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Air/Hydraulic Forging Press Under $350


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I bought a 20 ton shop press from HF ($200) and a 20 ton air over hydraulic jack ($75). Not hard to install, with a little drilling into the support plate and the base of the jack. I immediately swapped the hand operated switch for a foot switch ($15, + $12 for a 6' hose). Then I added 300lb locking casters ($29 for a set of 4). Next I'll improve the release valve so it can be opened and closed with a foot operated rocker. I'll do that with stuff I have on hand. When that's done, it'll be ready for dies!

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I hope others will chime in, but if I were your neighbor, I'd probably try to convince you to slow down a bit, and perhaps re-think your plan.  I'm not sure that frame is strong enough to be safe, and I'm not sure the jack you have will do enough forge work for you to be happy.  I'll go into more details on my concerns if you want.

Good luck and stay safe.

Edited by billyO
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*disclaimer: I know little to nothing about tool making, much less hydraulics, etc

I've read many times that these large frames don't end up holding up over time, if at all.  But as someone who's on a budget also, the temptation to try a homemade press is real!  I found this thread extremely interesting though, and may allow you to use many of your already purchased parts :)

 

 

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i sheared the bolts in mine before i finished what i started just using the stock bottle i then added better bolts and ripped the frame apart again.......the bang did wake me up tho after that i rebuilt it and built a proper forging press and left it for pressing car parts

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Seems like a good idea to me. The shop press frame is rated to the 20 ton press already. We know that the "mini" hydraulic press idea works from the long-running thread that Jaron posted. I think Jess has just skipped the step of welding up his own frame for the 20 ton air jack and used a commercially available one.

 

Jess, if I were you I would read through that (very long running thread) that Jaron posted. Some good lessons learned there. 

 

I think that small, drawing dies (like 1" round stock) will work better with this sort of staccato (hammer like) pressure. They will also draw less heat from your billet. 

 

Good luck, and let us know how it goes. 

 

Dave

 

 

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"The shop press frame is rated to the 20 ton press already."  I dont think that is for a cyclic use. I have built me a 30 ton (effectivelly goes to 27 tons) hydraulic press - and I have used an I profile of 180 mm.  The crossbeams were only 400 mm wide at this thickness and when I run on pressure on the billet they bent dynamically about 15 mm (which sapped the strenght from crunching). I had to weld a thick piece of plate 20X90 mm under the low one and the upper one alike and over the vertical profiles. (On the picture these are not yet installed.) The robustness of the application is clear and it wasnt enough.

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5 hours ago, Jaro Petrina said:

"The shop press frame is rated to the 20 ton press already."  I dont think that is for a cyclic use. 

Yes, this is the problem with the shop press frames.  They are rated for 20 tons, but the loading is pretty static when they are used as designed.  The loading in a forging press is pretty dynamic, and will cause spikes that briefly exceed the 20 ton rating.  Additionally, the number of load and unload cycles seen in a single forging session will probably be more than the frame would see in an entire lifetime of use as a shop press.

 

I had that exact same press for a while, and intended to convert it to use the same air over hydraulic jack.  I even forged with it a bit using the manual jack.  It was surprisingly useful for isolating a tang from the blade.  However, for what I wanted to do with a press, I decided that I was better off fabricating a stronger frame.

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I agree with Billy O.

Get a little offset under that cross member under the jack and you are going to have a twisted press.

I have designed hydraulic system in steel mills all my life and people don't realize the the TREMENDOUS FORCES that are sitting there just waiting to be released. 20 tons (40,000) lbs is a lot of potential energy just waiting to be released.

Just because someone (I assume offshore)rated it a 20 tons does not mean it is designed for that kind of force.

I laugh every time I look at my shop vac  RATING 5HP  I would like to know how anyone and get 5 HP out a 115 volt 15 amp house hold electrical plug.

This is what a 20 ton press should look like, structurally engineered to take the forces.

Good luck and stay safe.

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18 minutes ago, Cal G said:

I would like to know how anyone and get 5 HP out a 115 volt 15 amp house hold electrical plug.

I know what you mean by this, but I think it is worth noting that the 5HP is "peak", and it comes when you just turn it on and the circuit very briefly draws more than 15 amps, quick enough to not trip a breaker or blow a fuse.  Technically for that super short time period enough Watts are there to equal 5 HP.  It is stupid and I would argue extremely unethical.  Much like many things that are falsely over "rated".  

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Yep, what Jerrod said.  Compressors sold for the home use market are the same way.  Compare the current draw on the motor to the HP sticker on the side, and you will probably be disappointed.  But, we digress...

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Great comments, everyone. I will indeed be cautious, and stop at any hint of movement in the frame. So next I guess I need to figure out how to heavily reinforce it. Learning is always a work in progress.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and so far I'm very happy. I've been working on Mokume and shop/forge tools, and it's working great! I haven't created any dies yet, so it's really just a simple squishing machine. In that role, however, it has been excellent. Just to be safe, I am going to reinforce the lower support and the sides in that area by welding in some material before I apply dies.

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