One of the great things about tools is that you can pick them up cheaply even if you don’t know what you’ll do with them at the time. Such was the case with a Dake No. 1 Arbor Press I picked up for a good price off of Craigslist. Sure, I knew I’d have uses for it but I didn’t have any immediately. Little did I know that I would within a week but more about that in a minute.
What is an arbor press you ask? It is a machine that generates compressive force using an arm you pull down. It is geared so that you have a mechanical advantage which allows you to generate more force than you expend pulling down on the arm. This arbor press is a Dake No. 1 and is rated at a maximum of 3 tons of force with a 36:1 gear reduction. The base is 7.25″ x 18″ and it weighs about 130 pounds. Here’s a picture of what it looks like. Unlike most stuff I buy it was actually in good shape when I bought it!
When I and a friend picked it up, the ram cap (plate that is bolted on the front) was loose. When I tightened it down the ram wouldn’t move up and down. Hmm…a quick check of the manual on Dake’s website showed that there should be some shims between the ram cap and the body. I quickly fabbed some up using some aluminum flashing I had lying around which fixed the problem. I also put some washers under the ram cap bolts. If you look between the ram cap and end of the spindle you’ll see a set screw. This set screw can be screwed in to hold the ram or change the amount of force required to move the ram. The set screw pushes on a spring which pushes on a tinners rivet which presses against the ram. The tinners rivet was missing but luckily a trip to Ace Hardware provided a replacement.
Here’s a picture of the other side with a good view of the arm. I also added some rubber O-rings to keep having the bar slam into the spindle and also keep from pinching my fingers if they’re in the wrong place.
Here’s a view of the data plate on the ram cap. Unfortunately, I cannot read the model number on the tag. So, I’m not 100% sure about the age of the press.
What do you do with a press? You can press apart press-fit parts, separate bearings from shafts, perform staking, riveting, broaching, or anything else you can think of where a controlled force can be useful. As opposed to a hammer, a press can generate accurate and moderated force. Below is an example of something that you might want to press apart. The disk is half of a Reeve Pulley and it has been pressed onto the shaft.
To separate the pulley and shaft, it is set into a cutout in the plate and then a die (in this case a cheap import socket) is placed on the top of the shaft. The ram is brought into contact with the die and the arm lowed to press the shaft out. Just remember to catch!
A need that popped up soon after I got the press had to do with this large amount of oak flooring that my wife found for me. It was held down with staples originally and you won’t want to have your sharp tools hitting those. As you can see there was lots of wood and therefore lots of staples….lots and lots of staples.
Initially I was pounding the staples out with a hammer and pin punch. That got old pretty quick though. Then it occurred to me, could I use my new press? Yes I could! So, I make a simple jig and started pushing out staples using the press. Much much easier. In use I’d be holding the pin punch. I’ve gotten a quarter of the staples removed so far and will do the rest as I need to.
Here are some of the staples that were pressed out. They’re present about every 12″ of the flooring.
I’m sure I’ll find some other uses for it in the future. But currently the big problem facing me is where to put it?!