What Key Programmer & Cutting Machine for New Business?

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What Key Programmer & Cutting Machine for New Business?

If you are planning to start new key programming business, and Need to buy key programmer and key cutting machine. What is best solution with Small budget? Please go on reading this article.


Part 1: What Key programmer for new business?

Part 2: What Key cutting machine for new business?


Part 1: What Key Programmer For New Business?

I want to start key programming business, I’d like to listen to the senior locksmiths’ option What Key programmer , software, cutting machine to invest.


In France:

  1. For starting in France you need
    Lonsdor k518 + defu 368 ( 1500$ budget)

    covering 98% of keys market ( no including Mercedes )

LONSDOR + DEFU = big money !
it’s an fact , not an advise , invest today more money = “ZIRO”



I m not really the best person to give you advice since i m pretty much a beginner too.
I use to do radios ,airbag and ecus programming but last year i decided to go into keys too.At that moment i did only programming and i use to sent my customers to local locksmits to cut the key (that wasn t comfortable for the customer) .
I bought a DEFU 368 recently and it s working just fine for laser cutting (200$)
Now into programming.
You will need a good programmer, i have VVDI PROG (500$) and other clones (xprog,upa ….)
I recommend you to buy FVDI clone (i have 2014 and is pretty good on cars before 2010 mostly opel, renault,vag)
For Mercedes i have CGDI ,and is a great tool ,very fast and efective( with full adapters it goes to 800$ roughly)
FVDI J2534 for FORD and Mazdas
I m waiting for CGDI BMW to arrive for bmws.

As i said ,i m a beginner but i start to like this locksmith area .I m looking into more tools
There are another tools (cheaper clones) that will help .



Londsor, Autel im508, OBD star or x100pad 2

but you can’t work only with 1 tool

you will need lot of other tools

Something good for Ford other for Fiat other for Opel VW BMW Benz and etc.

Tools like Lonsdor have wide range but they can’t program perfect no one brand

and if you want to work professional you must have special tool for every brand

and total easy will go over 20 000 euro also you must have cutting machine and keys in stock.



the bmw is likely cas3+ in which case you need to eeprom the cas unit to have the original dump and tools that can do this safely . better tools are vvdi2 and abrites

mercedes i know im608 does some , but more likely you need tools like vvdi mb or abrites

these are not vehicles universal programmers work well on and can end in tears.


the 508 is not a diagnostic machine at all………………………………….

the im608 has diagnostics but not even the full diagnostics and capabilities of the elite

but the elite has nowhere the key learning capability of the 608 or 508 +xp400

the 508 is just keys my man no diagnostics



I have both the IM608 and the elite.
After using the IM608 for a couple months, I passed the elite on to apprentice.
Big update for the IM608 just dropped today too for IMMO.
As far as I can tell there is no difference in diag functions between the two.
I use IM608 over elite for diag as well basically because it has faster CPU and the interface is a bit better (preference)


Part 2: What key cutting machine for new business?

First – you can’t compare Manual and Automatic machine.
If you need Automatic – it depends on the volume of work you have to cover.
X6 is good for very low volume. It has spare parts you can buy in case something dies.
I’m not a fan of the kkkcut SEC machines, so can’t give a recommendation on them.
If you need to cover middle volume of work or you have more demanding requirements on quality and stability, you should go with the automobile version of Miracle or with the Condor Mini machines. Both are almost equal but have some differences. Good thing is they both have very good support and will do most of the work without questions. For me Condor (non plus version can be found for less than the Plus and there’s no functional differences) would be the choice if I had to cover only car keys. It has more benefits, like getting VVDI BGA tool with big discount.


  1. Buy Xhorse Dolphin or Condor XC Mini:

1). Differences with Dolphin are obvious. So what about it?
Xhorse Dolphin works only by connecting and controlling with your phone, like KDX2.


For me using your phone for key cutting is a bit limiting – you can’t go outside because it will loose sync and may influence the cutting. Better option will be to dedicate a tablet only for the machine.
But still it is a smaller, more economical machine. So it will better serve those with lower level of workloads.


2). i have the condor mini, and i love it, only issues ive ever had was cutting hu58 (key worked still but cut shoulder where it shouldnt have a cut) and recent updates gave my condor a few issues, but latest issue fixed everything and now works perfect like it did before the last few updates. i plan to purchase the dolphin, easier to transport and runs off battery (i can power my mini with a powerstation, but rather 1 less thing to connect).


3). The Dolphin has 4 clamps, with tibbee, sx9, car keys, normal and dimple cylinders


  1. Condor Mini Review

I got the Condor Mini and works ok sometimes, It has broken a few probes/tracer with no idea why. Even calibrated prior and still broke a few probes on Honda cuts and a 1.5 drill on a Mitsubishi, it just goes through the key as if there wasn’t anything there. It’s done it a few times, then I started using Instacode from my phone to send the decode and cut commands and at least it hasn’t broke any so far. So seems it’s ok for now.


To be upgrading with the development of locksmith tools and technology.


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