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Question regarding "stamping" press


Hi All,

I’ve been considering purchasing a stamping press to cut out
simple shapes. The only stamping press I’ve been able to locate
is one featured in Rio Grande. I am not sure I want to spend
that much on something which I may not use very often.

Does anyone have any experiednce with such presses? Does anyone
know of any other suppliers of such a press?

I have never stamped out anything, EVER . . . so any advice
would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.


A friend in the business bought Rio’s stamping press. She didn’t
have much success with it. Dave Shelton of Shel Tech (505)
256-7073 has received rave reviews for cutting dies & stamping
them out. Quick & inexpensive. Good Luck


I used a 6 ton automotive hydraulic press ($70 from Harbor
Freight) for several years before investing in a 20 ton press
($320 from a CT source listed in Charles Lewton-Brain’s Cheap
Thrills in the Tool Shop). The 6 ton worked fine for pancake
dies on 22 gauge sterling and copper and for embossing or
pressing with female dies, the 20 ton does the same with less

Donna in WY


I have not personally used the RT Stamping System, but I have
spoken to people who have and people who know people who have.
The consensus is that it’s terrible. (Sorry, Rio.)

The wiser solution for you (IMHO) would be to buy an hydraulic
jack system, and make your own or have someone make for you the
steel pancake dies. Then, for only a little bit more money,
you’ve got stamping ability, plus all the other wonderful
capabilities of the hydraulic press. I have an h. press and some
stamping dies – they are wonderfully fast and easy to use.

For more info., search the archives on hydraulic jacks and visit, and read Susan Kingsley’s
Hydraulic Die Forming for Metalsmiths and Jewelers published by
20 ton Press.

Good luck,


Check out Bonnydoon Engineering for blanking dies at.


I have to disagree sliightly with you in regards to the RT
stamping system. I have one as well a Bonnydoone hydraulic setup,
and the manual press is twenty times faster for stamping out the
pieces unless you have a push button hyd. ram, and even then the
screw press is faster. The part I hate is cutting out the dies.
It’s easier for me to have someone else do it and have them
properly heat treated for durability.

My $.02,
Brooks Jewelry and Engraving


Dear Fishbre, Frei and Borel in Oakland carries a small "shear"
and stamping punch system known as the “Proriform” or "Profiform"
or some such name. Maybe that will be an alternative to Rio’s
RT system.

                  Happy hunting,   Eben


I don’t know what other peoples experiences of the R T blanking
system are but I have used it on and off for about 15 years and
have produced a couple of hundred thousand stampings with it. I
found that it was a bit temperamental at times, the angle the
steel sheet was cut at sometimes needed to be shimmed
fractionally, sometimes the gauge plate would warp in the kiln
when I was hardening it, I used a flypress to stamp with and it
had to be aligned with the plates exactly parallel, and sometimes
the cutters had to be treated gently for the first few times.(I
had an assistant who could break them on the first go!) I was
stamping 0.3mm titanium sheet and cutters would last between 100
and 500 to 600 cuts,( the titanium seemed to shear easily once a
cut was started ) one I remember did several thousand and I could
do 500 an hour (for one hour!) I did make up my own cutting jig
for the dies which I still use when I want to cut an exact 90
degreecut (say on a stack of pieces that all have to be the same
, I never did learn to saw exactly upright !). The other wrinkle
was the confident flick of the wrist when stamping with a
flypress, this gives a quick’bounce’ cut (hard to explain but
easy to copy once seen). I understand people having problems with
this but it earnt me a lot of money and if I am doing something
that needs a dozen identical items I will use it even if I dint
harden the cutter(it will stamp plastic forever even unhardened)


I have a friend with one of Rio’s stamping machines and she
really loves it. She’s shown me how it works, and it seems to cut
with very clean edges. However, she has her pancake dies
commercially made, and I think this is the secret of her success.
Although you can make them yourself, if the dies aren’t cut at
precisely the correct angle, they won’t function properly.
There’s a company called Sheltech that makes dies pretty
reasonably. I’ve been looking into equipment for all this myself
lately, and have decided to get a hydraulic press instead. A lot
more versatile, for the money.

Rene Roberts


Thanx Dad!!!

Will check out the Bonnydoon site soon!!!

Looks like Butchart Gardens will be a buyer in May, now would be
good but will settle for May. The meeting with the buyer there
today went good, she liked the floral pattern wire stuff we make.
Please keep your eyes open for any new floral styles of patterns
wires or sheets. Next week Artina’s will be buying, there are a
jewellery store on Government street in Vic and they move a fair
bit of stuff. New owners and a reno’ed store that looks great!!!
Also dropped off one of our packets to the Oak Bay Marina.
They run about 14 or so diffent ones on the Island so it may be a
good deal.

Will e-mail Dave and see but may only have a little while to see
him. I am catching the 6 am ferry so I can be in Agassiz (near
Hope Woo Hoo) for a sales call. Hopefully it will pay for the
trip down to WA. Maybe I will go and stay with Dave for the
night, we’ll see.

OK off for now…

Much Love,



Where do you have your dies cut? I am with you there. I have
the hydrolic press too and love it, but hate to cut the dies or make the plates.


hi fishbre,

the saw frame guide made by bonneydoon is superior to the 'rt’
stamping saw guide.

once one has made a pancake die, one can stamp out blanks with
it using a vice, a hammer and a covering piece of steel, a kick
press, an ammunition reloader. the screw press from rio is an
expensive alternative.


hi there… don’t think this was for me… but as long as
we’re here, what’s the bonnydoon site? and what are your
pattered wires? Just curious. Have a good time on your
trip. Ryr



The profiform is first of all, a shear. Second, it can be used
as a bending brake, designed mostly to do 90 degree bends. And
it can be fitted with various hole punches made to fit it. But
it doesn’t really have a press ram type of arrangement that would
easily work as a press to use with RT type dies. maybe you could
jury rig it to work, but frankly I don’t quite see how to do it
easily with mine. And they don’t develop all that much force,

Instead, might I suggest a cheap “arbor press”, which can be had
in “weights” ranging up to a couple tons from any machine tool
supplier. harbor freight, for example, sells these thing
starting from, if I recall, about a 1/4 ton model for something
like 30 to 40 dollars or so, on up… These things are a lever
operated ram, sort of like the lever you pull down on to work a
drill press, only without the whole drill thing. Small and
benchtop mounted, they’d need only the addition of a suitable
steel plate above and below the pancake die to do the job. And
you can fit them easily enough with various other types of
tooling (you make your own, of course) to do other pressing and
punching tasks…

Peter Rowe


Hi Gang,

 Instead, might I suggest a cheap "arbor press", which can be
had in "weights" ranging up to a couple tons from any machine
tool supplier.  harbor freight, for example, sells these thing
starting from, if I recall, about a 1/4 ton model for
something like 30 to 40 dollars or so, on up...  These things
are a lever operated ram, sort of like the lever you pull down
on to work a drill press, only without the whole drill thing.

I’d second what Peter says about using an arbor press. It’s a
very handy tool to have in your shop. Think of it as the 'engine’
that can drive many cutting or pressing tools. With a little
imagination many different sizes & types of tools can be used
with an arbor press.

If you get one, get the largest you can afford, they’re
generally available up to about 5 tons. Larger ones are available
from specialized suppliers.

The advantages the larger ones have over the smaller are:
greater throat depth & height as well as larger ram size. When
buying one (especially the imports from Harbor Freight etc.)
check the amount of side to side & back & forth play in the ram.
It should be nonexistent. Also check the freedom with which the
ram moves up & down, check the full range of ram travel. Another
critical point is the squareness of the bed with the bottom of
the ram. The bottom of the ram must be at 90 deg to the bed in
all directions.

Many times arbor press are sold with a round table that has a
number of cut outs for pressing shafts from pulleys & such. The
round table can be replaced by a thick piece of steel or a flat
piece of steel placed over the table.



Hi Rene! I was wondering if you could help me locate that
company Sheltech. My hydrolic press has been sitting around
feeling really left out, cause i haven’t done more than the
basics w/ die cutting, and i would love to get her going agian!
Thanks, Rona


Sheltech Co. – you should be able to find this in the archives.
He also is listed in the back of Susan Kingsley’s book and has a
web site, which may be linked to



Rona, Sheltech’s phone # is (505)-256-7073. He also has a web
page which you can find with a search for There’s
also a link on the Bonnydoon site, but it didn’t work for me when
I clicked it. Hope this helps.

Rene Roberts



I agree wholeheartedly about an arbor press for doing various
forming jobs. I use a three ton model and couldn’t go through a
day without it. However, I have tried to use one for blanking and
would not personally recommend it for that task. I could only
succeed in blanking the smallest things in 22 ga brass and
sterling (I weigh over 200 pounds) and it was hell on the old
back. I was surprised that it did not do the job. Maybe a big
cheater bar would help on the handle. Hydraulics is my choice
for blanking. I converted an old trash compactor over for this
task and it works quit well (lots easier on the back). Before the
trash compactor I used a hand operated hydraulic press. Frugality
is the mother of invention.

Ken Gastineau
In Beautiful Sunny Kentucky


A buddy of mine that services and builds hydraulic equipment
needed a little more oomph from his arbor press and just took a
sledge to the ram. Worked fine. The ram is exposed on top. I’m
afraid that a cheater bar really would break the rack and pinion.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
Marylands first JA certified Master Bench Jeweler