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It is a heavy thing, and comes in two boxes

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The smaller one is the press frame itself. I got the grey paint option

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The other box has the tank and power plant, and any dies you ordered. It had the most fascinating packing material: old cardboard boxes that had been run through a shredder.

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It took just a bit of excavating :)

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That thing is HEAVY. There was no lifting it out, so I had to cut the box (with my nice shiny new 52100 EDC!)

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I work in my garage, so this thing must be able to relocate. To do that, I got their heavy duty cart. It is nice.

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And here it is in its new home.

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UPS failed me, however. They managed to spill the hydraulic fluid during shipment, so instead of my 5 gallon pail of oil, I got a refund. I ordered again, and it should come Saturday - hopefully UPS can manage to not spill it this time. Meanwhile, I have a nice, empty press waiting for it's break-in run.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Ted Stocksdale said:

Meanwhile, I have a nice, empty press waiting for it's break-in run.

 

I really look forward to getting a review on your new equipment.

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new machine day is a happy day! Congrats B)

 

Your cart might need beefing up a bit, the hoses will push and pull a bit when they are loaded up!

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all!

 

I certainly will post more, once I have the oil!

 

And that is the cart that Coal Iron sells for this press so hopefully it is sufficient, but I have angle-iron aplenty if it ends up needing more bracing! We'll see.

Edited by Ted Stocksdale
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Yesterday morning, my replacement cylinder arrived. Following KenH's advice, I bought the Wen 4 x 8 inch cylinder, which takes the press from 9 tons to 14 tons. (The "as shipped" configuration has an undersized cylinder and doesn't actually produce the advertised 12 tons). Replacement was basically trivial (once I realized I needed to move the swivel fittings from the gray one to the black one.

 

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I got some shelving to live on the botton to provide storage for dies and other tools. I'm going to put my hardie tools down there too.

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The oil finally arrived at almost 5 pm. I discovered the hard (and messy) way that the machine doesn't quite hold 5 gallons: I spilled probably half a cup all over the tank and the floor.  No only did I not need my extra gallon you see there, but I had to find a home for another good cup of oil.

 

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Breaking in at last! That noise is obnoxious, but gradually fades.

 

That was all for last night. This morning, I got started nice and early and worked on the damascus billets. I need some more practice to avoid the press equivalent of hammer marks. This is more than I could do in three weekends previously, so I'm thrilled.The one with the more visible marks was a bit of a blob before, and now is going to get stacked with the other ones I mentioned in my KITH thread. The narrower one is done - I'm going to use it as it is.

 

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Finally, I tried to draw a narrow but thick bar out sideways with the fullering die. This did not work very well, I'm going to have to make a width drawing die to match the length drawing die (I think I have what I need to do that).

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Overall impressions:

 

It comes set up to have the press on the left and the powerplant on the right. I prefer to hold my piece with my right hand and operate the lever with my left. But it was easy to switch around, especially since I was swapping the cylinder anyway.

 

It is a bit annoying that the OEM cylinder is undersized, but the Wen tools one is only $133 and you get free shipping.  Still, for what is otherwise a very well made piece of equipment, it is sad that they still sell it as "12 tons" when it just isn't.

 

The heavy duty cart they sell for this press works just fine, and didn't need any additional bracing.

 

It is pleasantly quiet. There is only a soft whine from the motor and pump, and it is perfectly comfortable without earmuffs. 

 

While they hype the "plug it in to any standard outlet" for the 110v configuration, the official requirement is "a dedicated 20-amp circuit". I have mostly 15s in my garage, and none of them are even remotely dedicated.  I do have two 220v outlets, so I got the 220v version.  The cord is quite long, I didn't end up using the welder-rated 220v extension cable I got.

 

The dies are held in by bolts: changing them when they're hot takes a bit of care. But they're slotted, so you only need to loosen the bolts enough so you can push the die out, so I don't think it's too bad.

 

I need more practice both in running it and in picking which die to use for various things. It runs very smoothly and pretty quickly: it is very easy to push things further than I want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I couldn't help but get a little something ground far enough to maybe show a pattern... it's FAR from finished, but...

 

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My first "damascus"

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Those are really narrow dies for a press, which doesn't help with the bite marks.  You now need to make a set of stop blocks for it.  These are just pairs of steel blocks of equal thickness, one pair for every final thickness you're after.  They sit on or are clamped to the bottom die on either end, and they make the final pass an even thickness.  

 

Presses are great fun to play with, aren't they? 

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They are quite narrow - only 1-1/2 inches wide. I haven't had a lot of exposure to hydraulic presses before, so I didn't really know how that compared.  I've made two sets of my own now that I used 3/8 by 2 inch plates for, and KenH said he's used 3 inches wide without trouble so I'll probably be upgrading from the factory dies.

 

I had contemplated putting things between the dies to stop them but wasn't sure how advisable that was. It's very good to know that is "best practice" and something to move ahead with.

 

And yes, GREAT fun. I very much wish I could play hookey from my "real" job this week.

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Good honest review, it confirmed a few thoughts I had about the press capacity (I worked it back to 7.75 metric tons from the available data online)

 

It will be worth keeping hold of the small cylinder, as the bigger 8" stroke one has stolen 2" or more of your 'daylight' - which might be a PITA if you want to use the press for punching operations etc!

 

In the UK 'stop blocks' are commonly called 'kiss blocks' - they are usually positioned well off to the side of the die block in use, you really only want to 'kiss it' as it will ramp the press slide over if there is any excess clearance in it, which is bad practice!

 

edit, just re-read what Alan said about using 2 stop blocks, one each side of the workpiece. This would be best practice, but in reality you would end up only putting one side on when 'in the heat' of forging ;)

Edited by John N
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Thank you!

 

Oh yes, I am absolutely keeping the OEM cylinder: it now lives on the bottom of the cart in the narrow spot leftover because the Container Store shelves didn't quite fill the whole space.  And yes, the larger cylinder did take about two inches of space. For damascus bars and general knife-sized work it doesn't make any difference, but I could see it being annoying for a punch. 

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4 hours ago, John N said:

edit, just re-read what Alan said about using 2 stop blocks, one each side of the workpiece. This would be best practice, but in reality you would end up only putting one side on when 'in the heat' of forging ;)

I often use only one block, but in the middle of my combo dies, so it's directly under the ram.  

3 hours ago, Ted Stocksdale said:

And yes, the larger cylinder did take about two inches of space.

So how much clearance do you have with the new cylinder?

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Had to go measure it: five inches.  Coal Iron's site said it had 6 inches of space before, so I guess I only lost one rather than two even though the cylinder is longer... the bolts must be aligned slightly differently or something.

 

I hadn't measured the clearance before the swap, so I have to go by what they say it was before the replacement. But it's 5 inches now.

Edited by Ted Stocksdale
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Thanks, Ted!  Unfortunately, that might be a bit small for cans.....

Edited by billyO
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For anything larger than a reasonable stack of flat stuff getting welded, I can see it being too small of a press. (But that's what I wanted it for :) )

 

They have videos of people making hammers and such on it, but the clearance really is a bit short for that and I don't see how the great long punch set they have would work even with the OEM cylinder. The only hammer I made so far got its hole on the drill press, and while I am considering making another, I was intending to do the same thing to it.

 

I was intending to try a canister. I got 1-1/2 inch square tube for it, so I would think that should work just fine with 5 inches of clearance. It'll be a little breadstick of a billet that comes out, but I think that's ok for the smaller things I've been making. (He says hopefully) 

 

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The place where presses outshine under-300-lb hammers is in squishing large piles of damascus in one go.  Hammers, especially mechanical hammers, need room to gain power in the stroke.  Presses are fine with squashing anything that fits between the dies.  If you could turn your dies sideways to have it squishing along the long axis that would be ideal for setting the first weld.  The presses I have used are set up to do like 2" wide by 6 or 8 inch long billets up to six inches thick in one squish to set the first weld.  Then you can go to narrower dies to draw out.

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Hm.  I have a big piece of O1: 3/4 x 3 x 18 inches

 

I could cut that in half, drill and countersink holes for the bolts, and harden it to just be a pair of thick blocks then I could have a pair of (up to) 9-inch "long" dies. Would 3/4 be thick enough for that, or do you think it would need more bracing somehow?

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3/4" would deflect a little, but it'd be okay.  O1 is way overkill, though, plain old mild steel is fine for press dies.  

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22 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

3/4" would deflect a little, but it'd be okay.  O1 is way overkill, though, plain old mild steel is fine for press dies.  

kind of agree (but disagree :P) If they are going to be regularly used, use a bit of 'good stuff' for the dies if you can!

 

You will get deformation, and scale is very abrasive. They will end up looking like a dog chewed them, after a while, if they are soft. 

 

Beauty of a press is you can get away with sub optimal dies for a lot longer than you will with a power hammer though! 

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I was thinking of that piece of steel because I have it sitting here and I don't have anything else in particular planned for it :) . I saw it at a really good price a while back and grabbed it, figuring that if nothing else I would take slices off like a loaf of bread.

 

Another thought struck me, though: The dies are bolted to the frame on this press, don't I need to be careful that it doesn't make enough of a lever to shear the bolts off? So in the worst case that would 14 tons times half the length of the die (though hopefully I wouldn't be that careless) divided by ... bolt cross section? I don't actually know how to calculate that part.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Long time lurker here that just joined. I've had one of these for over a year, thought I'd comment since it seems to come up in a few places. 

 

I mounted mine differently, it is on a fairly heavy metal machine table. The cart was recommended by Coal Ironworks, but I avoided it because I hate it when stuff moves while I'm working on it (more on this later), the cart seemed wobbly. I ended up getting a heavy pre-welded machine table from ULINE that works great. I had to drill the mounting holes, but it is very solid and has plenty of room for the press. No wobbling from the table and I was able to draw some length markers on it, also.

 

The rest I agree with you on. I am glad I"m not the only one that tried to draw a piece widthways using the fullering dies, my result was similarly crappy. I won't even show the blade shape I tried to pull out, it was bad. The issue is the little indentions you see there, they are really difficult to get out and the press doesn't have enough power to push them out with the flat dies. There is a solution though. 

 

If you watch this guy, he has used one for a while and it looks like he made his own dies:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/N2FLEXN

 

The die appears to be a base plate with ~1in round bar welded to it that he uses to draw pieces out width ways. It works fairly well according to the video. I was really close to doing this myself until I bought my powerhammer, now I have no need to do so. His videos are also really good to watch and learn how he uses it vs what he does on the hammer. As for the dies, I'd probably use something slightly wider, then radius the edges of it a bit, but that is just me.

 

There are a few gripes I have with this press:

  • The body of the press itself sits loosely in a stand, which means it rocks back and forth. This drives me absolutely nuts. I hate loose tools and equipment, imo this should be welded down and not moving all over the place. It isn't unmanageable, but you can see it in every footage of the press and it is, IMO, sloppy
  • Mine came before the slots were cut into the dies, this is a nice addition that makes changing them a lot easier since you have to unbolt them and bolt them back in. If I keep it long term, I'll probably cut these out myself, as removing the bolts entirely is kindof a pain. I would suggest aiming these so that if they shoot out for some reason, they do so away from you (if yours are slotted). I'm not entirely sure how confident I am of the safety of using drawing dies with those slots cut in them, but it is certainly more convenient. 
  • The lack of access to the side of the press (like the 16 + 25 have) is kindof a bummer, once you use one of those presses and see the flexibility having access to 3 sides of the dies gives you, you realize it's a weakness of the design of this press. I wish I had gotten the 16 mainly for this reason. I think you can work around this with some effort (e.g. making your own dies like I mention above), but the 16 seems to be a considerable step up in versatility. 
  • 12-t isn't a lot when using the flat dies. The drawing dies work fairly well, but it just lacks the power needed to really press material together with flat dies. It works a little better if you start whatever you are doing with the work piece half on the dies, then work back from there. When pressing billets together, I found myself having to use the drawing dies, to press everything together reliably, then flatten it out with the flat dies. 

I have pressed together several billets with it and it works well enough, but if you can swap up to the 16t, I think it provides more versatility for the increase in cost over the 12. I've also had someone raise safety concerns with the locations of the hoses, they are unshielded and any leak could result in high pressure fluid shooting out at a very dangerous location (your head), since the hoses and attachments run right where you are standing. I can't say if that has merit or not, though. 

 

I got it before I convinced myself I wanted a powerhammer, which I ended up getting an Anyang 55. Prior to this I did a lot of my work on the press and worked around its shortcomings, mainly to reduce the amount of hammering I did. I primarily used it for shaping pieces, which I'd then clean up on the hand hammer. The biggest limitation I had to deal with was the inability to draw pieces widthways or draw bevels out, which I can do readily on the powerhammer or on the presses that allow access to 3 sides of the dies. If you are on a budget and really can't push up to the 16 or don't have the power requirements, then the 12 will save you a lot of time, but if you can push to get the 16t, I would do that instead. It's also worth pointing out that controlling a powerhammer takes a lot of practice at first, but the press is a lot more intuitive and less error prone.

 

Now that I have a powerhammer, I barely use the press, although I do find uses for it when I want to limit the amount of pounding (noise, etc) I do. I used it to draw out some pieces from a 2in round bar down to 1/4in last night for pipe tampers, which it worked well for. I think if I had gotten the 16 or 25 right off the bat, I wouldn't have gotten the Anyang, but alas I got the 12 and ended up with both. They both have their uses, but I also know powerhammers aren't really feasible for most folks, in which case the 12 is a good option, although again, I think the 16 is a better choice especially for bladesmithing. 

Edited by Jon Kertz
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