Hydraulic Hole Punch Kit - Tool Review
I picked up one of these import sets of tools from Ebay with some questionable expectations. The kits come in a couple of different styles and capabilities. This Hole Punch Kit, or Knock Out Kit compares to something like the USA made Greenlee 7506 which will set you back in the $1500 dollar range. This kit with shipping on Ebay was under $200. So set your expectations accordingly. Here is the listing of sizes that the punches / knockouts actually do. Remember these are for punching holes for rigid conduit and other such electrical pipe so the sizes at first glance will not make sense unless you are an electrician or tradesman. The 10 Dies that were included are sized as follows -
Actual Hole Size Dies & Punches Size
0.885" (22.5mm) 1/2"
1.115" (28.3mm) 3/4"
1.362" (34.6mm) 1"
1.701"(43.2mm) 1 1/4"
1.951"(49.6mm) 1 1/2"
2.914"(74mm) 2 1/2"
4.044"(102.7mm) 3 1/2"
The kit I picked up was the larger of many offerings, this is the 15 Ton kit, but not sure what's different in the 10 Ton kit as the ram looked to be the same size. Who knows hard to tell from the pictures.
15 Ton Hydraulic Punch Set
After some unpacking this is what you get, 10 dies, a couple of draw bolts, 15 Ton Ram and a hydraulic hand pump. The pump connects up to the ram with a quick connect fitting so you can detach it from the ram if you need to. The kit also came with a couple of spacers and an O-Ring repair kit.
Hydraulic Driver Connected
This is the driver ready to go. The hydraulic line is connected and a stud is screwed into the driver (well puller). These were the threads that seemed a bit loose to me.
Hydraulic Ram (hydraulic Driver)
This is the heart of the punch, this ram (that's what I'll call it) has a threaded insert that will pull in when pressure is applied to it. Note that covered connector is a quick release connector which was a nice touch. On my unit the threads were cut very loose, to the point where I would almost have sent it back but after punching a few larger holes it seemed OK. This is a common problem on much of the Chinese import tools where threads are involved.
Hydraulic Hand Pump
This is the commonly seen hand pump that comes with many of the imported body tools. Seemed OK and pre-charged with fluid. The rear of the pump has feet that when the back of the pump is tight seemed to be off a bit, ie, not sit square matching the front feet. So a bit of loosening on that make it ok, and still no leaks.
Ready for a Test Drive
I found a piece of scrap 1/8" Aluminum Diamond Plate. I drilled a hole for the stud (3/4" I think) and screwed on a 2" Marked punch (actual is 2.41") and punched away. After a few pumps the die cut clean through the aluminum with almost no fuss. I would bet it could cut a bit thicker with no trouble. I also tried a 3" Marked (actual is 3.5") punch on the same material and it cut like butter.
Punched Hole Quality and Conclusion
The quality of the hole was not bad. Some distortion from the way the punch works, some from the thick material, but not bad for a larger hole. The diamond plate might also not be the best material to test with, but overall was acceptable and would require a minimal amount clean up with a power sander. The metal did tweak a bit from the larger punches, but that might be expected on a small flat plate of metal. I think the smaller punches would be better but then you get into the issue of just using the Rotabroach which as a perfect cut hole with no after finish work required. For larger holes this is a good and inexpensive option. If I was doing this for a living (electrician, tradesman, etc) I would try my best to get the Greenlee sets as the quality is night and day. But give the price this is a usable tool for my tasks. Downsides is some of the quality issues on the construction and odd sized punches. Not sure if other sizes exist or could be used but between this, Rotabroach's, Holecuter's and the old school hole saws I have it covered!