Aug 6, 2006 at 5:56 am #1219214
I posted this once before… a long time ago… but I’m going to try again.
Has anyone figured out a way to punch nice clean holes in the BPL Titanium Foil Windscreens? I’ve tried a number of things and none of them work. The Ti foil is so thin and so strong that it always tears or deforms a bit (or a LOT). Things I’ve tried are:
– A regular paper hole punch
– A regular paper hole punch with aluminum tape stuck to both sides to add support to the foil
– A regular paper hole punch with masking tape stuck to both sides to add support to the foil
– Rolling it up tightly and trying to punch thru multiple layers (huge failure)
– Punching with a sharp rotating scrapbooking punch
– Drilling with a dremel (drill bits are too small anyway)
– “Drilling” with a dremel using a stone grinding cylinder
– Drilling with a powerdrill, 1/4″ bit, with aluminum tape to prevent tear out
None of the above works at all. All make a mess.
And Vick… I know you recommend notches… but I tried an Aluminum windscreen with notches… and while it functioned well… I really didn’t like dealing with it… since the notched edges were always getting bent over and catching on things… etc.
I think what is needed is some kind of a VERY sharp rotating punch or something. Or maybe clamping it with two peices of hardwood and drilling… but that would be a big job and might not work much better than anything else.
Ryan… if you happen to read this… any idea when the punched screens will be back in stock?Aug 6, 2006 at 6:13 am #1360584
Ok… replying to my own post… I found a method to make a very clean hole…
I used the bit from my scrapbooking tool. It’s a punch tool that uses sharpened hollow tip bits. The bits go into this tool that rotates as you punge the handle down… by hand. This rotating was distorting the Ti. So… I thought… use that bit… but punch it with a hammer instead. That worked… but since I was using a wooden work surface… the back of the hole was a little curled… if you know what I mean. So I put a chunk of 0.032″ aluminum sheet behind the Ti… on top of my work surface… punched again… and voila! Nice clean hole. The only problem is… the biggest bit you can buy for scrapbooking is 5/32″. I’d like the holes to be at least 1/4″… like from a paper hole punch. Do you think if I made enough holes… 5/32″ holes would be ok? Alternately… I’m thinking of cutting triangle holes but punching the 3 corners using the method above and then using a sharp knife to cut out the triangles. But that sounds like a lot of work :-/
p.s. here is the punch tool I’m talking aboutAug 6, 2006 at 10:06 am #1360591
Perhaps you could use some punches designed for leatherworking. Here are some punches at a leatherworking site I had bookmarked: http://www.eleathersupply.com/punches.shtml In their “Maxi Punch Set” (Stock #300400, the largest punch is 5/16″, twice the size of the one you’re using now.
TomAug 6, 2006 at 11:22 am #1360592
BTW… if you’re interested… I’ve posted a new version of my stove on my website. 48 grams for the entire kit… pot, lid, grabber, stand, windscreen and esbit holder.Aug 6, 2006 at 12:37 pm #1360598
Thomas R. ConroyBPL Member
I’m not sure of the thickness of your Ti foil and that probably would make a difference [comparing apples to apples…]. What worked for us on the Ti foil we purchased from Titanium Goat was the following [and it worked like charm]: using the 9/32″ [7.14mm] die on a metal power punch kit. This is the type of heavy-duty hand tool used by sheet metal fabicators. We also had to cut our foil to the proper length for our set up and used standard new Fiskars shears for this. To dull the cut edge we used a 3M “Sandblaster” Sanding Sponge [course 60 grit] and it seems to have worked — no sharp edges [though, just to be “not dumb,” we’ll handle it thinking that it just could be sharper than your average loaf of bread!].
Good luck.Aug 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm #1360600
Thanks. I don’t know if that would work as the Ti I’m using is the foil bought from this site. It’s like… 0.002″ thick! So maybe a tad thicker than a sheet of paper. That’s what makes it so difficult. It’s so thin (distorts very easy) and yet tough.
I’m going to go to a scrapbooking place this week and get some of those “paper shapers” punches… and see if they work. Since they often cut very intricate shapes… I’m thinking they must use a sharp die for the cutting… and if so… they may do the trick! They sell ones that make circles as well as triangles. I’m thinking the triangles might make a better cut too. Of course… I could also go with hearts or daisies or fairies :PAug 6, 2006 at 1:09 pm #1360601
Tom: Something like that would do the trick… if the bits are sharp.Aug 6, 2006 at 1:30 pm #1360602
Thomas R. ConroyBPL Member
Per their web site, the Titanium Goat ti foil is .005″ thick. Such small numbers can add up to such large differences in workability! For what it’s worth, we purchased our metal hole punch from CVF Supply Company online — we’ll use it for other non-backcountry uses thus the $40 cost can be amortized over the rest of our natural lives for any number of projects we can dream up.Aug 6, 2006 at 1:33 pm #1360603
Ya… the BPL foil is actually 0.03 mm… which translates to 0.001″. Anyway, I may try to find a leather punch… or a sharp hollow hole punch. Just wish I had ordered a punched screen when I had the chance. They’ve been sold out now for months. I still have one untouched unpunched screen… and I don’t want to mess that one up :)Aug 6, 2006 at 2:19 pm #1360604
Steve MartellBPL Member
@steveLocale: Eastern Washington
Why punch any holes?? Simply tilt up the downwind side slightly with a twig or pebble. Easier yet, scratch some small trenches in the soil below the edge of the wind screen.Aug 6, 2006 at 2:46 pm #1360605
Hey Steve. I know those tricks… and don’t ask me why… but I prefer a windscreen with holes.Aug 6, 2006 at 3:27 pm #1360609
Another non-hole solution is to cut notches on the bottom side of the windscreen. These vent lower than the holes, cause less flame disruption, give positive ventillation.Aug 6, 2006 at 3:29 pm #1360610
Thanks Vick. I talked about my experience with the notches solution in the original post. Works extremely well… but I find the notches keep snagging on stuff and getting bent, etc.Aug 6, 2006 at 4:31 pm #1360615
got itAug 8, 2006 at 5:42 pm #1360722
Ok… so I just got aquainted with my local scrapbooking store :P I bought a bunch of different punches… and this is what I’ve found so far…
– Those plam / thumb punches… that sort of look like small staplers and cut all kinds of crazy shapes don’t work at all. Plus… you can’t see where you’re punching… if you care about neatness
– The punches that looks like regular hole punches from your office supply store work best. And ovals and sqaures cut much better than a circle
– The best backing material to prevent tearing and distortion is… aluminum! I tried a lot of different types of tape… masking tape… painters tape… etc… and thin cookie sheet / oven liner aluminum works best. This makes sense as it’s tougher than tape. Aluminum tape actually works really well… but it’s a BITCH to remove.
So… to sum up…
Use an oval shaped (or square) scrapbooking hand punch with your titanium sandwiched in a piece of 0.006″ aluminum. Also… punch slowly. Slow works better than fast.
When you’re done… the holes will still bit a little rough… but there should be no tearing or distortion. To clean up the slightly burred edges… use some 150 emory cloth… just rub lightly around both sides of the hole in a circular motion.
As for why an oval works better than a circle… I think it’s because the circle tries to cut more of the hole at once… while the oval cutter first cuts at the very top and bottom of the oval… so the punch punctures the Ti first and then cuts the rest of the oval from there. Same with the sqaure.
p.s. BPL recommended clamping the Ti foil between two pieces of wood and using a drill press (not a hand held drill). I’m sure that would work… but it sounds like a lot more work… plus… I don’t have a drill press!Aug 8, 2006 at 8:05 pm #1360729
Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
When the time is right (and you’ll know it by all the scraps of pop cans, aluminum flashing, Titanium sheets, oven liner etc. lying around your house), this is what you need to get:
-MikeAug 9, 2006 at 2:06 am #1360742
Thanks Mike. Have you tried that type of tool with the Ti Foil from Backpacking Light? Do you know that it will make clean holes in 0.001″ Ti foil? If so… that’s great. I have no idea where I would find such a tool though. Doesn’t look like something you could get at the local home depot.Aug 9, 2006 at 7:44 am #1360748
Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
The BPL Ti Foil is so thin that you still need to use the oven liner sandwich you mentioned. The punch works great on the thicker foil from Ti Goat. I got mine from the website linked in my last post, but that’s not an official BPL endorsement of the vendor or anything.
-MikeAug 9, 2006 at 10:00 am #1360759
Thanks Michael. I just wanted to know if you’re actually tried it on the BPL foil before ordering from the website. I can’t seem to find a similar tool locally.
Here’s a thought tho’… I’m using over liner because my current punch is a plastic hole punch meant for paper… from a scrapbooking store. It can just barely get thru those 3 layers. But with the heavy duty punch you mentioned above… I could use thicker gauge aluminum as my backing material… which… being stronger… should do a better job of preventing tearing and deforming.
I know the wood clamping / drill press idea would work too… but as I say… seems like a lot of work and I don’t have a drill press.
Anyway… I called half a dozen tool and metal places today and no one sells a hand punch. I may try one more place… or someone suggested the rain gutter section at home depot. We’ll see. If not… I can order that punch online. Would be a great tool to have in any case!Aug 9, 2006 at 3:08 pm #1360791
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I have the big brother to that hand punch of Mike’s – works great.
The secret behind using these punches is that there has to be SOME clearance between the punch and the die. That’s fine, until you get to the BPL Ti foil. It is as thin as the clearance! So there is tearing.
First stage of solution: increase the thickness of what you are punching, by laminating a slightly softer foil top and bottom. This has been discussed.
Second stage of solution: don’t use anything too soft for the lamination. Really soft Al foil against hard Ti foil is not so good. Try some hard Al foil or maybe brass shim from a Model Toy Shop.
It doesn’t hurt to make sure the edges of the punch and die are really sharp, but do this with some care as any defects will cause mega-problems.
Roger CaffinAug 9, 2006 at 4:30 pm #1360798
Thanks so much for the tips… and the explaination.
I was on the right track anyway switching from masking tape as a backing material to aluminum. Makes sense that a stronger material than aluminum would work better. That said… the scrapbooking hand punch I bought last night is all plastic (except for the punch / die of course) and might have a hard time getting thru anything more than soft aluminum.
I know what you mean about clearance too. I looked at some metal working tools at Home Depot tonight… for doing gutters and siding… and there was a nice looking punch there to cut nail slots… but I took one look at it and knew it would work at all… there was a GAPPING space between the die and the punch. Lots of light showing thru. So I didn’t even bother.
I also went to another craft store tonight… this time one that sell only scrapbooking stuff. And lo and behold… I got a “thumb punch” or “plunger punch” or “paper shaper” or whatever you want to call it that WORKS!!!!! It cuts VERY cleanly!!!!! It’s the oval punch from Tonic Studios…
The only thing is… the hole is a little on the big side maybe for a windscreen. It’s 1/2″ high and 3/8″ wide. Not too bad tho’… I think it would work. I just won’t put the holes all the way around… so I can point the unpunched 1/4 of the sheild into the wind. They have a circle punch too… and a sqaure punch… but they are both huge… 5/8″ holes. Too bad… because this punch really works. No backing material needed. In fact… I found it cut cleaner WITHOUT backing material.
BTW… this tool cost me $5 Canadian. I was looking at the other shapes on the website too… and I’m thinking the explaination point might work too… wouldn’t leave any hanging or pointy shapes inside the hole.Aug 10, 2006 at 4:03 am #1360831
Since I found a scrapbooking punch that works beautifully but makes holes that are too big (the holes are perfect… perfectly smooth and clean save for the VERY slightest of puckering at the bottom of the oval)… I’m gonna use Vick’s notched bottom idea. So I’ll use my punch to bite 3/8″ semi-circle holes out of one side of the Ti foil… then clean up the sharp corners with a nail clipper. I’ve already tested this on my spare Ti foil and it works beautifully!
I know I said above that I don’t like the notches… but then I realized that my issues with notches (fragile… always getting bent) is only an issue with aluminum. With the Ti foil… the “teeth” of the notches will be very springy and won’t get bent.
I’ll post a photo when I’ve got the windscreen made.
Also… since some of those “paper shaper” scrapbooking punches have actually proven to work afterall… if they are the better quality ones… I could go online and find one that punches a smaller hole and hope it works. There are a few (maybe 1 or 2) companies that make small hole “paper shaper” punches… but they are no where to be found locally. Apparently, moons and stars and fairies are more popular with the scrapbooking crowd than 3/8″ circles :P However… I think the notches will work better anyway. I found my aluminum windscreen with the notches worked really well… as far as venting the stove goes… it’s just that the notches were getting bent, melted, catching on things… etc. None of those things will be an issue with Titanium.Aug 11, 2006 at 8:02 pm #1360976
Sorry guys… but I am a complete idiot!!!
I was at Staples tonight to buy some odds and ends and decided to look at the hole punches. This whole Ti foil adventure started with a regular office paper hole punch… but it was one of those single hole hand punches… and they don’t work worth a damn! In fact, they make a damn mess of the foil.
Anyway… so I looked at the 3 hole punches and was pleasantly surprised. They almost all have VERY sharp pointy punches (to cut thru multiple layers of paper) and VERY tight punch to die clearances!!! So I bought the $5 Staples brand 3-hole punch and… it cuts thru that titanium foil LIKE BUTTER!!! I mean… there isn’t any resistance at all. It’s literally like a hot knife thru butter… and the holes it makes are absolutely 100% perfect. Damn!
So all those scrapbooking tools and calling machine shops and playing with masking tape and aluminum foil and you name it… all a complete waste of time. A simple 3 hole punch would have done the trick all along.
One tip… at least with the punch I bought… you can remove all but one of the cutters (they are attached with small thumbscrews)… so the other 2 cutters don’t get in the way as you feed your foil along into the punch. Best of all… there is a ruler built in… so just punch a hole… feed the foil in another 3/4 of an inch… punch… feed another 3/4″… etc. etc. Once you hit the end of the punch (11″ long”)… just flip the foil over and start punching holes from the other end.
p.s. My “solution” above won’t work… the scrapbooking punch worked at first… but it must have dulled or something because now it’s not working at all. Even when it worked… there was a lot of resistance before the punch suddenly poped thru. I still like the idea of a bottom notched Ti windscreen tho’… and I have two left… so I will probably make one of each kind… one with holes and one with notches. For the notched one, I’ll just use a knife to cut out triangle shaped notches. I’ll use a small diameter hollow point hammer punch to make a rounded corner at the apex of the triangles… so the foil won’t want to tear at the tops of the triangles.Aug 12, 2006 at 11:41 am #1361010
Idiots are the smartest people.
Wisdom comes from making mistakes. Mistakes come form doing stupid things. Therefore, wisdom comes from stupidity.Aug 12, 2006 at 3:35 pm #1361023
@jasonklassLocale: Parker, CO
Try a Whitney-style punch.
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