New Project

Turning a fly press into a hydraulic power press.

I have a pretty ancient fly press a Sweeney and Blocksidge no2 which has served me for various little jobs but I find myself needing a little more power to punch some square holes in some 3mm plate. With the 8.5mm square punch and die I have been using with the flypress it takes 2 good swings to get through the plate and in the future I will need to punch a 20mm square holes.


I was contemplating buying a little power press but unless you want one you pump by hand then they cost a lot even second hand, so seeing as I already have a hydraulic power pack doing nothing and various rams available to me I thought about making one from scratch and even arranged to get some channel we have had kicking around the factory for years to build it with. Then while punching 44 of these square holes today and had a eurika moment.

So thats the plan pictures and updates to follow as and when I get the things done, this will hopefully be a short project as I have most of what I need to hand.


Checked on a few few things today and got the screw removed from the press which was a simple case of removing the split nut from just above the slide


However the project is going to get held up as the homemade digger I will be getting a suitable ram from currently has guests in the form of a pair of coal tits with young. They have nested in a open end of the boom and I cant think of a way of removing the ram without disturbing them, its going to take a bit of hammering to remove the rusted pivot pins. I should have closed the end but didnt even think that the local wildlife might decide it would make a nice safe home which of course it does far to small for any preditors to get into probably very dry and they are far enough down that you cant see the nest.


I looked at the digger today and decided I needed to get that ram off so I propped up the boom with some sturdy timber and managed to get the pins out by twisting them until they came free and managed to do it all without any hammering or disturbance of the nest.


Next I started on the push rod? (not really sure what to call it but seeing as its the rod that will push the press down I figure push rod is as good a name as any) by turning a bit of inch and a quarter bar to fit into the press.20160530_180445

like so:


The bar will be held by the press and I am making a sleeve to fit into the top of the part where the screw should go this will hopefully prevent the bar from bending.


Productive day today I had booked a day off but nipped into work to make use of the saw we have there but thats not strictly anything to do with this project so sticking to the matter I got the sleeve done for the top of the press.


I may alter it by opening out the top and inserting a oilite bush or two into it.

After that I started on the pivot for the top of this bar


and got it welded onto the top of the bar


As well as this I ordered the control valve to operate it which should be here tomorrow.


I made a start on the frame today and got the press mounted on it


Then I used my plasma cutter to open up the middle so the ram will fit through the center.


This framework is going to be built around whats needed rather than to any real plan. I intended to mount the center pivot on the flypress itself but have decided to mount it from the framework instead and now it has occurred to me that the flypress itself apart from keeping the tools lined up will play almost no part in transferring the power of the ram to the tools, so in the future I may remove it altogether.


Not sure of the correct terminology so forgive me if I get things a bit backwards but I sorted out the mechanism mostly. Still need to do one or two little bits like the center pivot on the lever (top bar) and a bit more support for the mounting point of the ram. so to make it clear I am calling the top bars lever, the upright bars fulcrum and obviously the ram is force while the press is load.


got the lever completed today


and even managed to bore it out on my old but still rather good lathe, its a Harrison 14″ which when I rang the makers was told than they had no records for and not even the eldest members of the company could remember that they had even made a lathe like it. here are a few pics one when it was halfway down my uncles garden path and one after a bit of a tidy up in my workshop.

My uncle had owned it for 20 years before I brought it off him because hes getting on and had not been anywhere near it for many years. It was still set up for the last job he had done on it. Given the time I would strip it down and do a proper refurbishment especially since the cluth/brake mechanism is very hit and miss but alas I am pressed for workshop time as it is without such a major project. Anyway I can swing 14″ (355mm) from the center on it and boring out the lever used it to near its limit.


I managed to get the support bars welded in tonight and got the ram mounted and that about it for the actual mechanics.


next I need to mount the pump.



Pump is mounted along with the electric controlled valve


like so.


Its all piped up and ready to go. The pipes are a little on the long side but I should be able to keep everything inside the machine reasonably well. Notice the bit of 3mm plate over the hole? Well I decided to see what it could do with that and a bit of 12mm square bar and here is the results.



I have now put the wheels on so I can move it about as needed still need to make a few washers and put pins in the rear wheels but at least I am not chewing up my workshop floor moving it around now.


I have also made a start on the electrics, to start with I have made a box to house the limit switches that will control the travel of the press.


the plan is to mount a limit switch above and below the sprung bit of M6 allthread which will have 2 sets of locking nuts so the allthread will move up and down as needed and activate the switches. I also want to mount some limit switch/s that will act as a failsafe in case anything goes wrong and had intended to put them in this box but I think this will require a rethink.

I have worked out the electrics and got it working as I need it to. Not 100 percent happy with electrics as I have been unable to figure out the failsafe for it but will keep thinking it over and come up with something for now here is the diagram of the electrics.


The lower diode is circled because this was a addition after I nearly crashed it while it was in manual mode. Oh and its not run by batteries I only put that in to show the power as I couldnt find plus and minus on the application I used to work this out.


Here is the control box with its fancy labelling LOL big red button is quite obviously ON/OFF “A” and “M” stand for “AUTOMATIC” and “MANUAL” while “F” and “P” stand for “FULL” and “PART” so the press can work in 3 different ways.

In “MANUAL” mode the press just moves by pressing the footswitch in the direction you need and stops in place when released.

In “AUTOMATIC” mode the third button determines the way it is working so “PART” will send the press down while footswitch is pressed and will return to top as soon as you let go while “FULL” just requires a quick press of the footswitch and it will come down to the stop and return to the top.

Here is the incomplete footswitch.


I still need to put a guard around it so that it cant be activated by accident. It is quite simply a few bits of brass out of connection blocks which come together to make the connections.


How valued are you?

The company I have worked for for 13 years has quite recently accepted the resignation of a really troublesome employee, he in return posted his p60 (a yearly run down of earnings and deductions for those in other countries) on facebook and so we found out that he was on almost double the wage of the rest of us. In my time there I have made many improvements to my area of production. I am the only steel welder at the place and so make the frameworks for nearly* all the items that go out of the door I speeded up my end of things by developing jigs to make the jobs quicker and saved money by making some bits we used to have machined elsewhere myself. One such change was some little blocks we used to have made at a machine shop for use in adjusting motors up and down to tension V belts which they where charged an average of £1 per block and each of this type of frame used 8 of these, I calculated about 11 years ago that it was saving around £7 per frame and all they had to buy to make it possible was a tapping head and a more powerful drilling machine to use it. I am first aider for no extra money (this I do not quibble about, it is something I am glad to do regardless), I went for my forklift licence so I could handle some of the bigger frames we make more easily again for no extra money and it seems that now I am the smuck who gets called to offload deliveries and load up the completed pallets of goods.

However all my contributions for this company seem to have gone unnoticed and/or ignored for it seems my value in this company is about 5/8 of someone who they are glad to be rid of.

there are some items we make that dont require a steel framework *.