Bonny Doon 20 ton hydraulic press

I am considering buying a BD 20 ton electric press from Rio. Is there any reason to buy the “classic” version instead of the Mark III version? They seem to be similarly priced.

I don’t know the answer to your specific question, but I just saw a picture of a new Potter 20 ton electric press and it looks like a beast. Look at the Potter Friends FB page…Rob


The Mark III has a much taller workspace, intended for deep draw tooling, which is very expensive. Unless you want to reserve the option of buying much larger tooling some day that needs the extra space, the extra space is not a plus.

If you use a manual jack it requires a lot of extra pumping on the handle for average-size work. Presumably it would require more of the electric pump as well. To attach tooling using the holes in the top of the cross-bar, the cross-bar is a good bit higher, and fitting the screws into the holes from above is more difficult.

The Mark III has a large insert that you might want to remove from time to time, and it is quite heavy.

If you have a compressor or plan on getting one some day, consider the manual press and replace its bottle jack with a Harbor Freight, or other brand, pneumatic / hydraulic combination jack that works just as well as the BD electric, for probably a $1,000 savings.

Neil A


I should also have mentioned that the triangular bracing at the top of the press makes it harder to see if your work is properly aligned in some tooling.

Neil A


Thanks Neil and Rob. I’m definitely going electric and dont want to get a larger (than a pancake) compressor, so am really looking for a complete unit. I have also been looking at the Potter USA press but right now they dont seem to be available.
A tech guy at Rio told me that the classic BD presses were being discontinued and only Mark III would be available in the future. I dont foresee any deep draw projects and from what Neil describes, the Mark III is not what I want.

if you haven’t already, you might want to call Potter USA and ask if they have the unit you want…i called awhile back and they had inventory in a unit what was flagged as out of stock on the website…or yhey might be able to advise an estimated “in stock” date…


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The Mark III is simply a studier version of the basic press. It doesn’t flex like the original. I’ve recently seen some posts about the Potter press flexing but have no first hand knowledge of that issue.


thanks Julie and Judy-- I have a call into Potter just to confirm. Probably either the BD classic or the Potter would suit my low usage needs.

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I just looked and Rio has at least one Bonny Doon original on closeout. I think that model is being discontinued. It’s a fine press for light use. I also note that there are a selection of form boxes on closeout. I realllllly like form boxes - much less work to get great impressions. Matching urethane pushers also on closeout.


Potter has a brand new under $1,000 press that literally just came out on Friday.

Kevin Potter is a creative designer, and competition is good.

A problem I see with the new Rincon press is that it has no holes in the top cross-bar. There is some very handy Bonny Doon tooling that requires a center hole in the cross bar, and some tooling that requires a spaced pair of holes, for screw-on attachment. Lacking those holes, the Rincon cannot make use of those tools.

Any 20 ton press will do basic things equally. For a number of years I used a Harbor Freight 20 ton shop press bought on sale for $179 and it did a lot.

But Bonny Doon has a great selection of tooling, some of which may be impossible to use with Potter or other presses.

Perhaps Kevin Potter has his own tooling to duplicate some of those things. All I’m suggesting is that someone interested in buying a 20 ton press should consider all the available tooling first, to see if there are things one might want to have that may not be supported by another brand of press. It is better to check in advance than to find out later.

What I care most about is the tooling, not the press.

Neil A


Thanks for all the comments! I ended up getting a standard Potter 20 ton electric press (not the Rincon). I’ve had it for 3 weeks and am very happy with it. I’ve done pieces with pancake and silhouette dies and also both solid and hollow impression dies. Its really been a blast so far :).


That’s awesome! Congratulations on your new press danb43736!!! Kevin Potter is a great guy. I’m sure that you’ll be really happy with it.

I started off with an original Bonny Doon hand crank press (the gold one), but eventually I took on a job where I had to shape hundreds of silver parts with pillow dies. Hand cranking that thing was killing me and taking forever. I switched to the original Bonny Doon electric version (still the gold one). The electric pump is the way to go if you use the press a lot. I’ve had my Boony Doon press for 30-something years and it’s still going strong. I’ll bet that your Potter press will do the same for you.

Again, congrats!!


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