Thursday, August 7, 2014

The EuroPower Punch: Punching holes in Metal


Hello Friends. Today I have a new tool to share with you. Let me introduce you to the EuroPower Punch.


I thought I was going to absolutely love this tool straight out of the case. Unfortunately that wasn't the case (no pun intended..lol). I even contemplated returning it. I have since decided this will be a tool that I will come to love the more I use it.

The Euro Punch punches holes in soft metal up to 16 gauge in thickness. It has a nice range of punch sizes. I believe the punch is advertised as a large hole punch. In my opinion the punch sizes are in the small range but this comes from someone who regularly uses the larger range of a disc cutter (1/2 inch up to 1-1/4 inches). So I'd have to say that hole sizing is a relative term and depends on your needs.


Above you can the see the EuroPower Punch with two of the punches and corresponding dies. The punch comes with 7 different sizes ranging from 3/32 to 9/32.


I love how each piece is marked with the sizes. I'm forever trying to remember or figure out the exact size of the disc I just cut. If you look closely you'll see that even the die has the size impressed on it. 


I wanted to show you this view of the punches and dies. You can see how the die sizes vary to fit the punch. 


I also love that I can adjust the depth consistently. The depth range is .5 inch up to 2 inches. I would love to be able to get this adjustment down to an even lower number, perhaps 1/16 of an inch. (My apologies to all my metric system friends...even I find our US measuring system to be daunting.)

Initially I found the punch difficult to work with but it did become much more user friendly (very quickly) as I learned how to use it. I found it difficult for my small hands to use this as a plier as the shape of the tool would intend. I just didn't have the strength to squeeze it, especially when using the largest punch. I have to brace the bottom of the tool on a table top and press down on the top handle of the plier. The instructions don't say to use lubricant on the punches but I plan on trying this. I think this might help with ease of punching through the metal.

You have to change out the punch and die when you want to punch a different size hole. This involves unscrewing the die and another screw in order to change the punch. Not a big deal overall just something to keep in mind if you're more of an on the fly type of person.

Pros:
  • Punches a nice range of sizes, 3/32 - 9/32
  • Ability to set depth adjustment
  • Ability to see the placement of metal to be cut
  • Each punch and die is marked with sizing info
  • Nifty carrying case for storage and on the go
  • Under $40 for a nice tool!
Cons:
  • Hard to use as a plier in my small hands
  • Would like to get depth adjustment smaller
  • Changing punch sizes involves parts to be unscrewed and screwed in
Overall I think this will be a very useful tool on the workbench. In the past I've had a difficult time punching a smaller hole exactly where I want it to be. I love my disc cutter but it is near impossible (for me anyway) to line up my marked spot once I place the metal inside the disc cutter. I just can't see into those tiny holes to effectiviely match up the marked spot with the hole. I think this tool will defintiely help me to place the small holes exactly where I want them on the metal.

An example of some cut outs I made using the EuroPower Punch, Sea Urchin.

The EuroPower Punch can purchased at Rio Grande or Halstead Bead

As I was writing this I realized just how many tools I have on the workbench for the purposes of punching holes in metal. Would you be interested in an overview of tools that punch holes into metal? What do you think of the EuroPower Punch? Is this a tool you would use in your metalsmithing endeavors?

Ema Kilroy is a lampworker and metalsmith living and working in Central Massachusetts. 

12 comments:

Shaiha said...

I have that exact punch sitting in a cupboard because I can't figure out just how to use the darn thing. Could you give us a tutorial on its use?

Kristen said...

I use mine all the time! It's the best tool I've found to punch holes in the 18 gauge copper I use in my enameling. What I don't like about it is that you have to sit down to see to line up my marks in the metal to the punch and then stand up to press down on the handle to punch. And like you said, that takes some effort! Just yesterday, I bought some rubbery shelf liner to use under it so it wouldn't slip on my table. I aso have a small drill press but I'm a bit intimidated by the drill and on small pieces of flat metal,my fingers get too close to the drill and it makes me nervous. So far, this tool isn't perfect but it's my favorite!

Kathy Lindemer said...

I am working more with metal. I love it, but I am finding it rough on the hands. I have to limit the amount of time per day that I do it.

laurelmoon said...

I love my PowerPunch! I mostly use it to punch holes in leather, rarely in metal. I really like the clean hole that you get and I love the ease of use for leather - much faster than the typical two-hole punch.

Ema Kilroy said...

Shaiha I will plan a tutorial for the punch. It takes a bit of practice but very doable.

Ema Kilroy said...

Kristen you said it perfectly. I found myself constantly up and down in my seat...a good work out though. The shelf liner is a great idea! I was worried about the punch slipping out from under me and wreaking havoc. I'm going to add shelf liner to my bench.

Ema Kilroy said...

Kathy, I completely understand that sentiment. It does take some effort.

Laurelmoon, The punch makes a nice clean hole on metal so I would imagine it would be great for leather! Good idea for it's use!

Ema Kilroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Pancake said...

Hi Ema, An overview of punches would be great. I am just starting to include metals in my work and I would appreciate this. I used my screw down punch for the first time yesterday to punch two holes in the bottom of butterfly wings and they are not even so being able to see what you are going to punch easier sounds great to me.

haezz said...

I've had this punch for a year and I still use it nearly every day. I have small hands also and have to do the up/down at my work table as well. Many times I just call the hubby for help.

I have one con with this tool that really bothers me. It can be very difficult for me to see exactly when I am over the mark that I need punched. Many times I am off a wee bit, but enough to notice the holes are not even. Any tips for this problem would be appreciated.

And an overview of these tools would be wonderful!

Cheryl K Roe said...

I also have this tool, have not had the opportunity to use it much but what I have, I liked.

Jayne Capps said...

I have had this tool for several years & just started using it. I've had lots of trouble both seeing where to punch & the actual punching itself.one of my biggest problems was squeezing the handles, hard to get a good grip to squeeze w/o smashing my hands. After consulting w/ a couple of tool savvy guys, I was introduced to the concept of 'cheater bars'. Larger, longer pipes are placed over the handles giving you a little more leverage. It's still a learning process,but I have made progress in the last couple of weeks. Great timing on this post, glad to see I'm not the only one struggling w/ this tool.