Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.
Today, let’s talk about Automatic Center Punches.
Ever try to drill a hole on a flat piece of metal?
It can be a real pain, because even a sharp drill bit may skip around the smooth metal surface as you try to begin the hole—which means the hole you drill probably won’t be anywhere close to where you originally wanted it.
That’s why smart gearheads use a punch to create a tiny indent on the metal first. This helps you locate the drill bit exactly where you want it, and will mitigate the chance of the bit walking around on you. Problem is, grabbing a hammer and punch to make that indent every time can be a real hassle.
Enter our friend, the automatic center punch.
With just a little bit of downward pressure, the spring action will “pop” the punch and create your indentation. Easy-peasey.
And they’re not just handy for drilling holes either. Automatic center punches can be used to quickly make index marks on things like flywheels, stators, and sprockets (basically, anywhere you need to note a location or rotational point.)
Here’s a quick visual walkthrough of how they work:
A lot of gearheads don’t even know these handy gadgets exist, which is a shame, because they’re pretty darn cheap and can save a ton of frustration. But that also makes an Automatic Center Punch a really good gift to give and receive. You’ve got plenty of buying options too, so you’ll easily be able to find a nice one for under 30 bucks. .