As 3D printing evolves, it expands into more and more areas of business as companies and inventors come up with new ideas to create technology to simplify their work. Like the musical instruments we reported on this week, 3D printing is now emerging in another industry: locksmiths.
KeyMe is a new company that calls itself a digital key storage company. Partnering with the 3D printing marketplace Shapeways, they will make it possible for consumers to print keys out of brass or highly durable plastics. They are offering an app for your mobile device that lets you scan your key and store that scan in the cloud. When you find that you need a new key, you can pay $60 to have KeyMe retrieve your scan, print you a new key, and have it delivered to you in just one hour. If you live in Manhattan, you can even take advantage of the limited number of kiosks they are setting up in select 7-Eleven stores and Bed, Bath & Beyond locations.
While $60 might seem like a steep price for a new key, the target audience for this product are people who find themselves locked out without a key. Normally, in that situation, the only recourse would be to call a locksmith and spend $200 getting into your house. Compared with that, $60 and an hour wait seems pretty reasonable.
KeyMe is adding another layer of service in their partnership with Shapeways. Using the service, the scan key can be retrieved by the customer and printed at home on their own 3D printer. No more trips to the hardware store to get duplicate keys made. With KeyMe and Shapeways, and of course, a 3D printer, you can produce your own keys at home. This might not seem that practical for the individual home owner because you’re not going to need that many keys, but think about apartment complexes and large office buildings that need to replace tenant keys regularly.
The founder of KeyMe, Greg Marsh, is excited to bring a new innovation to the $5 billion dollar a year locksmith industry. Marsh said recently that “this is an industry that’s been long-forgotten by the tech industry,” and he clearly hopes to turn that situation around. KeyMe is already off to a great start having raised $2.3 million for the initial setup and operations.