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Thunder

My Mini Hydraulic Press

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OK guys, I've got the parts for the base and the upright cleaned up so my next task is to weld up the base. I've been pondering on this chore and thought I would bounce my ideas off you and see if you agree with my procedure. When laid side by side the gap between the rounded corners of the heavy wall 2" tubing looks vaguely similar to the V formed by the edges of two plates when I was practicing my closed root plate welding technique. What I thought I would do is do a root pass with 3/32" 7018 and follow that up with a couple of passes using 1/8" 7018 rod. I think I'll chain weld it and alternate sides to keep from warping the base. I'm worried that running continuous beads might cause some warping problems and that doesn't seem like it would be good. Whadda ya think? I'm open to any suggestions.

 

K

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Ken

When I was in welding class using .250 steel plate the root pass was a 6011 (60??)

I have forgotten why, followed by the 7014

You could make long spots/short passes then fill in the rest later.

The idea of alternating the sides is a good one

Tom

So.Ga.

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Kelly

My jack was welded mostly with 3/32 - 6011, using my little Miller Thunderbolt (AC only) cracker box. I think there are two different wall thickness in the 2" square tubing I used, nothing greater than 3/16" thick, that’s why I reinforced the base with 1/4" plate. I doubt that I put more than 1 pass on any of it except maybe on the top bar and ram bar.

I clamped everything together - tight, tack welded everything checked for square (many times) and then run my beads. Ground flush any area that might be reinforced with the plate, or would touch the floor, etc. The jack generates about 40,000 lb of pressure, 6011 gets 60,000 per inch - if I remember correctly, feel free to correct me if that’s inaccurate. If everything is straight and square and your welds are sound, - it works. You only run into problems if its not plumb, its always good to over design, that never hurts.

I welded the base as a unit then attached the uprights and top bar. 7018 will work fine, just clamp and tack everything up, check for square, stitch weld, then run your long beads if you want. Alternating welds is a good idea, sometimes stuff wants to crawl. Using 1/4 wall on the square tubing should give you plenty of strength.

Here is a link to more pictures during construction Mini Press Construction

Hope some of this helps.

T. A. Toler

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Thanks to both of you. I'd forgotten about using 6011 for the root pass. It's a penetrating rod, Tom, so it really digs in. Then you follow the 6011 with 7014 high deposition rod or 7018. I love the 7018 because of how smooth it runs and the strength.

 

I'm very attentive to proper fit up so I will be keeping an eagle eye on squareness of the whole apparatus. Also a firm believer in clamping everything in sight. If a clamp won't keep it still I'll resort to good old Kentucky duct tape.

 

Guess I'll go back to town tomorrow and pick up some fresh 6011 and get started. I need to do some mowing down in the holler but it can just wait a while longer.

 

K

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OK Thunder, Ken, Frogfish.my mini-press engineering experts!!

How much clearance are y'all using for the movable bottom beam??

Tom

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Tom

if you are taking about the beam that sits on of the jack ram,

it sits directly on top of the ram with no clearance.

 

If you are talking about the clearance between the ram bar and the top beam,

then that clearance is adjusted with the ram screw extension

to just slightly larger than the depth of the piece you are pressing.

I always try to minimize the ram travel as much as possible.

 

If you are taking about the clearance between the bottom ram bar and the top brace/ Beam there is about 4 - 5” between the one I welded midway and the bottom ram bar. It would be better if I had made it adjustable. I am using mostly 1” X 2” flat bars for dies set material – I have used some ½” plate also.

 

If you are taking about the clearance between the bottom ram bar and the uprights it travels on, then that is about as flush as I could get it, no more than 1/16” , - if the clearance between the uprights is to great and the jack isn’t centered, the travel upward will sometime become canted and the ram beam can get stuck. However it usually straightens out once it contacts the piece to be pressed.

It took me several tries to get the bottom beam to travel smoothly up the posts. I had to file and smooth my old used 2 X 2 uprights and adjust the jack some so it centered. Then once everything worked I welded locating bars on the base where the jack sits to keep the jack base in position.

 

Also the full travel that the jack ram can travel is about 6-1/2”, so clearance is restrained by this length, the screw extension length, and the maximum width of the piece to be pressed.

 

If you are taking about clearance other than I have described

just post back and I’ll try again. : )

 

Ken and Frogfish may have better/different ideas, what ever works is good, there is never only one way

 

T. A. Toler

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Tom

If you are taking about the clearance between the bottom ram bar and the uprights it travels on, then that is about as flush as I could get it, no more than 1/16” , - if the clearance between the uprights is to great and the jack isn’t centered, the travel upward will sometime become canted and the ram beam can get stuck. However it usually straightens out once it contacts the piece to be pressed.

 

T. A. Toler

That's it T.A. I was afraid too much clearance it might bind.

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Just got home from the shop... should have mine pressing steel Saturday if the footpedal comes in tomorrow. I'm going to play with centering a bit before I paint it and make it pretty, then take some pictures.

 

A *BIG* thank you to everyone for the advice & expertise.

 

The 6011 rod worked like a charm backed up by the 7018. Deep clean penertrating welds from the first and easy flowing high deposition from the other. I was lucky enough to have a 230 stick welder hiding in deep corners of the shop. A big Mig unit would not have done as well IMHO. Since I'm still new to stick welding I had a lot of spatter to wire brush off.

 

Fitting the arms was a little finnicky... The upper is dead on 8" center and needs to be adjusted with a persuader. I figure thats ok since its bolt on. The lower moving arm has about 1/16" play and slides nice and smooth. Having a 12" x 12" piece of plate steel around made getting parralellism of the posts (as checked with a framing square & spirit level) quite easy.

 

I can't say enough... measure 3 times, cut once, then check with a square and make sure you have more clamps than you think you need. I didn't think 1/4" thick stock would heat warp.... man was I wrong!

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Tom

I looked closer at my press last night, the clearance between upright and ram bar is pretty much flush. It took a lot of file work, and polishing to get it to fit and ride properly. Here is a pic of the interface:

pressclerance.jpg

 

Fisher - I would love to see some pic when you get yours up and running.

PS: 6011 always splatters, I have shirts that look like Swiss cheese from the burn holes : )

 

Hope this helps

T.A. Toler

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Hi, new guy here. Just wanted to share my take on this press.

 

I used 5/8" hitch pins to make it adjustable. I haven't built a die attachment system yet. I also want to add foot controls. I am still looking for a "cheap yet good" foot-control air valve, and I am thinking about the throttle cable control that someone here suggested for the release.

 

I used my Millermatic 210, which I love more every time I fire it up.

 

Many thanks to Thunder for the original post and idea!!! I've already used mine to do some press fits, and I hope to get to forging with it soon. One of the coolest tools I've built - I'll get a lot of use out of it.

 

Dave

 

p1.jpg

Edited by dkochan

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Nice one! Plus you can just plug it onto your receiver hitch if you want to haul it somewhere. ;) I started welding up the base on mine today but had lots of interruptions and I have to work this afternoon and the next 5 days. Hopefully I can finish it by next weekend. Wonder how many of these will get built because of this thread?

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Very nice, indeed! I welded up my base a couple of days ago and got the rest of the parts cut out in between other chores during the week. I'll start some serious welding tomorrow afternoon and hopefully have everything tacked together by evening.

 

My main headache right now is getting the uprights lined up like I want them. Got a furball of C-clamps, steel bars, magnetic welding positioners, and try squares in action now. Might resort to a little duct tape pretty soon. I'll get it right eventually and then burn some rod to make it permanent.

 

K

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Very nice, indeed! I welded up my base a couple of days ago and got the rest of the parts cut out in between other chores during the week. I'll start some serious welding tomorrow afternoon and hopefully have everything tacked together by evening.

 

My main headache right now is getting the uprights lined up like I want them. Got a furball of C-clamps, steel bars, magnetic welding positioners, and try squares in action now. Might resort to a little duct tape pretty soon. I'll get it right eventually and then burn some rod to make it permanent.

 

K

 

I made clamps for this from 1" angle iron... 1/4 20 all thread, nuts, 14" push/squeeze clamps... Fit in the crossmembers with 1/16" shim clamped em down, checked parrallel and horizontal with framing squares, aligned to the center marks on posts and plate... then tacked it.

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"I made clamps for this from 1" angle iron... 1/4 20 all thread, nuts, 14" push/squeeze clamps... Fit in the crossmembers with 1/16" shim clamped em down, checked parrallel and horizontal with framing squares, aligned to the center marks on posts and plate... then tacked it."

 

Thanks for the hint. I had something vaguely like this in mind but this crystalizes the thought. I've got a couple of sliding clamps and some all-thread in the shop. Might have some 1" angle too but I can whump something else up if not. That idea will save a lot of struggling.

 

K

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Thanks for the kind words, guys!

 

Alignment was the BIG headache for me, too. I built mine in a kind of optimistic order. :)

 

I drilled all the pin holes in the uprights. Then I welded up the ram and anvil. Then I drilled the pin holes in the anvil.

 

When I drilled the pin holes, they were undersized. If you have used an S&D bit, you know that that's typical. It's unlikely you'll end up with round holes - mine were pentagonal. :( No worries, I had a 5/8" reamer, so I cleaned them all up. I wanted a close fit to spread the load out across more of the hole and minimize the chance of plastic deformation in the uprights and stress on the pins.

 

Well, you can see where this is going. The odds of a 5/8" pin making it through (4) 5/8" reamed holes spanning a 2-3/4" thickness (anvil and ram are 3/8" plates welded to 2" bar front and back) are slim. The odds of them making it through both sets of (4) reamed holes (left and right side) are slimmer. So there was a little work with an expanding reamer to make that all happen at all 5 stations for the anvil. So much for that close fit. Still, I only took a few thou out with the expanding reamer.

 

Now... :)

 

Take that nice used-to-be-close fit and weld those uprights to the base at the bottom, while maintaining the fit all the way up to the top. HAHAHAHAHahaha. Maybe someone who does this every day could do it. I am proud to say that I got really, really close and slightly embarrassed to say that I had to open up some of my nice close-fitting holes with a die grinder. :( But really not all that much.

 

I think if I had skipped the mostly-useless weld holding the uprights to the plate on the base, I would have had less distortion to deal with and an easier time. I had to grind out those tacks and retack a couple of times, and the final bead caused me a bit of grief after it cooled. I overweld sometimes... I guess I just love laying bead. ;)

 

If you make an adjustable press, find a way to drill everything after it's welded up. You'll save time and aggravation, and end up with a better fit for your pins.

 

Still a fun project, and a learning experience for sure!

 

Enough from me for now,

Dave

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Nice job, one comment from my experience you'll need to use bolts and tighten them up real well to hold the upper anvil with out distorting the holes mine are 1/2" bolts and if I didn't tighten them down either the bolt or eventulally the bolt hole distorts. I'm thinking I may have to weld up the upper anvil but I'm trying to avoid it.

 

Cheers Tim

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I found some 5/16" all-thread rod in a dusty corner of the shop and cut a couple of pieces 7 & 1/2" long to use for the spacers J. Fisher suggested. Just happened to find a half dozen 5/16" nuts on the bench next to vice that had neat little rotary washers attached. Cut some 2" blocks of hard maple and drilled a 5/16" hole in the middle and I was in business! Clamped the uprights together with some bar clamps. The 3/8" piece of bar stock clamped to the top of the press insured the uprights were parallel on their faces. I spent a good bit of time with various squares to make absolutely sure that everything was lined up good before I tack welded the uprights in place. Ran beads of 7018 to fill the V's then want back and ran a cover pass to smooth the welds out and add some more metal. I only welded about an inch at a time to reduce the possibility of warping. That seemed to work out pretty well. When I finished the welding I checked the uprights again and found that the tops had ever so slightly moved towards each other. Rather than being exactly 8" apart they were now 7 & 31/32" apart. Don't really think that is going to matter much at all. Had to work on my anvils a bit to get them to fit as I had cut them very slightly oversize. The adjustable top anvil is now a close sliding fit between the uprights and the bottom anvil is fairly close sliding fit, less than 1/16". I'll adjust it as required to keep it from binding. I'm making the bottom anvil from a piece of the 2" x 2" x 1/4" tubing welded between two pieces of 1/4" bar stock with a piece of 3/8" x 3" flat bar welded to the top and bottom sides. I'll make the top anvil using 3/8" x 2" flat bar for the sides and weld a piece of the 3/8" x 3" on the bottom side. I intend to mount the dies on plate and make some brackets to hold them in place. Still pondering on that idea. So the major headache is out of the way, everything is acceptably square, and I'm ready to start welding on the anvils tomorrow.

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DSCF0018.jpg

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Wow

You all have been busy, very nice looking work.

 

The way I lined up my width dimensions on the uprights was,

1. built base, cut uprights to length, squared uprights to base,

2. built ram bar to fit between, it is the same dimension as the width of the base, you might make it a tiny bit over sized and grind down slightly to fit, maybe a very slight chamfer at the very bottom of the ram bar. Laid the ram bar on base, and clamped the upright against base and ram bar, ground ram bar as needed to fit flush and square, pipe clamped uprights to base, and pipe clamped uprights to ram bar, checked square.

3. lightly tack welded uprights to base, checked square, hammer lightly to correct any mistake or crawl.

4. pulled ram bar, and moved it to the upper top of uprights, just below top.

5. used pipe clamps to hold uprights against ram bar to determine upper dimension.

6. tack welded very top cross member to hold dimension, using ram bar to hold width.

7. Installed jack, test jacked the ram bar through complete travel, (jacked jack up and down a few times) to make sure everything worked smoothly and it travels through full motion, filed and smoothed where necessary.

8. Weld everything. light alternating welds.

9. Install jack, test jack again smooth where necessary, lubricate up rights with heavy grease. Finally I put a hard test load on everything to see that every thing held the pressures.

 

Tools used

AC welder

hammer

magnetic 90 degree line ups,

pipe clamps,

aluminum square

2" square

tape measure.

I hope this helps

T. A. Toler

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Finished mine up on monday

 

Had a minor binding issue that was fixed within 10 minutes with a file, still had some welding spatter inside the arms. I cannot agree more that the cross arms and posts should be drilled at the same time. I didn't and wound up with alignment issues after welding. These were fixed by aligning 1 set of holes, bolting them in then tapping the second set of holes in place and redressing with a hand drill... a lot of work.

 

Two important tweaks I made.... I sheathed the air lines in 1/2" flexable conduit to protect them and tacked a piece of 12 guage under the bottom ram to catch scale. No more jack screw adjustment issues because the threads are bound with scale.

 

Welded up several cable billets from 1 1/2" crane cable. Some motorcycle drive chain damascus. A soon to be 270 layer nickle foil, L-6 & 1060 billet of pattern weld... I'm thinking twist or ladder for that one. Also welded up a good size billet of brass & copper mokume gane.

 

Other fun tests were the 5/8" bar squish.... it went to 1/4" on a single squish from the flattening dies. The stretching dies almost work too well... if I'm not carefull I can squeeze a billet in half with them. In the works today are fullering and squaring dies. Also I want to try an integral, I'll weld up a san mai billet for that, I think. I'm averaging 5-7 squeezes per heat.

 

Though the total bill with new steel, bottle jack, fresh welding supplies ect topped $400 the amount of hammer work saved is still amazing. The level of controll makes up for the fact that a small power hammer is still faster.

 

jpress.jpg

 

jpress2.jpg

 

IMHO more bang for the buck than any JYH but ONLY if you already have a good compressor. It's also more civilized noise wise for those who have suburban shops.

Edited by J.Fisher

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"Had a minor binding issue that was fixed within 10 minutes with a file, still had some welding spatter inside the arms. I cannot agree more that the cross arms and posts should be drilled at the same time. I didn't and wound up with alignment issues after welding. These were fixed by aligning 1 set of holes, bolting them in then tapping the second set of holes in place and redressing with a hand drill... a lot of work."

 

 

I just finished fitting my bottom anvil. Shined up the uprights with some 180 grit wet or dry and lightly filed and sanded the inside of the guide bars on the anvil. Had a slight binding about halfway down but a little drawfiling and another buff from the wet or dry took care of that in just a few minutes. Runs smoooooth now! Smeared on some RIG to stop rust and slick it up.

 

I'm going to approach drilling the holes for the adjustable upper anvil just like I did when I built my KMG clone. I'll drill the crosspieces in the anvil to .250, clamp it where I want it on the uprights, then use a transfer punch to mark the hole locations in the uprights. After I get all the holes I want marked, I'll go back and drill all the holes to 1/2". I plan to use 1/2" grade 8 bolts to hold the anvil in place. They'll stand the shear load easily enough but I wonder about deforming the holes. Any ideas on this, anybody? Think I should go to 5/8" bolts?

 

I like the flexible conduit idea, thanks. I'll steal it. I also plan to make a scale shield from some 2024-T sheet left over from another project. Hopefully, I can get enough time in the next few days to finish the beast up and make a test run. Pictures will follow, of course.

 

K

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Just for my future reference, can anyone out there tell me how many CFM of air it takes to run one of these presses reasonably efficiently? I don't have a compressor, but I need one and will get around to it before too long. It'd help to have a number in mind when I go shopping.

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Just for my future reference, can anyone out there tell me how many CFM of air it takes to run one of these presses reasonably efficiently? I don't have a compressor, but I need one and will get around to it before too long. It'd help to have a number in mind when I go shopping.

 

Here is a pic of the compressor I am using it is 3HP, 120 max psi, no cfm rating I can see and about a 20 gallon tank.

 

compressor1.jpg

 

T.A. Toler

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On 1/2 vs. 5/8, I had an engineer friend run the numbers and he concluded that 1/2 pins would not deform the holes. (Assuming 20 tons spread out over 4 holes in the 1/4" mild steel tube.)

 

So I went with 5/8. ;)

 

It's not much more money and it increases your safety margin on plastic deformation of the tubing and shear of the pins.

 

I do most (OK, all) of my engineering "by eye" and 1/2" pins just look a little skinny for a 20 ton load. But that's me.

 

Nice work, guys! We're going to need a Yahoo group for these presses soon. ;) Agreed, GREAT idea on the conduit shield! I need to put a flux/scle shield on mine, too.

 

Dave

Edited by dkochan

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I think I'll try the 1/2" bolts and if there is any hint of deformation when I test the machine I'll bump up to 5/8ths. That said, I bit the bullet and drilled my uprights this afternoon. Made a transfer punch on my Taig lathe from a chunk of 1/4" drill rod. Balanced the lower anvil on the jack ram and positioned the top anvil on top of that. Squared everything up and marked the hole locations. Then a trip to the drill press and some drilling and let's try the bolts to see if it all fits right. It did! The bolts slid right into place like I knew what I was doing. It turned out beautifully square and I'm happy. I'll make dies tomorrow and hopefully be able to work with a billet of 1084/15n20 I welded up a couple of weeks ago. Here's some pictures of my drilling adventure. Try the transfer punch routine. It works pretty good.

DSCF0001.jpg

DSCF0002.jpg

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DSCF0009.jpg

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Ken,

That is looking very good. You guys are temptng me into thinking about another project.:>(

Regards,

Fred

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