page 29 pin press

9-21-06 Today I made a pin press. You use one of these to squeeze the pins in a bolster so hard the pin material blends into the bolster material. You could use one to squeeze most anything I suppose. I bought an 8 ton bottle jack from Wal-Mart for around $17. The rest of the materials I had laying around. I’m not including dimensions or a material list for a reason. These are mostly scraps I’ve picked up at scrap yard just to have some metal on hand for when I do projects on a this one. The top and bottom are wide U channel pieces of metal. I’m sure a large square pipe or some other thick piece would work fine. This is just what I had on hand.


Here I’m cutting the U channel in my chop saw. You can see where I’ve used the angle grinder to remove some of the rust for a better weld later. If you don’t weld, not a problem. You can assemble everything and take it all to a welder and he can do it all in 20 minutes and he’ll be almost embarrassed to charge you it will go so quick. He’ll still charge you though....

The base and top U channel have been cut. I had a 3/8” threaded rod so I drilled the top and bottom plates and bolted the rods in the middle of the square ‘pillar’ tubes. Dilling the holes large enough for 3/8” rod seemed to be the hardest part of the whole project. That is a big hold in a thick piece of metal.


Here is a better picture so you can see what it’s going to look like. The rod had been bolted using double nuts on both ends with large washers. I am convinced that it would not have to be welded after testing the jack with just the bolts. I love to weld stuff so I welded the whole thing anyway.

Speaking of welding.... Here are a couple of beads to weld the pillars in place. Not bad for self taught I think...


The pillars are welded in place. The bottle jack has several weld spots around the base to hold it in place. I didn’t run a solid bead around the jack since I don’t think it needed it and I didn’t want to cook the seals. Also, if this thing was a bust, I wanted to be able to cut the jack loose and salvage it.  

Notice I’ve added a 1/4” square piece of steel on the bottom of the top beam. I did this to spread the pressure from the points.

Sitting on top of the jack is a round piece of 01. I’ll taper the ends, cut it in half and weld one point to the jack and the other to the piece of steel I added just above it. Confused? Keep reading...


Looks like a cow magnet but this is the 01 steel that I’ve ground to a point on both ends. I’ll cut this piece in half.


Here I am heat treating the 01 with an Oxy/acet torch. I heat it until it becomes non-magnetic and toss it in a bucket of water. I had a magnet near by and kept touching it to the hot metal as I heated it and when it didn’t stick, I quenched it in the water. This makes is very hard. I then tempered it using the torch again until it turned to a light straw color. I wanted the points to be a lot harder than the material it was squeezing.

The press is laying on it’s side and we are looking at the plate I added. I’ve already welded one point on to the top of the bottle jack and I’m squeezing the other point in place where I’ll weld that also. The small points will focus the pressure to the pins when I squeeze them.


It’s basically done here. I knew in advance that pumping the jack would flip the press forward since the base was so narrow but I ignored that part of the design until the end. I just planned to bolt it to my bench or to a board or something. That part doesn’t matter. You should use what ever you have handy. My solution is below...


My solution to the ‘tippy’ press problem was simply to weld on some angle iron to the front so when I pumped the press the extension gave me the solid base I needed and prevented the press from tipping over no matter how hard I pumped it up.

There you have it. A scrap iron pin press.

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