How To Assemble The Brace Hydraulic Tubing Punch

Hello. I’m Clint Bowers of Brace Tool and today I’m going to assemble a Hydraulic Tubing Punch. But before I start I want to explain something about the punch piston itself. The punch piston has a weep hole in the back which allows oil to escape out of this threaded hole in front. That was designed for use in high temperature levels where oil expansion was causing the shear screw to shear prematurely while it was being run in the well.

If you choose not to have the weep hole it’s easily plugged with a 10-24 X ¼“ set screw. And you just find the hole, and you can hold it up to the light and you can see the small hole in there, and put the set screw into the hole on that side, tighten it up and then it won’t leak. And now we’ll start assembling the tubing punch.

We’ll start out with the main body and we’ll install the bleed screw. There’s a ¼“ ball bearing that drops into the hole and then there’s a screw that goes on top of that. And this is mainly used for bleeding the air out of the tool after you’ve assembled.

So you screw that down until it makes contact with the ball and torque it slightly. Because it’s a ball seat it doesn’t need to be super torqued in there. So we’re done with this piece for the moment. Now we’ll take the firing head side of things and we’ll assemble. The [00:01:39 – inaudible] that are required.

So we have the displacement piston itself, then we’ll remove the O-ring. We have the punch piston, displacement piston housing, displacement piston, shell chamber, and the fishneck. The O-ring on the fishneck is designed to create friction between the fishneck and the safety sleeve when it’s in the up position. We’ll screw that on now until it’s just below the set screw hole. And then we’ll take our striker and our shear pin sub. It slides in there. Put some grease on the threads and install the fishneck onto there.

At this point, before you get too far, you want to screw your safety sleeve up or it’s [00:02:52 – inaudible] on the shear pin sub. I like to leave it just making contact with the O-ring. Install the fishneck into the vice. Screw this down. Then using the crescent wrench on the flats, tighten that onto the fishneck. Install the set screw, which will require you to screw your safety sleeve back into the safety position. Install your set screw. Make sure it’s making contact. [Tuck ?] it in.

Then we can install our firing pin into the striker. It just sometimes takes little taps until it slips to the bottom. We just need a set screw, that holds that in place as well. Screw that in. Make sure it’s making contact. And now we can install our shear pin. Shear pin, we use ¼“ brass most of the time.

If you do have a higher pressure well you can opt for steel pin if you like. Brass is usually sufficient. Align the two holes. Then use a hammer, just tap it in place. You want to ensure it’s flush. The shear pin cover goes on. And then we can install our firing pin housing.

Now at this point I like to tighten these two subs together. So install this into the vice here, screw up my safety sleeve a little bit to allow room for my crescent wrench to fit in there, and torque it up. Now we’ll leave the safety sleeve down, making contact with this, in case it’s dropped or anything, there’s no chance of the shear pin getting sheared prematurely.

We’ll install our displacement piston and our displacement piston housing. Put a little grease on the O-ring. Drop it into the hole. And there’s a bit of friction there between the O-ring and the displacement piston housing so I use a piece of brass just to get it started. Once the O-ring’s down past there I use my thumb to push it into place. And just push it down far enough that when this rubber disk is installed on top of it, the rubber disk will be flush with the top of the bottom of the hole.

Now the shell chamber. We’ll take a 45-70 shell, with an aluminum slug, it’s been modified with a 22 rimfire cartridge. It drops into the shell chamber. Brass disk goes on top of it. This brass disk creates a seal so that no fluid can get in there and make your shell wet out. Now we’ll install our firing head on here.

And once we install this on here we’ll treat this like a loaded gun. We have a live cartridge in the tool. Put a little grease on that O-ring and threads and install our displacement piston housing on there. We’ll tighten those two together.

Now we’re ready to install our punch and our punch piston. I like to use a finishing nail. That’s a 17 gauge finishing nail. The head of it’s a little bit larger than the hole thorough the punch itself. So when you tap it in place it actually flares out that head and holds on there nice and tight.

Now that doesn’t spin on your pin. We’ll install the pin seal screw into punch piston. The pin seal screw creates a seal between the piston and the housing. It doesn’t allow the oil to seep out. When we install this you’ll notice that there’s quite a standoff there, the pin is too long.

So we just take a good look at it, cut that off to the length it needs to be. And because it’s loose it’s a smaller OD than the hole that it’s going into and we’ll have to flare that out somewhat to stop it from falling off and spinning.

So we’ll just take that on the vice and [00:09:25 – inaudible] flare out the pin. So you line it up here, if it doesn’t, make sure it’s got friction. Then you install it [00:09:58 – inaudible]. You want it to stay firmly in place and not spin on your punch piston. So it’s nice and solid. You don’t want to torque on it because it’s just a small pin but you want to make sure it’s not spinning.

Now we’ll put a little grease on the O-ring and we’ll install that into the body. Face the body with this shear pin hole facing you. Then you align the shear pin screw hole on the piston with that hole. Line them up so when you put it in it fits.

And that should push down to the bottom of the hole so that it’s sitting below the body itself and not sticking out. And we’ll take our shear screw and install it into the body. It’s a brass shear screw so it doesn’t need to be super torqued in place or else you’ll have issues getting it out. It’s just designed to hold this piston in place while it runs in the hole and it shears off.

So once it’s in there and you feel it bottom out in the bottom of that hole you stop, it’s good. It’s in there, you can kind of see the brass sticking into that hole. At this point we’ll fill the tool with oil. [00:11:22 – inaudible]. We use ATF here. You can use motor oil or mineral oil or any kind of suitable oil that you choose. The thicker the oil the slower it will bleed the air out when you’re bleeding your air out.

So when we fill it, you want to fill it up to about a quarter of the way up the threads, so that when you install your firing head in there it creates a bit of pressure so that we can turn the tool upside down and bleed all the air out.

You don’t want air in the tool when you run it because air will expand with heat and it will cause your shear screw to shear prematurely and then you’ll have a tool failure. So you’ll feel the oil start to pressure up on there and that’s when you want to stop. You take the tool, turn it upside down. Plant it in the vice and you open your bleed screw hole. You just undo the screw and it starts to allow the oil to run out of the tool.

And I like to let it sit for five minutes like this just to make sure all your air gets to the top of the oil. But for this demonstration we’ll just move past this. As you can see as I turn it in the oil’s bleeding out. And you may see air bubbles once in a while come out of there, indicating that there’s still air in the tool. So, best case scenario you want to see constant oil flow out of this as you’re screwing it in.

And once you get it screwed in all the way and tightened to the bottom, you want to close your bleed screw immediately. So we close our bleed screw, just snug tight, as it’s a ball seat. And then we’ll tighten the body onto the firing head. Typically when you’re running this, you put a blind box, or something, in there to jar it down onto your collar slot or whatever you’re firing off of. The tool is ready to run in the well.

So when you carry it to the well head to put it on your tool string, you leave the safety sleeve in the down position so that if you drop this tool there’s no chance of your shear pin shearing prematurely. Once you’ve screwed onto your tool string, tighten it up and zeroed the well head and ready to pull it into your lubricator and you’ll screw this back up.

This is where the O-ring comes into play. It creates friction between these two pieces so that it doesn’t back off when you’re running in the well. If you’re going to use a wrench on here be very gentle because you’ll rush it and it won’t function properly on the threads because it’s very thin. Run it in the well, jar it down to shear your pin.

The piston shoots down into the oil chamber creating pressure and driving the punch piston out into the tubing wall, driving the punch through the tubing and then you have a hole in your pipe. Thank you.