What is CNC Punching?

Posted on Feb 09, 2021 by Cullen Hikene

Punching is a fast and cost-effective CNC process that uses a punch press to force a tool, called the ‘punch’, through the workpiece to create a hole via shearing. Punching is applicable to a wide variety of materials that come in sheet form, including sheet metal, paper, vulcanized fibre and some forms of plastic sheet. The hole can be punched by a machine or manually, though a machine offers superior force often needed to penetrate hard materials such as metal. Once penetrated, the material is removed and the hole is of the same shape and size as the die. Circular dies for punching circular holes are common, and other shapes are also available for selection.

3Diligent illustrated processes: punching

What are the Different Types of CNC Punching Processes?

  1. Fiber Laser Cutting
  2. Punching
  3. Bending
  4. Punching and Shearing
  5. Punch Laser Machine

What are the Advantages of CNC Punching?

  • High-speed component creation. CNC Punching machines can hit thousand of punches per minute, even for metal components.
  • Punch-head Flexibility. Flat holes and components can be typically produced, but also supplemented by lourvre, dimple, and embossed machine heads.
  • No HAZ. As a cold process, CNC punching produces no heat affected zones (HAZ) that would affect material properties at the molecular level.

What are the Limitations of CNC Punching?

  • Lower Dimensional Accuracy. =/- .010″
  • Burr Creation. These deformities can affect the flatness of the part during the manufacturing process.
  • Minimum Distance Between Punches. Without a minimum distance each punch can affect the shape of previous geometries or mess up the location of future punches.


Key Metrics

Standard Tolerance

Maximum Size
2500 x 1250 x 8mm

Minimum Wall Thickness


CNC punching is an established and efficient solution in the CNC Machining space due to of its economics and speed. Consider submitting an RFQ through manufacturing services such as ProdEX to dial up your next punching project.

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