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Shop Press upgrades

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architard

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#1
Hey everyone,
It was suggested by itsme_Bernie to start a thread dedicated to upgrades/tooling folks have made to their shop presses. By no means should this be limited to a particular size or model since almost all H frame shop presses are similar in construction. Feel free to add your own upgrades to the thread to give others some good ideas.

Mine is an older Harbor Freight (Orange) 20 ton model. I should have inspected it before I took it home. The ram on the jack plate was not welded on square and the entire frame was pretty catty-wompus. However it still worked for what I needed and after purchasing this tool I've found it to be an indispensable shop accessory.

My first improvement was something I had seen others do, a T handle for the bottle jack release. I simply drove out the stock pin that was in the screw and then used a set screw to attach the T handle.
20140420_203803.jpg

The second round of improvements came when I bought the HF 20 ton air over hydraulic bottle jack to replace the manual jack. This thing is awesome. Not quite like a fully powered hydraulic ram but the next best thing. No more pumping up and down on the jack. I'd like to eventually add a foot actuated switch so I can keep both hands free for positioning things on the press.

When I got this jack I decided to address the fact that the jack plate and ram wobble all over the place making it hard to get the ram to press square on the work. I did this by grinding some welds free on the ram so I could heat it up and whack it into plumb. I also cut off the small bits of angle iron that act as guides for the ram. I fabricated new guides out of angle iron and spaced them wider than the originals as well as added some holes. These holes are used to mount pieces of UHMW plastic to each face of the guides. It was simple to size these removable pieces so that there is no slop in the jack plate now. It rides amazingly smooth and plumb now.

20140420_203730.jpg 20140420_203738.jpg

While I had the plate off the machine I also welded on some small angle iron tabs that locate the bottle jack on the plate. The stock press just had the jack sitting on the plate and it also contributed to things sliding all around while trying to use the press.

Finally I added a collar over the stock ram that has a 1" receiving hole with a set screw. I plan on making interchangeable rams of different sizes as well as some punching dies.
20140420_203750.jpg

I'm planning on replacing the stock cast iron plates with some steel plates. The cast ones are known to shatter under large loads. As I do some more mods I'll add them to this thread.

20140420_203803.jpg 20140420_203730.jpg 20140420_203738.jpg 20140420_203750.jpg
 

zmotorsports

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#2
Nice work. I saw that over on the POTD thread. Great job.

Mike.
 

itsme_Bernie

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#3
Fantastic Kent!

This'll be great! Thank for posting here... I'll post mine here too..


Bernie
 

Shadowdog500

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#4
Looks great. I may have to try the gliders you made.

Out of curiosity, are they the older HF cast iron press plates. I don't have first hand experience, but I've read that they explode when under heavy load.

Chris
 

aztoyman

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#5
I have the same press. Great ideas. I like the adapter idea.

The one mod I'm doing first is making it taller. It's too damn short for me.
 

Don B

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#6
Hey everyone,
It was suggested by itsme_Bernie to start a thread dedicated to upgrades/tooling folks have made to their shop presses. By no means should this be limited to a particular size or model since almost all H frame shop presses are similar in construction. Feel free to add your own upgrades to the thread to give others some good ideas.
Those are nice improvements you've made, I have the use of a friends press when I need a large one and his certainly could benefit from these upgrades, Christ it's hard to get things lined up straight on it, most times you need an extra set of hands.

Shop Press.jpg

This is my shop press I made over 20 years ago, and it's one of the handiest things I've ever made, original I made it for pressing bearings into small nitro RC engines, but as it turns out it's been useful for so many other small jobs as well.

Shop Press.jpg
 

architard

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#7
Yes the older orange model has cheap cast iron press plates. They have been known to explode under great pressure. Swag Offroad makes replacement plates but they are a bit costly when you could cheaply make them yourselves. They also have a testimonial and picture from a guy that had them explode on them.

http://www.swagoffroad.com/Arbor-Press-Plates_p_7.html

They also have some other great products.


aztoyman I agree. Mines stuffed into the corner of my closet sized shop so I haven't worried about it being the perfect height. I've thought about putting it up on some 6x6 cribbing to remedy the situation.
 

pineyfolks

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#8
I have posted these pics in various threads but I thought I'd stick them together here. I made a simple pointer next to the jack and a scale attached with magnets for making repeat bends. Rollers were added for smooth ram movement. A collar drilled & tapped bellow the jack lets me swap out tools and punches. Various bending dies, plates, and v-blocks. Hope you get some ideas or give me more for mine.

100_8500.JPG 100_8489.JPG 100_8512.JPG depth gauge.jpg
 

Don B

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#9
I have posted these pics in various threads but I thought I'd stick them together here. I made a simple pointer next to the jack and a scale attached with magnets for making repeat bends. Rollers were added for smooth ram movement. A collar drilled & tapped bellow the jack lets me swap out tools and punches. Various bending dies, plates, and v-blocks. Hope you get some ideas or give me more for mine.
That's a well thought out setup, nicely done..!
 

architard

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#10
pineyfolks, care to elaborate on your table winch? I have been thinking about adding that upgrade to mine but I haven't really figured out how to do it yet. As I've noted mines stuffed into a tiny corner of my tiny shop and I have a bear of a time moving that table up and down. A winch upgrade would be great.
 

pineyfolks

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#11
pineyfolks, care to elaborate on your table winch? I have been thinking about adding that upgrade to mine but I haven't really figured out how to do it yet. As I've noted mines stuffed into a tiny corner of my tiny shop and I have a bear of a time moving that table up and down. A winch upgrade would be great.
The winch is mounted to one side and uses a single cable over 2 pulleys on top to the other side. Its not the smoothest movement, it see-saws a little when using it. Still much better than lifting. I going to add a roller to the table to fix that someday. You could add cables, pulleys, and counter weights to each side to balance the table. Making it weigh 10 lbs. or so, then you could move it with one hand.
 

Sharky

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#12
My first upgrade suggestion is to get rid of the cast plates. Call your local metal supplier and get 3/4 or 1" CRS bar. Two 3/4x3x12 and two 1x4x12 cost me about $40 including the cuts.
azaqerar.jpg
 

itsme_Bernie

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#15

itsme_Bernie

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#17
Great Mark! That's the point of this thread! To get it all in one place! Posting your link here works just as well. Maybe better to have separate threads and post the links here like you did.

Bernie
 

12bolts

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#18
On my shop built press I have pins that pass through the uprights and also the moveable table. As I made the holes a fairly close fit this requires a bit of twisting action to install and remove the pins, so I made a couple of handles so I wouldnt need to keep tapping them in and out with a hammer.
IMG_6213_zps40442a8f.jpg IMG_6214_zps3a3d73fb.jpg
1st up make a couple of wood patternsxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe ends of the pins have a groove so that should stop the handles from pulling off

IMG_6215_zps6f28d6ae.jpg IMG_6216_zpse112dbc0.jpg
One worked okxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx but the other was misaligned or moved during the pour or something

IMG_6218_zps32b1c4d1.jpg IMG_6220_zps0a0ce09f.jpg
Cleaned up and ready to use xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxIn place, works a treat. I did leave a small protusion to hammer on if required

Now just back to the sandbox to make the other one again.

Cheers Phil

IMG_6213_zps40442a8f.jpg IMG_6214_zps3a3d73fb.jpg IMG_6215_zps6f28d6ae.jpg IMG_6216_zpse112dbc0.jpg IMG_6218_zps32b1c4d1.jpg IMG_6220_zps0a0ce09f.jpg
 

12bolts

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#20
Well #3 worked a treat. Looks better than the 1st one
IMG_6231_zps0cc30d82.jpg IMG_6232_zps9e2541f5.jpg
No sand inclusions this time, nice and straight too Much easier to push and pull into place now :)

Cheers Phil

IMG_6231_zps0cc30d82.jpg IMG_6232_zps9e2541f5.jpg
 

chips&more

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#21
Several light years ago I made the pictured below 50 ton pneumatic/hydraulic press. At that time its intent was to drop Model T front ends, but nowadays I use the press to smash the bejesus out of projects that go astray. It does not have a jack handle to operate, just open the air pressure valve and away she goes. Maybe of interest is the quick adjust/feed on the ram with Buttress threads. And the hand crank winch used to assist in raising and lowering the table. I picked up the winch at a local Flea Market, I think it was a boat trailer winch in another life. I procured the tank, pneumatic amplifier and winch everything thing else was homebrewed. press.JPG press1.JPG press2.JPG

- - - Updated - - -

Also along the topic of smashing things, is the below pictured 3 ton arbor press. But, now with a hole in the end of the rack/ram. I can’t believe how handy the recently acquired arbor press has been. And now that I have it, my bench vise has gotten a break. The arbor press is now a must have in my shop. And to make it even more useful, I put a hole in the end of the rack so attachments could easily be fitted. To make the hole, I attached the rack to a Bridgeport table on the back side. The rack is positioned vertical with the not business end of the rack pointing to the floor, and that end of the rack was shimmed off the floor for support. Swung the BP head around at the base. Lined things up and made the hole. arbor.JPG arbor1.JPG arbor2.JPG

press.JPG press1.JPG press2.JPG arbor.JPG arbor1.JPG arbor2.JPG
 
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12bolts

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#22
chips,
Nice press.
can you just clarify please, is that a air over hydraulic jack, or did you modify a straight hydraulic jack to be air operated?

cheers Phil
 

chips&more

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#23
The press is an air over hydraulic amplifier pump with ram. You can see the pump pictured in the upper top right corner in the first picture. Sorry, I can’t recall exactly, but the pump’s specs is something like 90 psi air in and 2,000 psi hydraulic out. The ram piston is just that, with hydraulic pressure for pushing down and 90 psi air for the piston return.
 
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markknx

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#24
Chips&more I'mjust wondering what you use the drill chuck for? is it to start small pins?
 

markknx

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#25
Here is some pics of my press and some of the tooling I have made for it. The only mods I have made are the addition of nylon glides on the ram support to fix the side to side and front to back movement these presses are known for. Also the clams I added on the top channel to hold the jack handle wile not in use. Mark



20140524_141524.jpg 20140524_141426.jpg

20140506_165638.jpg 20140524_141426.jpg 20140524_141524.jpg
 
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markknx

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#27
Found two air Hydro jacks on creigslist last night went out andpicked them up today One is 10" tall 20 ton, the other is a low profile 20 ton. the 10" is going to be used to covert my press to air over Hydro. I will get some pic. of the jacks and some of the upgrading. although it should be a pretty simple mod. The jack is 1" taller than the one in the press.
 

SG51Buss

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#28
This is a great thread. Many good ideas in here.

I got the Cummins 20 ton press awhile back. About the same price as the HF press.
What I like about this press is:

- The ram can be slid to the left and right, handy for awkward jobs.
- The single side rail design gives you a little more wiggle room to fit those awkward jobs.
- The hand pump/reservoir is remote, easier to place and align the job while pumping.
- A pressure gauge

During assembly, be sure to apply a little pressure before tightening the upper crossover bolts.
To be safe, acquire the good press plates. The included crap-cast plates aren't straight/smooth/level.

Cummins20Press.jpg

I printed out a 'tonnage' gauge ring, sticky-backed to the gauge face.

Cummins20PressGuage.jpg

Thanks to the ideas in this thread, I plan to add some kind of hand-crank winch for adjusting the base/table.

Cummins20Press.jpg Cummins20PressGuage.jpg
 

HSS

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#29
Excellent press works. I haven't posted in a while and the site has changed up a bit; I don't know if I can still post pictures. I had some problems with pictures being rotated after I attached them. I'll start another thread when I figure it out again and not hijack this one.
Patrick
 

ndnchf

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#30
This is an old thread, but hoping you guys can show more shop press modifications. I just got a new HF 20 ton and am looking for ideas.
 
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