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Before purchasing a hydraulic press


Dar et al,

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. 

Your wish has come true! We have been working on creating an
inexpensive 12 ton press and are currently producing them as I write
this note. The design and engineering of this new press started with
a few important parameters. It primarily has to be strong and resist
flex, it has to be capable of blanking, forming with urethane, and
light embossing. It also has to be very affordable, and light weight
so it can be easily moved around a workshop or around the country,
and it has to be able to use current Bonny Doon Tooling.

We met all of these requirements with one exception, the new
Synclastic Bracelet forming dies will not work due to the height of
the dies. Deep-drawing will be tedious when compared with the MKIII
20 ton tall press due to the 6" gap between platens.

The great news, it is available for $695, the same price as the
screw press, and will include two acrylic spacers and kevlar platen
protectors. We’re calling it the Bonny Doon Lite.

As soon as we have the images back from the photographers I’ll post
them on the forum.



One other point to make: I think it’s fine if you want to build your
own press, but I DO think it is wrong to take measurements, etc., and
copy a Bonny Doon press. It seems to me like drawing someone’s piece
of jewelry and then making it. Lee Marshall and Phil Poirier have
spent a lot of time fine-tuning the designs of the presses, and I
feel that should be respected.

My two cents.

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

I think the answer to whether to buy or rig depends upon where one
falls on the time vs. money continuum.

There was a time when I had lots of time and very little money, so I
was willing to build my own photography set up. Now I am thrilled to
pay a mere $47.00 for a store built one. I value my time more.

There is no right answer, I think. For those who particularly enjoy
the thrill of the build, they will always want to build their own.
Part of the fun is to be able to say, “I built it.”

For those with a limited tool budget, they will scrounge and

For those who want to make money, without wasting time, with quality
tools that work efficiently, they will buy the Boony Doon.

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


was this ever made Phil?



Yes, we made these for a few years but discontinued them as the sales fell lower each year. They were 1/4 the press that the 20 Classic is, and just a little less expensive, (25%). It’s hard to beat the Classic at $995, its the safest, most rigid, best engineered press available and happens to be the lowest price.



Bonny Doon Engineering



I decided that I needed a press about a year ago. This turned out to be a great decision. I wrestled with the buy vs make decision. I also used it to justify buying a MIG welder. I priced out having the frame made at a local fab shop, buying the material and making it myself with my new welder and buying either a Bonny Doon or Potter Press. After a lot of looking, thinking and asking questions, I found that just buying any 20 ton bottle jack was not a good idea. I needed one with a pressure gauge and configured in such a way that it did not have any interferences with the rest of the frame. The fab shop would not do the work unless I had stamped drawings. This was a liability issue for them. I never found a jack that I liked and I bought several and tried them out in a mocked up frame. In the end, the cost got up close to what I would spend on either a Classic Boony Doon 20 or a similar Potter Press, so I bought the Boony Doon. I have never looked back and having a press has opened a lot of new design and work possibilities for me. Word of caution, the press is just the beginning. You will want to buy a lot of other “stuff” depending on what you do with the press. At least get some 90 D urethane hockey pucks and other pieces of sheet urethane. I also bought the Potter anticlastic/synclastic bracelet press set as I make a lot of cuff bracelets. Kevin is great to work with. All in all I currently have over $2,000 invested in the press and accessories. I also had to build a new bench because I bought a great bench shear at the same time. I use my press a lot to punch out discs in a disc punch and form domed pieces with my dapping die. This is a lot more accurate than using a hammer. In the end, now that I know how to use my welder, I might attempt to make my own press frame, but I would still need the support of a good steel supplier willing to sell me the various pieces in small quantity and find a jack that works. The biggest challenge is how to engineer in the platten return spring as that is essential. My $.02…Rob


Thank you Phil! I agree your classic is a good price for such an awesome press.