by: Jan [ ]
Punch & Die sets are an excellent tool to achieve two goals : produce tailor-made holes in plastic sheet, and produce small round or hex punch-outs as a by-product.
Punch and die sets consist of several parts :- a flat piece of steel, with a number of perforations of different sizes (A)- a piece of transparent plastic cover that fits snugly on top, perforated at same places (B)- a set of pins, each fitting exactly in one of the perforations (C)To use the punch & die set, you place a piece of plasticard between the steel and the plastic piece (1). To make sure both little plates are positioned exactly parallel, place a piece op plasticard of the same thickness at the back end (2). At the size where you need a perforation, you insert the correct size pin in the fitting hole, and position it exactly where needed. (3) Then you punch it with a hammer(4), driving the pin through the plasticard. The result is a perfect little hole of the correct size. Punch & Die sets generally produce round holes, but Historex also has a set to produce hex holes (and thus hex nuts & bolts).
The set is hard to find in retail stores, but can be mail ordered from Historex in the UK. I got both the round and the hex set, and both are very useful for scratchbuilding. You have to be careful about the position of the plexi, though. In the past I have broken one of them because the metal plate and the plexi plate were not properly positioned in perfect parallel. (I was sloppy and did not place a piece of plasticard in the no (2) position).Apart from that, it is a superb little tool, and if it breaks, I'd order a new one the same day.
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