I love home built tools. Love, love, love them. In lots of cases they are functionally the same as something you could buy, but in many cases the building of tools at home allows you to customize them to do what you need them to do, instead of doing everything. This is why I have so many wrenches that have been ground on, welded on, bent, or cut to fit for some specific job. But custom tools don’t just have to be hand tools. No, big tools can be built at home too, and here is one that I think is a great home built project that more folks should do. This is a 20 Ton Hydraulic Press that was built from scrap steel and yet is way nicer than any of the ones you’d buy at a box store, for way way way less money than something half this nice.
Hydraulic shop presses are pretty simple in design and execution. The basics include a hydraulic bottle type jack that is made to slide a plate up and down some legs and into a stationary plate that has whatever you want to press on it. The simplicity of the design also allows them to be used to press all kinds of stuff, for all kinds of reasons, with some simple tools, spacers, and jigs. Since the only “precision” component in the whole thing is the bottle jack, there isn’t any reason not to make one at home and make it nicer than what you can buy. Now I know some of this scrap is not likely what you have at home, but going to your local metal yard you can usually buy from a pile of drops and scraps for cheap, usually just based on a per pound price. And don’t forget, this is a 20 ton press. You could make a 5 ton model with much smaller material if you don’t need something this big. This one is being build using some pretty fancy tools, but you could do this at home with limited tooling for sure.
Watch the video below and you’ll see just how nice a home built 20 Ton Shop Press can be.