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tech Guide to a Jeeper's Garage
Hand Tools


Like most tools a punch can come in many sizes and varieties.  In this article we cover the most common types of punches that may be used in a typical Jeeper's garage.  As with all tools use proper safety equipment and procedures when in use.

Center Punch

A center punch is typically used as an aid to drilling operations; a drill, when brought into contact with a flat surface, will have a tendency to wander on the surface until it gains sufficient purchase to start cutting a hole. A center punch forms a small dimple in which the tip of the drill (if it is small enough) will fit. When drilling larger holes and the web of the drill is wider than the indentation produced by a center punch, the drilling of a pilot hole is usually needed. A center punch usually has a tip, that when viewed on a profile, has sides at a 90 degree angle to one another.

Prick Punch

A prick punch, while easily confused with the similar looking center punch, serves an entirely different purpose. A prick punch is primarily used for the purposes of layout. By design it produces a smaller indentation than a center punch, which acts as a useful datum point in layout operations. When layout is complete, the indentation made with a prick punch can be enlarged with a center punch to allow for drilling. A prick punch usually has a tip, that when viewed on a profile, has sides at a 30-60 degree angle to one another.

Transfer Punch

A transfer punch is a punch (usually in an index set) of a specific outer diameter that is non-tapered and extends the entire length of the punch (except for the tip). It is used to tightly fit the tolerances of an existing hole and, when struck, precisely transfer the center of that hole to another surface. It can be used, for example, to duplicate the hole patterns in a part, or precisely set locations for threaded holes (created by drilling and tapping) to bolt an object to a surface.


Pin Punch

The purpose served by pin punches is somewhat different to the center or prick punches. A pin punch is used as a driving tool, typically, as the name implies, to drive pins that are used to affix a fixture to a rotating shaft. Pin punches are typically characterized by a hexagonal body, with a long, flat ended cylindrical section.


A drift "punch" is misleadingly named; it is not used as a punch in the traditional sense of the term. A drift punch, or drift pin, is used as an aid in aligning bolt or rivet holes prior to inserting a fastener. A drift punch is constructed as a tapered rod, with the hammer acting on the large end of the taper. The tapered end of a drift punch is placed into the semi-aligned bolt holes of two separate components, and then driven into the hole. As it is driven in, the taper forces the two components into alignment, allowing for easy insertion of the fastener. Unlike most punches, force is never (and should never be) applied to the tip, or end of a drift pin.


A set of center punches, drifts, and pin punches.  Usually best bought in a set from a quality tool reseller.  A set of transfer punches in common hole sizes would be an add on.

Popular Punch Manufacturers and Resellers
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Husky Guide to a Jeeper's Garage
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This page uses some content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Punch(Engineering). The list of authors can be seen in the page history

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