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Log splitter forge press build WIP

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Hi all,

I'm working on turning a 22 ton forest king log splitter into a forging press. I bought this one last fall but never got around to converting it. I've wanted a press since I started making knives. I considered purchasing one however it is a little out of my price range. I have the steel, tools and (hopefully) the enginuety to make my own. 

I bought three log splitters before I found one that I liked. The reason it took me that many tries is because the previous splitter had too much wobble iln the guides. This one is adjustable (I can make my own tighter guide if I need to) because it unbolts from the I beam. I'm planning on cutting the wedge off, welding a big steel cylinder to it to add support and then adding the top die. The bottom die will be made separately and then welded to the machine. I don't have a big enough welder so I'm going to tack the prices up and bring it over to a friend's shop to use an industrial welder. 


I have drawn up dozens of prints for this build and these seem to fit the best. I have the prints and parts labled to help avoid confusing myself. My only dilemma is with die retention. I've seen guys use a peice of steel that acts as a flap to hold the die in. I've also seen the same flaps bend over the years of use. I'll have to do some more research before I pull the trigger on a certain design.

I have the bottom die holder almost completely cut out and the top die will be next. These are my goals for this press.

1. Be able to draw out billets of damascus, break down tool steel round stock and make hammers.

2. Have a smallish foot print.

3. Have universal dies that are easy to make.

I will leave the gas engine for the time being because I don't have enough electricity to the shop to run a 220 motor.







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I'm no press guru by a long shot. I don't think I could offer an opinion about the device as sketched.

As sketched part of it, the guide and? is really incomplete.

If you break what is shown in the sketch into components we might have some ideas.

Without having a better idea of what's going on here the best I can to is toss out how we've been mounting dies to power hammers so they are interchangeable between many of the club members.

We bolt out upper and lower dies to a steel plate that attaches to the base and ram.  Both top and bottom dies have exactly the same bolt pattern. We made ONE template plate, same drill bit and tap. 

No dove tails, no retention clamps, clips or other gizmo. We simply lay the bottom die on the bottom and screw it down. Some guys had issues with the top die but it's as easy as using wood blocks to get it close enough to start the screws. 

I use lock washers on mine and the top die still loosens up after a while but most of the guys only use screws and don't have issues. I THINK welding my dovetail to the mounting plate warped the plate slightly so it springs a couple thousandths but it's not enough of a problem to fix.

If I build a press I'll use the same dies so I can bum them from anyone who has one I like or need at the time. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.


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Thanks Scott.

Frosty: you are right. The sketches do net elaborate enough. I should've put more of a description on the parts. The sketch is of the guide, die guide and dies. The combo dies are in the sketch and in the picture. 

In plan C the die guide/holder is sideways so it is difficult to picture. I am using angle iron to retain the dies. To remove them I will slide the dies out horizontally. I've seen guys bolt them on but I don't have a big enough drill press or taps to do so. I'm just going to weld it all together.

I did see (I believe it was on IFI) a press on which the maker used a type of plastic as a spacer in between the ram guide. I've also seen some presses use aluminum bronze. Is there any pros or cons to using steel vs bronze vs plastic? I would think plastic  would bend and shear under even 22 tons.

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Not so much more elaborate as more clear. Your C sketch could be almost anything, I don't see a guide when I look at it even with you saying what it is. Of course I understand these are for you and you know what's in your mind, very few people can read my working sketches in the shop.

There is no need to drill the die mount holes through heavy steel, 1/2" is more than enough to be rock rigid. It's all under compression so all the bolds do is retain it, it's a near zero stress job.

If you make the ram and anvil bolt plates a little wider than the anvil and ram and drill through the overhang and match the die plates it's a piece of cake. All the connecting is through a flange, all the press force is between the ram and anvil, the flange and bolts are completely out of the pressure.

The plastic is UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) polyester plastic. It's cheap and is plenty slick for presses, power hammers and sliding friction components. Just polish the steel that will be sliding against it and you're golden. You can buy a 5' x 10' sheet for less than enough oil bronze for one side and it comes in different colors.

Frosty The Lucky.


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This migh help clear up confusion. I tacked up the top die holder and ram guide. I will do the same for the bottom guide. My little 110v Lincoln flux core isn't nearly big enough to glue this son of a biscuit together so my neighbor is going to let me use his larger welder. I have a combo die setup and I have enough steel for one more kind of die. Not sure what I'm going to do yet. 

I think I'm going to stick to the steel guides for now I can always switch them out later if need be.

Hope this helps clear up the prints a little lol.




I should also add that the die holder I have in the picture will be the bottom die. I just used it for reference. The too die holder is made of ½ inch plate steel instead of the meager ¼ inch.

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I welded up a handle for the press and will eventually use a pedal. I made a prototype pedal but the action caused the press to stall out. I think that I may have to redesign the pedal. The press can crush a peice of 1 ½ inch steel down to about ⅜ flat in one heat. I like the freedom to work with bigger steel bow that i have a metal musher. I need to fine tune everything. I still need to make a top die retainer. I'm out of ideas... there isn't enough room to make a gravity swiveled retainer. 



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