Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Re: Shop press size?
Look for quality in the whole unit, not just maximum force. I have a cheap 50-ton press. I seldom use more than 20 tons. For U-joints and bearings it barely moves the needle on the pressure gauge - maybe two or three tons. I also use it a lot as a press brake, and for thick material frequently use 15 tons to complete a sharp bend.
What is aggravating about it is that the whole thing is loose. That is where the cheapness shows up. The ram can move a little in its mount, and the piston can wiggle a little in the bore. It doesn't leak, as you might expect, but it has a way of changing the setup as you start to press. I would gladly trade it for a well made 30-ton press, but I don't think that I would want anything smaller.
I needed a press very infrequently, but after I got it I found a lot of uses, and a lower force unit or a physically smaller one would be a lot less usefull. Besides bearings and press brake work, I use it to hold stuff for welding, straighten shafts, bend stuff, do strength tests . . . I have even made simple dies to press sheet metal shapes. It has turned out to be a real boon to the shop. I just wish it were tighter and more precise.