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Fly Press Size


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I’m planning to order a new fly press after the first of the year. Help me decide on the size P5 or P6. Intended uses will be cold veining and fullering lines, bending, and straighten stock.  I would also like to use it for punching holes for mortise and tenon jointery.  I mostly make home accents with 1” or under stock but sometime use a little larger. If possible I’d also like to use it for punching or slitting larger stock for making top tools and hammer. I see several threads with people recommending for the P5 with the explanation that it will do most everything a general blacksmith would want and will not wear you out like the P6. I think the P5 will be fine for most of what I would want to do but I sure would hate to get it and with I had the bigger one. All comments welcome.

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The first draft of my response disappeared in the Invasion Power Services Ether, this will be shorter...

The bigger the better. I would even go 8 or 10 if you can. If you are physically capable of working 1" square by hand, no Fly press will wear you out. You can do everything with a large press that you can do with a small one...but not vice versa.

If you opt for the bar lever and ball weights rather than the flywheel type, you can remove the weights if you are doing repetitive light blows for veining or sinking bowls. You can then use the bounce back just like a hammer on the anvil. With light blows and either a flywheel or the weights on, you almost put more energy into the lifting than the pressing.

You can always reduce the lift load with a bungee or balance weight attached to the top of the spindle.

The bigger press will not only give you more mechanical advantage, but also more throat depth and clear space height.

Having said that I was amazed what I could achieve with my first Flypress which was a no. 3. However I did not use the no.3 again when I bought the no.8 and I did not use the no.8 again after I bought the 12 tonne Hy-ton fast single acting hydraulic press.

Might I suggest you benefit from the progression I made and miss out the Fly Press stage? See if you can get an hydraulic press from the outset. My 12 tonner actually cost £100 less than the no.8 a few years and inflation later.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I went for a number 8 and have found that the advice that others give about a #8 being more of a two-man press are valid. It handles small pieces and delicate pressure well, but the body mechanics of positioning the work and then pulling the handle can be awkward, especially if you are continually changing tooling and not bothering to reposition the timing of the pull-bar (rotating the handle to be in the optimum pulling position). You end up chasing the handle all over the place and using bad body mechanics to push, pull, and generally whang on it.

As far as wearing your body out, I disagree that no press will wear you out! It may be easy to pull the handle on a larger press, but unless you pay good attention to your posture, and be careful not to hold on tight when the ram hits the piece, I am finding that my fly press has the potential to really screw up my shoulders and back, transferring a lot of shock into my joints.

I like the #8 a lot, and now am using it a bit with a helper, the two-man approach is great! 

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I would go for the p6 for sure.  It's not like anything is heavy.  Think of it sort of like your hand hammer, it's a machine to transmit your power into the workpiece.  Only you can use way more of your body and not worry about any sort of precision and the machine is incredibly efficient.  If it happens to tire you out you rest.  I don't think mine ever has.  Bigger is better.

as to the problem with the handle ergonomics, check the pic...


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