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Tim Cook

Pressing question

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As someone getting older, I have been thinking about a forge press.  Price seems rather prohibitive however.  So thinking of going the homemade route.  Problem with that is I have no fabrication or engineering skills.  So was thinking about buying a cheaper H frame press ( https://www.harborfreight.com/50-ton-hydraulic-shop-press-96188.html

for instance) and converting it.  Think I could handle converting it to an electric motor and welding up some dies.  Does this sound feasible or am I trying to ride a dead horse?

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Posted (edited)

Presses like that may be rated for 50 tons, but they are not intended to carry the dynamic loads that a forging press sees.  You will be very dissatisfied with that as your base.

 

I was able to get a local steel fabricator to make all of the heavy steel elements of mine for about $500.  You might find a small shop that is willing to help out with the design.

 

It cost me another $750 to buy all of the hydraulic components new.

 

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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To double up on Brian's statement, trying to use that frame for a forging press is a recipe for disaster. Those are designed for light cold pressing, and the whole frame flexes so it will break before the workpiece does.  Hooking a powered hydraulic cylinder to that will result in sheared bolts, bent frames, or worse, all on the first push.

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i bought there little 12 ton version and let me tell you it had more than enough power to rip its self apart :rolleyes: a repurposed log spliters a better idea for a budget build

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I would only build a hydraulic press if you haver acess to a lot of cheap hydraulics or like the idea of building one. you are lucky over the pond that there are a few people making presses. If it took my time into account my home made press cost a load more than the anyang I eventually bought to replace it! 

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Hmm.  Ok thanks for the replies.  Problem is I don't have the 8k+ to spend on an anyang.  That is twice my budget.  Guess I will give up on the idea of a press.

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On 6/6/2020 at 3:24 PM, Tim Cook said:

Hmm.  Ok thanks for the replies.  Problem is I don't have the 8k+ to spend on an anyang.  That is twice my budget.  Guess I will give up on the idea of a press.

It shouldn't cost you anywheres near 8K to build a press. I built mine for about 2K, granted, a few years ago, but still...your equivalent of Princess Auto should carry the parts for the hydraulics and then it's just a matter of getting the steel to put together an H-frame.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2020 at 2:24 PM, Tim Cook said:

Hmm.  Ok thanks for the replies.  Problem is I don't have the 8k+ to spend on an anyang.  That is twice my budget.  Guess I will give up on the idea of a press.

Don’t know where you are but if you’re in the states look at Coal Iron Forge. I got their 16 ton 120 volt press and it does everything I want it too. They have a 12 ton press that looks like the cheap things from Harbor Freight but this one is made for forging and is is not nearly as expensive.

 

 

opps just saw Adam already made mention of them. :blink:

 

Adam, don’t know how the 12 ton works but the videos of the 16 are not exaggerated. I really love mine and the fact it runs on 110 really is a bonus.

 

Edited by Bill Schmalhofer
Addition

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3 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

opps just saw Adam already made mention of them. :blink:

 

Adam, don’t know how the 12 ton works but the videos of the 16 are not exaggerated.

 

I follow half a dozen small knife makers on IG that recently got coal iron presses. The thing that surprised me was how fast they are, the 12 ton has a smaller footprint, they run on 110, and I’ve seen some really nice work come off them. The price seems pretty reasonable to me with free shipping. I know I’m putting my change in a jar as a someday thing.

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Posted (edited)

if your not sure of your welds you can always do what i did for a frame and the parts if sourced right the motors the most expensive single part i think i have less than $1000 in to it before the motor and its running 19 ton would be more but the cylinder maxes at 2500psi

received_322488452071368.jpeg

Edited by dragoncutlery

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I agree with Bill, definitely look at Coal Iron Works. I have their 16+ model, and it's the best investment I ever made in my shop. The standard 16 ton model is plenty good for most work though, and half the price of an Anyang. I can easily forge down a 2 & 1/2" thick billet to 1/2" in 2 or 3 heats (though I typically take 4 or 5 to keep the layers even).

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I bought the 12 ton Coal iron forge press and love it. It squished 115 layers[about 7 3/4"] down to about .265, but doesn't have enough push to flatten out the raindrops I drilled with the flat plates. The drawing dies work good. It's a great press for under $3000, and makes Damascus fine except for the raindrops. It squished them about halfway out but I will have to finish the rest by hand.

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Most presses crap out at 1/4" or less.  The dies suck the heat from the billet faster than they can squash it.  Narrower dies can help by concentrating the force, but I don't know of any press that will squish much below 3/16" thick, no matter what the tonnage.  

 

Helpful hint for raindrops on a press:  Drill the holes in the dies, not the billet. Use the drilled dies when your billet gets to 3/8" thick, then press until it won't press any more. This will raise bumps on the billet, which you then grind off flat.  From here on out, forge to shape.  Gives you a nice raindrop that goes through the billet.  Just be sure your holes in the dies go to the very edge or you get a bit of falloff like this:

sword point on polish.jpg

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Thanks Alan, That sounds like a much better plan. I like it. Now to make a set of dies.

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Alan, when you say this " Just be sure your holes in the dies go to the very edge or you get a bit of falloff like this: " is this what you meant, or is it supposed to be "be sure your holes don't go to the edge?" Not really understanding that. Thanks in advance! I appreciate the tip for this method and want to try it out. Seems like no possibility of cold shuts this way.

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I meant be sure the blisters left on your billet go all the way to the edge of the billet, or you get a section of straight laminate like you can see on the left edge of that sword tip.  Not a huge deal, but it can be annoying when you notice only after you think you have an even raindrop pattern. 

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So don't make your holes random. It will only index if they are the same size and on an even grid.

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