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Thunder

My Mini Hydraulic Press

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I'm with Greg in this one. Bigger is better. A lot of stress on the uprights. I even doubled mine.

 

1429849516688.jpg

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Just bought all my 2x2 1/4 wall tubing for this project along with some 4 inch wide 3/8 thick flat bar for reinforcing areas and for making die plates. Updates to come.... and likely questions.

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Ok, here are a few photos of what I have done, as far as reinforcing everything (on/for the base).

The bottom plate is 5/16", the top (bottom) plate is 1". The hammer was made out of 4" x 3/4" x 10" flat bar, used a total of 3 pieces. Then ground and welded together. The anvil was made from 2 pieces of 4" x 3/4" x 10" flat bar, and 1 piece of forklift fork, that just happen to be 4" x 1 1/2", cut down to 10" long, also ground and welded together.

IMAG2353.jpgIMAG2356.jpg

 

Here are is a picture before the bottom gussets were done.

Jack in place to give the over all size.

IMAG2278.jpg

 

 

 

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Ok, here are a few photos of what I have done, as far as reinforcing everything (on/for the base).

The bottom plate is 5/16", the top (bottom) plate is 1". The hammer was made out of 4" x 3/4" x 10" flat bar, used a total of 3 pieces. Then ground and welded together. The anvil was made from 2 pieces of 4" x 3/4" x 10" flat bar, and 1 piece of forklift fork, that just happen to be 4" x 1 1/2", cut down to 10" long, also ground and welded together.

attachicon.gifIMAG2353.jpgattachicon.gifIMAG2356.jpg

 

Here are is a picture before the bottom gussets were done.

Jack in place to give the over all size.

attachicon.gifIMAG2278.jpg

 

 

NICE! I like the bottom bracing!

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On that topic, how much slower is a manual press compared to the compressor driven flavor? 5ish crushes per heat down to 3 or is it more like down to 1?

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On that topic, how much slower is a manual press compared to the compressor driven flavor? 5ish crushes per heat down to 3 or is it more like down to 1?

 

Yeah, their 'electric' version of the press (basically what we're discussing in this thread) runs near 4000$

 

As for the manual vs motor driven, I think it's safe to say it's not as much a matter of speed as it is the difficulty of having to hold the material while working the pump manually. The motor driven is still fairly slow by hydraulic press standards but the idea behind these mini presses is their usefulness in helping you move steel, especially if you are working by yourself.

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Finally got mine mostly completed. I have dubbed it "Little Squishy" and it will squish. I've done a test 'cold' press, just squeezing the ram bars together to check for weld strength while ducked around the corner and so far it looks like it's holding well. I then squished a 158 grain cast lead bullet like hot butter and went to work on the die plates. I'm still monkeying with how I want the dies to work but it's nearing the end. The only issue I can see I'm going to have right now is perhaps some way to adjust the height so that I'm only moving the press as little as possible (perhaps a large block under the ram bar) and the fact that my air compressor (2hp 26gal) is woefully inadequate.

 

It's been a fun project and I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have posted your builds and information. This thread has been an invaluable source of info.

 

23A49878-8B45-41AD-8936-948EE9C89B3F.jpg

 

21EFA934-A107-4357-A1BB-621149CBFDF7.jpg

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Derekmelton,

 

Its looking like you went for the single 2" x 2" for the uprights? Is your base solid?

As far as the ram, only needing to use a little bit of the travel, I was planning on using the release to drop it only the amount that I needed to move the material in for the next section to be worked. I also did make an extended handle for said release, I will add that picture once I get it completed.

 

These are just my thoughts though :)

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Great points. I used 2x2 singles for the uprights. The top has two 2x2's welded together between the uprights and that is all sandwhiched between 2 long 4 inch wide x 5/16 thick plates which is also welded all the way around. Under that, you see the top 'ram bar' with holes in it. the base is a big chunck of 1/2 inch thick C-channel and is welded all the way around with added gussets for strength. The jack sits on a scrap 1/2 inch plate that is also welded to the 2 uprights and the base C-channel. It seems stout so far.

 

As for the amount of travel, my lower ram bar is sitting WAY below the top bar when the jack is screwed out to it's full extension. I've got to find a way to raise that. In hindsight, I should have made the system height-adjustable but I was nervous about weak points with bolts, etc.

 

One more thing. Against better judgement, I've done 2 'cold' presses to attempt to see if my frame welds would hold. Again, I welded the entire frame using a 110v Mig welder so I had some doubts. The first test was just a squish of the two ram bars together with a lead bullet and then mainly to press the upper bar into place before welding it. I then made some die plates and did another 'cold press' with a piece of cold 1/4 inch round bar. It squished the round bar completely in half and I didn't let off the jack in time and the topmost fuller die slipped down over the top of the lower die and broke one of the top die holder brackets loose with a VERY LOUD pop. After getting up off the floor that I had jumped down onto and changing my underwear I determined that I was all ok, no holes, no blood. I then began looking for what failed. The problem was a weak upper die plate holder. Somewhere along the line last night my welder voltage setting got moved to about half what it should be and those welds were cold. I reground the welds, die plates and holders and will re-weld all that up tonight before giving it a test with some good hot steel. So far, I'm confident in my frame but my die holders need to be more secured in place.

 

And I learned a very important lesson that has been oft-repeated in this thread but apparently I was too foolish to pay heed to it and that is NEVER SQUISH COLD, UNHEATED STEEL IN ONE OF THESE PRESSES!!! That scared the pee-waddin' outta me.

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First post. Sorry to drag up an old thread.

I am preparing to build one of these presses. I plan on using 1/4" wall 2" square tube for the frame and 2" x 3/8" for the guides on the ram. 

I wanted to ask for feedback from the builders that used bolts to make the top bar moveable. How has this design held up in the long run?

I am also wondering if anyone has built a version of this that is entirely bolted together, instead of welded. The 1/4" wall that I am using is at the upper limit of my welder so I am considering reinforcing all of the welded joints with 5/8" grade 8 bolts.   

Thoughts?

Edited by Jonathanbradshaw

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Awesome thread! Going to have to build one!

Here at Harbor Freight, the top 2 ton air hydraulic jack salesman almost 10 years in a row goes to Thunder! Thanks Thunder!

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reinforcing couldn't hurt, I think on my first press I busted 1/2" bolts.... and as stated above don't squash steel unless its hot, hot steel squishes easy, cold steel stresses the frame. My original press is still being used. 1/4" is good on the square tubing, and do not know if bolts alone will do the job. Be careful its small but it is still 20 tons.

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On ‎9‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 6:12 PM, Thunder said:

reinforcing couldn't hurt, I think on my first press I busted 1/2" bolts.... and as stated above don't squash steel unless its hot, hot steel squishes easy, cold steel stresses the frame. My original press is still being used. 1/4" is good on the square tubing, and do not know if bolts alone will do the job. Be careful its small but it is still 20 tons.

Thanks for the feedback. I was planning on reinforcing the critical welds with bolts and then got to thinking, "If I am using bolts anyway do I need to weld it at all?" I'll stick with the original plan of weld plus bolts. And I certainly will not be trying to press steel cold. I am mostly looking at trying to use this to punch eyes for axes and hammers.

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I read an article about how to turn a bottle jack 180*, so it would push down, what would be the physical advantages to doing this? Are there any physicists out there? I will look for the modification pdf and post it when found.

 

Thank you

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kenuto,

I built mine as it was shown in this thread. A few issues I see with it going down would be that you will now have a medium heavy bottle jack upside down, you would have to have a perfect way to support the weight. Also, if the jack is not designed for that, being upside down, it may not work as designed, as in the oil may not be in the right place for jack to use properly. 

As far as there being one direction (up or down) better than the other, I can not see one, 20 tons is still 20 tons, up, down or sideways.

These are just my thoughts here. Either way, I am not interested in looking at this design.

Greg 

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Greetings.
I'm new in the forum
I'm in the process of making a press taking ideas from this model
When this more advanced its manufacture already upload pictures

sorry for my English is muny bad

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I recently saw Thunder's original video on youtube and am glad to have found this thread after joining the forum.  Many thanks to all you smiths that have collaborated and shared such cool knowledge with each other.  I'll be looking forward to building one of these Mr. Mashers in the next few months as I setup shop!  Also I'm glad to see this thread is still alive and kicking.  Has been an excellent read so far, I couldn't put it down per se. 

I'm wondering if anyone has done more experimentation or has better documentation of fully automated setups that control both the air to jack motor and the check valve.  Bronzetools - do you have any more in-depth information on how you setup your footpedal using a MAC valve?  (I didn't know what these were,  they are pretty cool devices! haha I just bid on a used 2/5 way one on ebay!)  I'm thinking a 180 degree pneumatic rotary actuator might help open the jack more/lower it faster then the slight open/closed movement that I imagine using a pneumatic air cylinder would accomplish....but I think setting up the air lines for a rotary would be a bit more complex too....I'm honestly not sure quite yet.  I still have a lot to learn as these mechanical components are all pretty much new to me as of beginning this thread.  I really appreciate any information and clarity ya'll can help out with and am looking forward to becoming a member of this community!

Cheers!

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