As part of a custom machine I have been fabricating (later) I needed to broach 1/4" keyways in 1 1/8" holes in two steel flywheels and two collars. I figured no problem, just call up a buddy where I used to work and see if they can press them in the shop. To my surprise they no longer have an arbor press with a high enough throat to press the 12" long broach. Several friends have home hydraulic presses, but they have short strokes and you need to do a lot of resetting to get a broach through, at least two presses and maybe three for each pass of the broach, two passes per hole. That's a lot of fussing around. Hmm.
So, I sez, let's build a press just for broaching. I have two possible hydraulic sources. The first is one of those cheap, 4 ton manual Porta-Power sets. But they are very high pressure (10,000 psi) and use small diameter cylinders. I didn't think I could find a sub 1" cylinder with a 12" stroke. Even then it would be a lot of pumping.
My other source is an old 12 volt hydraulic system that operated a Corvair convertable top. I built it into a tire bead breaking machine about 35 years ago and it works fine for that, but I no longer use it. I put a gauge on it and it just hit 300 psi as it stalled out.
A quick email to DuMont and they said I needed 700 pounds of force for a1/4" broach in 5/8" mild steel. A 2" piston would give me around 950 pounds.
I looked on the HGR Surplus web site and they have lots of pistons. I drove over and immediately found a 2" diameter, 12" stroke cylinder, brand new for $19.99. Cylinders are real cheap at HGR, most are $10 or $20.
Since I already had a C frame for the tire machine, I just cut it down to the correct height and bored a few holes and mounted the cylinder on top. The hydraulic pump mounts on the upright and the existing steel braided lines were just right. I'm good to go, only a few hours of work.
I cycled her back and forth for a while to bleed the air then give it a shot. It does flex too much, I'll have to add a strongback to the 4" channel frame. And I actually had to start the car I had it hooked to, the extra couple of volts gave me just enough to push through, but it is at the absolute limit with a 1/4" broach. Every keyway broached perfectly, and those shaft collars were tough steel.
Here is a photo: