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Title:
TUBULAR KEY DECODER
United States Patent 3831282
Abstract:
Apparatus for determining and decoding the length of axially directed cuts about the periphery of tubular keys for axial pin tumbler locks wherein the key to be decoded is held on a rotatable spindle which may be moved to the corresponding positions of the key cuts and an axially shiftable radially directed probe is set at the upper end of the cut to be determined. A handle porton is rotated relative to the probe and key with cooperating incrementally spaced abutments and a stop providing both a visual and positive indication of the axial length of cut being measured.


Application Number:
05/325239
Publication Date:
08/27/1974
Filing Date:
01/22/1973
Assignee:
Fort Lock Corporation (Chicago, IL)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E05B17/00; G01B3/28; (IPC1-7): G01B3/28
Field of Search:
33/169B,174F 70
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3572070SETTABLE KEY AND SETTING MECHANISM FOR TUBULAR LOCKMarch 1971Brand
3149487Servicing tool for barrel-type locksSeptember 1964Martin
2070342Lock toolFebruary 1937Tarrie
Primary Examiner:
Martin Jr., William D.
Assistant Examiner:
Little, Willis
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.
Claims:
I claim as my invention

1. Apparatus for determining the axial length of cuts at angular locations about a tubular key, comprising, in combination, a centrally located rod means, rotatable spindle means connected to one end of said rod means for mounting a tubular key in any of a plurality of preselected angularly displaced locations, axially shiftable probe means mounted intermediate the ends of said rod means for movement along a path parallel to the axially extending key cut for engagement with the extremity of the cut being determined, stop means carried by said probe means, and rotatable indicator means carried by the other end of said rod means and having a plurality of spaced incremental abutment points whereby rotation of said indicator means relative to said probe means brings the appropriate incremental abutment into engagement with said stop to determine the axial length of the key cut being measured.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said rotatable indicator means includes a handle portion, said probe means includes a radially extending finger connected to a pivotally mounted arm extending parallel to said key mounting spindle and said arm being carried by an axially shiftable cylinder member telescopingly received by said handle.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said handle includes the plurality of incrementally spaced abutments and said cylinder carries said stop means.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said arm is spring biased for normally urging said probe finger toward the spindle.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said incrementally spaced abutments are detachably connected to said handle.

6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said spaced abutments are steps.

7. Apparatus for determining the axial length of cuts at angular locations about a tubular key, comprising, in combination, a centrally located rod means, rotatable spindle means connected to one end of said rod means for mounting a tubular key in any of a plurality of preselected angularly displaced locations, axially shiftable probe means mounted intermediate the ends of said rod means for movement along a path parallel to the axially extending key cut for engagement with the extremity of the cut being determined, stop means carried by said probe means, and rotatable indicator means carried by the other end of said rod means including a smoothly sloped ramp defining incrementally spaced abutment points that lie on the slope surface thereof whereby rotation of said indicator means relative to said probe means brings the appropriate incremental abutment point on the surface of said slope into engagement with said stop to determine the axial length of the key cut being measured.

8. Apparatus for determining the axial length of cuts at angular locations about a tubular key, comprising, in combination, a centrally located rod means, a rotatable spindle means connected to said rod means for mounting a tubular key in any of a plurality of preselected angularly displaced locations, a cylinder having a handle portion thereon rotatably mounted to said rod means at a spaced distance from said spindle, a sleeve means surrounding said rod means and axially shiftable between said handle and said spindle means, probe means carried by said sleeve means, said probe means including a radially extending finger portion for engagement with the extremity of a cut being determined, stop means carried by said sleeve means adjacent said handle, and indicator means including a plurality of spaced incremental abutments carried by said handle so that rotation of said handle relative to said sleeve means stop brings an appropriate one of said incremental abutments into engagement with said stop to indicate the axial length of the key cut being measured.

9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said probe means includes a pivotally mounted arm extending generally parallel to said key mounting spindle and said arm being carried outboard of said cylindrical sleeve with a yoke member fixedly attached to said cylindrical sleeve.

10. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said incremental abutments are formed on the surface of an annular ring, said ring being detachably mounted to the upper surface of the cylindrical handle means.

11. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spindle means is connected to said rod means through a collar and said collar is marked with indicia of the angular location of said axial cuts about the tubular key.

12. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10 wherein said ring includes indicia of the incremental spaced abutments and said stop means includes an indicator arm to align with the particular indicia of the abutment to which said stop is in engagement with.

Description:
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to apparatus for decoding tubular key cuts and more particularly concerns a tubular key decoding apparatus which permits rapid and accurate determination of a wide variety of types of cuts as well as being suitable for use with various different sizes of tubular keys.

The axial pin tumbler lock such as the type generally described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,504,748, is becoming increasingly more widespread in use, and naturally, this has created an increased demand for keys for such locks. There is disclosed and claimed in Kotov et al. U.S. application Ser. No. 215,029 filed Jan. 3, 1972, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, a tubular key cutting machine which permits the rapid production of key bites of accurate axial length and radial depth at determined angular locations about a tubular key blank. When the key code is known or predetermined, such machine is capable of rapidly producing keys at low cost even in the hands of inexperienced personnel.

However, where duplicate keys are required and the code for the key that is to be reproduced is unknown, heretofore known techniques and devices used for decoding the key are difficult and time consuming as well as requiring the attention of skilled persons. Moreover, with the advent of more complex types of cuts on the tubular keys, such for example as the stepped cut of the type disclosed and claimed in Morris Falk U.S. application Ser. No. 260,162 filed June 6, 1972, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,738,136 assigned to the assignee of the present invention, there was an increased need for a more reliable and versatile type of key decoding apparatus.

It is therefore the general aim of this invention to provide a tubular key decoding apparatus which will permit the rapid and accurate determination of key cuts in tubular keys that is extremely versatile in its application and may be handled by even inexperienced personnel. More specifically, it is an object to provide a tubular key decoding apparatus which will accurately determine the axial length of key bites at determined angular locations about a tubular key shank. It is another specific object to provide a tubular key decoding apparatus wherein the key may be quickly and easily mounted, decoded, and dismounted.

It is another object to provide a tubular key cut decoding apparatus which gives a positive and accurate determination of the axial length of key cuts that may be located at standard angular locations as well as non-standard locations without requiring complex manipulations. It is a related object to provide a decoding apparatus which will decode variable cuts such as stepped cuts as well as having the ability to be adapted to standard and non-standard sizes of tubular keys and standard and non-standard cut increments.

A still further object of the invention is to provide such an improved tubular key decoding apparatus which is completely selfcontained and readily lends itself to performance of all the necessary operations required for reproducing key cuts in tubular keys of all types.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side plan view showing the overall organization of the tubular key decoding apparatus with a tubular key being placed over the key receiving spindle for decoding in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side plan view similar to FIG. 1, here depicting the key in position on the spindle and showing the manner in which the decoding apparatus indicates the code for the key bite being determined;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially in the plane of line 3--3 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially in the plane of line 4--4 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a view taken in the plane of line 5--5 in FIG. 2 showing the stop and depth indicator of the decoding apparatus;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken substantially in the plane of line 6--6 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the components and parts of the decoder apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary side plan view of the lower portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2, here illustrating the alternative ring member for indicating the code of the key bite being determined; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the indicator carrying ring showing the sloped ramp arrangement.

While the invention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 an embodiment of the novel tubular key decoding apparatus 10 comprising the present invention. The decoding apparatus 10 is used with a key 12 such as that shown in FIG. 1, which is provided with a handle portion 13 and a tubular shank 14 about the periphery of which are indentations or bites 15 comprising the key combinations to be decoded. For details of the tubular key of the type with which the present apparatus may be utilized with reference is made to the aforementioned Trainor U.S. Pat. No. 3,504,748 and Trainor application Ser. No. 222,601 filed Feb. 1, 1972, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,744,286 on Tubular Key, all assigned to the assignee of the present invention. As the discussion proceeds, it will be appreciated that the present decoder apparatus may be utilized with the various different types of tubular keys available although the keys may differ in dimension such as diameter and length of the tubular shank or differ in form such as the configuration of the key actuating lug or projection as well as other variations employed by different manufacturers of axial pin tumbler locks.

In the context of the present invention, the decoder apparatus is utilized to determine the axial length of the bites 15 that are angularly positioned about the periphery of the tubular shank. To this end, the key 12 is first mounted on the stepped spindle 16 which slidably receives the key. The spindle 16 is stepped so as to present a shoulder or stop 17 that limits the axial length to which the tubular key shank may be positioned on the spindle (FIG. 2). The spindle 16 may also include a groove 18 which receives the inwardly projecting lug on the key shank (not shown) so that the key is fixed against rotation relative to the spindle.

In order to locate the key 12 held on the spindle 16 at selected angular positions, the spindle is rotatably carried with respect to a body or handle cylinder 20. In the illustrative embodiment, the spindle is secured to a collar 22 by means of a suitable set screw 23 or the like and the collar in turn is secured to a rod 24 by a pin 25, the rod in turn being rotatably mounted to the handle 20 such as by bolt 27 and washer 28 (FIG. 6).

To enable the user to quickly identify the key bites when positioning the collar 22, index numbers are formed about the periphery of the collar for designating the angular location of the collar to position the key with a corresponding bite in a predetermined position. These index numbers may be 1 to 7 for a standard seven cut key or, more or less index numbers may be used as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The use of a separate spindle 16 that may be removed from collar 22 by loosening the set screw 23 permits a change of the spindle to different size spindles where the decoder might be used with tubular key shanks which may not fit on the one spindle selected for the decoder.

In keeping with the present invention, an axially shiftable probe is provided to determine the axial length of the key cut from a preset reference which in the present instance is the end of the tubular key shank selected as the zero position. The probe 30 has a radially projecting finger 32 that can be positioned against the spindle 16 so that when the key 12 is placed on the spindle the leading edge of the tubular key shank will come to rest against the stop 17 and the top of the finger 32. The finger 32 may then be moved radially outward to clear the web of the key bite and then moved axially upwardly by the axial depth of the cut being measured whereupon the tip of the finger comes to rest against the extreme upper edge of the key bite.

In order to enable the radial movement of the probe 30, its outer end is connected to the upper end of an arm 34, the latter being pivotally mounted to a yoke member 36. The yoke 36, in turn, is mounted to a cylinder 38 which surrounds the rod 24 and telescopes within the handle 20. The arrangement is such that the probe with its supporting elements including the arm 34, yoke 36, and cylinder 38 as an assembly may be rotated with respect to the handle and the spindle with its collar arrangement as well as being axially shiftable along the rod 24 between the collar 22 and the handle 20.

For the purpose of normally biasing the probe inwardly in the radial direction a spring 40 is interposed between the lower end of the arm 34 and the cylinder 38. The spring is held in place by being seated in a recess 42 in the arm 34 and a pin 44 disposed in the cylinder 38 projects into the spring (FIG. 6). An adjustment screw 46 passing through the arm 34 and bearing against the cylinder 38 permits the probe to be positively held in a preselected position away from the spindle 16 or to be moved to any desired position and held there.

For the purpose of positively and visually indicating the axial depth of cut of a key bite by rotation of the handle 20 there is provided a cooperating stepped depth indicator and stop arrangement. To this end, the depth indicator in the form of a ring 48, as best shown in FIG. 7, is removably secured to the handle 20 by cap screws 50. On the upper surface of the ring 48 are a series of steps 52 which rise from one another by predetermined increments selected as the standard for the incremental differences between the lengths of key cuts used and also corresponding to the lengths of combination pins. Thus, in the illustrative embodiment the surface of the ring 48 is taken as the reference position. There are eight steps 52 each one being marked and, for example, where the increments of cut are selected as 0.015 inches step 0 would have a height of 0.015 inch, step 1 .030 inch, step 2 .045 inch, step 3. 060 inch, and so on.

In order to register a reading, there is provided an indicator and stop member 54 (FIGS. 5 and 7) which is adjustably fixed to cylinder 38 by cap screw 55. The stop indicator 54 has an elongated opening 56 to receive the cap screw 55 as well as a pin 57 connected to the cylinder 38. This arrangement allows the stop indicator to be adjusted upwardly and downwardly for setting as well as preventing any rotation of the indicator thereby assuring it is firmly held in position.

At the lower end of the stop indicator there are two downwardly extending projections, 58 and 59. Projection 58 along the inner side of the bottom surface of the stop indicator is a smaller projection which serves as an abutment to positively prevent further relative rotation of the handle 20 when the appropriate step 52 is struck thereby indicating the increment corresponding to the axial depth of cut being measured by the probe 30. The longer projection 59 protrudes outboard of the ring 48 and points to the appropriate index number on the side of the ring providing a visual indication of the code for the key bite being measured.

In order to more fully understand the mode of operation of the decoding apparatus 10, reference is now made to FIGS. 1 and 2, conjointly. Prior to initiation of the decoding operation, the key 12 is first placed over the spindle 16 with the probe end 32 being against the spindle and the entire probe assembly being in the downwardmost position where the stop projection 58 is on the reference plane of the ring 48. When the key is completely on the spindle so that its forward edge rests on the shoulder 17, it should also rest on the top of the probe end 32 or the necessary adjustments may be made to "zero" out the apparatus with the various adjustments provided.

Once the apparatus is set, the collar 22 may be rotated so that the first key bite, indicated by the reference 1 on the collar, is in radial alignment with the end 32 of the probe. The probe assembly then may be moved upwardly until the probe end 32 abuts the upper edge of the key bite at position 1.

At this point, referring to FIG. 2, the handle 20 may be rotated relative to the probe assembly, the key held on the spindle and the collar assembly until the stop abutment 58 strikes a step preventing its further relative rotation with respect to the handle 20. As indicated in FIG. 2 in phantom this will occur when the stop indicator 54' reaches the step marked 3 and this will be shown by the indicator projection 59'. Accordingly, the code for the first key bite position is 3 or 0.060 inch when the aforementioned 0.015 inch increments are utilized.

The handle may then be rotated in the opposite direction and the probe assembly moved downwardly until the stop is at the reference plane again. The key may then be rotated to the second key bite position and the procedure repeated for that position. The same procedure is followed for each subsequent position about the key periphery until all the key bites have been decoded.

The use of the decoder is relatively simple and duplicate keys may be made on a machine such as disclosed in the aforementioned Kotov et al. application Ser. No. 215,029 with relative ease after the codes have been determined. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that the present decoder is capable of functioning with complex cuts such as the stepped or cut within a cut arrangement, cuts going completely through the key wall and cuts in half spaces or positions outside of the standard seven or eight positions then may be utilized with conventional axial pin tumbler lock keys.

In addition, the ring 48 may be removed and other rings substituted which contain steps 52 of different incremental dimensions than the 0.015 inch suggested herein. Alternatively, a second set of stepped increments 52' may be placed on the ring 48 (FIGS. 4 and 7) directly opposite the steps 52. The second set of increments may for example, be spaced by the dimensional difference of 0.025 inch. Thus, the same ring 48 would be useable for decoding keys of at least two of the types available on the market without changing the ring and simply be rotating the handle in one direction or the other.

As a still further alternative (FIGS. 8 and 9), instead of discrete steps, a sloped ramp 53, 53' may be used with micrometer readings marked directly instead of code indicia and the stop will strike the slope surface giving the reading for depth of the key cut which would be a function of the sine of the slope angle.