Hydraulic Press Build

A number of folks have asked me about my hydraulic press I built last summer. I thought I would make a detailed post here that shows the capabilities of the press.
First the finished press is a 24 ton 5" cylinder machine with 10" of hydraulic ram travel.


Starting this project I looked all over the internet for ideas on press styles and capabilities and ended up landing on this post on the blade smith forums site-
bladeforums.com/forums/showt … ress-Build
The great part about this post is it has step by step photos of his build plus he attached a google sketch up 3d model that included measurements. My build is based off of this style with a few minor adjustments.
After deciding on the style and type of frame I had to educate myself on hydraulics. I was starting from zero so I picked up the book everyone suggests called " Build your own Hydraulic Forging Press " by James L Baston. The book was great and had everything a beginner would need for learning about hydraulic presses.
bluemoonpress.org/index.php/ … press.html


Next step was to pick up all the parts. I select Northern Tool for as many of the parts as I could only because I have a store fairly close to me and being new to this I thought I would have a few returns to do ( I was correct). Below is a list of most of the parts minus the motor. I ended up buying one new but I can’t seem to find the info on where. Picked it up online somewhere, I’ll add the motor info when I find it.

surpluscenter.com/Hydraulics … 265-08.axd
Cylinder 234.95

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … _200466866
Hydraulic oil tank- 129.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … earch=1012
Hydraulic pump 159.99 x

amazon.com/gp/product/B0000A … UTF8&psc=1
control Valve - 96.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … 906_357906
3000 psi pressure gauge - 19.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … rch=778647
return line filter - 24.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … _200578689
right angle swivel adaptors x 3 - 7.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … _200578712
90 degree street elbow x2 - 5.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … rch=778639
Suction Strainer -19.99

northerntool.com/shop/tools/ … rch=778656
40 micron breather cap - 14.99

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A few shots of the build. I ended up using 8" x 4" I beam instead of 8x8.

Note the photo that shows the motor and pump setup shows the original motor I was planning on using. It was a 3phase motor and after I added the phase converter It didn’t have enough power. I ended up buying a new 5 hp motor that did the trick.

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A few shots of the Hydraulics

I worked up a simple but surprisingly effective foot treadle. I can quickly attach and remove it as needed.

A few shots of the dies I’ve been using. Some are tool steel ( usually 4140) and some are mild steel.

I finished this press at the end of July 2014 and have been using it almost daily ever since. Building it from scratch I had no idea what 24 tons of power would be able to accomplish but I’m very pleased with the power of this machine. Another great part about hydraulic presses besides the power is the relative quiet of the machine. I’m now able to work weeknights and mornings without worrying about waking the neighbors or even worse, the wife! I hope this post helps inspire someone who is thinking about building a press but isn’t clear how to start. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.

Javos - Awesome write up! I really enjoyed seeing the process.


Thanks for sharing ,great learning capability thoroughly enjoyed it I made one from photos from Indian george pic on my website www gardnerknives.com cheers and thanks. Baz

Thanks for sharing ,nice to know it and interesting to learn from here. :smiley:

Impressive build, impressively clean shop.


Question on your MIG, what is the amperage of it? Just curious what it took to weld your 4x8s together?

If it’s not too much to ask, what is the ballpark on the build budget?

Is there a way to quantify the amount of work it can do? Drive a x" fuller die y deep in a given size material?

Just curious, and really poorly worded question!

Hey Chad, I can answer the first question - Javos can correct me if I’m wrong.

I would say you’d be looking at $1000-$1500, depending on what price you can get some of the steel for.

I don’t know the second question, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it’s capabilities - having first hand experience, this thing is a beast. Javos Ironworks and I have been making some hammers together, we’ve been taking a lot of the work out of the process by punching a 3/4" hole through our 1-1/2" or so steel in one heat!

Wow! That’s great!

Obviously both the press and a power hammer have their roles, but I would think one would choose this over the hammer if it can do it quietly and efficiently!

I’m imPRESSed! Hahahaha

This might be foolish, but with a 10 inch travel, could you make a handle drift in two sections that are a die for it?

I really dig this machine!

I was in the machine for around $1100- $1200 If I’m remembering correctly. It took a few weeks to weld it all together. I did drift a 1" hole through a 2" bar. I’m guessing I could have gone through thicker material with more heats.
I’ve been using the press to punch hammer eyes and it’s been working really well for that. As with anything the more I try the more I learn and the better the eyes look.

Here is a photo of my punching rig. I’ve changed a few things since this photo was made. I had to beef up the top two bars for removing the block and I also gave up on the set screws for aligning the blank. the press kept bending them and it ended up being easier just eyeing up the piece.
I press 3/4 from one side then flip and press the rest from the other side.

I like it!