Frequently asked questions


I do not feel that key duplication is a real issue: the burglars will break the windows or the door…

Today the issue is not only the professional burglar, but rather an ex-employee, an ex-tenant, ex-cleaning employee….
Anybody can now easily duplicate high security keys using home 3D printers..

Can somebody copy my key with just a picture?

Yes, this is the case for basic security keys. That is what startups like and make a living from.

How about the high security keys?

Those require to use a home 3D scanner to scan the key. In 2015 Intel integrated 3D scanners to phones and tablets. Apple will soon follow. Their motto: we live in a 3D world, you should be able to take 3D pictures of what you like.

But my key has movable parts that cannot be copied…

Unfortunately, keys with movable parts can also be copied.

But experts say that home 3D printers are not capable of printing a working key.

They are capable. Our internal benchmarking of key copy protection using an Ultimaker 3D printer (<1000$) showed that most of the existing keys can be duplicated at home.

But my key has also electronics, can it be copied?

The mechanical part can be copied, but the electronics will still avoid the lock from opening. You should be aware that you only have one barrier left and that the electronics are mostly for convenience rather than security. Actually, it is well known that RFID technology has also been compromised (the most common in key chips). A determined attacker can purchase specialized equipment that can read and replay RFID cards.

There is already a solution: chip in the key!!

The electronic combinations are 3-4 times more expensive. For instance, a mechanical cylinder lock and keys costs circa 100-200$ in Switzerland, a combination of such system with electronics is in the 700-1000$ range. Do you want to be the one to pay because the lock manufactures did not deliver a secure mechanical solution? It is unfair that you pay for their under-performance.

My keys have magnets that cannot be copied.

Correct, but do you like magnets next to your credit cards and mobile phones? Furthermore, it is an expensive option and we believe that this is not the best solution.

My next lock will be operated through my mobile phone.

That solution exists since years, it is very cool and convenient. But it is neither reliable nor secure. Nobody believes that a phone is secure. Also think about the battery on the lock and on your phone. There is nothing that pisses off a customer more that not being able to get into his own house.
That is why 90% of locks sold worldwide are mechanical.

I am sure the 3D printed copy will break in the lock.

They do not, we have done it for 7 high security locks and the duplicates do not break.

I do not care if people copy my keys.

Fair enough. At UrbanAlps we help people who care about their security and their family. We want keys to be secure again, we want lockers at train stations to be safe again, we want people to feel safe while they are sleeping at home.

So what should I do about my keys?

1st step is to be aware that your keys can now be easily copied.

What do Insurance companies say about keys being easily copied?

We have met with them and shown our duplication studies. They confirmed that key duplication by the masses is a real issue that can change many things: did I leave the door open or was my key duplicated?
Most importantly they would adjust their rates for customers with un-duplicatable keys.

How does your solution work?

It is very simple: for centuries keys have had external security features, what we do is to place some of them inside. The Stealth key is an additively manufactured metallic key which hides most of its mechanical security features internally – rendering the key un-scannable. A patent pending key that cannot be duplicated. It is a purely mechanical solution that is very hard to copy. It uses no magnets and no electronics.

Being the Stealth key a hollow key I fear it might break when you drop it

No, it will not break. It is a metallic key with more than 99% density. Newest airplane engines from GE have similar 3D printed metallic parts inside.

How about dirt clogging the cavity, will it still work?

Yes, it still works. We have done many dirt tests and designed the key interior to be self-cleaning with operation.

What is the price of your solution?

 Ref. price 300€ cylinder + Stealth keys (the price is volume dependent). The price range is similar as other systems but which plays in a superior league.

When will I be able to buy your security systems?

We will do our product launch at Intersec 2017. We plan to arrive to certain European countries by 2017-2018.

How will I then get duplicates of your key?

At your local locksmith with a similar ID-card procedure as current systems.

Is your cylinder lock compatible with my door?

Our current products are based on the Swiss cylinder profile and also the European profile. However, we plan to adapt to more markets later on.