Between manufacturing technologies like 3D-printing, CNC routers, lost-whatever metal casting, and laser and plasma cutters, professional quality parts are making their way into even the most modest of DIY projects. But stamping has largely eluded the home-gamer, what with the need for an enormous hydraulic press and massive machined dies. There’s more than one way to stamp parts, though, and the budget-conscious shop might want to check out this low-end hydroforming method for turning sheet metal into quality parts.
If hydroforming sounds familiar, it might be because we covered [Colin Furze]’s attempt, which used a cheap pressure washer to inflate sheet metal bubbles with high-pressure water. The video below shows a hydroformer that [Rainbow Aviation] uses (with considerably less screaming) to make stamped aluminum parts for home-brew aircraft. The kicker with this build is that there is no fluid — at least not until the 40,000-pound hydraulic press semi-liquifies the thick neoprene rubber pad placed over the sheet metal blank and die. The pressure squeezes the metal into and around the die, forming some pretty complex shapes in a single operation. We especially like the pro-tip of using Corian solid-surface countertop material offcuts to make the dies, since they’re available for a pittance from cabinet fabricators.
It’s always a treat to see hacks from the home-brew aviation world. They always seem to have plenty of tricks and tips to share, like this pressure-formed light cowling we saw a while back.
Continue reading “Low-Budget Hydroformer Puts the Squeeze on Sheet Metal Parts”
Do you like hacking? Do you like apple cider? Do you like ceiling fans? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then boy do we have the project for you! [Lou Wozniak] has an awesome tutorial for building an apple cider press using a ceiling fan motor and a handful of items available at your local hardware store.
The build is pretty simple in concept but complex in execution, and [Lou] does a fantastic job of covering every step in detail in his two project videos. The project has two main components: the grinder to decimate the apples and create a juicy, pulpy soup, and the press to extract the juice. The grinder is powered by the fan motor, while the press uses a screw-drive connected to a power drill, and then a ratchet to squeeze out every last drop.
Eager for more ceiling fan motor goodness? You’re in luck! Apparently [Lou] is a master of repurposing fan motors, and we featured a pottery wheel he made with one a while back.
Continue reading “Apple Cider Press is Just In Time for Fall”
The subject of this Fail of the Week installment is entertaining if nothing else. [Chris] decided to see what kind of forces his home-built 100 ton press could stand up to. Turns out the press failed at punching a 1.5″ hole through 1/2″ plate steel.
If you didn’t see it back in February make sure you take a gander at the premier of Lil’ Screwy. The diminutive press packed quite a bit of punch, using four hand-cranked screws to knock out holes in metal. [Chris] decided to tie-one-on and take his lathe for a spin to machine the larger 1.5″ punch set.
He probably should have known when he switched from a 4-foot ratchet to a crescent wrench with a 12-foot pipe for leverage that this was going to be more than the press could handle. The bottom plate seen in the image above is beginning to cup, which in turn jams up the screws in the off-kilter threads.
We fell a bit guilty in admitting we love to see equipment pushed to the point of failure like this. But perhaps that’s part of what this column is all about. Our favorite is still the PCB shear failure, but this comes in at a close second. Check out the video presentation after the break; just be warned that there’s a bit of rough language as part of the narrative.
Continue reading “Fail of the Week: The Demise of Lil’ Screwy”
Here we have a magnificent example of the power of the inclined plane. [Chris] has built Lil’ Screwy, a 100-ton home-built press for about $35 plus scrap on hand. He demonstrates its frightening power by punching a 17-mm hole through 8mm-thick steel using an Allen key.
As [Chris] explains in his hilarious video waiting for you after the jump, the force comes from using really big screws. Lil’ Screwy uses four 1-inch L7-rated ready rods with eight threads to the inch. The bolts run between two 1″ steel plates to form the press. In the top plate, he drilled 1″ holes. The bottom holes are drilled out 7/8″ and tapped so the two plates clamp together with awesome crushing power when you twist the giant coupling nuts.
[Chris] milled a pocket in the underside of the top plate for a big neodymium magnet that will keep, for instance, a 17-mm Allen key in place while you punch a piece of steel with it. He has a ring of smaller ones embedded into the bottom plate to hold supports in place for broaching.
As a special bonus, [Chris] shows you how to stick it to the man when it comes to using that last bit of Never-Seez in the can, and also how to make your decals temporarily repositionable.
Continue reading “Behold Lil’ Screwy, A Homebrew 100-Ton Press”
[Gregory] uses a rocket stove for heating when it’s cold outside. He’s been trying out all kinds of different materials as fuel when the idea of making his own briquettes from waste materials came to mind. Obviously the project works. As you can see in the image above, he has just formed a lump of fuel using a mixture of newspaper pulp and sawdust.
The orange device with the ax handle seen in the background is his own creation. You can see the device in action in the video after the break. In the video comments he also links to a CAD file if you’re interested in building your own.
If it’s a rocket stove you’re interested in there’s always the option of building your own.
Continue reading “Briquette press for rocket stove fuel”
[Jay] was looking for a way to make his own vias on homemade double-sided PCBs when he stumbled across this post from about five years ago. The technique shown here makes mechanical vias and was developed by [Retromaster]. There’s no soldering involved, instead he uses some solid core copper wire and a press to crush it tightly against the board.
The press is made from aluminum stock, with a couple of plates of stainless steel which come in contact with the board. The aluminum stock is easy to work with, but it’s relatively soft which is the reason for the addition of steel. He uses copper wire which already fits tightly in the hole through the substrate. After clipping off the excess as near to the board as possible a trip through the press leaves each side flat as shown in the inset image.
We looked through some of the other projects we’ve seen from [Retromaster] like the Atari 2600 in an FPGA and this emulated Amiga floppy drive. But we didn’t see any diy boards where he used this crushing technique.
Inspired by souvenir penny presses, [Robert] built the Olin College penny press. This machine stamps out coins with the school’s name and a variety of other patterns. He built it as part of a mechanical structures course, with the goal of designing something that used large forces.
Crushing a penny takes about five tons of force. To deliver that force, [Robert] used a 1 horsepower motor coupled to a custom 1190:1 reduction drive train, which consisted of sprockets, gears, and chains. The aluminium frame supporting the drive train also had to be designed to withstand large forces.
This required of a lot of custom parts, which were made using a CNC mill, a water jet cutter and a mill. All of the CAD drawings are available for anyone who wants to replicate the design.
This beast of a machine weighs about 90 pounds and can squish 12 pennies every minute. Olin College installed the penny press on their campus for anyone to use for free.