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New Fly Press

I have just won an old Fly Press on ebay for BARGAIN : ) but now
I’m faced with getting it to my house. I have a few questions and
wonder if someone with knowledge of these things would mind offering
me a little advice.

How many men will it take to lift it? Its approx 3cwt… but being a
metric girl I don’t really have any concept of what this means!

Do I need a van to move it in or will my car boot do it? (I have
measured and my car boot is physically big enough and I will be
travelling about 12 miles on decent 30 - 60 miles an hour roads)

My workshop is in my upstairs spare room, is it safe to use
something this heavy in an upstairs room on a wooden floor or is it
necessary that I find somewhere downstairs on the concrete floor for

on a more creative note…

Are all die cutters for fly presses suitable for cutting through 1mm
thick silver or do I need ones that are a certain type?

If I use PnP etched metal can I stamp it into silver sucessfully
and get a ‘negative’ image? If so what type of metal would I be best

Thankyou in advance for any replies. I have only discovered orchid
quite recently but I’m glued and hope that as my experience develops
I can give as much as I receive.

Sheffield UK


Fly presses are pretty heavy for a car boot check what is under that
mat (metal or some particle board) before you dump the press on it.

You should be able to take it apart such as the counter weight,
Wheel, Handle and anything that could be easily reattached. Spread
around in your car you should have no trouble getting it home.

You will need at least 2 strong persons to carry this to the 2nd

It should not be a problem to use on a wooden floor as long as you
do not keep in in the middle of the room usually near the outer wall
corner of the house where there is a good supporting wall under the
flooring & should be strong enough.


That will weigh 152kgs, so two big guys should be able to do the
job, as for the rest a side loading van should be ok, if it fits in
the boot go for it, but it may be difficult to get in and out. That
said I did move a 330lb anvil in the back (on the floor between the
back seat and front passenger seat) of a Mitsubishi Lancer once, not
easy to get in or out!

Yes the weight should be ok on the wood floor, but that is anecdotal
is about 150kgs).

Hope this helps you some.


check out:
lots of info


How many men will it take to lift it? Its approx 3cwt... but being
a metric girl I don't really have any concept of what this means! 

3cwt = 300 pounds (US). I would recommend at least 4 strong men to
move that amount of weight. The problem is will everyone be able to
get a grip on it. The safest way to move it would be to strap it to
an appliance dolly to move it upstairs. I would not recommend putting
in your car boot (trunk) because of the difficulty in lifting it in
and out.

I would check to see what a moving company would charge you to move
it. They are professionals and would use the proper tools and
techniques. When moving something that heavy you risk injuring
someone and damaging the fly press or your house.

Your floor should be able to handle 300 lbs of dead weight but you
might shake your whole house while operating it. A concrete floor is
always the best for heavy machinery.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

3 cwt is about 152Kg, or not quite as heavy as two adult men. The
number of bodies required to lift it depends on how strong they are -
I’d say 4 should do it OK.

Regards, Gary Wooding

Ali, I’ll leave the die part to those who know better. As for the
rigging part - 3cwt is 300 pounds or about 135 kilos. Do you want
the safe way or the cheap way? In theory 3-4 men can lift it, except
that 3-4 aren’t going to be able to fit around it to get a hold. In
theory you could put it into a “boot” (so British ;}, but again you
have to lift it into and out of the car, and 3-4 men can’t reach
inside it and lift. Never forget that 135 kilos is very different
than 135 kilos in motion. If you drop it 6 inches into the boot, it’s
more like 200 kilos of force. And depending on the car it COULD trash
the rear suspension. And all the same stuff applies to going up
stairs, except that the weight will all be on the bottom side of the
stairs. (2 men above will have 25% of weight, 2 men below will have
75%, because of handholds and leverage) Now, 135 kilos isn’t THAT
heavy, but it’s enough to need to handle carefully lest someone gets
a broken foot or hand. And the same applies to your floor. If you
have a normal house you could certainly set it on the floor without
just blowing through it. But little by little it’s going to sag from
the weight, plus, again, force. You’re not going to have it just
sitting there, you’re going to apply force when working. Maybe it
would work, but it’s a bad idea for the house. It’s more weight/
than the floor is designed for, for sure. I had the same issue with
my milling machine, which is around 350 kilos. I had to lift it 1
meter high and 1.5 meters across to get it on a bench top. I rented a
lift for $50, and it took 15 minutes to do with no broken
bones…Again, 135 kilos isn’t that heavy, but if something happens
and it goes, there’s no stopping it.

Hi Ali,

take a sack truck and some planks, does your car have a lip on the
boot? you may have trouble getting it out. Also you will need a
bench, and bear in mind it will make quite a thump when you use it,
could annoy the neighbours, a concrete floor will not transfer so
much sound,

regards Tim.( who has done this!)

Hi Ali

I acquired a new fly press a few years ago and it is brilliant (a
sort of being-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time thing when I
happened upon a very lovely retiring fly-presser who had rooms full
of fly presses going begging!). Mine is about the size of an
industrial photocopier - approximately 3.5 feet high - so not a huge
one but it took 2 men to lift it. It did go OK into my car though
(just) - I just drove very carefully and slowly. However I know the
ones that are taller than you would not be suitable for an ordinary
small car and also may need some reinforcements to your floor.

I am not sure about the weight thing though - can you give me an
idea of how physically big it is and then I may be able to advise
depending on how big it sounds compared to mine. I know that in basic
terms, the bigger the fly press, the thicker the sheet you can go
through - mine goes up to a maximum of 1mm. Also I do have the name
somewhere of a brilliant tool maker in Birmingham who cut a tool for
us which we use all the time and he did a very good job if you need

Best wishes
Harriet Kelsall

Dear Ali,

You don’t mention it in your post, but at around 3 Cwt ie approx 150
Kg then I assume the unit is a size 3 - size 4 fly press.

2 reasonably fit people should be able to manually move it,
dimensions are such that it would be difficult for any more than 2
people to get a hand on it. Getting it in and out of a car boot is
little more problematic and you may require materials handling
equipment, an engine hoist is a useful small crane for this type of

I would certainly investigate the load bearing characteristics of
your upstairs floor as the entire weight of the unit is constrained
into a small footprint and is also subject to continual impact forces
during the press operation. You will also have to consider how you
are going to retain the press as the rotational action of the lead
screw translates to a torque on the base of the unit which will have
a tendency to twist and wander during press operation. Most commonly
a small unit of this type would be bolted to a work bench around the
850 - 900mm height to present the press platen at a comfortable work

A type 3/4 press would have little difficulty in shearing 1mm
blanks, I routinely use a small size 0 press to shear up to 2mm
fine/sterling silver and typically only employ the larger size 6
press for billet forging etc.

With regard to tooling, I make up most of my own, alternatively
making friends with a fitter/turner is useful. While the site is
focused on blacksmithing, a useful overview of the flypress and some
tooling options can be viewed at :-

Finally, you mention that this is an old unit, like all mechanical
devices a flypress is subject to wear and tear, most commonly on the
lead in and main screw and main ram and machine guideways, the lead
in & main screw should take up smoothly when the counterweight is
spun and the main ram tooling should not have any slop when striking.

Kind regards
Don Iorns

Just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for their help,
advice and suggestions regarding my new fly press. You have all been
great and the response exceeded my expectations by far. Hope I can
do the same for some of you one day.

Sheffield UK


Just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for their help,
advice and suggestions regarding my new fly press. You have all
been great and the response exceeded my expectations by far. Hope I
can do the same for some of you one day. 

Let us know how the move of your fly press went. Us tool junkies
with appreciation of old machines love to hear the stories of finding
cool old tools, their restoration, and of course with the big heavy
ones, moving them to their new home.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi Rick,

Let us know how......with the big heavy ones, moving them to their
new home. 

When I acquired my big 'ol Harrison lathe I faced the problem of
getting it delivered and then moving it up my steep drive and into
place at the rear end of my garage workshop. The delivery I organised
through a friend of a friend who had a scrapyard and who generously
let me use the services of one of his skip truck (load lugger?)
drivers. The lathe, on its heavy cast steel base, was simply slung
with chains from the overhead hydraulic beam of the truck and swung
onto the truck bed as if it was a skip. It was left chained to the
beam and also tied down to the truck bed for the journey. When it
arrived at my house, the truck backed up as far as he could to the
drive - unfortunately it wasn’t wide enough for the truck to enter -
and the lathe was swung off and placed as far up the drive as the
truck could reach. That left me with about 10 feet of steep drive and
another 50 of more gently sloping drive to negotiate, all uphill. The
only help I could muster was a friend who was 10 years my senior and
not in the best of health and he wasn’t any too enthused at the idea
of moving 6cwts+ of top heavy iron and steel up the incline. However,
I have an ancient chain hoist and so I put a long and strong rope
(once found at the side of the road where it must have fallen off a
lorry) around the whole of the double garage and tied it into a loop.
Tied another rope onto that and then hooked the chain hoist into a
loop on the end of that rope with theother hook of the chain hoist in
a loop of rope around the lathe cabinet…

Now, using a large pry bar, we lifted each end of the lathe in turn
and put a length of 1inch steel rod under the front and middle of the
cabinet and then slowly pulled the whole lot forward onto a third
steel rod. Jim’s only function in life now was to steady the lathe
while it was moving and then remove the steel bar from behind the
cabinet when it came free and replace it in front of the cabinet
while I kept pulling on the chain hoist. Even allowing for having to
stop every so often and shorten ropes and reposition the chain hoist
as it reached its limit, the whole journey up the drive took less
than 20 minutes and was completed in perfect safety (in fact, I could
probably have done it on my own in less than twice that time). Moving
the lathe through the garage on the rollers was a doddle and the
lathe was in its final position in less than half an hour from the
time it was dropped off by the truck! Moving big equipment may look
formidable but its really all just in the technique.

Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK