3D-Printed Punch and Die Stand up to Steel

When you think of machine tooling, what comes to mind might be an endmill made of tungsten carbide or a punch and die made of high-speed steel. But surely there’s no room in the machine tool world for 3D-printed plastic tools, especially for the demanding needs of punching parts from sheet metal.

As it turns out, it is possible to make a 3D-printed punch and die set that will stand up to repeated use in a press brake. [Phil Vickery] decided to push the tooling envelope to test this, and came away pleasantly surprised by the results. In fairness, the die he used ended up being more of a composite between the carbon-fiber nylon filament and some embedded metal to reinforce stress points in the die block. It looks like the punch is just plastic, though, and both were printed on a Markforged Mark 2, a printer specifically designed for high-strength parts. The punch and die set were strong enough to form 14-gauge sheet steel in a press brake, which is pretty impressive. The tool wasn’t used to cut the metal; the blanks were precut with a laser before heading to the press. But still, having any 3D-printed tool stand up to metal opens up possibilities for rapid prototyping and short production runs.

No matter what material you make your tooling out of, there’s a lot to know about bending metal. Check out the basics in our guide to the art and science of bending metal.

Continue reading “3D-Printed Punch and Die Stand up to Steel”

Music Box Plays “Still Alive” Thanks to Automated Hole Puncher

Custom hole punch and feed system

Most projects have one or two significant aspects in which custom work or clever execution is showcased, but this Music Box Hole Punching Machine by [Josh Sheldon] and his roommate [Matt] is a delight on many levels. Not only was custom hardware made to automate punching holes in long spools of paper for feeding through a music box, but a software front end to process MIDI files means that in a way, this project is really a MIDI-to-hand-cranked-music-box converter. What a time to be alive.

The hole punch is an entirely custom-made assembly, and as [Josh] observes, making a reliable hole punch turns out to be extremely challenging. Plenty of trial and error was involved, and the project’s documentation as well as an overview video go into plenty of detail. Don’t miss the music box version of “Still Alive”, either. Both are embedded below.

Continue reading “Music Box Plays “Still Alive” Thanks to Automated Hole Puncher”

Punching accelerometers

Shortly after finishing his Makiwara punching bag, [Abieneman] wired and programmed an Arduino to an accelerometer to find out just how much acceleration (and with some math, force) is behind his punches. The project is simple and would be quick to reproduce for your own measuring and experiments: all that he used included an Arduino, accelerometer (with A/D converter), LED displays (and shift register). We were a little disappointed to learn of how much static the accelerometer produced, so measuring things such as impulse, energy, and pretty much anything not kinematic is nullified. But it makes us wonder, how much static would be in say, a Wii Remote punching bag?

Punchy Punchout, improved

[Sam] submitted this fun project, a Punchout interface that you actually punch. If you recall, we’ve done a Punchout interface that you punch, but this one takes it a step further. Instead of being a blob on a desk that you’re mashing around, the new one is a Slam Man boxing dummy. They’ve mounted the buttons on different areas of the dummy so you can punch him to completely control the game. As you can see in the video, it seems to work ok, though we doubt the buttons will hold up very long under those conditions. They do say that this is just to hold them over till the Wii version, so maybe those buttons will last just long enough.

Punchy punchout controller

punchy_mcpunchpunch

We love alternative inputs. They can revitalize an old classic or add a twist to most any mundane task. Here, we see a perfect example where the game Punch Out for the NES is being controlled by a punching bag type thing. The impact sensors were made by hand, and wired to a PC game pad. They were mounted on some foam, allowing for a nice mushy punching surface.  There’s some feedback too, when your character is hit, a custom script detects the change in the sprites color and sends a signal to an Arduino. Right now, it just lights an LED, but the goal is to signal a strobe to make you flinch. This looks like it would be fun to play with, especially if you were to make it a little more high impact.  You can see a video of them lightly assaulting it after the break.

Continue reading “Punchy punchout controller”