Flypress question

Hi.
Anyone have a flypress out there? I have been reading a bit on them, and they seem pretty interesting, but I am not sure exactly how one uses them.
Does the press "bounce" back when it comes it a dead stop? Is it quick enough to, for example, draw out a bar? Can one control it precisely? How do they compare (in functionality) to a treadle hammer?
Thanks for any input,
don
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don schad wrote:

Take this with a grain of salt.
I too have been reading some on fly presses. And, from what I gather, they do what they say; press metal. I believe you put a hot bar or something in there and press it into shape using a top and bottom die.
I could be totally wrong, but that's what it seems like anyway.
rvb
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    Greetings and Salutations.
On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 17:58:36 -0400, "don schad"

    Well, Ron Reil has some info on this...     http://www.reil1.net/flypress.shtml It is my picture of reality that the fly press is more useful for punching images and such...like embossing coins and that sort of nonsense. It would not be much use for drawing out metal, as it is just too slow.     It works well in printing too...     Basically, it uses momentum from a flywheel to produce large, instant forces on a die...more than one could produce with a large lever.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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I have a small fly press I use it for a variety of purposes. The press does bounce when it reaches the bottom of its stroke provided it actualy impacts the work before it hits the stop.
I would not recomend the fly press to draw out a bar however I would recomend the press to punch, slit, bend and detail a bar. They are great for makeing collars.
Most fly presses have an adjustable stop to vary the length of the stroke this makes repeatable and acurrate work.
They need to have a fairly heavy table and should be bolted to the floor; the momentum of the fly wheel and be large. Also watch your head its not hard to become involved in your work and forget to avoid the handle on the fly wheel.
I also have a treadle hammer they can do some of the same operations but I prefer the treadle hammer for repousse.
I do have a new tool which I would also recomend and rave about for a second ... a nibbler with a 3/8 capacity. I can use it for all kinds of metal forming operations. Although not as powerful as my hydraulic press it is much faster. I can texture, inset a nice border, roll an edge, create a bowl in not time flat.
brad
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brad wrote:

Let's see it! You describe it, but I'm having a hard time visualizing it.
rvb
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Pictures can be found on my website
http://www.centipedeforge.com/Projects.htm#Nibbler
brad
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Hi, Don. Bob Walsh bought one a year or so ago either right after the ABANA conference in LaCrosse or right after he saw them demonstrated at our Guild of Metalsmiths conference. Give him a call. I watched Brad Silberberg demo the flypress and he can really make it sing. He had a lot of tooling for it that held work in place for repetitive blows.
Pete Stanaitis ------------------
don schad wrote:

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I have had a #3 flypress for a number of years. It is like most tools, excellent at some things, good at others, but it doesn't do everything.
It is excellent at drawing hot iron. I do this a lot. It is very much under your control, you smash just where you want to. The screw should have a depth stop. This allows you to draw out a uniform thickness bar with just a slight scalloping (which you can get rid of, depending on how patient you are). I generally get a nice smooth finish using top and bottom tools made from 1" round rod stock. I don't have an actual timed example handy, but I would expect to be able to draw 1" x 1/2" bar down to 1/2" x 1/2", ending up with 4-6" of 1/2" x 1/2". I would certainly expect to rough draw out 6" 1/2" thick, with the sides bulging out (only draw on one axis, not both).
My flypress has about a 40:1 mechanical advantage. I move the arm 12", the top die moves about 5/16". It bounces a little bit, but through this 40:1 ratio, bounces are not very noticeable.
Precision is what a flypress excells at. I hear that in England they use them to press bearings on and off shafts (in preference to hydraulic presses). You have a very good feel for what is going on through the handle (and the 40:1 ratio). The top tool holder runs in a dovetailed slide, so it always hits in *exactly* the same place.
You must have a rigid table to attach it to. I started with a very sturdy wooden table built out of 4x4's mortise and tenoned together. The table was nicely rigid; using the flypress just caused the table to dance all over the shop. I next tried burying 2 telephone pole sections in the ground (about 2 feet) and putting bars across the top and mounting the flypress. The flypress puts a fair bit of torque on the mount; the two poles just rocked and rolled. I finally got mad at it and poured a yard of concrete around a part buried base. The base legs were 3" pipe, located at the corners of a 3'x2' square. I built up a table out of some heavy scrap I had. This was great. I could balance things on edge (like a coin) and they wouldn't wiggle when I used the flypress. The other thing I noticed was that there was much more power in the blows. If your flypress and mounting surface are moving at all, you are wasting a lot of the power.
I will repeat Brad's comment about watching your head. I've never whacked myself. It seemed so obvious that I didn't even mention it to my friend Arne. First thing, he bends over, sticks his head in so he could see, and whacks himself. You need good lighting so you can see without bending over.
A lot of people use them for veining leaves, but I haven't tried this. Slitting and grooving are great. Repeated patterns, like driving a ball tool in, can be made very uniform by means of the depth stop. They're great for beveling edges (cold). I've bent 1 1/2" x 1/2" bar the hard way cold in mine. Mine has made a lot of coin blanks, punching rounds out of pewter, copper and silver. Many other uses, highly recommended.
Steve Smith
don schad wrote:

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Can I ask what the numbers refer to when describing flypresses? Are they standard between manufacturers? Is there a most useful size for blacksmithing (at least at the scale I do it, decorative stuff)?
Colin
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Nobody knows. Mine is from England and from what I've heard their numbers run 1-5. Mine weighs about 300 pounds.
The best size for a blacksmith is, of course, the absolute largest findable. :)
If you're doing decoration on sheet metal, most any size will probably do it. I'm pretty happy with the size I have. For bigger stuff I use my hydraulic forging press. If I didn't have that, I would probably want a larger flypress.
Steve Smith
Colin Blackburn wrote:

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Ah, I asked because I have seen a No. 6 available!

...and storable :-(

Cheers,
Colin --
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Try www.oldworldanvils.com and see the flypresses they have to sell. They're English designs made in India. Check the weights and dimensions he has, that should give you a ballpark figure about different flypresses. I've seen his presses in use and they're quite good. I just wish I had the space for one. Dan is a good guy to deal with. Rob
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Steve - it sounds like you do a lot of the stuff which I was wondering about with your press. So I'll pick your brain a bit more if I might...
I'm trying to visualize the motion - more fling-let-go-catch motion, or a back-and-forth motion. I gather it is the latter (esp. since you say bounce is not noticable).
So when you are drawing out is the action to "fling" the wheel and let it go down and hit the metal and/or stop and then return back w/ a bounce (so you start it moving and let go), or do you leave your hand on the wheel, winding it down with a more controlled force, and then bring it back up by turning the wheel counter to they way it was just going?
Do you have a treadle hammer? It sounds like it offers more control and power then these, but is perhaps a bit slower?
Thanks,
don
Steve Smith wrote:

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I never let go of the handle. I think you get a better blow (also better tactile feedback) by following through on the stroke, pulling the handle hard all the way down to the work. Remember that 40:1 advantage--you can do a lot just squeezing with it. I see no advantage to flinging the handle and letting go, at least for the size I have (maybe it makes more sense on the smaller ones). Flinging it doesn't make it move any faster than you can move it while holding onto it. Repeat blows are just a back and forth motion. There isn't any serious impact on your arm, again due to the mechanical advantage. I find what limits the amount of work I can get done quickly (besides heat in the iron) is air. Repeated blows can be pretty aerobic.
Drawing out consists of pulling the handle toward you firmly, coming to full stop against the work (or the stop nut), pushing it away to raise the screw, repeat while you've got heat.
Mine isn't as big as the ones with a continuous wheel for a weight. Mine has a bar across the top (through the diameter, if it had a wheel). The bar has a weight on each end. A second bar comes down (upside down L) from one end for a handle. The center of the top bar has an octagonal, tapered hole that mates to the flypress screw top. Kind of a hassle to move the working position of the handle, take off weights, whack on the bottom of the bar to loosen taper, lift and re-position. I usually use 1/4-1/3 of a full circle stroke, and you get the best power pulling at yourself (not turning the corner to where your hand is moving sideways).
I also use a treadle hammer a fair bit. Before we moved last summer, I had both the hydraulic press and a 25 pound Little Giant working, so the treadle hammer was mostly used for working with short tooling (decorative chisel work). My new shop in Maine didn't get its chimney in before winter (next project on the list), so I haven't been doing any smithing. After I get a chimney, I won't have a power hammer (sold before moving), and still need to build a phase converter for the press and wire for three phase (maybe this summer? lots on the list), so I will definitely be using the flypress (which still needs a stand...) and treadle hammer for heavier work than I usually do with them.
The treadle hammer is probably about the same speed as a flypress in repetition rate, but you get a lot more power out of it. If you put a smithing magician setup on your treadle hammer, you have just as much precision as a flypress. The two tools cross over to each others jobs a lot.
I put a piece of 1" plate maybe 6" x 20" as a work surface (the lower die sits in this) on my flypress. I drilled and tapped several rows of holes in it so I could use the stud and clamp arrangement that is used on milling machines to hold tooling. This makes it easy to put in a stop, or to hold bottom tooling in place that doesn't drop into the tool hole (such as tooling that has a flat bottom instead of a stem). This could also be done for a treadle hammer, but doesn't fit nearly as well.
If I had to pick only one, it would be the treadle hammer. I think it is more general purpose than a flypress. Given room and budget for two, I have both and wouldn't give them up (didn't give them up moving cross country). Besides, it is always fun to have more tools.
Steve
don schad wrote:

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Thanks. I was wondering about the relative functions of each of those tools (treadle and flypress). My smithing time is getting more and more limited (bought a house, getting married) so I'm looking for ways to get more bang for my time-buck.
I think I'm leaning towards building a treadle hammer at this point. Put it on the list...
Steve Smith wrote: > [lots cut]

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Anybody know sources for Hydraulic forging presses? had a link for "Batson" but lost it
Tanx, Glen G.
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I think that www.oldworldanvils.com has some.

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I'm sure folks make them for sale, but I don't know of any myself. Batson (as far as I know) sells plans, which is how I built mine.
Steve Smith
glen wrote:

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Magically, The Hammers Blow from ABANA, which I arrived last night, has a couple of pages on fly-presses. Mostly tooling, but a very timely article (at least for me).

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