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Before purchasing a hydraulic press


#1

I was wondering if anyone would like to share their opinions / views
on why I should purchase a Bonny Doon hydraulic press instead of a
one of the $300 or lower priced hydraulic presses I see for sale at
various machine shops and on the internet. The application seems
simple enough - to apply pressure - and for the manual units, doesn’t
require complex mechanics that might be prone to breaking and failure
if used on thin gauge (18 or higher) soft metal. So what would I miss
if I opted not to purchase a $3000 Bonny Doon?

Thank you.


#2
if used on thin gauge (18 or higher) soft metal. So what would I
miss if I opted not to purchase a $3000 Bonny Doon? 

Uh, they have a 3K model? What is that, power?

I would recommend the Bonny Doon. Because:

  • it’s a wonderfully designed tool, perfect, powerful

  • you will have the full range of choices and options, not just be
    able to do a little

  • you will be able to use all of the accessories available for the
    Bonny Doon

If you go for the cheapy, make sure it’s rated for what you’ll be
using it for. Will it be safe? The cheapies I’ve seen don’t have as
much heft of steel as the Bonny Doon. Can they handle 6000 psi of
pressure?

Elaine
Metalsmith since 1990
and Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#3

Yes the frames for those cheap presses are not really designed for
use at the rated tonnage. They flex too much and when the frame
flexes the pressure is not going into the work but into the frame.
Also the Bonnydoon is designed to hold a series of attachments
securely for use. If you buy a different press you will have to
design and build all the attachments or adapt the Bonnydoon ones

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4

Oh, I love this, I bought and continue to buy Bonny Doon equipment
because Bonny Doon, in the form of Phil Poirer, the Bonny Doon forum
and Lee Marshall are all there for me to get advice from, ask
questions to and bitch at if and when something goes wrong. Now I
could probably get advice from all them what ever press I have but I
wouldn’t feel right about it. I would also have to confess at some
point that I didn’t have a BD press when buying BD tools and getting
advice from the above sources as to how to use those tools or
trouble shooting their use. I make money with the BD tools, I can’t
afford not to. I do small scale production and need to cut the
learning curve down as much as possible in order to do that. Having
all the BD resources helps me with that. I have a hydraulic pump on
my press so production time is that much faster. I have Phil to call
when I need advice on maintenance for the pump. If I had time to do
more experimenting with a press, if I didn’t need to make money, I
might buy another tool but I need the support. I see Phil and Lee
every year at the Rio Catalog In Motion, I see new tools and get
advice about the old.

The BD tools are all made for the BD press and the tool holders are
already made for the BD press. I don’t need to re-invent any of
that. They are tested prior to going on the market so failure is cut
down. When I work at high pressure I want to know it is relatively
safe and BD has already done testing about that.

It’s the same reason I buy from Rio Grande or any other reputable
tool/materials/findings dealer, they are around to ask questions
too, return broken items and get advice.

If you have any other questions I can be reached offline

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.bahti.com


#5

Bonny Doon would be like having a sports car, I suppose. Definitely
stay away from the cheap presses. You need a minimum of 20 tons of
pressure, and the frames on those cheap presses just can’t handle
that even if you beefed up the bottle jack. I had a great time
designing and building a press with the help of my local welder. $39
for a 20 ton bottle jack from my local hardware store, a couple
hundred dollars for steel, and all the accessories work with it.
Plus, I like to make my own dies with plexi and steel. We traded the
labor for jewelry for the welder’s wife. I love my press – it’s a
great feeling to build a trust in a tool - I know what to expect from
it. And, the welder even painted it purple for me!

ginger, in North Carolina, where we are enduring triple digit
temperatures but loving the tomato sandwiches (the true mark of
summer in NC)

ginger meek allen


#6

Thank you all for the responses.

Elaine, I was looking at the full kit in the Rio Grande catalog with
the electronic press, if you round it out it’s close enough to $3000
to just call it that :wink:

I wonder if I could get away with the just buying the $1300 manual
press without all of the extra parts included in the kit? And is
there a cheaper source than Rio Grande?

Another question I was pondering: How intricate of a model can you
create for stamping without being concerned about edges being warped
or curled during the press process? Is this a legitimate concern?


#7

okay, here goes,

I have had the cheaper $300 40ton free standing “automobile” press
for over 5 years. My husband bought it after taking a course from
Phil Poirier and he didn’t want to spend the $$ on the BD press. It
wabbles when pressing vessels or anything that needs hi pressure. I
took a course from D. Anderson last year and learned how easy the
new BD press is to work. I drove there from CA and stopped in
Albuquerque on my way home and bought the BD press. I use it alot
and I am glad I bought it. No wobbling, no trouble, just a terrific
press.

I think it is worth the $$, also you should get the electric version
or your arms will get very tired. Go for it.

Jennifer
Ventura, CA
where the ash from fires has finally made it overhead


#8
The application seems simple enough - to apply pressure - and for
the manual units, doesn't require complex mechanics that might be
prone to breaking and failure if used on thin gauge (18 or higher)
soft metal. So what would I miss if I opted not to purchase a $3000
Bonny Doon? - 

Yes… the application is simple. Here are some of the details about
the Bonny Doon press as compared to an automotive press.

Phil Poirier once told me this: “Why recreate the wheel when one
already exists”?

Automotive presses are made for the automobile industry. The Bonny
Doon hydraulic press is made specifically for the jewelry industry.
There are so many different tooling possibilities that are made for
jewelers that fit in the Bonny Doon press. If a person was to buy an
automotive press they would have to spend many hours of work welding,
making brackets building upper and lower platens just to get up and
running. Most people don’t want to spend that time reworking tooling
just to be able to use it. It is my feeling that if I were to buy an
auto press, it would take me longer and cost more than to go out and
just buy a great quality Bonny Doon press. Besides… I know people
that have bought automotive presses… not used them and bought the
Bonny Doon press later.

So… this leads me on to the next item of conversation… it is ok
to take classes on the use of Bonny Doon presses before buying one
just to make sure that it can do what you want it to do. Come see for
yourself why an automobile press won’t do what the Bonny Doon press
can.

What would be missed by not purchasing a Bonny Doon press. Well…
you wouldn’t have to spend several weeks rebuilding the press to have
it fit the current tooling being used in the jewelry industry. You
would miss the rigidity of the Bonny Doon press. You would miss the
ease of tooling changes. You would miss the thousands of hours and
tons of steel that went into designing and building a hydraulic press
that does what you want it to. I am sure that there are many other
points that I could make… but I think that is enough… I have
owned several Bonny Doon presses and have seen knockoffs that have
come from India (Scary!!!) Buy the Bonny Doon press! It will serve
you for the rest of your life! Buy once… Buy well!

David B. Anderson


#9
Another question I was pondering: How intricate of a model can you
create for stamping without being concerned about edges being
warped or curled during the press process? Is this a legitimate
concern? 

I don’t really understand the question. I use my press to die strike
and never get warps or curling.

You might also join the forums at the Bonny Doon site.

I just checked the Rio catalog, what happened to the regular presses?
All I see are the deep draw ones.

Yes, you can get by with just the manual press and you don’t have to
get all the accessories right away.

No, there’s no place but Rio to buy them. One can no longer buy
directly from Bonny Doon, as I understand it. And no one else sells
them. So unless you get lucky and get a used one…

Elaine
Metalsmith since 1990
and Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#10

Ok, ok, I’m sold, it appears I didn’t have much of a chance on
playing with the cheapy auto press, you all sound so pleased with the
BD :slight_smile: I’ll have to budget for it after tax season. David I’m curious
about taking your class, I wish there was a class closer to Ohio, but
perhaps this is a good excuse for a road trip.

It would be great if I had a local welding connection like you
Ginger, building things or bartering to have something custom made
always gives the resulting tool or object more worth in my eyes.

Thanks again to all of you for the responses.

SCV


#11

Other posters beat me to the punch in describing how the Bonny Doon
presses are designed and made for safety and strength, after years of
testing and improvements. The Bonny Doon presses are designed and
made for jewelers and metalsmiths, rather than car mechanics, and fit
the tools we use.

Also, a basic manual press is currently $1,295—less if you take a
workshop with me, David Anderson, or Jack Berry. The $3,000 price
mentioned was the price for an electric press kit–with urethane pads
and spacers and face plates.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#12
Yes the frames for those cheap presses are not really designed for
use at the rated tonnage. They flex too much and when the frame
lexes the pressure is not going into the work but into the frame. 

It’s worse than that! Look at the frame welds. They are missing in
areas, spotty, splatter, as if they handed the welder to someone with
no experience.

Then look at the hydraulic cylinder. The finish on the rod is so bad
that the hydraulic seals will be chewed up in the first year of use.

Jeff Simkins


#13
I wonder if I could get away with the just buying the $1300
manual press without all of the extra parts included in the kit?
And is there a cheaper source than Rio Grande? Another question I
was pondering: How intricate of a model can you create for stamping
without being concerned about edges being warped or curled during
the press process? Is this a legitimate concern? 

I recommend the manual press, generally. You can use the money that
would have been spent on the electric press for tools. I recommend
the electric press if you are going to use it for production, rather
than one-of-a-kind work. I also recommend the electric press if you
have issues with your shoulders, or severe arthritis, etc. For most
of us, the amount of work it is to pump the manual press is not
difficult, and good for us physically.

I think that you’ll have your second question answered by taking a
workshop and/or reading Susan Kingsley’s book.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#14

I just want to thank you all again for your responses, as usual,
orchid and its community of generous posters has proven quite useful
in helping me choose a tool to add to the shop :wink:


#15
Phil Poirier once told me this: "Why recreate the wheel when one
already exists"? 

Personally, I hate this comment, if all the great minds stuck with
this mentality, we would still be riding along on rock wheels, but
several great, skilled individuals throughout time saw the light.
Moving from stone, to wood, to metal, to rubber…all this being the
wheel, and they recreated it each and every time sticking with the
same round shape using differnt methods to achieve the the final
product…

Sometimes, you can create something bigger and/or better than what
exists. I dont mean to offend Phil or the BD users with my comments,
and yes using an automotive press is a step back, but with the right
skills and know how, one can build their own. If they lack the skills
to do this, by all means purchase the BD, it will save you tons of
headaches down the road.

So, where would Mr. Binion be if he didnt recreate the method of
producing mokume’ ? Where would Mrs. Ed be if she didnt recreate how
she moved metal to achieve her final forms? Where did Mr. Poirier be
if he didnt recreate an automotive press into something that can be
used for producing these magnificant shapes? Once again, I dont mean
to offend, but thinking outside the box and exploring creative usages
of tools, materials, skills, and beign down right innovative is what
advances individuals and industries alike.

P@
www.patpruitt.com


#16
Phil Poirier once told me this: "Why recreate the wheel when one
already exists"? 

OK, I finally have to chime in on this: I took the first deep draw
course with Phil and Lee. It was a great class. Interesting people
and good projects. I believe they did a great job teaching.

Lee said to me: are you a destination or journey person? I
understood and still believe I am a journey person. It took 7 years
and my wife taking a course with David Anderson to realize the
potential of the deep draw process. And only after my wife bought an
electric press from Rio. By the way, my 40 ton auto press will do the
same job as the BD press, but guess which one I will use if it is not
busy!

Bottom line is do you have a use for the machine and can you sell
what you make? If the answer is yes, buy the press from Rio with all
that goes with it and you will never regret it. If you want to play
and see what you can do and money is burning a hole in your pocket,
buy the press. Otherwise if you have heavy metal working ability, buy
the cheap one and experiment and have fun and enjoy, but you will not
make the dollars, at least not for a while.

Charles Friedman DDS
(who has to answer David Geller)
Ventura by the sea


#17

Pat,

No worries, no offense taken, the statement about “reinventing the
wheel” should not be taken to strictly or dogmatically. (Sometimes
we oversimplify things with statements that need to be more
thoroughly investigated, and sometimes we read too much into
generalized statements.) This statement is not meant to be a judgment
nor is it related to not thinking outside the box. It’s more about
the artist’s level of involvement in the tools that are needed to
reach the finished product.

We metalsmiths come in all varieties, some prefer to spend their
time on the journey, making their own tools etc…while others are
looking for new methods and techniques to make their product more
efficiently, some are hobbyists with no concern about making an
income while others are looking to make a good living doing what they
love the most. Each will have different time and budget limitations
with regards to tooling.

Often we have to invent a tool that doesn’t exist, or we have to
re-create a tool that does exist but is beyond our means. I can
offer a good example with deep-drawing. The technique has been around
for 150 years, but the tooling costs’ are in the 7 digits. So re
innovating the tooling was required. Hence today we are able to
easily deep-draw silver/gold/plat etc… with minimal costs.

Lee Marshall used to ask the question “Are you a journey person or a
destination person”? There is no correct answer, and most of us
vacillate* *somewhere between the two extremes. Another great master
Brian Clarke taught me this valuable bit, “you have a finite number
of hammer strokes in your arm, be careful not to waste them, make
each one count”.

That said, these are simply my opinions learned by years of making
mistakes and struggling for successes, take all my words with a
grain of salt! (and continue thinking outside the box!)

Sincerely,
Phil


#18

An important point needs to be made here about using any old cheap
hydraulic press to try and do the same processes that you would do on
a more well-made press, specifically one designed for forming and
drawing metal, the Bonny Doon. While it’s easy to to think that there
isn’t much difference in preformance and functionality between one
from say, Harbor Freight, and the BD, one has to understand that one
press was designed for use at the top end of it’s capacity for long
term use and the other press (the cheap one) was not.

While it’s not incorrect to say that many of the same things can be
done on cheap or expensive presses, it is correct to say that the BD
will do more things more easily, more safely, and more dependably
than a standard shop press. One has to be exteremely careful and the
tooling has to be completely secure, aligned, and stable when dealing
with 10,000 psi pressure, and 20 tons (or much more) of force.

For a system that comes ready to use for a wide range of
applications, a BD cannot be beat, there just isn’t anything else
like it in the price range. (yes you can spend a lot more than you
would on a BD if you want to). For simple blanking and low-profile
forming, it may not be necessary to get a BD, or even a hydraulic
press at all, for that matter. The Rio screw press is perfect for
small blanking projects , and quicker than a manual jack press, for
example.

I’m the same way as most people, I hesitate spending more than I
think I want to unless I absolutely have to, and at the same time I
know that it’s best to "buy once, and buy well ", and that that
usually means dropping more cash. It all depends on what you plan to
do with your tools. It’s always nice to end up with too much rather
than too little, and the need to go buy again.

I do think it would be great if there were another press on the
market, possibly something like a low-end Bonny Doon press, instead
of the deep draw press being entry-level. But I also understand the
need to have any 20 ton hydraulic press to be built a certain way
with certain strength requirements, and that aint cheap to do. So
this may be a fantasy, but maybe not.

Dar Shelton
http://www.sheltech.net


#19

The Bonny Doon press uses a hydraulic pump that Hartbor Freight
sells with a T handle and gauge added.


#20

I have a 20 ton hydraulic press made following the precise diagrams
and given in the Susan Kingsley book. It cost
considerably less than the BD. Mine was made at a local tool and die
shop by an experienced workman. It has given me ten years of perfect
service, with no problems.

Mine is made so that it takes all of the attachments offered for the
regular Bonnie Doon press. It is safe to use, and does the job well.
I
have it securely bolted to my workbench, which provides further
stability.

It has proven an excellent alternative to the much more expensive BD
press.

Alma