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View Full Version : 12 ton or 20 ton shop press?


lupinsea
05-09-2008, 08:24 PM
I'm thinking of getting a multi-ton shop press at some point but I'm having difficulty settling on which size.

My projected uses are:
- Changing u-joints
- Changing TJ control arm bushings
- Changing bushings on BMW control arms
- Maybe bending metal a la press break adapter or something

um

- Any other "pressing" needs

The problem is I'm not sure how often I'd actually use it, maybe a few times a year? Seems like a Harbor Freight press would be ideal for such minimal usage. The thing is, what size do I get, a 20 ton or 12 ton? It's an $80 cost difference between the two ($200 vs $120) at non-sale prices. I'd hate to get the 12 ton and then curse myself for not getting the 20 ton that one time I'd need it. But if the 12 ton would do well for 95% of my uses why bother with over kill (yeah, I know, no such thing as overkill :rolleyes: ).

HF 12 ton A-frame press (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=1667) - $115
HF 12 ton "square" press (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=33497) - $130

HF 20 ton A-frame press (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=37999) - $190
HF 20 ton "square" frame press (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=32879) - $200

Also, I'm not 100% sure it makes sense to get a press at all. I'd love to get one for those times I'd need one. But in the 3+ years I've had my Jeep I've gotten by "ok" with a bench vice for doing general maintenance such as u-joint changing. Do I really need a press, then? The only reason I'm considering it is that I have a number of control arm joints that I think I'll need to be changing soon and I'm not sure a bench vise will cut it. I don't want to get halfway into the project and then need to go hunt down a shop to change out the bushings. . . especially since I can see the shop labor costs equaling about half to 2/3 of the HF press cost. And if I do get the press then at my usage levels it should last a good 10-20+ years.

So, questions:

1. Should I get a press?

and

2. If yes, what size . . . 12 ton or 20 ton (being realistic)?

and

3. What's the difference between square or A-frame presses? Is one better than the other?


Any other thoughts?

bren
05-09-2008, 10:20 PM
For the price a press is a very worthwhile investment IMO. We've done a lot of random work on a 12 ton HF press, only one job I can think of in ~5 years required a trip to a mechanic with a larger press. Personally I'd buy the 20 ton though seeing as the cost/size difference is negligible.

I'd go for the square, seems like it would give you more fitment room for odd shaped parts. Not sure what he downside would be.

rumatt
05-10-2008, 01:27 AM
12 vs 20?

Is there really a choice? Are you a man or a woman?

FC
05-10-2008, 08:08 AM
Square frame 20. If you are goign through the trouble of buying a press, get more capacity. A square frame is a sturdier design. The A frame relies on linkages to create the A-shape that the press pushes against. A square frame seems to not be so crowded and have a very beefy cross-member. FWIW, we have a square 20-ton press in the manufacturing floor at work. It's very cool. For the nominal price difference, I'd go square.

Pinecone
05-10-2008, 10:25 AM
A frame will have less flex.

Get the 20 ton.

clyde
05-10-2008, 10:27 AM
yes, get a 20t.

A press is like TiVo.

BahnBaum
05-10-2008, 10:44 AM
A press is like TiVo.

It makes you lay around and not get shit done?

Alex

rumatt
05-10-2008, 11:08 AM
A frame will have less flex.


Hmm, that's what I was thinking.

What the upside of the square frame? Why have two designs?

kognito
05-10-2008, 12:35 PM
A frame will have less flex.


sure about that?? I have seen many more H frame presses than A frame presses in machine shops.


It almost looks like the ram on the A frame could offset itself under high downward pressure (pivot left or right)

rumatt
05-10-2008, 01:38 PM
It almost looks like the ram on the A frame could offset itself under high downward pressure (pivot left or right)

Right, that's what I was thinking. :lol:

I now vote for the square. (seriously)

rumatt
05-10-2008, 01:45 PM
If you're going to buy a press, buy a good one.

Dake 200 Ton Hydraulic Shop Press. $55,800.00 plus shipping (http://www.mile-x.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=991)

Pinecone
05-11-2008, 12:05 PM
A Frame, the load path is from the top of the hydraulic cylinder direct to the tops of the vertical members, in a straight line.

H Frame has the press producing bending loads on the top I beam, that is then transfered to the vertical members.

They will ALL shift around unless tightened very tight or welding after assembly.

Rob
05-11-2008, 05:45 PM
It's not really an A frame though, is it? IF you look at the machine, it looks like the A frame is really an H frame in disguise. It is Harbor Freight, after all.

lupinsea
05-12-2008, 03:45 PM
If you're going to buy a press, buy a good one.

Dake 200 Ton Hydraulic Shop Press. $55,800.00 plus shipping (http://www.mile-x.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=991)

Oh, oops.... hold on a second while I wipe up the drool off my desk.



Ok, so it sounds like the "H" frames are better for space fitment.

I'd like to go with the 20 ton but funds are a bit tight with the kiddo on the way (and car maintenance . . . oh, and my recent speeding ticket (did I mention that?)).

Hm. . .

Bren, what sorts of things were you able to do with your 12 ton press? And what was that one thing you needed to go to a mechanic with a larger press for?




One complaint I've head about the HF presses is that they do not come with a pressure guage. How important is that?

BahnBaum
05-12-2008, 03:55 PM
And what was that one thing you needed to go to a mechanic with a larger press for?

That one thing was Nick's, IIRC it was e46 rear subframe bushings. And I'm not sure we couldn't have done it, it's just that we were out of energy.

Alex

Nick M3
05-12-2008, 03:58 PM
That one thing was Nick's, IIRC it was e46 rear subframe bushings. And I'm not sure we couldn't have done it, it's just that we were out of energy.

Alex
From what I can tell, if I hadn't previously destroyed the RTAB tool, we'd have been able to use that.

BahnBaum
05-12-2008, 04:16 PM
From what I can tell, if I hadn't previously destroyed the RTAB tool, we'd have been able to use that.

We still copped out. You're the f'in McGyver of bushing removal and you gave up without a fight.

Alex

Pinecone
05-12-2008, 04:24 PM
We still copped out. You're the f'in McGyver of bushing removal and you gave up without a fight.

Alex

The key word being REMOVAL. He copped out on the INSTALL.

Don't you remember the flaming bushings as they were burned/melted out? :)

Nick M3
05-12-2008, 04:30 PM
We still copped out. You're the f'in McGyver of bushing removal and you gave up without a fight.

Alex
You forget - I'd already REMOVED them. ;)

http://alextbaum.smugmug.com/photos/56946228-L.jpg

One torch, two lawn chairs, 1 6-pack of beer. What am I missing here? I'm starting to wonder if some of you folks who are trying to get this done without big fires are really car guys or not. http://images.bimmerforums.com/smilies/smile.gif

BahnBaum
05-12-2008, 04:34 PM
They all blend together.

Alex

Nick M3
05-12-2008, 04:37 PM
It's OK grampa. ;)

clyde
05-12-2008, 04:39 PM
If there ain't no toxic cloud, there ain't no Nick.

Not that there's anything wrong with his diet.

clyde
05-12-2008, 04:39 PM
It's OK grampa. ;)

Is there news Alex wants to share?

lupinsea
05-12-2008, 09:05 PM
You forget - I'd already REMOVED them. ;)

http://alextbaum.smugmug.com/photos/56946228-L.jpg

Gloves?! And a fire extinguisher?! What the hell is wrong with you people.

Your equipment list for doing the torch method of bushing removal should read:

1. Torch.

And maybe the hammer, I'll grant you that. Only because you can never have too many hammers. Never know when you'll need to whack something.

I, on the other hand, know how to properly work with automotive equipment, parts, and various assundry tools. . . .

http://homepage.mac.com/jgreening/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-06-04%2002.13.41%20-0700/Image-914A936BB60611D8.jpg

Rob
05-12-2008, 09:06 PM
We lit the oil in a turkey fryer on fire yesterday. That was fun.

(morale of the story - get a good thermometer for your fryer and replace it every so often)

BahnBaum
05-12-2008, 09:32 PM
Gloves?!Note the nicely pressed dress slacks. There is a reason they remain so clean.


And a fire extinguisher?! Not our house. Burning it down lessens the chance of being invited back.

What the hell is wrong with you people.Come to think of it, pretty much everything.


Alex

lupinsea
05-14-2008, 12:04 AM
Note the nicely pressed dress slacks. There is a reason they remain so clean.

Hm. Maybe I should start dressing up to work in the garage. I usually grab my grubbiest, most worn out clothing with the result I look like I don't actually have a home and should be sleeping on the street.



Come to think of it, pretty much everything.

:lol:






.

Terry Kennedy
05-19-2008, 03:52 AM
I'm thinking of getting a multi-ton shop press at some point but I'm having difficulty settling on which size.

Any other thoughts?

Near Amanda's in Illinois there's a Harbor Fright store and I went to look at these. From what I can see of the welds under the paint, they look like the bathtub caulk at the Bates Motel :eek:

Take a look at these (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/Shop-Press-s/40.htm) instead. I ordered this one (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/20-Ton-Air-Hydraulic-Shop-Press-w-Gauge-p/ht0805.htm).

rumatt
05-19-2008, 09:06 AM
this one (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/20-Ton-Air-Hydraulic-Shop-Press-w-Gauge-p/ht0805.htm).

Air pressure??? :toetap:

FC
05-19-2008, 09:47 AM
I like the grey 30-ton one.

Terry Kennedy
05-19-2008, 11:16 AM
Air pressure??? :toetap:

Yup. Lets you run the ram up close to the work without having to pump the hydraulic lever a bazillion times.

lupinsea
05-19-2008, 04:21 PM
Near Amanda's in Illinois there's a Harbor Fright store and I went to look at these. From what I can see of the welds under the paint, they look like the bathtub caulk at the Bates Motel :eek:

Take a look at these (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/Shop-Press-s/40.htm) instead. I ordered this one (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/20-Ton-Air-Hydraulic-Shop-Press-w-Gauge-p/ht0805.htm).

Thanks a bunch!

Terry Kennedy
05-29-2008, 10:56 PM
Take a look at these (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/Shop-Press-s/40.htm) instead. I ordered this one (http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/20-Ton-Air-Hydraulic-Shop-Press-w-Gauge-p/ht0805.htm).
It has arrived and I've assembled and tested it. If anybody wants to come over and press something, just drop me a line...

lupinsea
05-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Cool.

How do you like it?

The prices on those presses seemed good.

Terry Kennedy
05-31-2008, 12:42 AM
How do you like it?

The prices on those presses seemed good.
I haven't pressed anything "for real" yet - just a tennis ball to test it out. I'll be doing the wheel bearings in the Atom in the next week or so.

The air option is well worth having - instead of needing to pump the ratchet repeatedly, just squeeze the air valve. The gauge on top shows the pressure being applied, handy for avoiding the use of too much pressure.

The only negative is that you really need to tighten down the frame bolts when assembling the unit (you'll need a 7/8" and 1" wrench). I'd prefer a welded frame, but that would make shipping a lot more difficult / expensive.

lupinsea
06-02-2008, 05:09 PM
Can't you just weld the frame yourself?

I did that with my HF trailer. . . ended up treating the trailer kit as "pre-cut steel" and welded as much as I could.

I think I have the 7/8" and 1" wrenches in various flavors.

Nick M3
06-02-2008, 11:43 PM
FWIW, the one that Terry bought is a really nice solid piece. Much more solid than the HF one that, uh, the other Terry has. :) Also, the air jacking thing is very appealing. I've probably spent a couple hours just pumping the HF press down when necessary.

Pinecone
06-09-2008, 07:34 PM
But mine was free. :)

lupinsea
12-09-2008, 02:10 AM
Hey Terry,

If you get a chance can you take some measurement of your shop press? Bolt sizes, Chanel sizes, pin sizes, diameter of the steel plunger on the bottom, etc.?

I got a brand new 12 ton hydraulic jack as a gag gift in the white elephant exchange at my office Christmas party this weekend. It was from my boss and I think he wrapped that up and included in the gift pile with me in mine (he mentioned he has 3 or 4 more if I want them).

Anyways, first thought that popped into my head was "shop press".

If I gather some steel and a couple return springs I think I can weld up my own frame and bridges. I realize it's only a 12 ton jack but it was free and I don't think the steel would run more than $50. The only thing extra would be some press plates. I can probably fabricate the frame in such a way that I can swap out the 12 ton jack with a 20 ton unit later if need be.