Buying Hydraulic Presses

I have made my first plexiglass mold for the hydraulic press and
pressed my first beads. I really like the process and am now
interested in a press. I went on line to Bonnie Doon and got excited
about original price (I guess in the $900 range) and then heard they
were being distributed now by Rio Grande at about double the price?
This I can’t do, at least not for hobby at the moment. Are there
plans in existence to make one? or are their other fabricators that I
can contact? Thanks, Jackie

Yes, there are instructions in the book on the subject by Susan
Kingsley. Excellent book.

I would modify her instructions though and have a frame welded out
of I beams rather than the construction in the book.

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


We are in the process of updating the website, the info you found is
out-of-date by many years. The old price of $995 was for the old
version of 20 ton tall press. Updating the tools has been our first
concern and has had our attention these last two years. The new MKIII
is quite a different press than the old press. Many times stronger
and more consistent results, fully gusseted, and now they are
powder-coated for a longer lasting finish. The price increase is
mainly due to the new design additions, the decline of the dollar,
the increases in the cost of steel and shipping, not unlike
everything else from food to fuel. We recently designed a 12 ton
Bonny Doon Lite press which sells for $695 and does just about
everything the MKIII does with the exception of deep-drawing and the
latest bracelet formers. It is made using high tensile-strength
aluminum and steel and consequently is very light but incredibly
strong! Not to be compared to hardware store steel and aluminum.

The Bonny Doon Lite is designed to be used by beginners, hobbyists,
and those wanting a more portable unit such as traveling instructors.
The MKIII is designed for the professional jeweler that needs plenty
of versatility, with it’s ability to use all of the current Bonny
Doon tooling with deep-draw capabilities up to cup and small bowl
sizes. We recently designed and are currently producing a 25 ton
Bonny Doon Pro for those needing accuracy measured in millionths of
an inch, ideal for two part conforming dies, and is also more capable
of deep-draw longer tubes than the MKIII.

The 50 ton Mokume press is engineered similar to the MKIII and can
cold or hot forge mokume billets or any application where high forces
are required such as coining. The largest press is the Volume and
Form Press which can take an 18" disc of silver/gold and form it into
a bowl 12" across.

I hope this helps you to make a sound purchase that will last you
many years. All Boony Doon tools and press frames are made here in
the US with the highest attention to quality and longevity.

G. Phil Poirier

PS, I always recommend taking at least one class with well known
hydraulic forming instructors such as Cindy Eid, Jack Berry, David
Reynolds, David Anderson and Anne Larson.

Jackie, I had my hydraulic press made at a machine shop using the
plans in the Susan Kingsley book. It works just fine, and cost
considerably less than the one carried by Rio. It is made so that it
will accept all the various attachments made for the Bonnie Doon
press. Although the plans indicate that it does not need to be
bolted down, it is imperative that you do so in order to give it the
necesssary stability. The only problem I had was locating strong
enough springs, but finally was able to get them.


Good news, Jackie!

The new Bonny Doon Lite press is less than $800. It is distributed
through Rio Grande.



Looks like you received lots of good info (I knew you would!). Let me
know if you need any assistance or have any other questions.


Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support
505-839-3000 ex 13903

Elaine, what a wonderful suggestion to construct the hydraulic press
out of I beams rather than following the instructions in the Susan
Kingsley book. I beams would certainly add more stability. The Susan
Kingsley book is a must for those doing any hydraulic press forming.


I am sure that you will receive a lot of replies to this, but you
should investigate the new Bonny Doon Lite Press. It is a 12-ton
press, suitable for doing most press operations, and I believe it
retails around $695. Check the Bonny Doon website, or call Rio Grande
for more details. You can also email Phil Poirier at Bonny Doon to
enquire, and I am sure he will respond quickly.

best regards,
Donna Blow