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:
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.