View Full Version : Arbor press - hand or hydraulic ?

08-12-2005, 08:07 AM
A heavily built manual arbor press has become available to me but the thing weighs about 350 lbs. It has a 20:1 ratio but with the way it's built, it could easily handle 200 lbs. maybe 5 feet out (1-1/4" handle, 2-1/2" diameter pinion gear, all tool steel).

With a 6 ton import hydraulic going for around $100 and 100 lbs or so, are there any advantages of the manual over the hydro?


08-12-2005, 08:16 AM
The manual is much faster assuming the hydraulic uses a manual pump.

Besides that the hydraulic is a cheap import. If the manual is good quality with ratchet action there's no choice, manual is best.

On the other hand I have an hydraulic 75 ton press with electric pump. This is better than manual.

08-12-2005, 10:15 AM
The only reason I like the arbor presses is because of the feel. Broaching keyways requires a certain amount of feel to tell if it is going through or if it is going to shatter.

08-12-2005, 10:58 AM
i've only ever had an arbor press, big heavy one, and agree the feel is critical for the lighter work like broaching. I guess there is stuff you need 75 tons for, but mine (couple of tons)has been more than enough for broaching and light presses. i guess at the end of the day it depends on what you need it for

08-12-2005, 11:39 AM
"Availiable" as in free? If so, I would take it. I have not yet seen a hydraulic arbor press. I have seen a hydraulic shop press. I do not consider them the same. As others stated how will the unit be most used? If you will be using it where "feel" is of value, I would take the manual one. Hydraulics have no feel. They will bend or break things that by using a manual arbor press, you may have "felt" were going to bend or break before it occurs.

Also consider what could happen when that item comes apart or goes flying across the shop (or at you) if it slips or shifts under hydraulic pressure.

Also, a manual arbor press in good working order will never fail. It will always work, when you need it to.

I would opt for manual.

08-12-2005, 03:51 PM
You guys have brought up some good points like having some feel during broaching. I had some small bearing and press fit shafts to deal with the last few weeks and was only thinking about pressing.

The press is part of my father in laws home metal and wood shop which we need to empty soon. Professionally, he was a first class machinist and taught machine shop. This press is typical, overbuilt and overweight with large, precision fit ram, large bronze bearing for the pinion.

Most of the base and the "aperture plate" (for lack of the proper name) are made of 1" steel plate, finished and ground where needed.

I'll resort to some Egyptian moving techniques which have worked for me in the past ... and keep the toes out of the way http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif


08-12-2005, 07:50 PM
A little arbor press (like my Dake Model 1 1/2) are rated three tons, 48:1 ratio, with a handle about 30" long. I have applied a full 200# by hanging on the handle, which produces 4.8 tons - don't try this with a wimpy press. http://www.dake-div-jsjcorp.com/pdf/2005-Arbor-Presses-Ratchet-Leverage.pdf

Three tons is about right for bearing press fits IMO. You have zero feel with a hydraulic unit - try seating a Torrington-style needle roller that will tolerate almost no excess end pressure.

One of my customers rebuilds water pumps, thousands of them. They have six ratchet-style arbor presses, three are Dakes, unsure about the other three. Some of the Dakes have mushroomed ram ends, the result of sledge-hammer persuasion. They still work fine.

The ideal situation is an arbor press for bearings & broaching, plus a 50 ton (or larger) hydraulic press for straightening large parts.

08-12-2005, 08:22 PM
By all means get the arbor press!You will kick yourself everyday if you don't.

They very useful machines,I have made press brakes,punch and die sets and assembly jigs for all sorts of projects.Like said they also are great for most bearing press work.

08-12-2005, 08:36 PM
Ok, you guys have convinced me. I can just imagine flattening critical parts with the hydraulic http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

I visited "grampee" tonight and it turns out that he had his HS students build 6 of them (around 1968-ish). Dropping any one of the parts would have broken a foot. Times sure have changed !

The ram, pinion and aperture wheel (what do ya call this thing?) were machined from 4150 tool steel and the frame was welded up from steel plate. Den

Rick Hand
08-12-2005, 10:00 PM
Barry mentioned rebuilding water pumps; I have seen expensive seals ruined by (otherwise) skilled mechanics using a very good hydraulic press. I sweat bullets while using a hydraulic for such delicate jobs.


08-13-2005, 11:46 PM
If you want, you can fabricate a dual mode press.

Back in '86, HSM printed up a construction article (written by Bruce Jones) on a small press powered by a 5-ton bottle jack with an overhead lever to give as much as 40 tons. Here's a scan from the magazine:
The link can be put in either of two positions for a 4:1 or 8:1 mechanical advantage.

I built my own version, eliminating the high leverage option (I didn't think I would need 40 tons) and adding a rack and pinion drive in its place. Here it is in hand powered mode, with a ratcheting, counterweighted lever:
and with the hand lever stowed for hydraulic operation:
I'm quite pleased with it, it's done everything I've asked of it. It was my first welding project, so it's pretty ugly, but nothing has broken. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif It also gave me a chance to learn a little about gear cutting, though if I made another, I'd just buy a stem pinion and a length of rack.

[This message has been edited by Randy (edited 08-13-2005).]

08-13-2005, 11:59 PM
Randy, that's one fine homebrew press you knocked up, any plans on this thingy floating around or is it just knocked up from out of the head.????????

08-14-2005, 12:28 AM
The construction article (May/June & July/ August 1986 HSM) is quite detailed. I deviated from it just to accomodate the stock I could find, and of course to add the rack & pinion. I probably figured that out as I went, anyway I have no drawings or sketches now. If it's kosher, I could sent you photocopies of the magazine article, and I could post more detailed photos of my additions.

08-14-2005, 09:08 AM
Randy, That's a pretty slick combo ... the best of both worlds !

The press is home, no hernias but it does need to be moved in pieces (at least by this paper pusher).

My father-in-law says that it will handle several hundred pounds on a 10 foot extension pipe. Just gotta remember that it still needs to be anchored down for this act http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif Den

08-14-2005, 12:09 PM
While we are on this subject, has anyone come up with a slick way of having an arbor press mobile when needed but still stable and immobile when using it.

Thanks for any suggestions.


08-15-2005, 04:30 AM
Retractable wheels for mobility. And for stability, perhaps folding outriggers like a crane truck? That way you wouldn't overturn it when heaving on the lever. Of course, there might be a tripping hazard.#:-o

11-19-2014, 12:10 PM
Back in '86, HSM printed up a construction article (written by Bruce Jones) on a small press powered by a 5-ton bottle jack with an overhead lever to give as much as 40 tons. Here's a scan from the magazine:


I do not speak English very well, I'm french.

I allow myself to go up this old topic

I can't find any documentation with Article HSM and Bruce Jones.

Do you know where to find the plans for this small press?

Best regards

11-19-2014, 12:22 PM
Randy, what a great press! I think you need both a hyd HD press & a smaller arbor press. I even bought a screw press that uses a vertical leadscrew for doing gunwork. I also have a 30 ton hyd & a Dake with a shipwheel type handle.

George Bulliss
11-19-2014, 02:57 PM
The two parts of the article (and others) can be found in the Village Press Book, Projects Three.
This book is available by calling us at 231-946-3712, 800-447-7367, or by emailing subservices@villagepress.com.
To order online, click here: Projects Three (https://secure.villagepress.com/store/items/detail/item/809)
Note: Our online store is currently undergoing some changes; if the store link doesn't work, call or send an email.

(Edited to change book title.)

Tundra Twin Track
11-20-2014, 01:06 AM
I have Greenerd 3E with Shipwheel 2.5 ton 23" vertical clearance under arbor ,I like the Ship Wheel but sacrifice leverage .Is very valuable tool in my shop,I do like the feel you have manual press.I will use my Dake 6 for larger jobs.

11-20-2014, 08:20 AM
I have both an arbor and hydraulic, both have their uses.

When I make up bait traps I need to do allot of sheet metal bending and the arbor really shines here. With the mini press brake setup in the arbor I can pound out around a part per couple seconds. They also work great for car bushings or brass machine bushings, ball joints, and so on. They are just fast.

Then the hydraulic is just for pure power, gotta make this 1/2" thick plate bend, wheel bearings, stuck pressed in anything, etc. Slow going but the power to get it out or break it.

11-20-2014, 08:47 AM
The two parts of the article (and others) can be found in the Village Press Book, Projects One.

George, I think you're mistaken about that. My Projects One has an article "20 Ton Hydraulic Press ..." by a Rodney D. Jones, but it looks nothing like the same press.

George Bulliss
11-20-2014, 09:00 AM

You are correct; I didn't look closely enough. Searched for the name Jones, found the article and that was about it. I'll have to do some more digging.

Edit - Did a little digging and found the press by the correct Mr. Jones in Projects 3 (https://secure.villagepress.com/store/items/detail/item/809).
Sorry for any confusion I caused!