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Optical Center Punch & Hole Ruler (using 8D Nails)

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3D model description

This is an inexpensive visual center punch that lines up with measurement lines and makes it fairly easy to strike accurate, centered punches. It also has additional ruled posts that permit you to strike additional spaced punch marks with 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1, 1 1/8, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4 or 2" spacings. The post shafts are designed to fit a standard 8D nail, which is used as the actual punch (or two nails if you want multiple holes that are spaced accurately).

To use the tool, just mark your material with cross hair measurement lines, align the tool with the cross hairs (making sure the base is flat to the surface), insert the 8D nail and tap it with a hammer to strike the marking. If you need an additional hole with one of the above spacings, keep the first nail in the first center punch indentation and punch a second nail at the desired spacing (this is harder to describe than it is to actually do). For the three wider spacings, you will need to re-center the nail in the first indentation, but in a wider post (Ex. 3/4" post to 1/14" post = 2" spacing).

Note: the actual printed version in the photos has the raised fraction text painted yellow to aid with visibility (I need reading glasses); also, I added reinforcements between the posts to the included 3D object file to help make the base more rigid, without using a lot of additional filament.

FYI, I was looking at a video showing how cool optical center punches are (for those of us who are occasionally a little OCD), but they are expensive. This got me thinking about designing some type of center punch that makes aligning the holes easier, but which is not expensive. This is what I came up with. I started with just the one center punch with cross hairs, but then it occurred to me that by adding additional measurement posts, I could make a combination center punch and hole ruler. I have no idea if anything similar exists. It is kind of an experimental tool.

  • 3D file format: STL
  • 3D model size: X 90.9 × Y 71.4 × Z 31.8 mm
  • Publication date: 2020/10/05 at 13:16



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I design things when I need a part that I can't find easily elsewhere. I guess you could say that I am a pragmatic designer, but I do enjoy taking an idea from a need to a finished working solution. It is also gratifying when my creations can benefit other people. Hopefully, they will be of some help.



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