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spring loaded center punch

Totally newbie question.
I have two spring loaded center punches that in theory should be a help (single handed use), but, they only punch every third or fourth depression. Both of them do it and I've tried playing with the "adjustments" to no avail.
Are there good and bad ones? Where do you get good ones, and, how do you tell the difference?

John Conroy

Super User
Premium Member
I have a few automatic center punches, a couple of Princess Auto ones with brass colored bodies, a General brand one and a Starrett brand one. The PA ones worked ok when new but after some use have become intermittent. The General one has been good but is only about a year old. I have had the Starrett one for about 20 years and it works every time. Another case of "you get what you pay for".
Some times KBC has the Starrett ones on sale, they are $40-$60 regular price.

https://www.kbctools.ca/products/HAND TOOLS/PUNCHES @@26 CHISELS/CENTER PUNCHES/10294.aspx

https://www.kbctools.ca/products/HAND TOOLS/PUNCHES @@26 CHISELS/CENTER PUNCHES/7177.aspx

KBC has a house brand one that is as inexpensive as the ones I got from PA, who know what the quality is like but other house brand stuff I have bought from the has been good. (eg, drill bits, collets etc)

https://www.kbctools.ca/products/HAND TOOLS/PUNCHES @@26 CHISELS/CENTER PUNCHES/7220.aspx
I went into KMS, they had Starrett on sale, but the guy suggested instead of the Starrett, a lightweight aluminum bodied one, cheaper too. I think Brown and Sharp sell the same one. Well after 15 years of messing around with it, I've got it to finally works everytime. I don't know what I did.. I had a BB one at work that always seemed to work, again I don't know.

After you dimple ,you use a pick punch, it's very sharp, light, 90 degree center punch to really establish the dimple. Next a heavy stout 60 degree center punch is used for the getting the drill to behave.

Anyway that's how I was taught.