Over at YouTube, arduinoversusevil put together a detailed video showing how he built a compact mechanical press using steel plates and heavy duty threaded screws.
The project requires a mill, annular cutters, welding equipment, and a heavy-duty metal-cutting saw, but there might be ways to get things done with fewer tools.
The press could be used for pressing, broaching, and machining tasks, and as demonstrated at the end, it is powerful enough to punch a 17mm hex key through an 8mm steel plate.
While I don’t have the equipment to tackle this project, I found the video to be informative and entertaining. It’s also chock-full of wisdom as well, with my favorite being don’t shoot sparks at your dingus.
holy crap… this guy is pretty funny. Checking his other vids now…
This is pretty timely. I was looking into building a (smaller scale) screw press to shape some tubing; looks like I’ll have to try it this weekend.
I have designed and built a few of these for a different purpose. At my old job someone had built mother of all screw presses. The bolts were 8″ diameter and used buttress threads. The end plates were 84″x 84″ by 12″ thick with the reinforcing ribs to prevent flexing. It unfortunately did not work too well so it was scrapped in favor of a hydraulic press.
Good find! I liked the video. I’m not too familiar with metal working so I was a bit surprised that it worked so well.
I used to work for the Bureau of Reclamation at the Denver Federal Center. They have a 5-million lb. load hydraulic test machine in the south end of Bldg. 56 in the Testing Lab. It was good for that maximum load in both tension (pulling apart)and compression (pressing together). If you go to YouTube and type in “5-million lb. test machine at the Bureau of Reclamation”, you’ll get 3 or 4 videos of tests on 3′ x 6′ concrete cylinders. It’s pretty impressive watching the vids, but to get the full effect, you gotta be there. The test machine frame was cast by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, weighed approx. 750,000 pounds and was 70 feet tall. The hydraulics that operate the machine are below ground. We didn’t run it very often while I was there, but it never failed to draw a crowd.
Nice cheap solution for heavy heavy duty stuff in the garage, but way overkill for most of the stuff you’d need to do any press work with.
I’d think a basic frame with a single screw would be fine for pressing most things, and also give a lot more control and be a lot faster – having to screw four threaded rods and do it in increments so the press plate stays flat seems like a lot of trouble except for when you just need that much force.
The “$35” cost also assumes you can get the metal as scrap or as partials, and that you have all the tools needed. You aren’t even going to get a full length steel plate and those fasteners for that money.