View Full Version : Holes anodized aluminum

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-17-2009, 4:23 PM
I have a job where I am punching 4 holes in a small anodized aluminum plate with an AccuCutter 3/32 hole punch. After about 100 holes my punch started to stick, and finally seized up in the part.
Thinking I might have a worn punch, I ordered a new punch in, air freight and all.
This new punch lasted for about the same number of holes, and it seized up in the part. I returned the new punch and a sample of the anodized aluminum plate to AccuCutter so they could evaluate what was happening. I think the aluminum is building up on the punch and/or die.
AccuCutter found out that if I punch some holes in brass or brass plated steel, it will clear the punch up and it will start working again. this does allow me to punch more holes, but not enough that I consider the problem solved.
BTW, AccuCutter has been great at getting me parts, and even answered Email questions on the weekend when I was down.

What do others do that punch a lot of holes in anodized aluminum plate.


Dave Johnson29
08-17-2009, 5:22 PM

Aluminum will cold weld to things like hardened and tempered steel punches. You need to lubricate the contact areas. For what you are doing a drop of WD40 on the punch for each stroke or at worst every 3rd or 4th should solve the problem.

When I think of you doing it dry I cringe like finger nails on a chalk board. :)

If you are careful, you can use a craft knife to cut the aluminum off the punch and die. The aluminum is soft enough to scrape or pare off but the punch and die should not be damaged by the knife.

I am surprised that accucutter didn't mention lube.

:) Should have asked here first and I could have saved you that new punch cost and shipping. ;)

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-17-2009, 5:54 PM
But, but, but they did tell me about Wd40. I am hoping to avoid the mess.
If I do use a lubricant, what do you think of a water based coolant, so clean up is easier?

Dave Johnson29
08-17-2009, 6:41 PM
But, but, but they did tell me about Wd40. I am hoping to avoid the mess.

Ahhh, too little information. :)

I have bad news for you, water based coolants like soluble oil will be worse to clean up. I have even worse news for you, you can buy synthetic coolants you mix with water but same again only worse to clean off.

Coolants are designed to have great molecular attachment (integration) to metal surfaces and to resist removal. Their entire reason for being is to lubricate the cutting edge and stay there as long as possible.

Talk nice to Momma and ask if you can use the dishwasher but do NOT use dish washing detergent. Get low-foam or no-foam detergent that is used in vibratory tumblers.

I am not sure I can tell you any more about this, it really is a non-negotiable issue. :)

Rodne Gold
08-18-2009, 1:25 AM
Meths works a charm when cutting or punching ally , it seems to cool it and makes it very easy to work. Fire risks are not that cool tho.
Parrafin is the cheap lube of choice for a lot of rotary guys.Messy to clean.
Tapamatic is expensive but probably up there with the best. Still leaves and oily residue tho.
We use shell dromus or BP Diatsol , water soluable machining oils , but we use it neat and undiluted. Cleanup is merely a wash.

Mark Winlund
08-18-2009, 9:13 AM
Stick wax and a Q tip. Every 4 or 5 holes. We have done thousands of holes this way with no problems.


Paul Brinkmeyer
08-18-2009, 5:57 PM
Thanks to all.

Not want I really wanted to hear, but I asked and now I will try some of the solutions to see which one works the best for me.

Or I might just try to talk the customer into another material. Now that I just talked him into the anodized thinking it would be easier. Guess I'm never to old to goof up.

Bill Cunningham
08-18-2009, 9:50 PM
This may sound weird, but years ago, I used to drill a lot of aluminum castings. The drill bits would really gum up, I was young and stupid, and didn't know any better, (like telling a bumble bee that it can't fly) so I simply sprayed the drill bit with Windex to cool it. <ding> it also kept the aluminum from sticking and building up on the drill bit.. Who wuda thunk it.. And, Windex is not hard to clean up.. :rolleyes: It 'may' work for punches even though heat is not a problem.

Thad Nickoley
08-23-2009, 9:06 PM
Buy a really powerful laser:D