C-Clamp Becomes Light-Duty Arbor Press

Upside-down c-clamp held in a frame, forming a crude press

[ThingaUser] made a tool to solve a specific problem of theirs, but the design also happens to be a pretty good way to turn a c-clamp into a poor man’s light duty arbor press.

The frame is made for a common 4-inch c-clamp.

The problem they had was a frequent need to press nuts and occasionally bearings into other parts. Some kind of press is really the best tool for the job, but rather than buy a press, they opted to make their own solution. By designing and 3D printing an adapter for a common 4-inch c-clamp, a simple kind of light duty press was born.

Sure, one has to turn the handle on the clamp to raise and lower the moveable jaw, and that’s not the fastest operation. But the real value in the design is that the clamp can now stand by itself on a tabletop, leaving the operator to dedicate one hand to manipulating the part to be pressed, while twisting the clamp’s handle with the other hand. There’s no need for a third hand to keep the clamp itself stable in the process. As a bonus, it can print without supports and the clamp secures with zip ties; no other fasteners or glue needed.

Not all c-clamps are the same, so there is a risk that this frame that fits [ThingaUser]’s clamp might not fit someone else’s. In those cases, it’s best to have access to not just the STL file, but also to a version in a portable CAD format like STEP to make it easy to modify. But there are still ways to make changes to an STL that isn’t quite right.

8 thoughts on “C-Clamp Becomes Light-Duty Arbor Press

    1. I will shamefully admit I have (successfully) “pressed in” a front wheel bearing with tactical blows with a mallet and a large diameter piece of pipe fashioned into a outer race punch.
      Though seen people doing something almost as sketchy with a bottle jack and a square frame.

      1. I made a portable press for straightening metal sections for vehicle restoration from a small bottle jack and a scrap of C-section angle iron, this being large enough for the bottle jack to be inside across the inner flats with enough clearance to add forming plates.

    1. Only if you have an available vice, and if you do why not just use it, Vice as arbour press substitute is a time honoured somewhat awkward bodge.

      I also personally like how lightweight this design should be – its clearly not a great press, but its functional, cheap, and light enough to shuffle round the work space rather than get in the way…

      1. A vice can be awkward to use, mainly because gravity is pointing the wrong way.
        But it does ghave the advantage that – unlike a clamp – there’s no twisting motion on the faces as you apply force.

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