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Not So Poor Man's Transfer Punches
One of the fun things when doing difficult-to-accomplish tasks is thinking your way through a problem and coming up with an original solution. Next, you try out the idea and have great satisfaction when you see that it does work and works very well. I realize that many people have probably thought and done the same thing, but that doesn't matter. Having the opportunity to be creative and then being able to bring that idea into a reality is a very rewarding experience. This happens to me all the time, and I also enjoy the brilliant solutions many of my fellow machinists come up with to be able to accomplish a task at hand. It's even more fun when you can adapt something into a tool without really having to do anything!
This is the case with these transfer punches. It isn't really practical for anyone to have commercially made transfer screws or blind hole spotters in your toolbox for every situation that might arise. This idea is fast and, with a little care, reasonably accurate. This method would not be appropriate for transferring holes for die openings, but it is suitable for a lot of regular everyday work.
The first and most important thing is to collect some hardened steel balls from roller bearings, etc. I purchased my balls from a bicycle parts store. They were very cheap and came in packs of 144 each. I bought 1/8" and 3/16" as well as 1/4". When I need to transfer blind holes, I'll use balls that are at least 1/16" larger than the hole, or in the case of a threaded hole, 1/16" larger than the major diameter.
Warning: If the hole is too close in diameter to the transfer ball size, it may go in the hole and then you'll really be cooked. I'm talking from experience here. If there are more than three holes to transfer, you may have to countersink all the holes in the drill press to the same depth.
“Not So Poor Man's Transfer Punches" appears in the upcoming October/November issue of Machinist's Workshop. If you are a subscriber, stay tuned! The issue will be in the mail soon!
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