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Optical Centre Punch any good?

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Mark Gould 113/12/2018 13:35:11
141 forum posts
92 photos

Gents,

I have to ask for a Christmas gift and thought of asking for an Optcal Centre Punch. Are these any good? Pros and cons? Any things to look for, brand etc?

Thanks,

Mark

geoff adams13/12/2018 13:56:05
128 forum posts
144 photos

been looking for one now my eyes are going used to have one in the tool room at work where have you seen them

Geoff

Swarf, Mostly!13/12/2018 14:06:52
498 forum posts
41 photos

Hi there, Mark and Geoff,

I have the Soba version of the optical centre punch. I felt it was a bit of an indulgence when I bought it but I have found that it enables me to achieve a precision that I couldn't manage with the naked eye.

You'll look at it and wonder how on earth there'll be enough light at the bottom of the optic to illuminate your scribed lines but, somehow, there always is. You do need to look DOWN it though, I don't know how one could use it on vertical or inverted surfaces.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Brian Wood13/12/2018 14:14:09
2008 forum posts
37 photos

Mark and Geoff,

I manage pretty well with a cheap magnifying glass and lean the point of the punch over so that you can see when it is actually on the crossing point of the layout lines; hold it down at that stage and carefully bring it upright before punching the mark

A fine tip to an auto punch will do well, to be followed by a heavier one if the mark needs to be deepened.

As for grinding a new point, try holding the punch in a power drill, making sure it runs reasonably true and put a new point on from the side of the wheel. I am right handed so I run the drill in reverse and use the right hand side of the wheel. A good light is helpful.

Regards

Brian

Maurice13/12/2018 14:25:13
445 forum posts
50 photos

I have had one for years. I wouldn't be without it. I can't remember the make, but the body of it is shaped like an inverted bucket and has an "O" ring set in the underside to prevent slipping. I did try one that had a larger body with an inner piece that rotated to change from lens to punch. I found that one too cumbersome.

Regards

Maurice

Mark Gould 113/12/2018 14:36:44
141 forum posts
92 photos

Thanks for the speedy replies gents, i share the hobby with my Dad who is 76 so I think I’ll ask Santa to pick one up.

@Geoff, I am based in the Netherlands and have seen them on Hogetex.nl but I just googled and found that Axminster amd Warco sell them too. Also you could try eBay.

Vic13/12/2018 14:46:30
2329 forum posts
12 photos

There was an article in MEW showing how to make your own for those so inclined. We had a bought one at work and it was very good.

Hillclimber13/12/2018 14:57:03
avatar
156 forum posts
34 photos

Yes. Yes. Yes.

As a younger fellow my eyes may have been better. But this is the only way I can now be sure of hitting the mark.

I see that Warco are out of stock, but they were selling them at £28. This is the kind I have.

Cheers, Colin

JasonB13/12/2018 15:02:13
avatar
Moderator
16528 forum posts
1759 photos
1 articles

Although I tend to do a lot less marking out now I have the DRO on the mill I still like my optical punch for things that matter, my Veritas one was a Christmas gift some time ago. Should be available from UK woodwork suppliers.

Peter Simpson 113/12/2018 15:04:25
118 forum posts
4 photos

I have the Soba version. I need to use a jewelers loupe with it. Brilliant and very accurate.

Richard Marks13/12/2018 16:12:55
184 forum posts
8 photos

Had the Axminster Tools version for over 10 years and it does the job.

John Reese13/12/2018 21:03:49
798 forum posts

I've had one for probaby 40 years. It works beautifully. The base on mine is faced with cork. It hold its position nicely when switching from optic to punch. I wouldn't recommend one without the cork face. I have not used mine much lately as I do most of my layout using the DRO on the mill.

NZreg13/12/2018 21:37:40
18 forum posts

+1 for Veritas, made by a Canadian company the lens magnifies the cross hairs 8 times making it very easy to put the centre in the correct place.

Marcus Bowman13/12/2018 23:33:18
162 forum posts

I have the same kind as John. Works well. I made some punches with finer points to use in it, as I am used to using a 'pricker' punch. I generally try to avoid having to centre punch anything, but when I need it, the OCP is within arm's length on the corner of the shelf above the bench. I wouldn't be without it.

Marcus

the artfull-codger14/12/2018 02:04:46
avatar
241 forum posts

I have a dankroy and wouldn't be without it, not sure if they still make them but they are really good, for rough work I use an automatic punch then a good whack with a hammer and punch. I also have a hobbies archamedian drill with home forged spade bits made from silver steel hardened and ground to 59 degrees and a few twists and the drill starts spot on (tubal cains idea) TD Walshaw not the American one.

Emgee14/12/2018 05:49:01
1267 forum posts
210 photos

Plus 1 for the Dankroy although I don't use mine all that often, as said DRO saves a lot of marking out.
Unfortunately the maker of these retired a couple or so years ago so only second hand units available.

Emgee

Edited By Emgee on 14/12/2018 05:51:22

thaiguzzi14/12/2018 06:26:23
avatar
597 forum posts
131 photos
Posted by Vic on 13/12/2018 14:46:30:

There was an article in MEW showing how to make your own for those so inclined. We had a bought one at work and it was very good.

Indeed. Made my own, not difficult, nice little weekend project, just have to find the raw materials, ie a short length of perspex rod.

XD 35114/12/2018 06:47:47
avatar
1362 forum posts
118 photos

On mine i found the cross hairs were not on centre so if i turn the acrylic rod they wobble around the centre punch mark , not much though probable a few thou so i just average it out . The do type is spot on and one day i might make a new acrylic rod with accurately centred cross hairs . I also made a simple optical cenre device for the mill , i got the plans through a guy that made some videos for the mini lathe and mill called swarfrat but it was a while ago and not sure if he is still selling them . It works ok but in reality no mre accurate than the pointer on a wobbler .

IanT14/12/2018 09:36:21
1362 forum posts
137 photos

I use my Dankroy for any accurate centre punching. The case is getting a little grubby from handling but it still works very well (you have to take care to look straight down over it) - especially as my eyesight is not as good as it was.

As Emgee say's the maker is no longer in business - which is a pity, as it is a quality product. Another case of where at the time (20 years or so ago) I do recall it seemed an expensive purchase but now (many years later) I can't remember the actual cost....

Regards,

IanT

Hopper14/12/2018 10:07:36
avatar
3774 forum posts
79 photos

Being blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other, I do mine by braille. A fine pointed prick punch can be felt to drop into one scribed line, then pull it along the line until you feel the point hit the other line THEN just a click more as it crosses the burr on the edge of the scribed line and drops into the valley of the line proper. The fine punch makes a fine dot of course, so usually is followed up with a larger punch before drilling starts. Like most things, practice makes perfect. ( Well almost perfect, well most of the time...)

It helps greatly to have a good quality, sharp scriber that cuts a clean line into the metal below the marking blue.

Edited By Hopper on 14/12/2018 10:09:45

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