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Currently viewing the category: "Hydraulic"

I’ve been using a simple hydraulic press powered by a bottle jack for years to produce our stamped jewelry. The old bottle jack was a Harbor Freight 20-ton model that finally gave up the ghost. What I hated about the jack was how much pumping it took just to get to the point where it was acting on the die, so I decided to look around at other options. While I’d love an electric powerpack with a ram, as used on the Bonny Doon presses, the cost was beyond our tool budget. Likewise an air over hydraulic jack would have required a larger compressor than we have. And an Enerpack with a long lever? Maybe next time.

So I decided to try the Northern Hydraulic Torin 20 Ton Fast Lift jack. It promised quicker ram travel than a regular jack and the price was reasonable ($49.99). I installed the jack in my press and was amazed at the difference it made. I now only need a couple of strokes to engage the die — then there is a sound that is probably related to whatever bypass valve switches over for greater force (I’m guessing here, but I think that’s how it works) and it completes the pressing in another couple of strokes. Less time equals more money and less boredom.

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I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure how these work, but they look like something from the end of Inspector Gadget’s forearm. They’re for precisely torquing large bolts in tight spaces, apparently mounting on the end of a long handle and accepting hydraulic feed and return lines. Unless I miss my guess, an internal pressure regulator determines how much torque is exerted.

If anyone’s ever used one of these, what are they like? The baddest torque tool I’ve ever used was a 3/4″-drive impact wrench, which is probably a pushover compared to these suckers.

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A few day ago some commenters expressed concerns about how you’d load and unload the Fatmax Portable Truck Box if all 42 gallons of stage space was filled with tools. One way would be to use a lift cart like this one from Northern Tool.

This lift cart will raise 300 lbs from 8-1/4″ to 28-3/4″ by pumping a foot pedal. To lower the load there’s a handle-mounted pressure release. The platform measures 27-1/2″ by 17-3/4″ and is 1-3/8″ thick.

Northern has several inexpensive hydraulic table carts that can handle from 300 to 1000 lbs in the $200 to $300 price range. The pictured lift cart runs about $190, but it’ll cost you $75 to ship so I’d recommend going to one of Northern’s brick and mortar stores if there’s one close to you or find a different source.

Lift Cart [Northern Tools]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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This tool will either sit around for years unused, or else you just won’t have one when you need one. Used for both home and vehicle repairs, the Harbor Freight Double Flaring Tool will allow you to repair fuel lines, oil lines, brake lines, and any other lines that connect with a single or double flare.

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If you’ve been bleeding your brake fluid or other hydraulic fluids with a hand-powered vacuum pump, the Vacula DX 2.5 pump can make the job easier, especially if you’re doing it by yourself.  Connect the DX 2.5 to your shop’s air compressor and it’ll bleed up to 2-1/2 liters of fluid from that hydraulic system — then flip a switch and it’ll empty the waste fluid through the same bleed hose.

The DX 2.5 is equipped with two overpressure valves to protect the operator, and it sells for about $190.

DX 2.5 [Vacula]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


If you’re looking for a lift, the MaxJax two-post auto lift looks like an economical and space-saving option.  It can lift 6,000 pounds up to 45” in the air in about 30 seconds using regular household voltage of 110 or 120 volts — and when you’re finished with it, you can store the MaxJax in a space a little larger than a standard tool chest.

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Don’t stand in the bucket of your front-end loader to trim trees! With this tool, you’ll never have to worry about ending up in one of our Doh! posts again, at least not for light tree trimming work… The 68-lb. LimbHog attaches quickly to the auxiliary hydraulics of your front-end loader, offering an eight-foot reach from the bucket and a chain speed of 5,000 RPM. This’ll trim a lot of trees in a hurry.

You’ll probably find this most useful if you manage an orchard or tree farm. But if you just want to open up the jungle on your property to the point you could call it a grove or even a clearing, the LimbHog could make it easier — so could a front-end loader!

Amazon lists the LimbHog for $2,500.

LimbHog [Corporate Site]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]


Back when I had a gig as an environmental engineer — *cough* janitor,  I was a kid and there’s no way I deserved some high-falutin’ title — I dealt with a lot of full trash cans that weighed more than I did, and I would’ve loved to have such a stylin’ way to take out the trash as this hydraulic trash dumper.  Heck, I wouldn’t mind having one today; I weigh more now, but I also know more about back pain and OSHA.

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If you charged your A/C system not too long ago and it’s still anemic, you might want to look at this UV leak detector.  In addition to the A/C it’ll find leaks in any of your car’s fluid systems, including hydraulics, and it can really save you some headaches.  If you’ve ever chased a leak you couldn’t find, you’ll immediately see the value.

Street pricing for the TP1121 universal kit starts at $50, a reasonable price considering the time you’ll save.

LeakFinder Kit [Tracerline]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]


In the comments section of a recent post someone asked for advice on removing a broken screw at the bottom of his pool. Though the simplest answer seemed to be a hand-cranked drill brace with a left-hand drill bit, other readers suggested a pneumatic drill or a cordless electric drill. This piqued my curiosity about the underwater tool industry, which I knew little about — so I went looking to discover what’s out there.

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