October '21

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8 0 G R A P H I C S P R O O C T O B E R 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G S H O P T A L K | R I C K W I L L I A M S S ome of our best and most prof- itable jobs are actually when we produce our smallest products. Simple, repetitive signs and tags, most- ly made of light-gauge aluminum, tend to work well for us. But, whether 2" X 2" in size, or five times that large, usually we will have to put holes in our work, and this task may involve a lot of them, which can be tedious, to say the least. Drilling these holes is out of the ques- tion, both for time concerns and the ac- tual finished quality of the product. So, we have several sheet metal hole punch- ers of a couple of types. We've modified some of them quite a bit so they will do a better and faster job of these hole- punching tasks. In this month's Shop Talk, we take a look at some of the modified punch- ing tools, including a recently modified one now sporting a machined surface to support the work and the ability to use stops or guides to make repetitive work easy. We'll also review some of the other punch tools we use regularly and have modified in simple yet helpful ways that assist in making signs and tag finishing tasks easier, faster, and more accurate. The simplest alteration to basic hand punchers is simply making a solid base for them to sit on top of a worktable stably, and it is just a one-handed opera- tion to punch hole after hole. The first set of photos shows a simple version of this made from three pieces of 2" X 2" X 1/8" angle iron. The flat-sided shape of that punch allowed it to be bolted to its base with just two 1/8" diameter bolts 1.5" long. Other bases we've made required a cradle of sorts made for the lower han- dle, and the small U-bolts secure the punch to its base. The tool I recently modified was a basic hand puncher, which already had a tabletop base we'd made for it. But it needed a machined surface PUNCH LIKE A PRO MODIFIED HOLE PUNCHES SAVE TIME AND EFFORT Above: Some of our best jobs are in making our smallest products, but the tedious job of hole punching in small tags and signs must be addressed. Right: We modify nearly all our sheet metal punchers, and the basic modification is making a base for them so punching becomes a one-hand operation. (All images courtesy Rick Williams)

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