How many holes do you want to punch? Depending on what type of hole puncher being used, you can punch them one at a time or get multiple holes at once. As long as it works, very few people invest much brain power in wondering how this marvelous invention works.
In large operations, holes are not punched, but drilled into reams of paper. For the individual, the hole punch helps workers to organize and transport needed papers without loss or damage. The hole puncher works on a simple concept.
Sharp metal can cut paper.
It is easiest to think of the hole puncher as a small round pair of scissors. Some hole punchers use a metal tube with a sharpened edge that is cut on a diagonal. It looks like a large version of the end of a hypodermic syringe. The pointed end pierces the paper and the blade cuts the remaining part of the circle while a circular opening opposite the blade holds the paper in place to produce a nice even round hole.
Other hole punchers use a rod instead of a tube as the cutting blade.
The inexpensive single or multiple hole punchers employ a short piece of metal rod that is fashioned similar to the sharpened tube. However, the rod relies on the hole underneath to help provide a scissor-like action to produce a hole. This type of punch cannot cut through as many sheets of paper at a time because the flat end of the rod will compress the stack of paper instead of piercing it. It does have the advantage of not filling up with little round pieces of paper that may need to be cleaned out from time to time.
All hole punchers use a lever to generate enough power to cut the hole.
The lever action of a single hole puncher is easy to see. The handles stretch out from the pivot point to for your hand to grip and compress to force the cutters on the other end to do their work and punch a hole. If the blades are nice and sharp, it does not take a lot of grip to be able to generate a hole in a single piece of paper. As the stack becomes larger, the amount of force required to drive the cutting blade through the paper increases dramatically because of the shortness of the lever.
Hole punchers with multiple blades use a different type of lever action.
By using a flat plate as the opposite end of the lever, multiple blade hole punchers allow for more force to be exerted on the blades. This means that more holes can be punched at once. It also allows you to pierce more sheets of paper. Some of these larger hand operated devices can create holes in 8 or 10 pieces of paper at a time. Electrical versions can handle even more paper because the force available for cutting is greater.
It is important that a hole puncher have a collection bin for the paper from the holes.
Most people have experienced having the collection bin from a hole puncher come open at a bad time and spill hundreds of dots of paper around a room. When these collection bins work right, they prevent many messes from occurring. Usually ten seconds or less over a trash can will empty out the remains from days of hole punching.