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Building a dream hydraulic press


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Hi all, new to hydraulic presses and though i understand the basics and have read a lot of posts about what bladesmiths use what press and some of the stats, I have a chance to build a dream hydraulic system that should run my whole shop. 

I recently acquired a demil 50 hp self contained hydraulic power unit. It has about 100 gallon reservoir and it is 3 phase electric. i think the lines are 3/4" and 1". The unit has 2 separate pump systems with individually adjustable flow rates and filters for both systems.

I know that’s a bit of overkill, but for $200 I couldn’t pass it up… What I need to know is, just what would be the most bang for the buck in cylinders for forging Damascus blades (knives, axes, swords).

I see the forums and everyone talks about tonnage of force vs speed vs stroke and lots of other things that are over my head at the moment. It seems with this system I can basically set it up for the best of all options.

Fast stroke speed for more working time with enough force to spare. The question is how do I do that? What bore, rod and stroke for cylinder size and do I use bigger or smaller lines for gpm and psi?

Also need to balance speed and power with control. Won't do me any good to have 50 tons at 5 ips and turn my 4" damascus billet into a 1/32" piece of plate damascus in one pass...

What would you do if you had a 50HP hydraulic unit to play with?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   I also posted on knife network, but no-one bothered to answer me...




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Personally, I'd sell it and buy/build the setup I wanted. But I also don't have the power available for that big of a unit. That would be what 130 amps at 220v 3 phase? Also check the voltage for that motor, with it being that big there's a good chance it's 440-480v. Do you have that kind of power i your shop?

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I may do that (sell it that is) but i can get 3 phase to my shop easily, and if it will loaf along and power most of the things i want like a press, a rolling mill, a hammer, etc, then it may be worth it... 

I'm basically just curious to see what someone else would do with a 50HP hydraulic system.

Thanks for the input!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I apologize if my original post came off the wrong way. A lot of guys don’t realize the power requirements of that big of motor, especially being 3phase. You have the flow, so I would get as big of cylinder as your budget allows. Also make sure your control valve can handle the flow you’re pushing. 

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  • 7 months later...

When I saw dream press I thought yes, 100 hp would be fine but so is 50hp.

You don't need a very long stroke so ideal would be something around 8" diameter with up to 12 inch stroke.  

Your frame engineering would have to be robust. A friend made a hundred ton press from large H beams. 

Welding is also critical, if you are not good hire a pro.

As to too much power, you need to use judgement with any tool. 

Even with your power supply I would expect to spend several thousand on construction for a safe I press of that magnitude.

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