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20 ton Shop Press for home use

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  • 20 ton Shop Press for home use

    Hi all. I am looking for a 20 ton shop press. I was looking for something for the home shop use. The first choice that I see is the 20 Ton shop press from Harbor Freight:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/20-ton-...ess-32879.html

    What would be the next "better" choice of brand for a 20 ton shop press for home use?

    Thanks,
    Adiel

  • #2
    I have one of the presses, is it terrible?, NO, is it great?, NO. Its an adequate piece of equipment. Its a press, not a piece of precision equipment. Mine had done everything I've asked it to do, I would love a Dake, but then reality sets in I use it once or twice a month, its good enough.

    The only thing I did to mine was make a better base with casters, so I can push it into a corner when its not being used.

    jack
    jack

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    • #3
      The HF unit is just fine for a home shop, with one exception...

      You'll need to throw away the cast iron press plates that come with it, and get yourself some solid steel plates instead.

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      • #4
        Grinding out the holes for the pins such that the platform is level and touching on all points is an option for the OCD crowd as well....

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        • #5
          This is unfortunately one of those situations where you have to pay 10 times as much to get something twice as good.

          I got the 20 top HF one and on first serious usage the press shaft end "mushroomed", incredibly it was just tubing with a solid end inserted. I think since then they've made that a solid shaft, but who knows.

          After replacing that and some other tuneups its worked well for me. Nothing to be proud of so I keep it in the darkest farthest away corner of my shop, but it works. It does seem to glow in the dark a little so I think its got some radioactive steel in it, probably left over from some covered up chinese reactor accident.

          Paul T.
          www.power-t.com

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          • #6
            Do yourself a favor and buy a decent press. IMHO bottle jack powered presses are just plain dangerous if you load them up beyond a few hundred pounds pressure. Ive personally had quite a few things come flying out of the big 70 ton Enerpac, and am thankful every single time that it has a remotely operated pump. If you think it wont happen to you on a little press, think again. Shrapnel doesnt require gunpowder to kill you, and even if you are pushing perfectly square and level, things do go wrong.

            Go look at an auction or two. I suspect you will find something 10x better for half the price.
            Last edited by justanengineer; 08-04-2011, 06:16 PM.
            "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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            • #7
              I have one & for the price $169.95 on sale-20% you can't beat it. They make better ones but not for $135. Just my opinion.
              "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
              world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
              country, in easy stages."
              ~ James Madison

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              • #8
                I have one also, three years now and it's used quite often without any hint of failure so far. I have maxed the thing out several times and the jack has held up just fine as has the frame with no signs of bending. I was told the cast plates that come with it are dangerous and they may be at full pressure but I some 1" steel plate on hand so I will not have to test them!

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                • #9
                  An alternative that should be attractive to metal hobyists, is to build a press. They are dirt simple devices that can easly be made from scrap and surplus materials. An example, which cost less than $100 in materials:

                  http://bullfire.net/Press/WP_HydPress.html
                  For just a little more, you can do it yourself!

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                  • #10
                    Wow, great feedback! I just got back from Harbor Freight, even though I didn't buy it yet since I wanted to see what you guys wrote first. The 20 ton model is a big step up from the 12 ton model that they have! The 12 ton model shakes like there is no tomorrow. It is bolted together. The 20 ton model has a welded frame and is well worth the extra $$. It looks like I will be going with the Harbor Freight 20 ton model. I will keep you posted.

                    Thanks Again,
                    Adiel

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by justanengineer
                      Go look at an auction or two. I suspect you will find something 10x better for half the price.
                      Ditto. I bought an old mechanical 20 ton press at auction for $100 and I could not have bought the steel for that price.

                      The other option is to build one, especially if you can locate used structural steel.

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                      • #12
                        Works fine for my uses.

                        Now I'm looking for a 50 ton bottle jack, want to do some coining. I figure 50 tons should be able to do some basic stuff.

                        If I can find a 50 ton jack I can always make a lever arm to get to 200 tons. That'd be sweet!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by adiel
                          Wow, great feedback! I just got back from Harbor Freight, even though I didn't buy it yet since I wanted to see what you guys wrote first. The 20 ton model is a big step up from the 12 ton model that they have! The 12 ton model shakes like there is no tomorrow. It is bolted together. The 20 ton model has a welded frame and is well worth the extra $$. It looks like I will be going with the Harbor Freight 20 ton model. I will keep you posted.

                          Thanks Again,
                          Adiel

                          Look to replace the "cast iron" press plates with some 1.5 inch thick hot rolled (or whatever) steel. The cheap CI have a habit of breaking.
                          Last edited by lakeside53; 08-04-2011, 11:18 PM.

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                          • #14
                            If your willing to spend $400.00, this looked like an option.
                            http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/20...e-p/ht0805.htm
                            When I get Time... I'll...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by snowman
                              If I can find a 50 ton jack I can always make a lever arm to get to 200 tons. That'd be sweet!
                              Are you planning to use a compound lever to increase the output? If so, you need to consider the capacity of the frame.

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