How to Build A Shop Press

Also known as a forming press, this tool gets utilized in numerous applications. It is deployed in sectors such as garages, machine shops, and basement shops. On average, a shop press can deliver a pressure of between one and thirty tons.

It has a simple structure that mainly consists of a simple rectangular frame, a plate that acts as a stage, and a hydraulic container. The hydraulic container is equipped so that it can apply pressure. A shop press is ideal for pressing bearings, molding, punching, forging, pressing gears onto shafts, among other functions.

With the current tremendous growth in the light-weight industrial sector, these tools have become imperative. They deliver with precise control and they are not heavy and expensive as compared to industrial sized press machines. Read on to discover the best procedure on building a shop press.

4 Steps to Build A Shop Press:

The process of designing a shop press is quite simple. All you have to do is follow the steps that we have compiled below. But first let’s look at a summary of the parts required:

• L-Section angle (2*2)

• Square pipe

• Tractor trolly pin

• Hydraulic jack

• 2 Nos. spring

• M10 bolts with nuts (2½” and 3”)

• M8 allenky bolts

• M10 allenky bolts

• 5/16 J bolt with nuts

Step 1: Cutting and Drilling Metal Parts

This is the first step of making a shop press where you cut the metal parts in the required sizes. Metal parts such as the L-section angle and square pipes should be in proper dimensions.

After cutting, ensure that you brush away ridges and sharp edges. The metal parts can then be drilled holes. The holed should be separated in a measured distance to ensure that the metal parts fit in accordingly. For example, you can set at 40mm apart or based on how you find it best. This is to ensure assembling of the frame at ease.

Also, a foot brace should be well designed to ensure that the shop press is stable. It is drilled with holes to provide a connection with the rest of the body.

During this step safety is a mandatory. A pair of gloves is suitable when handling metal parts and also providing non-slip advantages. Also, it mitigates the vibrations transmitted by a wire brush to your hands.

Additionally, eye and hearing protection is no exception. When operating an angle grinder, there is an unpleasant sound that causes ringing in the ears. Also, the sparks that are emitted during grinding might be a threat to your eyes.

Hence, putting on some safety goggles is recommended. Footgear such as leather shoes or boots are a necessity to prevent slipping and bruises that may be incurred during cutting and welding.

Step 2: Fit the Parts Together

In this step, bolts and nuts are utilized to fit the parts together. The bolts should be tightly fixed to ensure that the shop press is firm during operations. You should be careful when assembling the frame. This is due to the sharp endings that are left after cutting the metal parts.

On the tapered pipe, you can make an ‘X’ thread that allows an adjustable squeeze. In this case, one can have unlimited adapters in accordance to their needs.

You can also add up adjustable flank supports that apply parallel force. They are fitted on the foot rail and are essential in customizing the width.

Some people opt for an eye-catching home press. You can paint it with any desired colors for a better look.

Step 3: Bottle Jack and Springs

You can use a favorable bottle jack, for example a five or ten ton, for your home shop press. Welding is required for attaching a screw top on the upper side of the bottle jack bracket.

The bottle jack should always be in a flat position. This is needed so that it can distribute the force evenly across the plate.

You can now fit a pair of return springs that positions the hydraulic jack. Bolts are used to ensure that the bottle jack and spring are firmly attached to the frame. J bolts are used to equip the springs.

You should also consistently monitor any possible damages or fraying that may result to breakage. If you do not have access to mechanical springs, elastic luggage straps can work in the meantime. However, you should note that they are not purposed to stretch 50% more of its original length.

Step 4: Put the Press into Test

This is the most anticipated step. You can place a metallic material on the plate and try molding, crushing or straightening it. If it easily bends a rebar at your required degree, then the shop press is ready for work.

Nonetheless, some instances may require the installation of a much longer valve pin that makes pressing easier. A shop press has a wide array of applications.

You can engage it in hole punching, metal forming, wire rod bending, insect pressing etc. Also, the size and ton pressure determine the types of duties that the shop press can perform.


Are you still confuse about how to build a shop press? Most people are not conversant with the paramount importance of a shop press. Despite its small size and simple appearance, the tool has versatile applications. A shop press is ideal for its precise control and also it is readily available. As compared to an industrial press, this tool is cheap to assemble. Nonetheless, it is convenient and easy to use.

Based on the steps that we have discussed above, assembling a shop press is quite easy. If you have the required equipment and materials, this guide has provided you with the expertise needed in assembling one. It has also analyzed some precautions that will ensure you have an injury free operation.

Making your own shop press is fun and also allows you to choose the pressure intensity that will favor your operations. Additionally, you can construct any size that will deliver optimum performances.

In future, you should follow the steps that have been explained above to construct a shop press without encountering any complications. 

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