A hydraulic forging press is the modern-day equivalent of a blacksmith’s anvil and hammer but allows today’s metalworker greater power, versatility, and strength when creating pieces made of iron or steel. A hydraulic press has great flexibility and production capacity compared to other methods of forging iron.
Build the Frame
Construct the frame with steel square tubing, leaving enough space between the ram and the bottom die base for the amount of working space you expect to need, keeping in mind the height of the base and the size of the dies you expect to use. The top of the frame should overhang the frame slightly to allow for a solid weld. Use a steel plate for the base of the forging press, and adjust the height of the frame as you see fit.
Build the Ram
Construct the ram out of steel plate. The center piece should be shorter than the base, enough so that you can weld in the side supports with sufficient clearance around the frame. The bottom also needs to be cut shorter to provide for adequate clearance. Plan on using a heavy-duty welder to make sure the welds don’t fail when you use the press, considering the amount of pressure a hydraulic forging press can generate. Lay out the press cylinder and ram, adjusting the height of the holes to match the clevises on the cylinder.
Weld the Press Together
After cutting all the parts and testing how they fit together, weld them securely. After welding, grind the welds smooth using a grinding wheel. Once all your metalwork is smooth and well-finished, prime the metal, then paint it with a paint designed for use on steel.
Mount the Hydraulics
Mount the hydraulics using a hydraulic diagram to show you all the circuits. Make sure all hoses and fittings linking the pump’s output to the valve and cylinder are rated higher than your system’s maximum pressure, since these are all high-pressure lines. Only use black pipe fittings for the low-pressure lines that run from the tank to the pump and from the control valve to the tank.
Mount the Pump and Motor
Build a separate stand for the hydraulic pump, tank, and motor. This stand can be built of 14-gauge steel and should sit separately from the hydraulic forging press itself, typically behind the press legs. Bolt the hydraulic motor into place. You can attach the pump with a commercial bracket or weld your own bracket together from leftover steel tubing and angles.
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