Punches are indentation tools. If you strike the blunt head of this narrow shaft with a hammer, the opposing end of the tool creates an indented mark in a metal workpiece. To look at it, a punch is obviously manufactured from an equally rigid metal. It’s shaped a little like a pen, but the business end doesn’t discharge ink. Instead, a signature striking point stamps an impression on hard metal.
Punching a Signature Strike
There are many different types of indenting rods available. They centre punch or drift punch, pin punch or prick punch. Used to prep a drill hole or simply to add reference marks to a sheet metal surface, this tool family has a place in every toolbox and workshop bench. Let’s check out some of the different types and their uses.
The Time-Tested Centre Punch
Have you ever tried to drill a hole in a polished sheet of steel? You let the drill bit contact the metal, then it skates off to one side. Centre punches are pointed, so they make large circular indentations. Use one as a prepping tool. Now, try that drill again. The drill bit locks against the punch mark and the hole is made without issue. Equipped with a knurled rod, this grip-easy tool stops your drill from wandering.
What is A Pin Punch?
The pointed end is gone, so this punch obviously isn’t an indenting instrument. No, you pick up a pin punch when a small metal shaft is trapped in a hole. If a rusty chain has a trapped pin joining its linkages, the pin punch knocks that little shaft free. There’s also a larger version of this tool, a variant called a drive punch. Used to force out damaged fasteners and rivets, this punch type makes short work of disassembly projects.
Introducing the Drift Punch
Or maybe it should be labelled the anti-drift tool, for this member of the punch family is designed to align fastener holes. Using the tapered profile, you gently hammer this punch into the holes until they’re properly aligned and prepped for the fastener, be it a rivet or a bolt. By the way, that tapered body can also be used to widen the aligned holes.
The punch tool family portfolio is massive. For instance, there’s a prick punch, a tool that’s used to stamp reference marks on metal surfaces. If your plan is drawn on paper, this punch enables the transference of that outline. Then there are self-centring punches and punch sets, plus punches that are intended for wood. These tools really do adapt to serve any conceivable role.