BadOlPuttyTat

Budget Prebuilt Press

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So I haven't decided if I am going to build my own press or just buy one. One of the reasons I don't want to build is I really don't know how comfortable I feel with it. So assuming I choose to not build my own, what are some good budget friendly presses that can handle basic tasks. I am not looking for top of the line and I don't do huge projects. Any ideas? Thanks.

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I have a great idea: Why don't you list what country you are posting from so people can answer your question without wondering why if budget is a factor you seem to be willing to pay for shipping from 1/2 way across the world!

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Welcome BadOlPu(tt?)yTat, welcome aboard glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the gang live within visiting distance.

Building a forging press is NO trivial pursuit, there are a number of skill sets at which you need to be more than proficient.

I don't know of a cheap forging press as a turn key machine unless you find a used one somewhere. They're out there so it IS an option, just be patient, really patient. Never forget the amount of force a forge press applies is like having a bomb in your hands so don't take chances.

About the cheapest forge press I know of that doesn't require serious fabrication skills and a good WORKING knowledge of hydraulics is a converted log splitter. If you copy the blade and wedge connections and adapt them for forging dies they make pretty impressive presses. Not great, a dedicated machine is faster, probably stronger and more convenient to use but you can often pick up a used wood splitter for reasonable, depending on where you hang your hat.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I am from America and I understand I shouldve put my location sorry for that. As for the extremely rude first poster, sorry I've seen to upset you so much with my ignorance, I wouldn't want to anger you more so please don't bother responding to my posts I don't plan on listening to them anyways. To the other two polite responders thank you for correcting me I am sorry I honestly didn't even think about shipping being a concern, I appreciate it. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated I am pretty new to all of this which is why building my own doesn't seem possible.

5 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

I always suggest reading this to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

I don't know of any budget presses and if I did I wouldn't put my well being in their midst.

What is the cheapest press that you would trust? I was going to follow a guide to convert a regular press from harbor freight into a hydraulic press but harbor freight seems cheap and the press just seemed slow.

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4 hours ago, BadOlPuttyTat said:

As for the extremely rude first poster, sorry I've seen to upset you so much with my ignorance, I wouldn't want to anger you more so please don't bother responding to my posts I don't plan on listening to them anyways.

A little sarcastic, maybe, but not rude. You might want to look at the first two sections of the READ THIS FIRST page.

As for not planning on listening to ThomasPowers's responses, that would be highly unwise. He may be a bit gruff at times, but he is one of the most experienced smiths on the forum and extraordinarily generous with his knowledge. Don't sabotage yourself before you even get started.

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Which America, North or South ? North America has 23 countries and South America has 12 countries. 

Can you please list what is covered under basic tasks? And do you need fast cycling or high tonage?  It will help in providing you with an answer. 

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The cheapest reliable new hydraulic forging press available in the US that I'm aware of is from Coal Iron Forge (google them).  They run around $4.5K., not including shipping outside the US.  The Harbor freight presses, even the air over hydraulic, are reportedly too slow and built of too light material for use as an effective forging press, for which forging stroke time (in both directions) is almost as important as press power.  Note that using a hydraulic press is one of the more dangerous smithing activities.  You have to contend not only with a system that has a highly pressurized flammable fluid, but also one if used improperly can spit out your stock at high velocity or create flying shrapnel.

The cheapest used hydraulic forging press I've seen in a couple of years of research went for around $2.5K, and that one was a homebuilt model that may have had questionable reliability.  I've heard of folks building their own for parts lists that range in the $1.5K neighborhood, but that requires a lot of different knowledge sets as well as excellent welding skills.  

The converted log splitter option is a good one, and those who do conversions often try to find log splitters with faulty gas engines that will be replaced in any event by electric motors.

You might want to consider why you feel you need a press.  You say "basic tasks", and for centuries smiths have performed basic tasks without presses.  Have you looked at mechanical alternatives?  Fly presses and treadle hammers can be very effective tools.  Just because you see a lot of finalists using hydraulic presses on FIF doesn't mean that anywhere near a large percentage of smiths have access to them.

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29 minutes ago, Latticino said:

 

I wasn't sure if I needed or even wanted a hydraulic press I've just read that they are very expensive and I've seen several YouTube videos of various different Smith's and it just seems like everyone has a press. I have looked into some mechanical presses but I am just learning and there seems to be all sorts of presses. There is just so much information and a lot of info may or may not pertain to my needs. I have worked in IT for 18 years and when I have questions I go to the forums and I get help because there's just is much info. I wasn't coming here to be rude or whatever I live in North America (Michigan) as far as tasks...I am just getting started so I don't plan on making any gates but I also don't really want to be making knives. I've owned my forge for nearly a year and I've just been practicing my work is nowhere near perfect. However I have had to teach myself everything I didn't know the first thing about welding or blacksmithing so I am sorry for my ignorance but I am trying my best. 

 

Edited by Mod30
unneeded quote

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Trust me, every blacksmith shop is not equipped with a hydraulic forging press.  In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say that most hobby smiths have never even used one, much less owned one.  Don't get me wrong, they are great tools, and I'd dearly love to have one myself for punching hammer eyes, reducing outsized stock, or forging pattern welded billets, but I certainly don't feel I need one as a hobbyist (don't tell my wife, just in case one happens to show up at my shop one day...:rolleyes:).  I'd recommend getting a few more years under your belt, and perhaps taking a class at a school that has one and is willing to let their students use it, before slapping down the big bucks for a press.  There are certainly a lot more small shop size hydraulic press manufacturers then there were even 5 years ago.  I know that one of the unfortunately less frequent posters here (Iron Dwarf) has come up with a mini hydraulic press, but don't think it is commercially available as yet.  Perhaps when it is it will be more in your price range, but it will never be in the Harbor Freight press price point.

BTW, you don't have to train yourself.  Look for a class or group in your area.  I googled blacksmithing classes in Michigan and came up with a half dozen of them right off the bat:  http://diyblacksmith.blogspot.com/2014/03/blacksmith-schools-michigan.html

PS.  You don't need to quote my whole post if your's directly follows it.

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I appreciate the info, I will look into classes. I have just been trying to learn on my own as where I live is roughly an hour or so away from the closest class on that list. I'll drive that far for a class but I understand with FIF being popular a lot of people pick up the trade just to realize it's more fun to watch than to do. So I wanted to be sure I enjoyed it which I do. Again thank you for the advise.

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Ok... but you do realize that North America is a very large place and you will get dunned for your location with every question that requires knowing your location to give you an accurate answer. Another thing you really need to read the Read This First thread and don't be surprised if one of the moderators issues you a warning  for excessive quoting.

There are members here from about 150 countries and many of them are on dial up and have to pay for band width, that's one reason for not posting large photos or for quoting a post just before yours.

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Well from my years of posting on forums it was always polite to quote a post so people could keep track of the conversation. Also it's not uncommon for people to post "done" showing they are done with the conversation. I have changed the profile to reflect my location and I won't quote again sorry.

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Quoting is fine, but it's not necessary to quote the immediately preceding comment. IFI's quoting guidelines are available HERE.

49 minutes ago, Latticino said:

(don't tell my wife, just in case one happens to show up at my shop one day...:rolleyes:)

If that happens, I call dibs on your fly press.

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A nice feature of the forum & quoting is you can highlight a small portion of a post and a tab appears that lets you quote just that portion (like JHCC did to respond to Latticino).

Most of that is spelled out in the READ THIS FIRST -

That's why I always suggest reading it to get the best out of the forum.

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On 2/13/2019 at 9:06 AM, BadOlPuttyTat said:

I wasn't sure if I needed or even wanted a hydraulic press I've just read that they are very expensive and I've seen several YouTube videos of various different Smith's and it just seems like everyone has a press. I have looked into some mechanical presses but I am just learning and there seems to be all sorts of presses.

I just built one a few months ago there great tools its 24 ton but for skill set im a journeymen welder i'm not sayin you have to be one to build it but if your welding skill isn't there at those pressures you'll find out quick.Other than that there not hard to build and they save alot of arm work all my hydraulics are based off a a wood spliter except the cyl.Mine cost about 2400 to build but i live in Canada where prices are higher.Just for example its 65 bucks for 5lb of 7018 welding rod...

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On 2/13/2019 at 8:32 AM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

We won't remember this once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show your location.

Let’s see how far I can get without cheating. 

Frosty: Alaska I believe. Expert on Naturally Aspirated Ribbon Burners  

TP: New Mexico, but he seems to have lived pretty much everywhere at one time or another.  Has a method for finding anvils named after him.  

JLP: Massachusetts? Definitely some place in the NE.  Produces excellent videos. Sometimes I wish she would explain what she is thinking more, but the written narrative does a good job of explaining what she is doing.  Evidently she also gives ninja lessons.

IDF&C: Arkansas.  I believe your wife is involved in what you do?  If true, you are truly blessed.

Charles Stevens: Bradley, Oklahoma.  At first I thought he was older than I am, but he is actually younger.  Very knowledgeable about forge design and the history of same.  Expert and perhaps the original designer of the JABOD forges.  He tried over a series of PMs to help me fix a problem with my forge.

LazyAssForge: Sterling, Oklahoma  Sells a very good project “sketchbook”.  I am not sure if the drawings are done by him or if the artist is actually his wife.  I believe it is his wife.  He raises mules.  I am not sure if he races them, hunts with them, or just likes to look at them  

Steve Sells: likely wrong here, but I am going with Ohio. Definitely north of me. Has a son. Makes custom knives, but also does traditional blacksmithing. Not a real fan of stock removal. Believes forged blades are the best blades. I gotta say I agree with him. He did write the book after all. 

Glenn: I’m going with Michigan or Ohio. Definitely a northern state I think. I should know because I have certainly PM’d him with enough questions. 

Drawing a blank after that. 

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Well, I'm going to have to build a press, if I ever want to draw out some billets.  Though I'll start with come stock reduction blades, then heat treat them.  Because I also have spent the last 25 years doing IT work.  Lots of stress and no hammering on stuff to relieve it.  So now that I'm into my 4th quarter century, and having had triple bypass surgery 10 years ago, and having good welding and mechanics skills to go with my mechanical engineering/materials science education, I find it reasonable to consider a hydraulic press sooner, rather than later.  Just gotta sell off some stuff, so I can get what I need to make a grinder first.  And, BadOlPuttyTat, I also live in Michigan, in a suburban area, where over-sized Butler-hammers are verboten.  So we may have one or two things in common here.  I hope your wife doesn't think you're crazy too.

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1 hour ago, eutrophicated1 said:

I also live in Michigan, in a suburban area, where over-sized Butler-hammers are verboten.

If noise reduction is your goal, consider a fly press. They have the additional advantage of still working if the power goes out.

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Well except for the electromechanical ones---they are still amazingly quiet (at least the one I have used at the Shire Post Mint);  but they do suffer when the power goes out...

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WOW, Jack.  I don't know what you figure that beautiful thing is worth, but it sure is impressive.  Guess I missed your "build thread".  What's the tonnage?  I really like the fact it's so compact.  The only one I've had the pleasure to use is a monster that takes up a good amount of floor space.

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