Archimedes is quoted as saying, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” While he hasn’t yet moved the world, hacker bitluni has created a lever-based device which does a very nice job of punching 1mm aluminum. The simple machine uses a TIG welded frame to support a punch attached a few inches from the fulcrum of a lever arm. This extends as a handle for what appears to be roughly a yard/meter, and is pushed down to create a hole out of a 1mm aluminum sheet.
The motivation behind this project was that bitluni had to drill 312 holes by hand in a steel plate for an LED wall project, and plans to make one with 1,200 using aluminum. As 312 was difficult, creating a tool for the larger job would seem to be worth doing — or at least a fun project that could be reused for other purposes in the future.
The punch was made with a few lengths of pipe, with a spring-loaded center that pushes the punching hole out, while the outer section holds the aluminum in place. He added an LED inside the punch for aiming, with a 3D-printed shroud that forms a cross out of the light. The result, seen at the end of the video below, is a very clean hole which is placed accurately, certainly a time-saver for his next hole based project!