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Uni-Punch Frames - Because Drilling Holes Sucks

AlxJ64

Rust is Paint
Joined
Feb 3, 2021
Member Number
3436
Messages
634
Loc
Richmond / Cville - VA
These things are designed primarily to be attached to a pattern plate and then setup in a press brake or a large frame press to repeat punch patterns and things for production.
However, you CAN use these things singularly. But the issue is most of the tooling you find for them is just flat ground because they are expecting you to have a guide fixture or cornered back gauge for your parts. American Punch and Die was gracious enough to grind me some punch dies out of their Stainless rated tooling steel that would allow me to mark pilot holes either with a spotting drill, light plasma pierce, or even a heavy heavy hit with a center punch.

The frames come in various sizes and each size has its working range. There are funky shapes built for feeding extrusions and angle legs through as well. For the sake of functionality and weight, etc, the first ones of these I picked up were in the 8" throat, 2-1/2" frame width. I think this tooling range was rated for up to 1-1/2" punch through 1/4" mild. However, I have adjusted mine to run under 1" dies to punch up to 3/8". I am actually going to try a 1" punch on some 1/4" this weekend for that welding Platen stand table I am building.

So you can get tooling in all kinds of shapes. Most of the stuff you see on eBay is wiped out and weird sizes... lots of ovals for slots. I custom ordered my first round of punches and they are super nice but also kinda pricey, yes you can buy a lot of drill bits for the same money but sometimes when you have 32 holes to drill, 9/16" diameter, in 3/8" HRPO, you just want to step on a pedal and wince every time the press levitates.

That is another thing, these tend to shock load hydraulic systems, so when you use them on a press, expect the life of the U-cup and backup rings to be shortened. I bought a used 50T press and ran about a 100 holes and had to rebuild the cylinder. Granted I have no idea how old the press was, it was chinesium, and the cylinder walls had some notable poor finish work from said china-land production. Honed, rebuilt, and so far another 300+ punches, mostly in 1/4" and no issues.

I am very pleased with the use I have gotten out of mine so far. Using the pilot hole method, the accuracy is very very nice as well. I picked up a universal tool grinder a few weeks ago but am still in the search for attachments so that I can touch up the punches when they shoulder and also I have a BUNCH of tooling that I want to grind my own points on to use. Will be listing and selling extras once that project gets underway.

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The guy that helped me with the plow on my tractor had something like this. Called a Buffalo or something. Punched a 1" hole through .5" steel like nothing. :eek:
 
The guy that helped me with the plow on my tractor had something like this. Called a Buffalo or something. Punched a 1" hole through .5" steel like nothing. :eek:

That sounds more like an Iron Worker, Probably a #1/2 Buffalo; my friend has one actually and yes, its rated for a 7/8" hole through 3/4" or something impressive. Its a 58 ton generating flywheel machine. However some of the bigger Unipunch frames are rated for some heavy heavy work but I think 1/2" is their limit.
 
That sounds more like an Iron Worker, Probably a #1/2 Buffalo; my friend has one actually and yes, its rated for a 7/8" hole through 3/4" or something impressive. Its a 58 ton generating flywheel machine. However some of the bigger Unipunch frames are rated for some heavy heavy work but I think 1/2" is their limit.

Yea, this thing was red/orange. Pretty hefty looking machine. This guy works out of an airplane hangar. You should see the stuff he has. Some giant ass mill that's like 30' long. Made in the 40s or something. Probably weighs like 100 tons. :laughing:
 
Yea, this thing was red/orange. Pretty hefty looking machine. This guy works out of an airplane hangar. You should see the stuff he has. Some giant ass mill that's like 30' long. Made in the 40s or something. Probably weighs like 100 tons. :laughing:

Pics?
 

Not on hand. I've been to this guy's place twice. Its something else to see. The equipment he has there is nuts. His trade is a fabricator. Some oceanography company needed a device that could run hydraulics underwater. He made a platform the floats and runs the system with hoses that reached the bottom. A major railway needed something to ride the rails and clear the tracks of debris. He made a small locomotive that was placed on the tracks with a grapple and on board saw. His kid bought a 7.3 on a Thursday. On Friday he hand built a rotisserie for the motor. Stripped the truck Saturday, rebuilt on Sunday, installed on Monday, running on Tuesday. He's got a machine for everything. And if he doesn't, he builds it. Yea know that Binky show on YouTube? He'd give those guys a run for their money.
 
Not on hand. I've been to this guy's place twice. Its something else to see. The equipment he has there is nuts. His trade is a fabricator. Some oceanography company needed a device that could run hydraulics underwater. He made a platform the floats and runs the system with hoses that reached the bottom. A major railway needed something to ride the rails and clear the tracks of debris. He made a small locomotive that was placed on the tracks with a grapple and on board saw. His kid bought a 7.3 on a Thursday. On Friday he hand built a rotisserie for the motor. Stripped the truck Saturday, rebuilt on Sunday, installed on Monday, running on Tuesday. He's got a machine for everything. And if he doesn't, he builds it. Yea know that Binky show on YouTube? He'd give those guys a run for their money.

Dad's next door neighbor was this kind of guy. Worked for Weyerhauser rebuilding all their equipment. So every time Weyerhauser got rid of a piece of equipment, it seemed to get rebuilt at company expense right before the auction, and he won all the auctions. Go figure. All the old stuff when to his shop. Even had duplicate tool boxes, the one at work was identical to the one at home. Every tool in the same drawers in each box. Was impressive. Had all the oddball tap and dies I needed to reverse thread my tie rods and whatnot. Sadly he moved once he retired from work, and I've lost track of him.
 
Dad's next door neighbor was this kind of guy. Worked for Weyerhauser rebuilding all their equipment. So every time Weyerhauser got rid of a piece of equipment, it seemed to get rebuilt at company expense right before the auction, and he won all the auctions. Go figure. All the old stuff when to his shop. Even had duplicate tool boxes, the one at work was identical to the one at home. Every tool in the same drawers in each box. Was impressive. Had all the oddball tap and dies I needed to reverse thread my tie rods and whatnot. Sadly he moved once he retired from work, and I've lost track of him.

These folks heat their house with an outdoor woodburner. Guy made a crane that loads wood onto a small train car, has track that leads to the boiler, flips the wood in, and it rolls back. Its a slick setup.

I have a half way home made plow setup for my tractor. It was all bent out of shape. For a six pack of beer, he and I knocked out a nice setup. 10m with the plasma cutter, little time on a milling machine, bunch of welds, that 1" hole puncher dealio, bit of welding, and it was done. Took about an hour.

He's got this crazy Russian army truck thing he's repairing for someone right now I guess. All custom parts to get it going again.
 
I wondered what these unipunch frames were for. Damn cool stuff man.

When you're ready to sell, make sure to put a post up. I'm in for one if they're not silly expensive.
 
The guy that helped me with the plow on my tractor had something like this. Called a Buffalo or something. Punched a 1" hole through .5" steel like nothing. :eek:

I have a Buffalo 2 1/2. My favorite ironworker. Punches 1.25" holes in 1" plate. Also has a bunch of shearing capabilities, notcher and coper.

Out works any hydro machine and makes money. Just count your fingers before and after using. No safety, once you hit that foot peddle it's completing it's cycle. Machine weight is over 10k lbs. I think the flywheel is around 800lbs. It's a pure made in usa brutal production machine.
 
Here's some of mine. They are great for production work where I don't want to run the parts on the plasma table. For example an access cover for something (square with 4 holes) can be done much faster cutting blanks on the shear and holes punched in a jig, especially in large quantities.

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I have this old C frame ratcheting punch. Looks like a c-clamp on steroids. Forget if the die in it is 1/4 or 3/8 but with no more effort than tightening a bolt you can punch a clean hole in steel. Its been in the sale pile, might keep it if I had more dies or it wasn't somewhat awkward to store.
 
I have this old C frame ratcheting punch. Looks like a c-clamp on steroids. Forget if the die in it is 1/4 or 3/8 but with no more effort than tightening a bolt you can punch a clean hole in steel. Its been in the sale pile, might keep it if I had more dies or it wasn't somewhat awkward to store.

That sounds like a Roper Whitney punch, they had several different versions of those ranging from a squeeze lever, to the threaded type, to even a kick press foot operated one. Most of those were max at 4 tons but you can still punch a lot of holes with 4 tons a lot easier than drilling.

Another cool punching machine are the Turret station punches. I bought one of those too but for the sake of shop floor space and a trade for a big slip roll, a friend has it. 18 positions on a turret. You spin the cage to select the size and then pull the handle and punch the hole.
 
These folks heat their house with an outdoor woodburner. Guy made a crane that loads wood onto a small train car, has track that leads to the boiler, flips the wood in, and it rolls back. Its a slick setup.

I have a half way home made plow setup for my tractor. It was all bent out of shape. For a six pack of beer, he and I knocked out a nice setup. 10m with the plasma cutter, little time on a milling machine, bunch of welds, that 1" hole puncher dealio, bit of welding, and it was done. Took about an hour.

He's got this crazy Russian army truck thing he's repairing for someone right now I guess. All custom parts to get it going again.

Just so you know, there's not even one person here that would enjoy pics of all this cool shit you're talking about.

Just so you know.























:flipoff2:
 
Just so you know, there's not even one person here that would enjoy pics of all this cool shit you're talking about.

Just so you know.

I've only been there twice in person. His wife sends me pics now and then.

How rare is it to own a Bridgeport milling machine? He's got one of them too.

He's got a lathe that had to arrive on a semi truck.

Everything is done out of an airport hangar.
 
Just had a job come through where i needed to punch a bunch of holes. Figured I'd tool up the c frames and run it on the press brake. Found out that they now discontinued the tooling for my 2 1/2 frames. I've got one last place to call I know of, but it may be custom grinds or need new frames from here out. New frames are 450 ea, so I ran the job on an ironworker instead.
 
Worth picking up for $75?

Looks like a Heinrich #6 which says it's good for a 1/2" hole in 1/8. Would it be able to do a 3/8 or 1/4" hole in 3/16 or 1/4? I assume there's a table out there somewhere for conversion factors.

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Just had a job come through where i needed to punch a bunch of holes. Figured I'd tool up the c frames and run it on the press brake. Found out that they now discontinued the tooling for my 2 1/2 frames. I've got one last place to call I know of, but it may be custom grinds or need new frames from here out. New frames are 450 ea, so I ran the job on an ironworker instead.
Have another job that I need to run c frame punches on. I was looking a getting 6 new frames to do it.

Took one of my Pierce All 2 1/2" frames apart and found unipunch marked tool inside with a part number. Found the punches and dies on unipunch/qualitool websites, and the dimensions match up. So now i don't know why the company's I spoke with said it's discontinued.

Doubled down on my gamble and ordered more of the old pierce all frames off ebay, and will order tooling Monday that I hope fits.
 
So I'm stupid and don't have cool metalworking stuff. the C-shaped frame gets loaded into a shop press and the press loads the c-shaped center detail/pin into the matl, punching the hole? And the shock mentioned that damages the ram is when you finally make it thru?

sounds simple in theory, pretty sweet. Definitely sounds way nicer than drilling repeatable holes over and over
 
So I'm stupid and don't have cool metalworking stuff. the C-shaped frame gets loaded into a shop press and the press loads the c-shaped center detail/pin into the matl, punching the hole? And the shock mentioned that damages the ram is when you finally make it thru?

sounds simple in theory, pretty sweet. Definitely sounds way nicer than drilling repeatable holes over and over
Yep. There is a hold down/stripper assembly inside too.

If shock is a factor, tooling can be ground with a shear angle to reduce it.
 
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Tooled up to punch holes in what will be conveyor bed sides. Each blank gets flipped in this jig to do both ends. Then the tooling is set up in another pattern to do the other side. All the holes for the job are drilled in the lower template plate that the c frames key into.

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Here's more new tooling for a different part of the above job, along with two frames and some other sizes and shapes.
 
What does that tooling run new? What % of the job cost is it?
 
What does that tooling run new? What % of the job cost is it?
$1300 for 12 punches, 12 dies, and 6 punch heads. About 2% of the first stage of this job. The frames i bought off ebay for $80 each. I just bought the rest of the complete units that were listed tonight.

This jobs not really possible to do without these or a laser.
 
$1300 for 12 punches, 12 dies, and 6 punch heads. About 2% of the first stage of this job. The frames i bought off ebay for $80 each. I just bought the rest of the complete units that were listed tonight.

This jobs not really possible to do without these or a laser.
Have you ever used a strippet? With the right table setup it would murder those also.
 
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