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A nifty little tool I made----

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  • A nifty little tool I made----

    Last week when I was making the two part valve housing for the hit and miss air/steam engine, I found that I had a terrible air leak between the upper and lower half of the valve housing. I had some gasket material left over from a carburetor rebuild, but the question came up---How the heck do I put in 1/8" diameter holes for the three #5-40 screws that hold the valve body together. I took a peice of 1/4" mild steel rod and chucked it up in my lathe, then used a 5/16" drill bit in the tailstock mounted chuck to drill a "cone" into the end of the rod. Then I turned that same end down to 1/8" diameter. Then I layed the gasket material on my mini anvil and positioned the punch over the area where I had marked the holes. One whack with the hammer and it cut a perfect 1/8" circle out of the gasket material. then I used the sharp end of my scribing tool to dig the peice of gasket out of the end of the punch (It comes out very easy) and finished the other holes. A very cheap and effective way to punch perfect holes.----Brian
    Brian Rupnow
    Design engineer
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada

  • #2
    Brian, It's amazing what useful tools wad punches are, especially when it comes to making gaskets. This afternoon I had to make up an aluminium head gasket for a 2stroke trials bike. The gasket is just a simple ring but at locations 90* apart on the periphery are scalloped cut outs to allow th gasket to clear the locating dowels on the head. With a thicker flat sheet of ally as my anvil and the correct punch size job was done in 2 minutes.

    The bike is running now, just have to tweak the carb a bit.
    West Sussex UK


    • #3
      Cheap material source

      Enco has had their transfer punch set on sale recently. I needed to make a special depriming punch for a friend and thought that using one punch out of one of these sets would leave me some working stock. I now may make a set of the gasket punches. I like having the right tool for the job at hand. Good timely post for a simple usefull tool. The older better built Grommet instalation kits had a hole punch included. The newer versions don't but need them. One of these punches is destined to reside in that kit.
      Byron Boucher
      Burnet, TX


      • #4
        Far be it from me to discourage anyone from making anything. I tend to apply my own situation (never enough time) to others. However, I have to say....rather than making gasket punches from HF stuff, why not just go buy gasket punches at HF? I have two types. One is a smallish set maybe designed for leather that goes maybe from 1/8" to maybe 7/16 or so.'s the first set...I bought it on sale for a few dollars.

        The second set for larger holes I could not find on the HF site for some reason even though that's where I got it. It's a bit like this one:

        I think I paid maybe $15 for it once. both sets benefitted immensely from a gentle sharpening on a 400 grit belt on my 1" belt sander (another cheap HF item that has been really handy).

        Last edited by pcarpenter; 06-29-2009, 03:56 PM.
        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #5
          On a job i have been engaged on for a couple of months now, I have had to turn out a number of gaskets, made of card, and fairly thick brown paper, I have had a good deal of success, by setting up a portion of silver steel (drill rod) in the three jaw, face end, and use the appropriate size of centre drill to form the end, on the various sizes of punches.
          When punching out my gaskets, i find that by using some pieces of hard nylon rod, which i recieved as scrap, i can place the little covers on top of the nylon with the gasket material underneath, and punch through,
          By using the nylon it saves my punches from getting burred over, and also, if my cover has a spigot underneath (Say a cylinder cover) then a matching recess can be cut out in the nylon to accomodate, And later on machined away in readiness for the next task.


          • #6
            I agree on the HF comment. I have acquired (inherited several, flea market, etc) a variety of "good quality" hole punches in the major sizes, but purchased the HF set to fill in the blanks.

            If I needed it now and didn't have one, I wouldn't hesitate to make one, and it is very satisfying to do so. Heck, I made a hole punch for my 2T arbor press about a month ago. My daughter had an art project for school where she needed to make a sort of custom binding for a portfolio. Normal hole punch wouldn't touch this in size or ability to punch a uniform hole through the entire stack at once. Worked very well. She was all worried about getting a nice result, but while using it (with square modified as fixture/locater/incremental-stop) she was grinning from ear to ear; made my day... But for general use, as cheap as the HF set sells, it wouldn't really be worth the time to make these.
            Master Floor Sweeper


            • #7
              Well done Brian!

              FWIW, HF is out of the question for Brian, IIRC, he's North of the Medicine line in Contrario, Canuckistan.

              Unless the tool store is across the street, making his own is a faster and probably less expensive solution to the immediate need than running to the tool store or waiting for a visit from the brown UPS truck or Canpar or...

              Even in Cowtown, this type of stuff is getting harder to come by. House of Tools is in receivership and Busy Bee is only open 8 to 5 making it hard to get to for those of us who live out of town or have to work for a living.

              Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


              • #8

                I have several lead disk 5" dia X 1" thick I use to lay gasket material on.

                Really saves the cutting edge.
                Gary Davison
                Tarkio, Mo.