Shop press build

BXHoosier

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Equipment
BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
I’ve been wanting/needing a press in my shop for years. I almost bought a Harbor Freight 20 ton press a while back but luckily they didn’t have any in stock. After reading lots of negative reviews, I decided to build my own the way I want it. Yesterday, the stars aligned and I got most of the steel I need for free. A new CNC mill arrived at work recently and I was able to acquire some 5”x2.5” channel iron from one of the skids.
 

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Matt Ellerbee

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LX2610 EA grapple, 5' LP cutter and box blade
Jun 27, 2019
258
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Canton, Georgia
I have the Harbor freight 20 ton. Works well the 5-6 times I use it a year. I have got my $100 out of it for sure.
If I were using daily, I would definitely make some changes and have more tooling.

Interested to see what you come up with.
 
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BXHoosier

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BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
I’ll try to post plenty of pictures along the way.
I’m going to use a hand winch to adjust the bed height. Plan to use a Porta-Power pump and cylinder or an air-over-oil bottle jack. I’ll also put locking casters on it to move it around the shop.

Anyone have any other suggestions for features or upgrades I should plan for?
 

BXHoosier

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Equipment
BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
Got most of the main pieces cut today. It’s 67” tall x 42” wide. Wasn’t fun having to make two cuts through the channel with a sawzall. The air hoist was a lifesaver.
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Yooper

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3901 LA525
May 31, 2015
1,035
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NE Wisconsin
Still got the scar today from the boat winch that slipped out of my hand and came back around and peeled the skin off my finger down to the bone. Invest in a winch that either has an internal brake or the gear reduction that won’t allow it to get away.

Make the base channels as wide as you can. I guarantee you the day will come where they will be too close to allow something you want to press out to fit through.

I would make the cylinder capable of moving left and right for the occasional awkward part.

Good luck and I will be following your build.
 

BXHoosier

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BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
Got the last horizontal piece cut and decided to make a design change. I moved one of the vertical pieces in 9”. I’ll leave the extra channel hanging out the side to possibly build an arbor press there. My plan is to eventually build a press brake that’ll handle 24” wide material.
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dlsmith

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BX2230, LA211
Nov 15, 2018
684
161
43
Goshen, IN
I'd be lost without my shop press. I bought it from a guy that came around one day over 30 years ago, off the back of a pickup truck. I paid $200 if I remember correctly. I put it on casters so it can be moved if necessary and sweep under it. It uses a 20 ton bottle jeck, and I don't think I've even had to add oil to it in all that time.
A couple of years ago I bought an Eastwood bender/brake attachment which makes the press even more useful.

I'll be following your progress.
 

BXHoosier

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BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
An engineer friend of mine is gonna run some numbers to see what forces the press will handle. I’m aiming for 20 Tons unless he tells me different.
 

mcmxi

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BX25DLB, MX6000HST
Feb 9, 2021
143
91
28
Montana
I’ve been wanting/needing a press in my shop for years. I almost bought a Harbor Freight 20 ton press a while back but luckily they didn’t have any in stock. After reading lots of negative reviews, I decided to build my own the way I want it. Yesterday, the stars aligned and I got most of the steel I need for free. A new CNC mill arrived at work recently and I was able to acquire some 5”x2.5” channel iron from one of the skids.

Very cool! I bought a Dake 10 ton press back in 2016 that I used to rebuild my Jeep transfer case when I upgraded the suspension to a 3-1/2" kit from Rubicon Express. I've been very happy with the Dake but I didn't think it was cheap at the time at $285, but given current prices I guess it was a bargain. They seem to be $550 or so now ... crazy! I would like a to build a stand for it similar to what you're doing. Looking forward to seeing the final product.

BTW, it would be easy to run your steel through SolidWorks to see if it would hold up to 20 tons. I'd be happy to do that if it would be helpful.
 

BXHoosier

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Equipment
BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
My friend ran the design through Solidworks and said it will work fine at the narrower spacing of the vertical posts.
 

BXHoosier

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Equipment
BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
Made a little progress today. Bolted the top cross pieces to the sides with 5/8” grade 8 bolts. Also drilled the adjustable pieces and made some spacers from 1/2” water pipe. The press is upside down, the pictures aren’t.

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BXHoosier

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BX24
Jan 21, 2018
253
74
28
Indiana
Looks good so far.
Thanks!

Made a lot of progress this weekend. The winch works great to raise and lower the bed. The bed adjusts from 8”-52” below the top channel in 4” increments. I plan to use a 4” stroke cylinder and an air-over-oil pump. I even added a tooling shelf on the base.
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