A Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Arbor Press

Posted on May 24, 2021

Automatic Arbor Press

An arbor press is also referred to as the automatic arbor press for a reason. If you only enjoy punching, shaping, cutting, and doing everything manually, an arbor press might not be for you. On the contrary, if you'd like to have semi-automated machinery that does all the heavy lifting for you, you should certainly consider investing in an arbor press.

What Is an Automatic Arbor Press?

An automatic arbor press, or shortened to an arbor press, is a small hand press that utilizes gearing to multiply leverage. The leverage is realized when a force is applied to the wheel or lever arm. Arbor presses are rated by their safe working load, which ranges from 0.5 to 10 tons. 

Automatic arbor presses are typically used for smaller tasks, such as installing, riveting, staking, configuring, and removing bearings and other press-fit work. Depending on the intended tasks, you may see that punches, inserters, or other tools being added to the end of the ram.  

Arbor presses can be installed on a wall, pedestal, or a simple benchtop. The base of the press is normally made from cast metal. The ram, an essential component of the arbor press which may be square or round, is responsible for providing force. To yield mechanical advantage, a rack and pinion setup are usually used to drive the ram. The forces are typically created by manual or hydraulic input. An arbor press may have another gear reduction when involving higher force.
 

How Does an Automatic Arbor Press Work?

To start, an automatic arbor press looks very much like the conventional bench-mounted manual press. There is a handle on the right side of the machine that turns an internal pinion cog. The gear rotates around the toothed rack of the ram as you pull down on the handle, pulling the working end of the ram down onto the workpiece.

Combined with the length of the lever and how hard you pull it, the amount of pressure produced is determined by the diameter and number of teeth on the rotating cog. This is known as the mechanical advantage as we mentioned earlier. You can take as much time as you need to figure out how much pressure you need to generate. This can be done by calculating the effect of length and swing of the handled in conjunction with the cog ratio. Alternatively, simply buy a bigger arbor press if you think it is necessary. 

Furthermore, you may notice the use of plates for holding workpieces in place while pressure is being applied when working with an arbor press. These plates are in fact interchangeable, and you must always have at least one in place to have all objects lined up to ensure that the force is applied uniformly across the board. As long as the workpiece fits comfortably on a plate, an arbor press is capable of applying pressure to accomplish the intended job.
 

Applications of Automatic Arbor Press

Despite an arbor press's seemingly convenient and useful function, it is actually no longer used as much as before. This is largely due to the fact that many of its functions can now be performed by other types of presses that are capable of doing more than simply applying pressure.

That said, arbor presses still uphold a certain degree of practicability as they are still quite prevalent among professional crafters and DIYers. For instance, an arbor press can make the riveting or staking tasks extremely easy by applying multiple tons of pressure at once. Also, the immense amounts of pressure created by the arbor press will allow you to install or configure ball bearings quickly.

Contrary to popular belief, arbor presses excel at non-metalworking projects as well. This particular relates to professional crafters or hobbyists who take advantage of punches and inserts. For example, the rams of many arbor presses are sometimes coupled with a punch tool head to enable rapid piercing of leather materials. Similarly, an insert tool can also complement an arbor press ram to allow jewelry-making jobs that require precision.
 

:: Read More: Five Suggestions for Metal Press Automation
 

Usefulness and Safety Concern

An arbor press is also referred to as the automatic arbor press for a reason. If you only enjoy punching, shaping, cutting, and doing everything manually, an arbor press might not be for you. On the contrary, if you'd like to have semi-automated machinery that does all the heavy lifting for you, you should certainly consider investing in an arbor press.

With the usefulness addressed, you really do not want to pull the arbor press over on top of you as you manipulate it because the pressures are literally applied in tons. It does not matter where and how your arbor press is mounted, you've got to keep in mind that arbor presses are inherently heavy in order to carry out the job that it is supposed to. As even a 1-ton press can weigh for as much as 40 lbs, you really want to be careful around these machines and make sure that they are securely mounted to ensure the safety of every worker on the premise.
 

Buying an Automatic Arbor Press

A couple of selection factors to keep in mind is to make sure the machine has a large enough throat space, aka. the area between the main body and ram. The larger the throat space, the bigger the workpiece you will be able to fit in the press. Of course, if you are mostly working with lines of smaller projects like jewelry, you may be able to get away with something smaller. However, as many experts have remarked, everyone is likely to stumble upon a workpiece that is too large for your arbor press to handle.

Moreover, consider the size of your machine and available space in your workshop as well. Generally speaking, buying a large press will eliminate the workpiece size uncertainty, given that you have enough space in the workshop to accommodate it. As aforementioned, you will require a larger press at some point in your lines of work. So opting for an arbor press that is exceptionally bigger is definitely a plus.
 

Final Words

Although losing popularity, arbor presses still remain viable due to their simple nature. It is capable of performing the required jobs quickly without compromising any precision. Even though we did mention that this piece of equipment is well-suited for DIY projects and simple crafting, note that it is still a specialized piece of machinery, meaning you still need to assess your need and see if you absolutely need something that applies tons of pressure on a regular basis.
 

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