Arbor Press Specifications

After a quick discussion today with some other mentors, and after making a real-life “wish list” based upon the other wish list thread, I want to look into the cost of an arbor press. Yet upon looking at grainger and mcmaster it quickly becomes obvious that there are a wide range of presses available and at a wide range of costs.

So what should we look for in an Arbor Press? What can a manual press do other than keying sprockets and shafts?

We have a Dake model Y 1.5 ton manual arbor press, which is available for $365 from KBC tools.

We also have a cheapo 12 ton hydraulic arbor press. I would reccomend against this style if it’s your only press-it has a lot of slop in the ram.

Check out Page 940 of KBC Tools. The first two presses on the top wouldn’t be bad. Our trailer has the 1 ton press, and it’s good for keyways, pressing bearings into plates, pushing pinions off/on FP’s. etc.

I’d make sure you get one without a solid base. The rotating plate on the ones I mentioned is nice. Our Dake has a solid base, and it’s a PITA-we either have to start the broach, then gradually block up the part as we progress through, or take it to the large 12 ton press and finish it there.

P.S. You won’t be able to key a shaft with an arbor press. You’ll need a mill for that.

Arbor presses are an important tool. We use ours here at AndyMark daily. Also, the TechnoKats have one that is used very often.

These tasks are done on the AndyMark arbor press:
Press bearings into press-fit holes in plates, wheels, and gears
Press dowel pins into holes (today was AM Planetary day)
Swedge (is that a word?) over bore holes in AM Omni Wheels so that the bearing stays in better
Press in PEM nuts into Super Shifter side plates
Press in roll pins into Toughbox shaft holes that are drilled too small
Oh, and we broach a few things also

Don’t get a 1 ton press… it is not big enough. Get a 3 ton press, like the one here at Northern Tool. I see the ones with a ratchet, but I don’t think that is needed for these uses.

A 2 ton press may be big enough, but probably not for a 1/2" broach.

A good arbor press is your friend.


Another thing to consider…

Try to find a local supplier. These things are heavy. Shipping a heavy arbor press will cost about as much as the press itself.

Around here, we have Rural King, Tractor Supply (north side of Indy), Harbor Freight, and Fastenal as options. I would assume that not every city is lucky enough to have these fabulous options.


NoVa should have something. I’ll take a look around. Thanks for the tips guys.

At home I have a 30 ton press like this

which I use for “normal” work like pressing automotive wheel bearings, transmissions, differentials, etc.

At the shop the robotics team uses, they have a smaller, older press that works fine for the little robotics stuff. You can kind of see it here, I’m not sure what the rating is. It’s mounted on a stand, and the teacher (shown) is not included in the purchase price.



If you are going to broach keyways, make sure the unit has a tall throat. I saw a Dake model 1 1/2B recommended on Practical Machinist, as it is designed for broaching. I think it is the one with 18 inches capacity over the table.

Just bought this press from Enco last week. Its an import, but the quality is reasonable. I replaced all the set screws with SHCS, lubed everything and made a few other minor adjustments!

Pressed a few bearings and shafts this weekend. This has 18 inches of stroke, plenty for broaching. I also made some aluminum extensions to hang the press over the table edge slightly which allows for more room below the press.

Team RUSH has a cheaper model with a ratchet that we bought last year, and it worked well for our needs.