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I am getting pretty serious about starting a press build. I’ve saved enough money to buy most of the hydraulics, and have a friend who works for a steel fabricator that has offered to get me whatever steel I need in exchange for a knife

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I have started drawing up my design, and thought I would seek out advice or opinions from people who have built or use a press regularly.

 

The picture below is the basic geometry I am working with. Obviously I have a lot of details to fill in, but wanted to solicit opinions before I go too far into the weeds.

 

The overall height is 55” to help with the scale.

 

The maximum opening will be 12.5”, and the cylinders have a 10” stoke. I am looking primarily at pattern welding work, so this seems like plenty of room for dies and work space, but I’ve never used a press before so I’d like input.

 

The width of the working space is about 18”

 

The height of the lower die when the cylinders are fully retracted will be roughly 39” above the floor.

 

The two 4” cylinders mounted below will produce a little less than 37 tons. I’ve done some preliminary analysis on the 1” plates attached to the cylinders, and it looks good. I still need to do some FEA to see if the angle uprights are sized correctly.

 

I haven’t figured out how I want to do the attachments for the dies, or the guides for the ram yet. I’ll work on that stuff once I’m happy with the frame.

 

FWIW, I don’t have power in the shed where I do my forging. I plan to build a gas (petrol) engine to run the hydraulics. I’ll build a little lean-to outside my forging area for the engine, pump, and tank, and the run the hydraulic lines thought the wall to the press.

 

I’d appreciate any thoughts.

 

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Edited by Brian Dougherty
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thanks Brian , I will be paying close attention, I've been looking for a long time for a press and they are very difficult to find at a reasonable price, so I too will be building one this spring/su

Well, I ordered the cylinders the other day, and a local fab company gave me a quote on making all of the big steel parts that I couldn't pass up, so the build has begun. It's going to take me a few

Well, the pump and bracket fit up to the engine as planned. I'll have to weld up a cart to hold all of the hydraulic power unit bits before it's all over.  

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thanks Brian ,

I will be paying close attention, I've been looking for a long time for a press and they are very difficult to find at a reasonable price, so I too will be building one this spring/summer, slowly accumulating parts as I type this !!... good luck ,, lots of good valuable information available from some very knowledgeable experienced builders.....look forward to the build :) My build will be very similar however just a single

 

similar to Tommys with some slight alterations

 

smallpress.jpg

Edited by BCROB
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  • 9 months later...

mines 8ft tall cylinder on top modified large i beam with bracing tank in the bottom and my die holders would give most of the ppl here fits but for the bracing and table top it was a no weld frame that can more than handle anything i can throw at it

 

my next one might be down cylinder but still with the top die moving not an easy build but i like it

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I've been itching to get back to this lately. My limited analysis skills are indicating that I may be pushing the 1" thick cross beams at full load so I have been pondering what to do. I'm also going to be a bit out-classed when it comes to putting all those 3/4" holes in the plates and angles.

 

I've managed to put away a little cash for this project, so I am probably going to see if one of the local steel fab companies would be willing to fab up the components for me. This is what the solid model looks like today:

 

 

Capture.JPG

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Well, I ordered the cylinders the other day, and a local fab company gave me a quote on making all of the big steel parts that I couldn't pass up, so the build has begun. It's going to take me a few months to get it all together, but I'll post pics of the progress as I go.

 

I kind of feel like I did as a kid on Christmas eve...

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So it begins!

 

My cylinders showed up yesterday. Two 4"x10" 3000psi cylinders from the surplus center.

 

My engine and hydraulic pump should show up tomorrow :)

 

 

 

IMG_20170113_081033683.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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I have my major pump components. This is a two stage pump. 22gpm/7gpm 3000 psi. I also got a 14hp Brigs engine to drive it. I don't have power in the shed where I forge, so I went with a gas engine.

 

IMG_20170113_171016495.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Well, the pump and bracket fit up to the engine as planned. I'll have to weld up a cart to hold all of the hydraulic power unit bits before it's all over.

 

IMG_20170118_191615905.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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  • 4 weeks later...

Assembly time!

 

Most of the major metal bits have arrived, and I got a pretty good start of the assembly today.

 

This is a pic of the materials I have so far. There are a few smaller parts that I'll still have to fabricate, but I had a local shop make the heavy bits. Drilling 1" holes through 1" plate would have been a challenge with my equipment.

 

 

 

IMG_20170208_170738423.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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My dies will attach to 1" plates that are on the cross bars. (Actually, there are 2 1" plates on each cross bar) In order to have a place to attach the dies, I drilled and tapped some 1/2"-13 holes prior to welding the die plates up.

 

IMG_20170211_111808588.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Then a test fit of the parts. The more astute of you will notice a mistake here. I forgot that the uprights on each side are mirror images, and had the shop fabricate 4 identical uprights. Doh!

 

IMG_20170211_140201018.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Oh well, I had come this far, so i decided to test fit the cylinders while I was at it. This also gave me time to think about how I was going to correct the problem with the uprights.

 

 

 

IMG_20170211_144810408.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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What is that old saying about good knife makers haveing to be good at correcting mistakes? I decided to band-saw off the mistake on the top of the two uprights and weld it back on to the bottom where it belongs...

 

IMG_20170211_153823647.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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I also made some spacers out of some shim stock to create a small amount of clearance between the uprights and the sliding cross bar. By the way, the bolts are for structural steel, not typical grade 8 bolts. The shoulders on structural steel bolts are longer so that the threaded section doesn't get loaded in shear.

 

IMG_20170211_161633651.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Then I had to lift it up to weld the feet on. I started to lift it by hand, and quickly realized that my back has gotten smarter over the years. One brief lift attempt, and it said "Go get the hoist you dummy!" This also made it easier to shim things around to get it all plumb and level.

 

 

IMG_20170211_165302867.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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This is where I stopped for the day. The feet are welded on, and it is free standing now. I have to weld the die plate onto the sliding cross bar, and machine the guide plates that will keep the sliding cross bar from shifting side to side.

 

IMG_20170211_172645332.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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It is far from done, but my press has already smashed something. Fortunately this wasn't with any force near it's capacity, but it sure felt like 40 tons!

 

IMG_20170211_180541874.jpg

 

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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I welded up the moving cross bar today.  There are 1" thick plates that will screw to these 5"x8" plates.  It is on these additional 1" plates that I will create the mounts for the dies.  I am planning on using 4x6x3/8" plates for the actual die bases.

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Here is another dry fit of everything.  Those two columns of holes in the moving cross bar are where the guide blocks mount that will keep the cross bar from swaying side to side.

IMG_20170212_121309919.jpg

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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excellent Brian , how many times have you walked back in your shop just to have a look at 'er !! 

I have all my components & hydraulics as well , enjoying this wip , I only have (1) 6'' bore 10'' stroke cylinder but I'm swaying now to this style of frame !! :D 

I'll be hitting you up for a steel list !!

 

cheers 

Rob

 

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Rob, Ha!  I'm glad to know I'm not the only one like that!  Actually, I am building it on the back dock at work.  I'd have to build it out in the winter weather if i did it at home.  So, once I come home I don't get to go visit it :(  It'll be even harder not to stop by and say "Hi" when I am at work tomorrow ;)

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I got the guide blocks made today.  They have a UHMW wear block backed up by a piece of 3" angle.  I cut channels in the wear blocks for lubrication via a grease gun.  However, there are mixed opinions on using grease with UHMW, so I may not use them.

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