20 ton shop press - useful?

A guy in my area is moving away. He welded up a stout little H-frame press, did a nice job. He doesn't want to haul it across country, so he sold it to me for
cheap. He balked at letting go of the (import) bottle jack, having vastly overpaid when he bought it, so I bought it without one. He had an interesting use model: it has no feet! He had one side of the top fairly tightly chained to the wall of his shop. When he wanted to use it, he swung it out 90 from the wall -- the rest of the time, it was right against the wall. Space efficient.
Anyway, now I have to decide whether to keep it or sell it. My local HF store wants $249 for an equivalent model, not made nearly as stoutly. I'm sure they go on sale cheaper than that, but whatever, it looks like I could make a few bucks. I have a Dake No. 3 ratcheting arbor press which will go up to about 5 tons, and I have a 30 ton ironworker with a 6" press brake attachment which can bend a 90 into x6" flat bar and of course, punch holes, etc. I do sometimes need to straighten bent things, and sometimes I consider making something to a press fit. What do you guys think? How useful is a 20 ton shop press?
Grant Erwin Kirkland, Washington
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Grant,
I have a HF 12-ton that I use all the time. I recently scored a 1 ton arbor press, which is a lot handier for little stuff, but you already have a bigger one of those. I don't know if a 20-ton is more useful. My guess is that it would be a lot slower than the 12-ton (which is pretty slow compared to an arbor press), and therefore a pain for routine use. I've never needed more than my 12-ton.
--
Bob (Chief Pilot, White Knuckle Airways)


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I wouldn't be without mine. I have a 20 Ton. The only problem with the ironworker as a press is that you probably don't have room for 3 or 4 foot tall stuff. I bought the HF 20Ton air powered bottle jack and I love it. I connected a 1" diameter air cylinder to the oil release knob and then put valves for both up and down at floor level. It's a great poor man's hydraulic press. Other than that, we use it constantly for bending sheet metal. I've made a couple of different brakes. As a blacksmith, I use it for forge welding damascus billets. It is just fast enough to get 4 to 5 squeezes in between reheats. Recently I had to remove 12 flat belt pulleys and collars from 2 1 7/16" diameter line shafts. A few of them came off okay, but finally I remembered the press (in another room) and then it was easy. I want to put mine on casters so I can keep it in my heated shop. Pete Stanaitis
Grant Erwin wrote:

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spaco wrote:

You got that one right on the money ..

I don't quite understand that part, Pete. It sounds really cool though. Is it still controllable? I had a 60-ton press once, and I took a 6000 pound piston-type gauge and put it in when I was bringing it up. I brought the ram down near the piston, bumped it, still not touching, then did the briefest bump and completely destroyed it. (I'm hoping it just needs a new 6000# dial gauge -- anybody got one?) Scared the crap out of me -- I sold it to a guy who knows what he's doing around a big press. Controllable is really important to me. OTOH if you were punching you'd want a fast powerful stroke to the end, like an ironworker. Somebody (was it Ernie?) posted about using a 20 ton press for punching and said everything wound up like a big spring and then when the punch finally broke through it went BANG and he didn't like it. My ironworker barely slows down when it's punching and it makes more of a dull click.
I'd really like to understand how you modified the air/hydraulic pump.
Grant

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On Fri, 17 Jun 2005 15:43:19 -0700, Grant Erwin

Grant, I used to use a 40 ton press with an Enerpac air over oil pump. It was very controllable as you could throttle the air. So when straightening shafts in the press it could be moved in .001 increments. This is the best feature of a hydraulic press. If you buy an air over oil pump from HF it may be that they are as controllable. If so, then that press could be very handy. Like pressing bearings in or out. Being able to slowly move the ram saves parts. And fingers. If the air is throttled, instead of just lowering the pressure, the pressure will be the same but the ram will move slowly. If you also regulate the air pressure then the ultimate force can be whatever you want. Eric
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20 tons is what mine is. Install a 20 ton air-over-hydraulic bottle jack and it would be very useful.
--
"I love deadlines, especially the wooshing sound they make as
they fly by" - Douglas Adams
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I'm going to make a shop press and have been looking at the press on your sight for inspiration, But... what is an air-over-hydraulic bottle jack?
Peter
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Peter Grey wrote:

An air over hydraulic jack is a compressed air driven jack. Go to http://harborfreight.com/ and enter "air hydraulic jack" in the search section and you'll see several examples.... I have and use one in my press and love it!
Bill in phx.
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On Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:14:11 -0700, Grant Erwin

Ive wished my 15 ton was more powerful at least 2 times this year so far.
Gunner
"Considering the events of recent years, the world has a long way to go to regain its credibility and reputation with the US." unknown
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