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Tim writes: “Princess Auto carries basically the exact same thing as this Harbor Freight arbor press for around $35 Canadian — a great deal.  I’d love to know from Toolmongers how good these really are, though.  I’d be using it for things like pressing out/in suspension bushings, press-fit objects like brass bushings, pins, etc.”

I’m intrigued as well.  I’ve used the “burn ’em out” method to remove suspension bushings before, and I won’t do it again.  It worked, but I probably took at least ten years off my life breathing in the smoke from the rubber/polyurethane, and it made a hell of a mess.  (Sean says those years aren’t much fun anyway, so no loss there.  I’m not so sure.)  Next time, though, I’m going to locate a properly-sized piece of pipe or tubing, cut myself a press, an use something like this to push ’em out.

Of course, that’s assuming that it’d hold together for more than one or two uses.  Have any of you tried this out?

One Ton Arbor Press [Harbor Freight]


2 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: A One Ton Arbor Press for $45

  1. Nick Carter says:

    You need an arbor press with enough distance between the ram and the table and throat (c/l of ram with back of press) to use on your largest parts. The small arbor presses are often too small for typical automotive/machine jobs.

    If your parts will fit, then they work great.

    I have found that it’s a good idea to put brass shims in or drill the adjustment screws to have brass tips so the ram slides better with less play. As with all chinese tools, disassemble, clean and regrease.

    If you can afford a ratcheting type, all the better. I currently have a 3 ton ratcheting import that works well for most of my machine rebuilding. It’s much easier to use with a ratchet.

    If you find yourself hammering on the ram to get more pressure you need a larger one. Ditto on using a cheater bar. Enco sometimes has free shipping deals which makes the larger ones more affordable.

    If you can find a used US brand for cheap, then get it, the fit and finish is much better, although always check the pinion teeth aren’t sheared.

    Adding a 3/8″ or 1/2″ hole in the end of the ram with a setscrew from the side is very handy for holding punches.

    A press is really the only correct way to put bushings and bearings in or out, so if you do this sort of work with a hammer now, you will really love having a press, your bearings will thank you.

    Note that they are called “arbor presses”, this is because in lathe work they are used for pressing work onto a tapered mandrel/arbor for machining between centers.

    They make an excellent nutcracker as well.

  2. Sweetalker says:

    I have had one for a couple years and I use the hydraulic press more. It is usually too small for what I need to do. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t well … you know the story.

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