Optical Center Punches

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 10-04-2020 02:42 AM 1542 views 1 time favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had 2 long range projects going in the shop. Now that the marble machine is finished and the other one has paint drying, I got back to making these 2 optical center punches. I was a lost on what to use for the center clear rod with cross hairs and then I found a piece of clear plastic rod in my plastic cut offs drawer and tried it out in a wood block. I thought it would be too dark to see the cross hairs down at the bottom of the hole, but it is amazing how bright the lines show up with this rod sitting on top of the piece to be punched. That rod must amplify the light down the tube

These two are made from Brazilian rosewood with a brass sleeve pressed in the center. The center punches are hardened tool steel so they can be used on steel as well as wood. The clear plastic rods are highly polished on the ends with commercial plastic polish used for epoxy table tops and the cross hairs were scratched into them in the milling machine. The wood is finished with EEE and Shellawax

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

30 comments so far

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


8249 posts in 2107 days

#1 posted 10-04-2020 03:14 AM

They are cool JJ... I bought the Veritas set, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that centre clear rod could be custom made…
I though that there was a genie in my Veritas making the cross hairs… poof goes that myth.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile


21354 posts in 2271 days

#2 posted 10-04-2020 03:17 AM

you are a master at many things jim but your tool making skills blow me away.congrats on another finely made tool.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10515 posts in 3696 days

#3 posted 10-04-2020 03:35 AM

Love garage engineering, NICE WORK!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Ivan's profile


17050 posts in 4154 days

#4 posted 10-04-2020 04:41 AM

You too are getting realy cool turning jobs!!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2848 posts in 834 days

#5 posted 10-04-2020 08:08 AM

Agree with the mastery of many things comment. Real sweet project, looks equal to or greater than anything veritas or lee valley would sell.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View BobWemm's profile


3047 posts in 3213 days

#6 posted 10-04-2020 08:44 AM

Really great.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View recycle1943's profile


5971 posts in 2909 days

#7 posted 10-04-2020 11:12 AM

outstanding – a machine shop within a wood shop, can’t get any better

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View tyvekboy's profile


2138 posts in 4300 days

#8 posted 10-04-2020 01:46 PM

Great aid for old eyes. I could have used that in my last project.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27002 posts in 4392 days

#9 posted 10-04-2020 04:19 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments. I had my buddy Shawne come over today and she used it and hit the center right on!

Hi Alex, I originally went looking for the clear shaft with the cross hairs in it and could not find one. Then I watched a video of a guy that made one out of brass and carved a face in it but he never showed how he put the cross hairs in the clear shaft. The only thing I had to control the scratch on true center lines is my mill. I think I may try making another clear shaft without the center drill point in it.

Hi Pottz. I went into tool and die right after high school and I bought a mill and a lathe before I retired knowing that I’d surely use them. They really support my woodworking.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doubleDD's profile


10801 posts in 3330 days

#10 posted 10-04-2020 04:34 PM

These will sure come in handy Jim. Amazing that you came up with the idea of making your own. Hats off to you.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1574 posts in 2579 days

#11 posted 10-04-2020 04:46 PM

Much prettier than the Veritas version.
All you need is to make is a cases.

You saved yourself $135.00 plus tax.

I guess it’s like fiber optics Polymer.

How did you shape the plastic?

-- James E McIntyre

View lew's profile


13442 posts in 5042 days

#12 posted 10-04-2020 06:03 PM

You ARE the Master!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9139 posts in 1999 days

#13 posted 10-04-2020 06:22 PM


-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View mikeacg's profile


2049 posts in 2344 days

#14 posted 10-04-2020 07:31 PM

Clever idea Jim! And they look beautiful to boot!

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27002 posts in 4392 days

#15 posted 10-04-2020 09:58 PM

Thanks Dave, James, Lew, tony and Mike.

Hi James. I turned the plastic on the metal lathe to make it an exact fit into the brass sleeve. I can make the ends truly square on there too which is needed when scribing the lines. I have a long length of that clear plastic they threw out from school and I can’t find it to make any more.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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