“We created something unique, and unmatched in the paper craft market.”

Click here to see more of this project on the Bēhance network.

Decorative paper punches are a popular way of cutting intricate patterns into paper or card – a little more advanced than your average office hole-punch. The paper and textile craft market in the UK has a user demographic of over 90% female, aged 40-90 years. A large proportion of this user group also suffer from age-related conditions, particularly arthritis.


Tonic Studios’ original paper punch comprised of a simple two-piece Zinc die-casting, with a heavy duty return spring. When users began complaining of paper-jams, production engineers increased the force of the return-spring. This cycle continued until customers were left with a paper punch that was incredibly hard to operate, especially for the typical user group.

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Competitors had developed simple levered mechanisms to reduce operation force, however, levers are ultimately limited by the size of the product – we had discovered an opportunity for real innovation in this market.

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We built an engineering test-rig to prove our concept (an uncommon arrangement of levers, slots and rack and pinion gears).

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Our final design radically reduces the operation force of the paper punch, taking advantage of the unique arrangement elements in the drive mechanism.

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We managed the smooth handover to production engineers across several suppliers in southern China.

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Click here to see more of this project on the Bēhance network.

If you have a similar project you’d like to discuss, contact Think Refine.


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