What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

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vw1262
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What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by vw1262 »

I've done a bit of research into various things used to punch holes in steel for riveting. I've come across a lot of options, such as:

1. using a hand punch (whitney no. 5 jr seems to be popular)
2. using a (center?) punch, where u just a screwdriver looking tool into the steel (not sure what this is called)
3. just using a drill

There are some others but these seem to be the most common. Was wondering what you guys use/recommend? The hand punch seems nice but it is a bit pricey.
Indianer
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Indianer »

The secret to drills is getting the right bits and those in good quality. Use HSSE with golden coating, or bare as HSSE rarely comes coated. Black coating is usually applied to HSS-R, which are...not made to last. It's the cheap solution for the home improvement guy. MicDrop.
Kindyr
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Kindyr »

I'm not aware of a center punch that does make a hole. center punches generally leave a divot in the material to keep a drill from walking. there is an automatic center punch that is spring loaded where you just push the tool against the material, and it will trigger as if a normal center punch was struck with a hammer.
there are also some who use a punch and a hammer to drive a hole through the material, but that isn't hand operated.

I like my punches(roper #2 and #8 for thicker stuff), but a drill is usually more convenient, and my last few pieces needed lots of holes, so I used a drill press.
vw1262
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by vw1262 »

Thanks for the responses. I think I'll invest in some nicer drill bits possibly and a cheap set of center punches to get this going. Will save me a bit of money.
Indianer
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Indianer »

Oh, when still bits wear down they get off- center. It is the off- center bit that starts wandering. Find a way to sharpen them yourself.

Expensive bits are often enough hssg. Don't trust vendors blindly.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Mark D. Chapman »

Using a R&W number 5 punch with a 1/8" die is far faster than drilling.
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Indianer
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Indianer »

Would anyone know the German counterpart to a Whitney punch?
Mark D. Chapman
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Mark D. Chapman »

Do a search on Amazon.de on "roper and whitney punch. I immediately found this one: it is the number 5 which I use the most. Sometimes it is handy to have one with a longer jaw reach as well.
https://www.amazon.de/-/en/02612A/dp/B0 ... r=8-2&th=1
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by wcallen »

A punch is fast. My first one has lasted for decades.
You will always end up with some holes where the punch just won't reach, so you will end up needing a drill anyway. I use cobalt bits.

Wade
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Ckanite
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Ckanite »

I use a Whitney punch. I've had it for almost 20 years. Used it to punch god knows how many rivet holes... used it as a nibbler on a few pierce work guards to bulk out most of the material... good paper weight... Only problem is the throat depth. Even with a punch to do 90% of what you need, you'll still need a decent drillbit... and buy 3 at a time.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Mac »

A Roper Whitney punch is a really good investment. The knock-offs do not last as long.

Drilling is slower and inherently more dangerous. A knee lame spinning around on a drill is no joke. Sure, you will "always secure the work".... but realistically, you won't. Even when the work is secured so it will not spin, a "catch" can easily break a drill bit. I've had a piece of broken drill bit stick into my skin. You can laugh that off when it's only your arm; but since then I've been very careful to keep my face out out of the likely path of fragments.

In any case, the rule is to "punch when you can, and drill when you have to".

Mac
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Ckanite
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Ckanite »

Mac, there's other dangers besides exploding bits as well. I almost snapped my wrist drilling a few larger holes... though I do have a stronger drill than most... then there's over drillilng...straight into your leg. lol Whitney punch is really the best option when it can be used. Very hard to hurt yourself, unless you drop it. They're fairly cheap as well. Mine only cost about $50
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by izirath »

So is there a good alternative to the roper whitney punch available in Europe? And what sort of punch is it you use? I imagine it must be a bench mounted one since a handheld won't be strong enough?
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Kindyr »

Here is an amazon link for the one I see most commonly used
https://www.amazon.com/Roper-Whitney-No ... CcQAvD_BwE

That price is spendy, and you can get them elsewhere likely significantly cheaper. But that was good for style.
There should also be knock offs available through the european equivelant of Harbor Freight.
The #5 handles a lot of the work. if you are punching into thicker materials, #2 or #8 used to be the recommended. there is also the XX which has the same punch power as the #5, but a deeper throat. many people built bench mounts or clamp them into vises to hold the punch while punching.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Indianer »

Our Chinese knock-offs have abysmal customer feedback, not worth the headache. I haven't found a worthy equivalent to Whitney 5.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Ckanite »

Not sure about alternatives. The style I use is the handheld version. I think it's the XX. If I'm doing a BUNCH of holes, I chuck it in a bench vise, but I usually just use it one handed. It's heavy but not THAT bad once you get used to it. If you anticipate using it more than 1 hour per week a few weeks out of the year though, I'd get the larger version. Has to be mounted but it'll save your arms.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Kristoffer »

izirath wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2024 4:30 am So is there a good alternative to the roper whitney punch available in Europe? And what sort of punch is it you use? I imagine it must be a bench mounted one since a handheld won't be strong enough?
I have bought mine from Ebay and from Trick Tools in the US. I can always buy another so if you want to split shipping let me know.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by John Vernier »

I thought it might be useful to post a comparison of the Roper Whitney Nr.5 Jr. punch with their No. XX.
Image
The XX has a much larger throat, reaching up to 85mm deep, which makes it more versatile than the Nr. 5, but that said the Nr. 5 is adequate for the great majority of work, and is a lot less unwieldy in use.
I bought my XX used on Ebay and had to find the 1/8" punch set separately. Roper Whitney sells it with a set of different size punches, all of which are too large to be useful for armor (at least as I see it). I believe they will sell individual punches in many sizes other than those included in box sets. I have found used XXs and Nr. 5s are plentiful on Ebay in America, and sometimes individual punch sets as well.

Note that the XX punches are not compatible with the Nr. 5, and I think they are also not compatible with the various larger punches that Roper Whitney makes. They seem to be unique to the XX.

Also note that although the XX has a deeper throat than the Nr. 5, the lever arm is not much longer, and so it is no easier to punch through thick metal. Some of the larger punches they make or used to make (like the Nr.2 or Nr. 7), have much longer arms and so give much better leverage, but I think those don't have the throat capacity of the XX.
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by James Arlen Gillaspie »

I have punched tens of thousands of holes with my #5 Juniors, and only very rarely have to drill anything. The real #5s will go through 0.080" inch thick steel with the smaller sizes, up to 3/16". You will rarely need a bigger hole than that for accurately made armour. Be sure and oil the punches and dies every now and again; it makes extracting the punch much easier. The XX is an excellent investment, in my opinion, as it makes drilling very infrequent indeed. A trick to punching through very thick metal is to back out the die so it is not possible to punch through, then tighten the die a quarter turn or so, punch again (keep the punch down! Do not retract it!), and keep doing this till you punch through. You can tell I really don't like drilling, but when I do, I use pilot point drill bits. They don't often walk. Be sure and use cutting fluid. Don't use them on jobs where they might snag. https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Tita ... /202279644
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Re: What do you use to punch holes in your plates?

Post by Mark D. Chapman »

I have both the XX and the #5. I will say that I use the number 5 most of the time because it is lighter and easier to use one handed. The XX is really good when you need a deeper throat, but I usually lock it into a vice due to the weight.

Mark
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