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Thread: Convert Harbor Freight 20 ton press to 32 ton

  1. #21
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    HF has quite a few things that sell for less than the cost of the metal, at least when on sale, coupons, etc. However, even the steel is rather sub par, and often will need reinforcement to operate as described. I look at it as building a kit. If you are willing to add a little sweat equity, then you can end up with something pretty nice for what you need. If you expect things to be turn-key ready to work, you are dreaming, or just lucky.

    Nice job on the press there. I would probably do something similar, but can't justify the space at the moment.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Nice job on the press there. I would probably do something similar, but can't justify the space at the moment.
    I have two and both are outside undercover at both locations. One is Everlast green other just old and big and rusty. For the space and the amount of uses, they are hard to justify for me. Not easy to move either.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
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    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  3. #23

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    Ok, I almost finished up the Harbor Freight 20 ton Hydraulic press upgrade to 35 tons. All I have to do now is reinforce the frame on the sides and paint. I should be good up to 75 tons with this now.

    Here is what I did:

    Reinforced the top with 5/16 plate on both sides.

    Reinforced the bed with 5/16 plate on both sides.

    Added spacers to the frame to keep the bed straight.

    Updated to 1 inch grade 8 pins for the bed.

    Added 3/4 inch rod at the bottom to stiffen up the frame.

    Added a SWAG OFF ROAD press brake.....very nice.

    Added an air/hydraulic 32 ton jack which actually has a rating of 70,400 lbs. (35.2 tons actual)

    Here are the photos:

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    The SWAG press brake is a great little kit. Very easy to put together and works great.

    If you can find the Harbor Freight hydraulic press on sale, then it is worth updating to a heavier duty version. Plus if you can find a good air / hydraulic bottle jack at a good price, then this is the way to go. But if you can't, then building your own is probably a better rout. Overall, this press now rocks.
    Last edited by Steve; 02-14-2013 at 02:35 AM.
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    Hello Andy. I do my own sand blasting. I have a source for powder coating but I rarely use it. I prefer paint as powder coating when damaged is a pain to fix.

    All my work is done in either my basement or garage. I do build things to sell and it helps pay the bills and keeps me out of trouble.

    Yeah, I had some Harbor Freight mig wire and it gave me all kinds of trouble. So I scrapped all the mig wire I had from them and use only Lincoln, Hobart or my local welding store brand which I prefer over them all. I only use the Lincoln or Hobart if I run out of wire on a weekend and so Home Depot or Tractor Supply gets a little business.
    That's very cool! I would like to build a large bead blast cabinet one day that would allow larger items to be blasted in a contained area. Sand blasting can get a little messy, and the current cabinet I use is just big enough for two 16" automotive rims to fit inside of.

    I used to be involved in building things to sell (back when I was working and going to trade school) as I too needed the extra money. I always found that working on even small projects keeps your mind sharp and you out of trouble!

    The money that some people spend at the local bar on Friday nights ($200 or more!) is enough to keep me hobbying on projects for quite a while...plus I'd rather be hit in the face by the project I'm working on, as opposed to some big, mean, drunk guy punching me while I'm sitting there minding my own business! At least the project can claim that it was using self defense while I hammered on it!
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
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  5. #25

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    Steve,

    It looks good.

    Air over, if you use it a lot, is a nice feature. I used mine the other day and I am sure I pumped the jack at least 100 times if not more.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Steve,

    It looks good.

    Air over, if you use it a lot, is a nice feature. I used mine the other day and I am sure I pumped the jack at least 100 times if not more.
    Thanks!

    I posted this to show how a fairly good hydraulic press can be made into a great press. There is a lot of information and reviews on the Harbor Freight 20 ton press, but very little on how to make it better. I've always been involved in modifying cars, computers and other stuff to make it better and this was a perfect project for me.

    Now I have a problem. I am looking for stuff to squash and bend!
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
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    Lots of other metal working tools

  7. #27

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    If you search for "press brake" here on the forum, a few people have built them or modified them. My son built me one years ago then I picked up a BIG one for a steal..
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  8. #28

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    What do you have the press sitting on? Rubber plates to cut down noise and vibration from the air/hydraulic jack? Considering how much weight you've added to the press assembly, and how high most of that additional weight is located, is it any more unstable or top-heavy because the base hasn't been broadened (or bolted to the floor)?
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  9. #29

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    I think the operator's manual for the HF press outlines that it should be bolted to the floor. I thought I saw somewhere in these threads that Steve was planning to do that but I can't find it now or maybe I'm just imagining it!

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr120 View Post
    I think the operator's manual for the HF press outlines that it should be bolted to the floor. I thought I saw somewhere in these threads that Steve was planning to do that but I can't find it now or maybe I'm just imagining it!
    I am going to bolt it to the floor. Right now in order to slide it around so I can work on it and not mar the floor, I put some furniture sliders under it.

    Yes, it needs to be stabilized but it is pretty stable as is but I will not risk not having it bolted. Safety first!

    Also, I noticed that the pressure pin is not straight on the carriage. So I am going to build a new carriage to make sure it is straight. I have noticed a slight bending to the left when I put the pressure down. So I will add a removable rider to the side of the carriage to ride up and down the side supports to keep it straight.

    I am sure as I use this thing more and more that I will have to modify it even more. Probably reinforce the SWAG brake and a few other things. I'll play it by ear.

    The question was asked if I would have been better off building one from scratch. I can now say that yes it probably would have been better. The HF 20 ton Harbor Freight press at $149 out the door was a good deal. For most folks, that press is more than enough. Modifying it to me was fun.
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  11. #31
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    That is a good looking press now. The 5/16 plates on the base were the way to go to stiffen up the design.
    Miller 252
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    ...

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by DVA View Post
    That is a good looking press now. The 5/16 plates on the base were the way to go to stiffen up the design.
    Thanks. Yeah, the press can now take quite a bit more along with the 1 inch grade 8 bolts I put in. The 32 ton jack bent the 3/4 inch pins a little.

    I also noticed that the pressure post welded to the jack carriage was not straight and when I put the pedal to the metal, the press would bow to the left a little in the direction of the offset. So I am now in the process of building a new carriage to make sure that the pressure post is absolutely straight. I hear that is a common problem with these presses.

    I am also going to weld in some schedule 40 1 inch pipe in between the C channel on the main supports plus afterwards weld some 5/16 inch plates to the outside of the C channel on the supports. That should really stiffen this up and allow if I want to, to go to a 50 ton jack.

    A buddy of mine is competing with me on squashing copper pennies. He has a 100 ton press and is twice the size of mine. He squashed a penny to the size of a half dollar. Right now I can only get a penny to the size of a quarter.

    Speaking of presses, here is a link to a press that I would not mind having.......http://www.cleveland.com/business/in...y_to_go_b.html

    12 stories tall and at a million pounds of force, one of the biggest in the US.

    China is working on one that is almost twice the power and size.

    Hydraulic presses play a major role in manufacturing and come in real handy for home use too!
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post

    A buddy of mine is competing with me on squashing copper pennies. He has a 100 ton press and is twice the size of mine. He squashed a penny to the size of a half dollar. Right now I can only get a penny to the size of a quarter.

    Speaking of presses, here is a link to a press that I would not mind having.......http://www.cleveland.com/business/in...y_to_go_b.html

    12 stories tall and at a million pounds of force, one of the biggest in the US.

    China is working on one that is almost twice the power and size.

    Hydraulic presses play a major role in manufacturing and come in real handy for home use too!
    Once you get too large, the next project may be a cage around the press to control any flying objects.
    Miller 252
    PowerTig 250 EXT
    Evolution Rage 2
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    ...

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by DVA View Post
    Once you get too large, the next project may be a cage around the press to control any flying objects.
    I have been thinking of that. Maybe a chain link fence cage that can be put in front of the press to prevent any sudden flying objects from doing any damage.

    I found out the power of a press and flying objects when my buddy put a bowling ball in his press. At 100 tons, it put so much pressure on that bowling ball that it broke into several pieces that shot across the room and stuck into the drywall. He did practice safety procedures by us being in the next room went it literally exploded with a really loud bang. He did this once before and so he knew what was possible but he wanted to show me the dangers of high weights on objects that break loose. I was impressed.
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  15. #35

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    Problem is you do not know which way it is flying and now small the pieces might be. But something is better than nothing I guess.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    Speaking of presses, here is a link to a press that I would not mind having.......http://www.cleveland.com/business/in...y_to_go_b.html

    12 stories tall and at a million pounds of force, one of the biggest in the US.
    That's not a million, that is a 100 Million lbs.
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  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportbike View Post
    That's not a million, that is a 100 Million lbs.
    Yes you are right. I mis-counted the zeros when I calculated the amount of pounds.

    100 million pounds.........that is a whole heck of a lot.

    Reminds me when George W Bush on a trip to South America, was asked what he thought about Brazilian women.
    When he answered, he said that brazilion women is a whole heck of a lot of women!
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  18. #38

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    I did one other modification yesterday. Went to the metal store and got some C channel and build a new jack carriage. The factory carriage was not too good with rather poor welds and the pressure pin was not too straight which ended up putting some lateral pressure on the frame. So I also got a 1.5 inch diameter 8 inch grade 8 bolt and cut off the threads and used that as a pressure pin.

    I also bent some 1/4 inch x 2 inch plate and made some guide straps for the carriage and bolted them to the carriage with 1/2 inch grade 8 bolts. That SWAG press brake works pretty good! I then added a 5/16 inch plate under the jack for better support and also built a valve wrench out of small tubing.

    Today I will also add some 1 inch schedule 40 pipe to the pin holes and then weld 1/4 inch plate to the main frame C channel to box it in.
    I'm doing that to in the future be able to use a 50 ton air hydraulic jack or maybe a pure hydraulic motorized drive.

    In the future, I will probably put some wheels on it instead of bolting it to the floor. I found it to be pretty stable as is but I do see the need to wheel it around.

    Here are some recent photos of the new carriage.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  19. #39

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    I think I am pretty much done with the Harbor Freight mod to make it a 36 ton press. I did reinforce the side rails and added schedule 40 tubing into the holes which I expanded to 1 inch for the 1 inch x 14 inch grade 8 bolts for the bed pins.

    I also added wheels to the base as the thing was getting pretty heavy and was hard to push and was marking up the floor. I upgraded the angle iron that was the legs to a thicker version for added strength. The wheels are rated at 250 lbs each. The weight of this thing now probably a bit over double what it weighed bone stock.

    I also added some grips to the bed to make it a little easier to move it up and down. The bed now weighs in at 87 lbs. as I have reinforced it with 5/16 inch plate on both sides.

    Here are the final photos:Click image for larger version. 

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    I really like this press now. The Harbor Freight press is pretty nice as is especially when you get it for under $150. I needed a bit bigger press but the ones available were way too high price wise. I could have built one from scratch but when the HF press went on sale, I could not resist and saw a chance to make it even better. Plus it was fun modifying it to make it do what I needed it to do!
    Last edited by Steve; 02-24-2013 at 03:56 AM.
    Powertig 250EX
    Powerplasma 50
    Hobart Handler 210 with spoolgun
    Cobra 2000 / Henrob O/A torch
    Drill press / metal brake / 36 ton air hydraulic press
    Franzinated modified Craftsman 33 compressor
    Lots of other metal working tools

  20. #40
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    Not much HF left in there.

    Reminds me of something another mechanic used to say about some cars. "You just need to jack up the radiator cap and install a new car under it."
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

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