HPC1200.

The root depth and angle are determined by the cutter. Standard HPC and Framon cutting wheels are good for many "make it work" cuts, but they won't cut to factory specs. i.e Schlage factory specs are .034" root width with 100 degree angle, but the "general purpose" cutter CW-14MC can not make the 0.034" width cut as it's .045" and 100 degrees.

I think the only thing close to being universal is something like the super expensive ITL-9000, even then, you need a special cutter for keys requiring very narrow, steep cuts (like Medeco .013" 86deg)
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby jabraham » Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:51 am

Straightpick, thanks for the good info. I guess great minds think alike, since I've been focussed on the Framon for some reason ever since I first went on their site. Of course, it could be that free full-featured code program....

You mentioned you were figuring out a way to send photos or the like. I just noticed there's a "file attachment" window down below this window, with a "browse" feature--I wonder what I could attach and send?
I tried two jpeg files and got an error message on both.

Jesse
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Re: Foley Belsaw Key Machine

Postby Eyes_Only » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:17 pm

How can you accurately gauge tip stop automotive keys on the FB? I mainly cut car keys at home for practice for the stuff I run into at work and a lot of car keys are tip stop.
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