Still Standing

I just finished a small project that is a pretty cool improvement for the shop.

During COVID-19, I was forced to move a bunch of personal tools that I keep in the university shop home. I was locked out but I still needed to be productive. Obviously, I was able to produce the Cyberdyne Chassis fixture. It really doesn’t take a lot to make things if you have good drawings in hand. You can contract work, trade favors, sweep floors, whatever it takes and things will happen. Determination is what you need. Everything else can be made to apear.

One of the tools I took home was my Enerpac IPH1040 10-ton bench press. When you need a hydraulic press nothing else will do.

This press has been in my life for 20 years. It was exactly what I wanted then and I paid the high cost , currently $2,295.15. Time has proven that to be a great investment. I love this tool and I’m happy to give it more love.

H-frame presses are very versatile tools but often, they are left in a form that makes 99% of the actual work that needs to be done on them in a precarious state. Few people are using the press to bend long shafts straight or press bearings to long tubes. Most work is far finer and needs some real setup. I changed that. I’ve shown some upgrades to this I’ve done in the past. The upgrade of the fixturing plates and chinese kit options was huge. It opened the door to a lot of good work. The only thing that the press needed was new shoes. The quick and dirty stand I made (15 years ago) for it had instantly proven to suck but without any imperative, there was no need to replace them.

Now, I had that imperative. At home, I needed to be able to put the press onto nice surfaces, like the kitchen table, and the lame box steel stands would be destructive. I needed to do something.

I drew up some new feet assemblies and ordered hardware. The 24mm thick aluminum plates were on the slow boat for being produced. You can save a bit of machining cost if you aren’t in a big rush. I had to wait a month for these to be cut. The results are worth it!

The feet can be adjusted so that the press sits perfectly level on any surface. The feet are spaced far apart for maximum stability. The footprint isn’t huge and will fit on most work surfaces, even 14″ narrow ones. Also, when doing a lot of work with the press, the area in front of it becomes crowded with setup parts and tools. So, the feet open up that area to make this easier. The feet also bring the whole press down to as low as it can go making it even more stable.

I stress stability and level here. When you’re working with a press and you’re pusing 20,000 psi of pressure, you are terrified that something will go wrong and launch a heavy, high speed projectile into the air. People can be killed. I’ve pushed 40-ton presses to their limits and it was terrifying, involving blast shields and significant setup. If the press is as planted as it can be, that eliminates at least one possible problem.

I show the press with a set of spring rings that I made a dozen years ago or so. With these, I can remove springs from any motorcycle shock. The aluminum plate is for some scooter shocks. I don’t know how anyone works with suspension without a good press and spring scale.

Austin Roche (AR Machine, Albany, CA) did an awesome job on these. He cut my frame fixture parts and I was back for more. Lucky for me, he puts up with my bullshit. I can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, especially when I’m on the hunt.