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Thread: Upgrading a Harbor Freight 20 Ton Press

  1. #1

    Default Upgrading a Harbor Freight 20 Ton Press

    After seeing so many people with these things and all that they can do, I decided I needed one. Some threads that I read said when you push them hard they can flex, so the first thing I did was to modify the frame. I also thought it sat to low and I needed it to move around easily. First I added stiffeners to the top and base channels then plated them using plug welds to tie the stiffeners to the plate.

    Attachment 1930Attachment 1931Attachment 1932Attachment 1933

  2. #2


    Here are some pictures of the completed job. The bed base was getting heavy so I added a winch I had laying around.
    Attachment 1934Attachment 1935Attachment 1936Attachment 1937Attachment 1938

  3. #3


    I added the shelf to the base to store extra stuff for the press. The bed base was a very sloppy fit so I added guides to tighten it up on the ends, I left a little extra room in the guides that really was not needed so I made new ones and tightened it up even more. In case I need to press with something smaller than the 1-1/2" pin the press came with I made three adapters that fit over the 1-1/2" pin and set screw on with 5/8", 3/4" & 1" nuts welded on that I can put different length headless bolts in if needed.

    Attachment 1939Attachment 1940Attachment 1941
    Last edited by Scooter; 05-14-2011 at 12:59 PM.

  4. #4


    This went from plain jane to the deluxe model, wouldn't surprise me if it had air , cruise , tilt, and a Nitrus system hidden on it. Very nice

  5. #5


    that is bad ### man. i know when i go to hf and see stuff the welds scar me away from buying anything. everything looks flimsy to gonna have to look into buying there and beefing it up.

  6. #6


    Nice work Scooter.

    Ken's right on you being very busy. I'll have what you're having.

    I thought the color looked off, see why now. Waiting for the darn thing to hit $169 and the store and drop 20% coupon on it. The I beam idea I had might be more than I need work wise and weight.

    Will add wheels and a base/shelf for sure.

    Heard the springs stretch on them, but I have good springs. Some guys said they just replaced the bolts, but your fix looked rock solid. Did you weld it up or still have the stock bolts in it. They said it would twist under heavy pressure. Also heard their arbor plates can come apart.

    Wish you lived closer, hahahaha.. Just swing in and use your stuff.

    Keep up the great projects.
    Mike R.
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  7. #7


    Thanks guys, I am retired and the weather has been really bad any day it does not rain I have to mow. I have only had the Harley out once this year?
    Mike, I welded the base to the vertical channels, replaced the metric bolts with 1/2" grade 8 stuff, and added four pieces of flat bar for gussets. I do want to replace the arbor plates with 8"X 8" pc's of 1" plate that I want to try to cut the notches out with the PP60, I was thinking of adding a couple pc's of 3/4"X 6" flat bar too. The weld shop I retired from still treats me good and lets me buy "scrap" from them. And Mike you would be welcome come over and use this stuff anytime.

  8. #8


    If I ever make it to Ohio, will look you up for sure. A long way from Florida. Have not been up there for many years. College football game years ago.

    My local guys take care of me really well too, but they make sure I call them drops if I am with anyone, guess they do not want other wandering in without cash.
    Mike R.
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    The Boonies of Texas


    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Thanks guys, I am retired and the weather has been really bad any day it does not rain I have to mow. I have only had the Harley out once this year?
    I will trade you all the dry weather you want for rain. I haven't seen rain for 6 months or longer. Grass is hardly greening up with constant watering.

    Miller Bobcat 3 Phase,
    Miller Suitcase X-Treme 12VS wire feeder for the Bobcat with M-25 300A .045" gun / Bernard 400A 5/64" wire mig gun .
    26 series gas cooled TIG torch, setup for quick connect to Bobcat.
    17 series gas cooled Tig Torch for Low Amp Solar Tig (Direct Solar Panel Powered Tig welding)
    Hobart Handler 187 Mig / Fluxcore
    EVERLAST PowerUltra 205P
    EVERLAST PowerTig 250 EXT 2013 Model

  10. #10


    I just wanted to update this thread about the press. I bought the 20 ton air over hyd. jack from Harbor Freight. The instructions say that it should operate at 110 to 120 psi, but I have my pressure regulated down to 80 psi at the welding table for the plasma cutter. This jack works great I bent a few test pieces with no problem at 80 psi. The jack does hang over the back some and it tends to twist while jacking so I added a plate under it with tabs on the sides to keep it from twisting. The plate was 1/4" thick X 3-1/2" wide, it slowed the jack down a little at only 80 psi but it made it easier to measure the bend since I did not want to go a full 90 degrees. Here are some pictures.

    ScooterAttachment 2348Attachment 2349Attachment 2350
    Last edited by Scooter; 06-11-2011 at 03:17 PM.

  11. #11


    Here are pictures with the jack installed.
    Attachment 2351Attachment 2352Attachment 2353Attachment 2354

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