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Adapting 12ton harbor freight hydraulic press


#1

I am going to convert a 12 ton harbor freight hydraulic press for
jewelry making and need some help. What all do I need to do this. I
have been searching the web for more but there is not
that much out there. I did read that instead of using the expensive
urethane you can use rubber and even silicone cake pan cut out to fit
the die. Any help you could give me would be helpful.

Thanks,
Roxan O’Brien


#2
I am going to convert a 12 ton harbor freight hydraulic press for
jewelry making and need some help. 

If you do not have the book, you should get and read “Hydraulic Die
Forming for Jewelers and Metalsmiths” by Susan Kingsley. Here’s a
link for the book:

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/j

As has been pointed out here recently, you need to be aware of
safety issues. If you can take a class on using a press, you should.

I did read that instead of using the expensive urethane you can use
rubber and even silicone cake pan cut out to fit the die. 

I have used various types of rubber - once each. Any I have tried
get totally obliterated in one use. Most rubber is too soft, as well.
Most urethanes are fairly stiff, and for good reason. Urethane does
come in gradations, and it can be useful to vary the stiffness
depending on the forming you are trying to do. Having said that,
rubber can work for some projects, and it doesn’t cost much to try.

I have found that a 1 ton arbor press can do much in the way of
conforming and non-conforming die forming. Even a half-ton arbor
press can do a lot. If that is what you want to do then you do not
need a 12-ton press.

Neil A.


#3

I have converted the 12 ton harbor freight press for jewelry use but
they dont work all that well you need platens and a way to mount
tooling. If you cant afford to buy a jewelry press the best route is
to make your own I wouldnt hesitate to use a harbor freight
hydraulic jack and build your own frame, there are lots of designs
out there that you can copy with just a few tools, if you find the
metal at the scrap yard you will save some money.

The jack is not expensive I think it is less than 20 dollars. As for
using rubber you can do it but it doesnt hold up long it starts to
crumble and you cant put much pressure on it. A cake pan or a cup
cake tin is not going to make it they are much to thin I make my
containers from 1/4 inch wall pipe and from heavy wall tubing up to
1/2 inch thick they need to be strong there is alot of pressure put
on them. If making jewelry is something you like to do and plan on
doing for a long time then a press and perhaps a rolling mill are
something to save for. When I was just starting out I worked for a
jeweler and had no tools of my own. I quickly realized that if I was
going to make a living as a goldsmith I would need to own my tools,
it took many years to get them all but they all payed for themselves
quickly. Susan Kingsly has a design for a press that doesnt require
welding and is easy to build with some basic skills and tools lots of
people have built them. Good luck and if you need some help feel free
to call or email hope this helps some.

Sincerely Kevin Potter


#4
If you do not have the book, you should get and read "Hydraulic
Die Forming for Jewelers and Metalsmiths" by Susan Kingsley. Here's
a link for the book: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/j

I have this book but misplaced it somewhere and haven’t been able to
find where I put it. I need on how to convert the press
to making jewelry. Do I only have to buy a steel block and use the
frame as support?

I have found that a 1 ton arbor press can do much in the way of
conforming and non-conforming die forming. Even a half-ton arbor
press can do a lot. If that is what you want to do then you do not
need a 12-ton press 

I have used a Bonny Doon and I know I need something more than a 1
ton to form my work. I cannot afford the Bonny Doon or I would have
one, so I have to find a way to make the 12 ton Harbor Freight work
for me.

Roxan
www.designsbyroxan.com