Inserting drip emitters in tubes or pipes by hand can be a frustrating experience for you and a bruising one for your fingers and hands. The good news is that tools do exist that can help you achieve your aim.
Simple hole punches can work. Some are small and difficult to hold, but others have larger handles that make them a bit easier to grasp. You hold them in your hand and press the sharp tip through the wall of the tubing. An ice pick would also make the hole, but pointed punch tools tend to make a hole through one wall and a second unwanted one through the other.
When you do make holes, you need to consider the shape of the hole punched. Most punch tools create holes that are about 1/8 of an inch in diameter. While others make holes as large as 1/4 inch with large barbs for specific kinds of emitters. You will find that is a lot easier to get the matter into a round hole than one made with a pointed tip, such as a nail. When holes are made with a pointed tip, the plastic stretches as the tip goes through it. Then the hole closes up you pull the tool out, creating a hole that is hard to get the emitter barb into.
More sophisticated punching tools like the Miracle Punch do exist. These will hold a tube firmly in place which then aligns the hole properly. They work much like a pair of pliers, which will make it much easier on your hands.
A number of devices also exist to install the emitters. However, these tools are usually product specific and only work with a particular brand or model of emitter. Generally, they have a handle on one end and a molded cradle on the other. You put the emitter in the cradle and then the barb into a hole you’ve already punched in the tube using a hole puncher. It’s wise to use heavy leather gloves when installing the emitters to reduce hand pain.
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