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I Forge Iron

Fly Press


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A flypress for blacksmithing requires a 3 or better a 4 pitch thread to get the power and speed needed to make quick blows with the tool. Finding a 1 1/2", 4 pitch nut and screw is where the problem is. The frame for the Flypress needs to be massive because the momentary forces are almost infinite. Great tool for production bending, forming,punching and slitting.

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that ebay 'screwpress' looks like a flypress suitable for general forge work to me.

A screw press is really nothing like a hydraulic press for general forge work, its a mere fraction of the power of a small hydraulic press, to draw out on a flypress you have to 'bump' it, which is really hammering the steel, using the recoil to raise the ram again, thus saving a bit of energy. - remember you cant get 'free' energy - a flypress can only ever be 1 person powered, a small hydraulic press will be 2 horse power.

On hydraulic presses from log splitters, this can be done (im sure ive seen it on the web somewhere) just make sure your hydraulic fluid is not flamable ! (think 5000psi flamethrower)

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You can get an awful lot of work done with a flypress. I have, by flywheel weight a 10 ton flypress. To make these bolt heads, I figured out needed 56 ton and I made them with my 10 ton machine.
I don't know where you will get non flammable hydraulic oil to protect yourself if you spring a leak in your hydraulic press, you could make a pretty good press for the shop out of a log splitter. It would be a bit slow, would work though. You could leave it laying down or stand it up, depending on what you want.
These clavos have 3/4" stem and are over a 1 1/2" head. It takes a couple hits. I made about 150 of them.


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I have a 2 lead screw press made by Hopkins about 50 years ago, not ideal for smithing as a higher number of leads would be; but for US$50 for a press than stands about 7-8' high on it's table with a 42" flywheel up top in excellent condition I was willing to try it.

I love it. Cleanly slitting high carbon 1" sq stock for a hawk in just a couple of easy goes blew me away, cutting the same stock hot was a joy. Setting up a stop block and roughing out tenons with a couple of pulls. AND IT'S SILENT!!!! (can't stand hydraulic whines).

Got it at a toolroom auction where I was able to talk to a fellow who remembered when it was originally bought new for the toolroom at a Western Electric plant in the late 1950's. Nobody wanted it but me...

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In the US fly / screw presses are pretty hard to find, and sell for good money, I picked up one for 350 just this week and got an exceptional deal on it for it's size and condition.

Mine's no where near the size as Thomas's , but it's still a hefty piece of machinery. The press itself weighs around 250lbs, with the top bar and ball weight 50lbs of that. It has a 4 lead screw, and a very hefty 200ish lb base for it as well.

I need to fabricate myself top and bottom die holders, and some dies, now. I'm just teaching myself how to weld, and i want to make it so i can use the top and bottom dies from in both my treadle hammer and my new fly press.





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J. does that flypress have any markings on it? speidel perhaps? they had a bunch of them when I worked there in the late 90's before shipping the machinery to china.

one mainenance worker loved to paint and he would go around painting all the machinery (including painting oiling cups over till they were unidentifiable blobs growing out of presses). another side note.....I never saw it but I heard stories from the other toolmakers that they used to have a HUGE flypress with a round flywheel on top. supposedly it was big enough that 6-8 guys would spin it and hang on spinning like kids at a playground.

is the tooling hole 13/16" or 15/16" or something standard? mine was 13/16 and I pulled the ram out and had it opened to 1" at a local machine shop. he quoted me 20 bucks to do it, but after having it well over a month without getting it done he called recently to tell me its finished.....and free. I wanted 1" so I could use punches I get from my current job. its all 1" and 3/4" shank. I bought reducer bushings so I can use both in the 1" hole.

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I"ll go out and read the nameplate tomorrow morning. that and measure the size of the tooling hole. It's well painted but it's also in great condition, all the nuts and bolts move freely, the guy who did the painting knew how to take care of tools, and painted the heads of the nuts and bolts separately and when they were separated so nothing is frozen together with paint or the like.

I'm probably just going to make up a top die holder that fits in the current tooling holder that will hold a 7/8" square shaft, since that's the size of the holder on the top of my treadle hammer.

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