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Looking for my first fly press


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I am looking to purchase my first fly press.   I am still new to smithing but have wrist issues.   I've been looking at eBay and was thinking of going up to gold machinery in Rhode Island.

Im not in a hurry though

So I would like your opinions:

1) I was thinking a c frame was more versatile but would like to know what most people use.

2) how large to purchase.   I usually work with 1 1/2 thick and less metal

3) in the Mid-Atlantic  where should I look for a press

4) what should I look for in a press 

I appreciate any input 

 

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With any tool I have always bought the largest example I couldn't quite afford. :)

It depends what use you have for it. If you are punching and forming silver or making instrument parts in top and bottom tools which require alignment you will require a new one with fine tolerances.

If you are using one to belt hell out of a lump of hot metal to bend or straighten punch or forge it, then size rather than precision is the most important criteria.

Just to make you think a bit wider…I have, and loved, a number 8 "C" frame fly press for which I paid £500 including its stand and some tooling in 1985. The fly press did sterling service….until I purchased a "C" frame Hi-Ton 12 tonne single acting fast cycle hydraulic press for £400 in 1997. The fly press has been sitting in the corner of the shop ever since gathering dust.

If you have wrist issues, consider a powered press which you operate with your foot! 

Alan

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Biggest is not the best in fly press.  Might be too big to operate especially with wrist problems. 

Don't quite follow your reasoning. 

The bigger the press, the less load on the wrist for a given oomph of the tools...

I took the weights off mine and just used the leverage multiplier of the screw thread when I required a series of fast light blows as in bowl forming sheet. 

How do you envisage one being too big?

Alan

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As the north east, New England was a hot bed of clockmaking and cutlery, quite a few screwpresses used to show up in the used tool dealer's catalogs.  As many of these now consider screwpresses out of date and no longer post them in their ads I would try to talk with them to see if any were lurking in the dark corners of their warehouses   I got a large H frame screw press for about US$100 at a factory auction where arbor presses and other items still in use went far higher. (Actually I got it for a $50 bid + 15% buyers reaming + $35  for a rigger to load it on my pickup...)

Edited by ThomasPowers
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As Thomas wrote, you are in a good area to pick up a press.

I have a C-frame that generates about 6 tons and it's fine for almost anything I do in the shop (up to about 1 inch).  The nice thing about a C type is the open side that allows you to enter without obstruction.  Obviously, H-types are stronger but limited to the opening size.  A larger one might occasionally be nice but I also have a 50 ton Dake hydraulic available if I really need to go bigger.  I'd recommend watching Craigslist and you might find one for scrap price.

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Reason I say you can get too big say it is a #6 or bigger and you want to incident lines that is a lot of steel you need to move Counter clclockwise to go up then you need to turn it the otherwise to go down then up then down then up etc.  On the down stroke it will stop it's self but you just start the up and start the down.  I know I have a large screw press

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Reason I say you can get too big say it is a #6 or bigger and you want to incident lines that is a lot of steel you need to move Counter clclockwise to go up then you need to turn it the otherwise to go down then up then down then up etc.  On the down stroke it will stop it's self but you just start the up and start the down.  I know I have a large screw press

I thought that may be your reason...hence my description of taking off the fly weights for repetitive light blows.

In the jewellery workshops in Birmingham I was told they used to have a counterweight attached to the spindle of the fly presses to aid the lifting.

I seem to remember seeing something similar on here, was it using a bungee?

All this of course is resolved with an enormous coil spring on my Hi-ton press! :)

Alan

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