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  1. #1
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    Question How to punch out ski boots?

    Any bootfitters have advice on how to safely punch out a small pressure point on a ski boot?

    Do you use heat? How much, for how long?
    Does the type of plastic matter?
    Any other advice?

  2. #2
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    1) until the shell is 170' keeping the heat gun 10" away.
    or
    until the shell is warm to the touch on the inside of the shell

    2) nope

    3) practice a few times on a dead boot first

    Email me at dave@fatskideals.com for boot fitting questions,
    read where I'm skiing at http://www.fatskideals.com/blog.html

  3. #3
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    mtnlion gives good advice,

    very hot (but not boiling water) will also soften the shell. Ideally, you would have some hydraulic presses to punch the boot out, but you are nerdy enough to improvise, Spats.

    Whatever you do, DONT GET THE HEAT GUN TOO CLOSE for obvious reasons.
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  4. #4
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    The translucent plastic on some newer boots (i.e. Nordica Top Fuel) seems to respond to heat moreso than standard boot plastic does. So if you have a boots with a semi-transparent shell be cautious you don't punch too much.

  5. #5
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    Second the very hot water suggestion. But...

    "Small pressure points" can often be solved without blowing the shell and if you do blow out the shell for a small area there is a good chance it will come back into shape so try the liner first.

    Use a utility knife to remove material where you need more space. Just a little at a time. Be patient. Sometimes just slicing a # type pattern over the pressure point will do the trick.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    1) until the shell is 170' keeping the heat gun 10" away.
    or
    until the shell is warm to the touch on the inside of the shell

    2) nope

    3) practice a few times on a dead boot first
    1) This is often when a finger will first leave a print in the plastic.

    2) I have found that extremely soft (AT/Tele) and extremely dense/stiff (plug) durometer plastics will not hold a punch as well. Plugs were obviously meant for grinding, sometimes in conjunction with a punch.

    3) Be sure you don't take the sole shape out of DIN (i.e. big toe punches).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhtele View Post
    1) This is often when a finger will first leave a print in the plastic.

    2) I have found that extremely soft (AT/Tele) and extremely dense/stiff (plug) durometer plastics will not hold a punch as well. Plugs were obviously meant for grinding, sometimes in conjunction with a punch.

    3) Be sure you don't take the sole shape out of DIN (i.e. big toe punches).
    I think that if you do a little bit of grinding to the inside of the shell, plus the hot water method, it will hold a punch a little better. You have to be very careful grinding normal boots. Hold the dremel very lightly, and remove just the minimal amount of material.
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  8. #8
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    Rule of thumb: All boots can be punched, some require more care (multi injected ones, translucent, etc.) Not all boots can be ground...most cheap boots and some midrange boots suck donkey ball to grind.

    The idea that plugs won't hold a punch is, well, not reflected by my experience...but then my experience is with purpose built tools. Hydraulics are nice to have for toe punches, not needed elsewhere. If you are going to punch, punch first then grind. Again this comes from the context of good tools though, I guess if you are trying to punch a boot with a screwdriver handle in your garage you might have to do things differently.

    This thread makes me want to junkyard engineer some boot tools.

  9. #9
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    If the boots are brand new, the pressure point might be more the liner than the shell. Sometimes boot manufacturers will leave a gap between the shell and the liner in the toe box. I had a pressure point fixed last year by using a heat gun on the pressure point while wearing the boot. Once I could feel the heat through the boot, I did the other foot and kept them on with weight on them for about an hour. It hurt for that hour, but after that, the liner had been stretched out enough, and I've had no problems since.

  10. #10
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    It cost only $10 to do a toe punch. The process took overnight, and it seems to be permanent. Is this any different than the heat gun?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowranger View Post
    It cost only $10 to do a toe punch. The process took overnight, and it seems to be permanent. Is this any different than the heat gun?
    Not really. People use hydraulics and heat for toe punches pretty often. It is probably the most generic punch, so that explains it taking "overnight" as in they didn't need you there to do it. Most punches would be done then and there so to speak.

    For 10 bucks you might wonder why people are talking about doing this at home, sadly I'm broke enough to completely get it.

  12. #12
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    Rontele: thanks for the double-edged praise

    mntlion: good point. I think I have an appropriate boot shell to practice on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
    For 10 bucks you might wonder why people are talking about doing this at home, sadly I'm broke enough to completely get it.
    For me it's not money, it's that I trust myself with my own boots a lot more than I trust anyone else.

    Also, by the time I drive to the shop and back twice I can have already done it myself.

  13. #13
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    Both very valid reasons to DIY as well.

    /need to get a Foredom.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
    Both very valid reasons to DIY as well.

    /need to get a Foredom.
    YES! Get a Foredom, and listen to what Garrett has said good advice. The only thing I disagree with is the order of grinding then punching, but that just may be preference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roo View Post
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  15. #15
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    A lot of this depends on where the pressure point lies on your foot. Is it a toe, 6th toe, heel, etc.? Certain points are going to be a lot simpler to improvise tools for.

  16. #16
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    I do so miss Mike Tyson Nude Punch Out.

    "Nothing is funnier than Hitler." - Smokey McPole

  17. #17
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    I think they actually had the boots in the machine for a long time. I brought two pairs to do, and they could not get them both done on the same day.

    I called them to ask about the process. The tech said that he puts the boot in a hydraulic press, and uses a heat gun several times over the course of a day or more to increase the chances for a more permanent punch.
    Last edited by snowranger; 10-24-2007 at 11:51 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowranger View Post
    I think they actually had the boots in the machine for a long time. I brought two pairs to do, and they could not get them both done on the same day.

    I called them to ask about the process. The tech said that he puts the boot in a hydraulic press, and uses a heat gun several times over the course of a day or more to increase the chances for a more permanent punch.
    Putting the boots on ice with the hydraulic presses still in the boots after punching will ensure that the punch lasts longer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roo View Post
    I don't think I've ever seen mental illness so faithfully rendered in html.

  19. #19
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    Redneck boot punching

    I have a wide foot. I bought a pair of Gamount GSM compacts 30.5 and my sixth toe killed me the minute I put them on. I could downhill ski okay, but skinning and climbing was unbearable. It took me several tries but i found something that worked for me. I went to hardware and second hand stores and scrounged up a small soup ladle that fit my ski boots nicely. I also purchased a very small turnbuckle to use as my hydraulic press. I cut the handle off the soup ladle and used the bowl part as my pushing die; where I wanted to move the plastic. I drilled a small hole in the center of the bowl with a small nail through it into one side of the turnbuckle where I removed one screw. On the other side of the boot I placed a thin piece of wood with mastic and duct tape to keep the instep side from slipping. I placed the pressing rig inside the boot with some moderate tension before heating the boots. I do not have a heat gun and so used a Mr Heater and infrared thermometer to heat boots to over 300F. I kept a bowl with wet washrags handy to cool things if necessary. An icepack might be better. The idea is to heat outside of boot and let heat sink in a couple times and then if needed adjust turnbuckle out with boot hot. I found that the blue garmounts just began to smoke and blister when I got too hot so watch it carefully. The plastic moves really easy when hot.
    The things I am considering to improve would be to use a bolt with a long nut to make your press. that way you could use a ratchet wrench to push out. This process took a while for me. I am a cheapskate, but if I could have paid someone in town to do it I would have come out ahead. Good luck and go slow. I first heated my boots to 200f, and 250 f. There is a good Utube video of a guy with all the right stuff; hydraulic rams and heatgun (infrared thermometer). Well worth watching before you start.
    Timfin
    Habakuk 3:19 YAHWEH is my strength and HE will give me the legs of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.

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