Hole punches are used to create design, functional holes and to prepare a piece of material for the next step in the production process. The holes vary as well, some functioning as places through which to thread another material while others are decorative embellishments on the material. The materials vary as well. Cloth, metal, leather and wood are all materials that holes are punched through. One of the biggest concerns is how to maintain the hole diameter during punching. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do it.
Use the proper punches or dies. The hole are created using a short spike-like tool called a punch or a short piece that looks like a drill-bit called a die. Choose the tool that best suits the material you are working with to maintain the hole diameter while punching.
Keep the punches sharpened. Dull tools do not make a clean, defined strike through the material. They create a ragged edge that resembles a tear. Use sharpened punches and dies to avoid ragged perforations.
Inspect the tools to catch problems before punching. Catch the dull tools, broken or weaks ones before punching to help maintain hole diameter during the process. Lubricate the machinery as needed to also help make the punching a seamless action.
Score prior to punching. For some materials, you may nee to break the surface before punching. This helps keep the punch on track without sacrificing the material. Score materials like leather fabrics and some metal projects for clean holes.
Use the proper punching machinery. A punch press is used on many materials, while some artists use a hand punch and very small ball peen hammer. Decide on the machinery to use for your project before starting to avoid delays and oversized holes during punching.
Stabilize the material. No matter what material you use, it must be stabilized while punching to maintain hole diameter. Use the punch press, clamps or a slip resistant surface to use in your punching project.
Todd Bryson, “Producing Holes In Tubing,” The Tube and Pipe Journal.
“Punching Titanium,” Canadian Industrial Machinery Magazine.
“Web Offset Printing,” Dynodan Print Solutions.