DIY Paper Tape Punch - Mechanism diagram?

Anders Nelson anders.k.nelson at
Fri May 1 10:48:15 CDT 2020

Wow, what a response! Really appreciate the docs and first-hand experience,
this is super helpful.

I'm also floored by the complexity of that Roytron punch! Looks like it
contains around one hundred separate parts. I'm convinced the punch parts
will have to be precision metal so while that's not quite "DIY" it might
still be a reasonable bit to CNC, mill or water-jet cut.

It also looks like that punch has an escapement mechanism of some sort?
Seems like a simple way to keep regular spacing, but if course more parts
to buy from McMaster Carr or whatever.

Question: did all tapes have indexing holes separate from the drive
sprocket holes? Also is there a source for tape with sprocket holes anymore?

I also like the idea of using a LASER cutter and a rotating platform like
they use to engrave drinking glasses. Add a light vacuum nozzle under the
tape past the cutting surface to suck up the chads, and perhaps make the
cutting surface wheel with of rows of thin plates as the cutting surface,
similar to the thin honeycomb cutting beds of typical LASER cutters. I
imagine it'd take an awfully long time to use a traditional core XY cutter
versus a galvo-mirror cutter.

I have some experience cutting planar items in LASER cutters but little
experience beyond basic principles regarding machining/modeling/rotating
LASER stuff.

On Fri, May 1, 2020, 11:32 AM John Foust via cctalk <cctalk at>

> At 07:18 AM 5/1/2020, Hugh Pyle via cctalk wrote:
> >I've cut Mylar tape with a Glowforge laser.  It cuts very nicely but the
> >alignment is a major hassle, plus you can only cut ~15" of tape which
> >doesn't go very far.  Not worth the effort.  If you were to build a custom
> >linear drive it might work.  But also very slow.
> Hmm.  You could have N fixed lasers at the spots of potential holes,
> and then a mechanism to move the whole assembly of them in the shape of a
> single hole, drawing them all at once.
> You could have one laser on that moved precisely along the hole row,
> and use the same sort of mechanical motion to draw a hole.
> How much laser do you need to cut paper, how much to cut mylar?
> Were there any paper tape devices that did not use the sprocket holes
> to move the tape?
> - John

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