Punch Those Hole-Drilling Blues Away With A Homebrew Punching Tool

Four times the holes, four times the trouble. With the fate of repetitive motion injury looming due to the need to drill 1,200 holes, [bitluni] took matters into his own hands and built this nifty DIY hole punch for light-gauge sheet metal.

A little backstory will probably help understand why [bitluni] needs so many holes. Back in May, he built a ping pong ball LED video wall for Maker Faire Berlin. That had 300 LEDs and came out great, but at the cost of manually drilling 300 holes in sheet steel with a hand drill. Looking to expand his wall of balls to four times the original size, [bitluni] chose to spend a few days building a punch to make the job more appealing. The business end, with solid bar stock nested inside pieces of tubing, is a great example of how much you can get done without a lathe. The tool is quite complex, with a spring-loaded pilot to help guide the punching operation. When that proved impractical, [bitluni] changed the tool design and added an internal LED to project crosshairs from inside the tool.

The tool itself is mounted into a sturdy welded steel frame that allows him to cover the whole aluminum sheet that will form the panel of his LED wall. It’s pretty impressive metalwork, especially considering this isn’t exactly in his wheelhouse. And best of all, it works – nice, clean holes with no deformation, and it’s fast, too. We’re looking forward to seeing the mega-LED wall when it’s done.

6 thoughts on “Punch Those Hole-Drilling Blues Away With A Homebrew Punching Tool

  1. I like his enthusiasm. (c:

    I wouldn’t rely too much on just fusion welds for load bearing appliances, though. Still, well done.

    P.S.: 6061 and TOT are good. Weldingtipsandtricks (Jody Collier) and Kanekid Welds (Russell Kane) are another two I watch for TIG welding.

  2. Very nice idea, and even though executed without a lathe, well done nonetheless. Really impressed by how clean the punched hole is.

    A very cool use of precision wall tube, and I really like how he integrated an aiming LED and rudimentary crosshair inside.

    Sheet metal punching like this is definitely a pita if you have to do a lot of repetitive holes, I applaud his effort, idea and enthusiasm. I may have to make one of these myself.

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