Installed a 20 Ton Air Over Hydraulic Bottle On My Shop Press

My shop press is actually rated for 30 tons but I have used a 20 ton bottle for a safety margin.  Until recently, my preference has been a hand pumped 20 ton bottle on my press.  The reason for this is that when pressing barrels, pins, etc. I like to “feel” how much pressure I am applying.  Years back, I bought a 20 ton air over hydraulic bottle from Harbor Freight as guys told me it was faster.  What this means is that an air-operated mechanism pumps a piston and extends the bottle.  For a variety of reasons, it sat by the press and never got installed – mainly I did not have an airline there and I didn’t really have the need – as my grips business increased, free time to build AKs decreased.

At any rate, with the new SWAG shop press, I didn’t want to stand around pumping the bottle so I ran an airline and installed the bottle.

Installing it was a breeze (not including running the air line).  I just screwed in the head of the ram of the old bottle enough to pull it out.  I then slid in the new bottle and adjusted the screw head until it was nice and snug.  Done.  I’m using regular 3/8″ air line with 1/4″ Milton quick connect fittings and it seems to have plenty of air.

Boy is the end result nice — I can use the air system to run the ram down to where I want to then take over by hand and feel what is going on.  What a time saver.

One annoying issue I had to overcome was the pressure relief valve.  The bottle still has one of the little “+” shaped valves that you have to slide the handle onto.  SWAG makes a replacement handle you can slide onto the shaft and reinstall the pin but my budget was spent and then some.  Instead. I found some tubing in my shop and made a little “T” handle and cut a relief into one end with my band saw for the pin to slide into.  It’s way more convenient than using the long pump lever arm.

So the that’s it for the bottle. The next post will talk about the lower bending die and the series is done.


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