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If the metal is hard enough, the drill bit or self-drilling screwdriver can easily slip from the intended point, and in such a situation, you cannot avoid a major scratch or even a broken drill bit.

To prevent this from happening, it is customary to make holes or core holes, and there is a special tool for that – the center punch!

Any locksmith operation is preceded by marking the part with lines and reference points deepened into the metal surface. The former are performed with scribes, and for drawing the latter there is a special marking tool – the center punch.

What is a center punch, and what is it for?

The center punch is a hand-held locksmith’s, percussion-cutting tool designed for marking center holes (cores) for initial drill placement and other visual markings.

The center punch can be referred to as a group of locksmith’s tools because drill holes are usually made on metal, tile, polished or any other smooth surface.

Using a center punch prevents the drill from slipping on the material and helps achieve greater accuracy in positioning the holes. The center punch bit is a round rod. In conventional center punches, the marking point (core) is applied by hitting it with a hammer, while mechanical automatic corers use a spring and a hammer for this purpose. Such a tool has a more complex design, but has high accuracy and gives the possibility to work with one hand. In addition to the spring ones, there are automatic electric and pneumatic coring devices. Specialized coring tool allows automatic alignment on the same type of parts or cylindrical surfaces.

Types of center punches

In addition to the manual version of this tool, there are other varieties.

The center punch-curler

in addition to the clear core-curling along the circumference from the set (and core-curved) center, allows making the core at a pre-set distance from the edge of the workpiece, which is convenient if there should be a lot of such cores. Besides, the foot can be exchanged for a simple extender device, and, again, the necessary distance from the edge can be set off, reducing the number of lines for marking.
The bell jig is designed primarily for jigging spherical surfaces. Mounted on a ball, it perfectly self-aligns on its top, which is why it is also called a centroid. The baseline can be a circle outlined on its skirt. It is also easy to core the centers of the ends of cylindrical shapes with the centroid, if the diameters fit, of course.

The mechanical spring-center punch

allows you to core with one hand, it is only important to set it strictly perpendicular and not to change this position by pressure. Among its advantages is also the same depth of the obtained cores. And the possibility to adjust the force makes it possible to work even with fragile or soft materials without fear of damaging them. Another important factor is the apparent increase in coring speed.

Electric center punch

In the electric center punch, an induction coil retracts the spring-loaded striker. Everything else is very similar to the mechanical version of the tool.

Center Punch - The Best Choice

Neiko Automatic Center Hole Punch

 4,9 Rating

Neiko 5" Automatic Center Hole Punch


  • Chrome-plated shank body.
  • Hard steel awl tip.
  • Knurled non-slip surface.
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The Neiko Center Punch is designed for punching, marking, scribing, and staking. The adjustable cap regulates striking force. Suitable for a variety of tasks, from construction to automotive; can be used as an awl for belts or glass window breaker for car safety.

Neiko 5″ Automatic Center Hole Punch – Video

Buyer’s guide for a center punch

This review and guide provide information on the best center punch for drainage you can find.

There are quite a few manufacturers of center punches on the market, and the prices vary greatly. From a pure price point of view, the type of center punch can be priced from $20 to $180.

Center punch for the money

best center punch

Punches: types, applications, and features

A puncher is a tool designed for making holes in metal, leather, cardboard, and other thin sheet materials. It has a sharpened edge, thanks to which it plunges into the surface, creating a hole with perfect geometry. The result of working with such a tool. The result from the work of such a tool looks better than in the case of a drill or awl.

Leather Punching Tools

The vast majority of piercers are used by leatherworkers. Such tools are used for various types of work when preparing leather before sewing it. The fact is that such material has a great rigidity, so a significant part of the manipulations on its processing is possible to carry out only with the use of punches.

Such a tool can be used not only in case of work with leather, but and tarpaulin, leatherette, denim and other types of dense fabric.

The punches used by leatherworkers come in:

  • Stitching
  • Revolving
  • Ring
  • Shaped
  • End

Stitching Punch

The high density of leather makes it impossible to stitch using conventional sewing equipment. A needle simply isn’t able to pierce such dense material. To solve this problem is used stitching puncher.

According to the principle of such devices can be divided into two fundamentally different varieties. The first works as a slicer, simply pushing in and piercing the exit hole, pulling apart the material. In fact, the principle of operation is similar to that of an ordinary awl.

The second type of puncher cuts a small cavity, completely removing material. Its use leaves a neat hole.

The holes resulting from the use of such a tool are subsequently The resulting holes are further stitched with thread. String punches usually resemble a table fork or comb. Their protruding spikes are arranged in a straight line. An equal distance is maintained between them. The tool can 1 to 6 needles. They are set along the line of the future seam, and then a wooden or rubber mallet is struck on the end puncher. The sharp spikes plunge into the material, piercing or punching a hole in the material.

The shape of the piercing spikes may vary. They can be round, triangular, diamond-shaped, rectangular, or oblique. Also of importance is the thickness of the section of the needles themselves and the distance between them.

Smaller ones, for example, such as the oblique punches used for French stitch, are usually chosen for sewing wristwatches as well as wallets. A punch with a larger diameter of studs and a larger The larger diameter and larger pitch of the spikes are suitable for rougher workmanship when sewing with thicker yarns. thicker threads. There is no complete one-size-fits-all device. There is no one size fits all, that’s why every craftsman has at least a few sets with different combs.

The more spikes on a stitch cutter, the faster you can prepare a line for sewing. First, the tool is set up in place, A blow or more is struck. When it punches a hole, the studs are removed and the comb is moved so that the last needle is inserted into the outermost of the previously made holes. In this way, it is possible to maintain an even stitching distance.

When working with a tool that has many needles, it will be necessary to make more When working with a tool that has a lot of needles, you will have to do more stabbing to get the leather through, and you will also have to work hard to pull the spikes back out. A one- or two-needle punch is designed for preparing stitching in tight places where a six-spike tool will not 6 spikes will not fit.

Less precise in the work are punches made on the principle of pincers. In them, the combs are located on the two jaws. The peculiarity of using such of the tool, the absence of noise, unlike blows with a mallet. The combs are placed along the line of the future seam, and the handles are squeezed, piercing at the same time leather or fabric.

Revolver Punching Tools

Tools of this type are pincers that have a revolver with screwed-in punches attached to one jaw.

Before using the piercing tool, you must turn the revolver so that you set the desired type of spike against the second jaw. The material is then placed between the jaws. The punch is squeezed, piercing the hole. There are usually 6 spikes ranging in diameter from 2 to 4.5 mm attached to the revolver. To prevent the revolver from spinning, a special Locking device is provided to prevent the revolver from twisting.

The use of such a tool makes it possible to pierce only one hole at a time, so piercers of this type are not suitable for the formation of a seam. The main purpose of this type of equipment is to create small holes, for example on a belt.

Separate turret devices provide the ability to remove studs. This allows the installation of various accessories, including This makes it possible to install a variety of accessories, including the fixtures for mounting buttons and eyelets on clothing.

Ring and shaped punches

Tools of this type allow you to pierce holes while removing part of the material which falls into their internal cavity. Such equipment makes it possible to prepare larger slots. Usually, A ring or shaped punch is a tube with one end which is sharpened. The working principle of such equipment is to Putting a sharpened part to the material and strike the end of the tool.

The assortment of shapes and sizes of this type of punches is very extensive. In addition to the circle, such tools can repeat the shape of a star, eye, oval, rhombus, butterfly, and so on. Round punches of this type are usually sold in sets of 15 pieces. The equipment is represented by tubes with a diameter of 2 to 22 mm. The shaped fixtures are usually sold by

End Punching Tools

There are also tools designed for cutting leather. In particular, in a fairly wide range of products are punchers endpunchers for the belt. They are bent on a particular contour of steel, sharpened plate. It is used for cutting leather straps in the manufacture of belts. There are also similar tools in other forms.

Wadding punches

A separate wadding punching tool for loading cartridges is available for sale. It is almost identical in appearance to the leather ring piercing tools. Such a tool has a diameter corresponding to the caliber of cartridges for which it is necessary to prepare to the wad. The main difference of the hunting puncher is that its main purpose is not to make a hole, and in cutting circles of material. Its design provides for a technological hole on the side of the tube, allowing to extract of the wadding falling into it.

This tool rarely needs sharpening because it works with relatively softer materials such as cardboard and felt.

Metal punches

Equipment designed to work with sheet metal is represented by almost as wide a range as that for leather. In addition to hand tools, this group also includes mechanized devices.

In general, all punchers for metal can be divided into three types:

  1. Pneumatic
  2. Hydraulic
  3. Manual

Pneumatic punches

Such equipment requires a connection to a compressor. It is used not only for work with thin sheet metal, as well as metal tile, metal profile, and other sheet metal. The possibilities of such a tool are very limited, but with its use, you can maintain Quite a high level of productivity.

Hydraulic Punching Machines

The hydraulic type punch is more like a machine tool than any other piece of equipment. It can prepare holes on thick metal up to to a cross-section of a few millimeters. The resulting hole looks just perfect compared to the result you can get from drilling. Such machines provide the possibility to set up different punches. Thus, the equipment makes it possible to change the tooling in order to create the desired hole parameters.

Manual punches

Tools of this class are very similar to the equipment used in the processing of leather, although they have certain differences. First of all, they are made of very hard tool steel. The body of a tube of such tool is much thicker, therefore it is less inclined to deformation at strong counteraction of a material in which plunging is carried out.

Such punches may appear as completely hand-held tools or as slightly mechanized, pincer-mounted tools. The vast majority of manual equipment is a steel tube with a sharpened edge on one end. Often the tool is equipped with a plastic or rubber handle. Its presence helps reduce the sound of the hammer striking the tool during operation.

A hammer designed to work with metal loses its sharpness rather quickly. In this connection, it is necessary to carry out periodic sharpening of tools for the preservation of their efficiency. To do this, it is often necessary to treat not only the outer side of the punch tube but also to polish the inner cavity. The easiest way to do this is to use an engraver. Small polishing nozzles, as well as abrasive tooling, speed up the process many times over compared to the use of ordinary small files.

Related posts about hand tools and repairs:

All our reviews are based exclusively on expert judgments or practical experience with most of the center punch we have tested. We strive to make our guide as independent and as detailed as possible.

Center punches in comparison

Wheeler Hammer and Punch Set

  • 9.75″ L x 5.25″ W x 2″ D.
  • Chrome-plated steel hammer.
  • Features brass, steel, and nylon solid punches.

 4,8 Rating

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Handy kit

The Wheeler Hammer and Punch Set include a polymer/brass combination hammer, eight precision brass punches, four steel punches, and two plastic punches. It makes a great tool for driving pins, drifting sights, at the shooting range, or on your workbench. Includes a convenient carry case that securely holds all components.

Starrett 18A Automatic Center Punch

Starrett 18A Automatic Center Punch
  • Steel construction.
  • Adjustable force.
  • The point can be easily removed for regrinding.

 4,9 Rating

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No hammer needed

The Automatic Center Punch is a tool with a conical point, which is used to make an indentation in an object. This allows you to safely drill a hole at the same spot without slipping. This Center Punch is made of hardened steel and has a knurled finger grip for ease of handling and greater punching control Its tempered head makes it less likely to fracture from a hard, off-center blow.

Starrett 18C Automatic Center Punch

Starrett 18C Automatic Center Punch
  • Made of hardened steel.
  • Has a knurled finger grip.
  • Automatically strikes.

 4,8 Rating

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Pre-drilling tool

The C18 Automatic Heavy Duty Center Punch is a tool with a conical point, which is used to make an indentation in an object This allows you to safely drill a hole at the same spot without slipping. No hammer is required, making one hand always free to steady the work.

Basic rules when working with a center punch

In order to properly perform the procedure of working with any kind of puncher is required:

  1. The material on which the holes are to be made is marked.
  2. The impact part of the puncher is aligned with the intersection of the marking line.
  3. After that, the device is placed strictly perpendicular to the material.
  4. Depending on the type of device, the impact is applied (with a hammer, with a trigger or other available method).

If each step is strictly followed, the result of coring will be accurate and the hole will be correctly shaped, which will allow you to drill an even hole in the future.

Center Punch Price:

Under $50

  • Neiko Automatic Center Hole Punch
  • Wheeler Hammer and Punch Set with Brass
  • Starrett 18A Automatic Center Punch

Under $100

  • Starrett 18C Automatic Center Punch
Max Welder

Max Welder

Hi! I'm Max Welder ( I always wanted to work with my own hands, repair something, do things. Now I combine my knowledge with computers and my own knowledge in the field of mechanics in order to understand which tools I like the most. I hope to convey some knowledge and experience.

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