How can I hole punch thin plastic page protectors in bulk? Regular punches don't work...? Answered
Update: I found my answer, see comment below. In short: I used a Carl Heavy Duty hollow-head Hole Puncher, and it works great!
I've been using plastic page protectors (these, specifically) in bulk, say about 1000 a month. However, I need them to be 8.5 x 8.5 and I also need to punch holes that are slightly off from the factory holes. I'm basically using these as a cheaper alternative to 8x8 scrapbook page protectors (which are prohibitively expensive - say $1 a sheet or so).
I've figured out how to quickly cut the pages (using a rotary cutter), and that works great. However, I am still struggling to find a way to quickly & cleanly punch holes in these things. The problem is that the plastic binds, stretches, and does not cut cleanly. I need a very sharp & precise puncher to do this quickly, and I haven't found one yet.
I've tried normal 3-hole punchers. I can punch them one at a time, if I hit the punch hard, and occasionally it binds & sticks (since the plastic stretches instead of breaking and gets caught in the mechanism). I've tried hand-held punches as well, same result. Also, aligning each individual page is time consuming as well.
The problem with paper hold punchers is that they're made for paper. They're inaccurate, not sharp, but strong. The cheap & heavy duty ones alike only differ in how much paper they can punch, but neither are sharp/accurate enough for thin plastic sheets. Is there a high-quality razor-sharp & ultra-precise hold puncher out there? I haven't seen any that look even close.
I've tried holding them down & drilling them. The plastic wraps around the drill bit and they rip to shreds.
I also tried a leather punch, but the ones I got were much too dull - they just dented the plastic.
The only thing that has had some success is a dremel 115 cutter bit. That actually cuts into the plastic, and if I go carefully (eating a bit at a time) it'll go through a lot of sheets at once. However, it's messy, takes a lot of setup, and leaves a very messy hole (all chewed up).
Ideally, I'd love to line up 10 sheets or so, have a way to align them (a jig?), and then punch them all at once w/o any binding or sticking.
Does anyone have any other ideas? I've thought of melting a hole, but then the pages would all stick together. I'm completely boggled - how can I do this? What tool can I buy for this? What method haven't I tried?
Thanks guys! Any suggestions are appreciated.