2 ton arbor press tune-up

This may not seem that radio related but an arbor press is a very useful tool, even if it is not used that often. Most recently I have used it to press in my YBB washers into Stauff clamps for an antenna build. I’m tuning it up in order to use a 5 inch vice based brake press set to do some sheet metal folding, mostly as I don’t actually own a vice to use the brake press set in but also because if I did I would only have a couple of inches of throat to bend whereas the arbor press will give me about 5 inches.

2 ton arbor press
I actually bought an arbor press because I could get what I really wanted which was a lever press RS (Radio Spares) used to sell. If you have one of these in good condition, I need it!!

RS lever press
I used to have access to one of the RS punches in my previous company and used it to good effect to bend boom supports for my VHF yagi. That was the actual original reason I got the arbor press later, despite working now at a company with several fly presses, I like the control of a lever.

Anyway. You can see from the following video that as supplied they are a bit rough and ready:

Having seen videos on youtube about these already I knew it could use a strip down and clean up. So it was all stripped down and taken outside to clean the swarf from the tapped holes that hadn’t been done when it was made. As I don’t have an airline at home I used a steel tube and blew hard, after first spraying in some WD40 to loosen it and wash some out:

Once all the holes and bolts were cleaned up I used a fine file to smooth off sharp edges and machined faces that weren’t that smooth. The side to side slop adjustment of the ram is just two bolts that nip up onto the side of the ram so I also filed the ends of those smooth. Below is an after and before picture of the two bolts, one filed, one as supplied and fitted:

adjustment bolt filed
The adjustment screws that control the front to back slop act on a small plate but that plate was just guillotined sheet steel and not deburred at all so had a sharp edge on the pressure face so that was all filed smooth and flat too. (You can see that plate on the edge of the video below)

Once all the filing and cleaning up was done I first fitted the lever arm spindle and lubed it up:

I then greased up the 3 sides of the ram and fitted that and the front plate, and then adjusted all the adjustment bolts:

That will do for now, but there is a mod people do where they grind the bottom 2 teeth off the ram which allows you to be able to position the handle in the ideal position for the depth you are pressing. I will also drill and tap some holes for adding fixtures to the arbor press, such as the brake press kit (see below pic).

vice brake press kit