Bonny Doon Accessories

I just received my new press and was wondering about accessories. I’ve bought a couple of pancake dies and impression dies so far (not arrived yet). I happen to have several 3" x 1" round steel discs and a 6" x 6" x I" steel plate I’ll use for spacers, but what do I need an aluminum top plate/spacer for? Is it better for use on pancake dies or using with pattern plates? And, what do you find yourselves using the press mostly for? Thanks!

Lots to cover in this question. Start by reading Hydraulic Die Forming for Jewelers and Metal Smiths by Susan Kingsley. Find a local steel supplier or welding shop that will cut thin and thick pieces of steel to use as shims or spacers. Be careful that you don’t use your press in the same ram extension location all the time. Depending on your press design, you may want to figure out a way to cover the hole in the top platten. I had two steel plates welded together and tapped the top one so that it could be held in place with a 1/4-20 bolt. Look for accessories at Potter USA, Rio, Sheltec, Chris Pruitt and online. Search for pancake dies, shot plates, all types of dies. I am not sure about why you would use an aluminum plate. Find a source for urethane. Potter USA sells a lot of it. Learn how to make your own pancake dies. It is a lot of fun and saves work if you are making duplicates. This is just a start. Many others may add to this discussion. You should also do a search in the archives as hydraulic presses are always a hot topic. Good luck…Rob

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WOW, that is a lot to cover! But it tells me that having one opens up a lot of new opportunities. Making my own pancake dies? I’ll look it up! I’ve read quite a bit and watched numerous videos, just have no experience using one so I thought it would be informative to hear from others, their experiences and primary use for one…if there is such a thing. It sounds like a very versatile piece of equipment… Thanks Rob!

You will quickly wonder how you got along without it. Get the book and read it as soon as you can…Rob


I am told that, according to Kevin Potter, aluminum plates are less likely to slip than steel. That’s all I have regarding aluminum. I know that in the book I suggested they also talk about hard cast plexiglass and even some compressed wood products. I just rely on my 10, 5"X5"X1/2" soft steel shims or spacers. Regarding slippage, that can happen if you somehow get your stack away from the center of the press and the press elements tip within their assembled tolerances while compressed by the press. This is really important.

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Thanks for the feedback Rob, I’ll skip the cost of the aluminum plate and buy the book with it! I also have a 1/2" mild steel plate that I’ll tap the center of to cover the holes in the top plate of the press.

Hello! The aluminum plates are just used as spacers for things like blanking dies or embossing. Steel works great as well, my only caution would be that mild hot rolled steel as is usually found at most places has hard mill scale on it and that will start chipping off over time and create a mess, the chips are hard and very abrasive. Cold rolled steel works better, or an aluminum plate is probably just as cheap. Cast acrylic also is a good option but not as durable as aluminum or steel. My favorite tools are the Bonny Doon Ring Forming Kit and all of the Bonny Doon anticlastic bracelet formers. Check out Rio Grande for lots of educational videos of different tools and how they are used. Kingsley’s book is a great start, and lots of new technology has been developed since that book came out, much of it covered in Santa Fe symposium papers by G. Phil Poirier

Thanks Peter! I do plan on getting the Bonny Doon anticlastic bracelet formers, and I just ordered Potter’s humpback ring kit. I love some of the old ring patterns he has; I just wish I didn’t have to wait for his quarterly deal selections :roll_eyes:

The following is an interesting video explaining the use of Bonny Doon mini coining die / shot plates.

A nice touch is that Peter Gilroy and John Sartin worked out how much metal to use for each die cavity.

If you watch the video past the expected end there will be some clowning not usually seen in a Rio Grande video.

Neil A