How To Construct And Use A Bottle Jack Press Bottle Jack .

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Charles G. Morgan 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 1How to Construct and Use aBottle Jack PressBottle Jack Press Plans II Charles G. Morgan77 Moss StreetVictoria, B.C. V8V 4M2CANADA(250) his material is copyrighted by Charles Morgan. It may be distributed unalteredfree of charge. This material shall not be sold in any form without explicit writtenpermission from the author.Contents . 1Introduction . 3Tools you will need . 5Materials . 6Summary of materials needed . 12Making the top and bottom bars . 13Making the jack ram cup . 14

Charles G. Morgan 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 2Making loop ends on bungee chord . 18Making the press bed . 23Attaching the uprights and the top bar . 27Installing the platen, jack, and bungee chords . 30Making a sliding board . 36Template registration . 38Spring clip registration . 39Pin registration . 40Transparency registration . 44Conclusion . 47

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 3Bottle Jack Press Plans II Charles G. Morgan77 Moss StreetVictoria, B.C. V8V 4M2CANADA(250) ntroductionThe original plans for my little bottle jack printing press may be found on mywebsite. They were formulated with a number of constraints. I wanted the press tobe easy to construct, and I wanted the over-all cost to be relatively cheap. I wantedthe press to be constructed from materials that are available just about anywhere .no special parts required. In order to make it easy to take the press to workshopsand demonstrations, I wanted the press to be easy to disassemble and to be fairlylight. My original design fulfilled these requirements quite well, and my little presshas served me in my studio and my students in various workshops for quite anumber of years. The plans have been adopted and adapted by a number of people,and there are quite a few of these presses now in use.However, after a number of years, I began to worry about the strength of theoriginal design. The press works quite well for its intended purpose . to printalmost anything but intaglio. I have never had a problem with the press, nor haveany of my students, but then I was always right there to indicate the appropriateamount of pressure to use. However, I was concerned that unsupervised individualsunfamiliar with elementary mechanical properties of wood and metal mightoverstress the press by using too much pressure with the jack. Even the lightesthydraulic bottle jacks have sufficient power to damage the press if extremepressure is used.I was asked to conduct a workshop in which participants would build their own

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 4presses from kits of materials. With these concerns about strength, I decided to“beef up” the press design a bit. I have frequently said that for a really robust press,one should just adapt a standard hydraulic press designed for machine shop work.At the time of this writing, small hydraulic presses with heavy duty steel framescan be bought for less than 200. They only require the addition of a bed andplaten to make a decent printing press. However, they do have the drawback ofbeing quite heavy and difficult to move. None of my design changes will produce apress as strong as a steel frame machine shop press. But a press made to my designwill still be reasonably light compared to a machine shop press, easier to move,easier to disassemble, and also cheaper.Figure 1: Bottle Jack Press III want to assure everyone reading this document that it is very easy for anyone toconstruct one of these little presses. It does not require any skill, other than theability to measure, use simple hand tools, like a hand saw and a screw driver.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 5Tools you will need:You will not need any fancy tools to construct the press. In fact, simple hand toolswill do the job. You will need the following:1. A saw for cutting wood . Frankly, I like Japanese pull saws, but any standardcarpenter’s saw will do the job. You will not have much cutting to do.2. A hack saw with a fine tooth blade . You will need to cut some 5/16 inchdiameter threaded rod and some sheet metal that is less than 1/8 inch thick.3. A hammer . You will need to bend the sheet metal around a piece of wood.4. A vise, workmate, or heavy duty wood clamps . You will need to hold themetal and wooden form together while you bend the metal around the wood. Andyou will want to hold the various wood and metal bits when sawing.5. A pair of pliers . You will use pliers to bend the sheet metal and also to hold anut on the end of a bolt.6. A screw driver . The type needed will depend on the head design of the screwsthat you buy. One of the inexpensive multi-bit screw drivers should haveeverything you need.7. A wrench . You will need a ½ inch open end wrench, but a standard adjustablewrench will do.8. A drill and drill bits . You will need to drill some pilot holes for #8 screws, so asmall bit about 3/32 of an inch or smaller will be fine. You could use a hand drill,but it is tedious to do so. A small 1/4 or 3/8 inch electric hand drill will make yourjob much easier. You can also use a Dremmel tool, if it has a chuck that will acceptyour drill bits.9. You will probably also want a metal file, grinding wheel, or something similarto smooth off any sharp edges after cutting the metal pieces.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 6Materials:As should be obvious from the title, you are going to need a small, hydraulic jack,commonly known as a bottle jack due to its shape. These jacks come in variousdesignated “strengths” . 2 ton, 4 ton, 6 ton, etc. up to about 20 ton. Thesedesignations refer to the maximum weight the jack will support before the sealsfail. The heavier weight designation jacks also weigh more. So you want to choosea jack that is powerful enough for our purposes, but yet light enough to movearound easily. In my experience, a 2 ton jack is not strong enough, and a 6 ton jackis about right. An 8 ton jack also works well. Larger jacks simply add weight forno useful purpose.You will need some bits of small hardware, as illustrated in Figure 2.Figure 2: Small hardwareYou will need an assortment of screws. You will need 18 #8 wood screws, 2.5inches long (no longer). You will need 2 #10 round head screws, 1 inch long(longer is all right). And finally, you will need 28 #8 round head screws 5/16 inchlong (no longer).You will need from 3 to 5 metal circular electrical junction box covers. These aremetal plates about 4 inches in diameter, with 2 holes at the edges for screwattachment. Try to get the ones without a small disc punched in the middle for aconduit hole. If the only ones readily available have a disc punched in the middle,remove the punched discs so the metal plates will lie flat against one another.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 7These plates will be used to make a cup for the jack ram and to spread the pressureout on the top bar. I prefer to use 1 plate to make the cup, and back it with 4 plates,to give over 1/4 inch of steel to protect the top bar. I would suggest 2 plates to backthe cup as a minimum. Suit yourself.You will need 4 S hooks. I find the 3/16 inch size works well. These are used at theends of the bungee chord to attach to the platen. I had some small turnbuckles lyingaround, and these also work well, but are considerably more expensive to buy.However, turnbuckles do provide an easy means to adjust the length of the bungeechord.Next you need some right angle brackets. You will need 12 1-inch brackets . theones with a single screw hole in each arm. These are used to connect the piecestogether for the press bed.You will need 4 1.5-inch brackets . the ones with two holes in each arm. You willuse these as hooking points to attach the bungee chord to the platen. You will needto modify each of the 1.5-inch brackets with a hack saw by cutting one arm offbetween the two holes, as shown in Figure 3.Figure 3: Modify 2-hole bracketsFor the uprights, you are going to need 4 pieces of slotted steel angle. In my area,you can find slotted steel in hardware and building supply stores in 4 ft and 6 ftlengths. Purchase 2 pieces of the 4 ft length and cut them in half. After smoothing

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 8the cutoff ends, my pieces are 23.5 inches long. By using slotted steel, you willavoid the necessity of drilling the metal yourself. If several folks are buildingpresses at the same time, the 6 ft lengths of slotted steel work out cheaper than the4 ft lengths . just be sure you buy enough so you will have 4 pieces 2 ft long foreach press. You can buy plain steel angle more cheaply than slotted steel, but thenyou will have to carefully measure and drill the holes in appropriate places.Although the plain steel angle is cheaper, it is not galvanized and so is more proneto rust. So, I recommend just going with the slotted steel. Besides, all those holeslighten the uprights without significantly affecting their tensile strength.Figure 4: Upright hardwareYou are also going to need 8 bolts, 4.5 inches long, with nuts and washers. Theslotted steel is pre-drilled to accept 5/16 inch diameter bolts. I suggest buying one3 ft piece of 5/16 inch “ready rod” . ready rod is just a length of threaded rod.Carefully cut it in half, giving 2 pieces 1.5 feet long. The cut each of these in halfto give 4 pieces 9 inches long. Finally, cut each of these pieces in half, giving 8pieces 4.5 inches long as required. Then you will need 16 washers and 16 hex nutsfor your 5/16 inch bolts.You now have all the required hardware bits and pieces, so we will turn to theother parts. First you are going to need a top bar and a bottom bar. Each of these is20 inches long. Laminated construction is stronger than a singe piece of wood, so I

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 9prefer to make the top and bottom bars by laminating 2x4 pieces together. I willdescribe the lamination process further along. For the top bar you will need 3pieces of 20 inch long 2x4. For the bottom bar you will need 2 pieces of 20 inchlong 2x4. In addition, for the bed of the press you will need 4 pieces if 16 inch long2x4. The strength of the 16 inch long pieces is not a problem. But for the 20 inchlong pieces used in the top and bottom bars, you want to use the strongest materialyou can find. I have been lucky and found old growth fir at a house demolition site;this lumber was more than 100 years old and was so tough you could not nowdrive a nail into it. Oak would be good if you can find it. Pine is quite soft andwould not be as suitable, but go with whatever you can scrounge.I like to make the bed and the platen from counter top material. Counter topmaterial is a particle board with a Formica-like substance glued to the surface. It isusually 5/8 of an inch thick. The surface is impervious to oil and water, and it iseasy to clean if you get ink on it. You can also use melamine material fromfurniture and cabinets. I pick up old counter tops and melamine cabinets at houserenovations. On occasion I have also gone to a local counter top manufacturer,explained what I was doing, and been given a large counter top with a flaw thatthey were going to throw away. I sometimes pick up melamine cabinets andfurniture from the boulevard where people put items they no longer want. So itpays to check around.If you cannot find counter top or melamine material, you can use medium densityfibre board. You can buy it in 4x8 sheets at a lumber outlet. You will want the 3/4inch thick material. Medium density fibre board is sort of a super particle board,but more dense. It is referred to as MDF. If you elect to use this material, be sure tocoat all MDF surfaces with a good quality urethane finish after cutting to requiredsize. The finish will keep the material from absorbing moisture or oil and make itpossible to clean up any ink you might get on the surface. If you cannot get MDF,you could use plywood. However, I have found the plywood compresses too easilyunder moderate pressures, and is not really suitable.I designed the press to have a maximum printing area of 16x16 inches, although inpractise I never print quite that big. The platen consists of 2 pieces. One piece isjust a 15x15 inch stiffener. For my own press, I found an old cabinet door of aboutthe right size.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 10Figure 5: Platen stiffenerThe dimensions of the platen stiffener are not crucial, and it could be a bit smaller.The other piece of the platen consists of the platen board proper. It begins as apiece 16x18 inches. A rectangular notch one inch deep and 6.5 inches long is cutfrom the center of each of the 16 inch long sides, as illustrated in Figure 6.Figure 6: Platen boardYou will need another piece of counter top material for the press bed. Theminimum size for the press bed in 16x16 inches. However, I found that I like

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 11having a longer bed to make it more convenient to line up and insert the slidingboard containing the printing plate, paper, and blankets. So the current design callsfor a bed board that is 16x22 inches. I also like having the rounded counter topedge on front of the bed board, so I included it, as in Figure 7.Figure 7: Bed boardThe only remaining material required is the bungee chord for retracting the platen.I use bungee chords rather than metal springs for a number of reasons. Metalsprings are harder to find these days, and they are quite expensive compared tobungee chords. Also, bungee chords are easier to cut to desired length and install.Locally I am able to buy bungee chord by the yard (or meter) from a localhardware and marine supply outlet. I have found that 3/8 inch diameter chordworks well. You will need about 5 feet . 2 pieces that are 30 inches long. I havefound that some of the cheaper bottle jacks have a rather rough action, and will notretract with just one strand of bungee chord on each side. But in these cases,installing 2 strands of 3/8 inch bungee chord per side was more than adequate to dothe job. If using two stands per side, you will need 10 feet of bungee chord. Usingseveral smaller strands is preferable to using one very large diameter strand. Thesmaller strands will be much easier to install, and cheaper to replace should onestrand fail. If you cannot find bungee chord by the yard then you should be able tobuy bungee chords with hook ends attached in about 30 inch lengths. You will alsoneed some plastic electricians tape and some braided nylon string to use to tie offthe ends of your bungee chords.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IISummary of materials neededa) 6 ton bottle jackb) #8 wood screws 2.5 inches long – 18 piecesc) #10 round head screws 1 inch long – 2 piecesd) #8 round head screws 5/8 inch long – 28 piecese) circular electrical junction box cover – 5 piecesf) 3/16 inch S hooks – 4 piecesg) 1 inch right angle brackets – 12 piecesh) 1.5 inch right angle brackets – 4 piecesi) slotted steel angle 23.5 inches long – 4 piecesj) 5/16 inch threaded rod 4.5 inches long – 8 piecesk) 5/16 inch hex nuts – 16 piecesl) 5/16 inch flat washers – 16 piecesm) 2x4 lumber 20 inches long – 5 piecesn) 2x4 lumber 16 inches long – 4 pieceso) counter top material 15x15 inches – 1 piecep) counter top material 16x18 inches – 1 pieceq) counter top material 16x22 inches – 1 piecer) bungee chord 3/8 inch diameter 30 inches long – 2 piecesPage 12

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 13s) braided nylon string – 3 feett) wood glueu) good quality oil based enamel paint or urethane finishMaking the top and bottom barsPerhaps your first step should be the construction of the top and bottom bars. Forboth the top and bottom bars, begin with two pieces of 2x4, each 20 inches long.Spread a good quality wood glue on the wide side, and press tightly together, usingclamps or a vise. Then put at least 3 screws, 2.5 inches long, in each side to holdeverything together.If you are unfamiliar with such construction, a little hint may be in order. The jobwill be easier if you first drill small pilot holes for your screws. The job will beeasier yet if you soap your screws before trying to screw them into place. To soap ascrew, first moisten it by spreading saliva on the threads. Then drag the threadsacross a bar of hand soap. Soaping the screws will make it much easier to drivethem into place. Screw them down until the heads are just below the surface of thewood. Use 3 screws, 2.5 inches long, on each side. You should have 2 pieces thatlook like Figure 8.Figure 8: Lamination for top and bottom barsLumber designated as 2x4 is in reality 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches. So your laminatedconstructions will now be 3 inches thick and 3.5 inches wide.

Charles G. Morgan, 2009Bottle Jack Press Plans IIPage 14The pressure on the bottom bar will be spread out across its length by the bedboard. However, all the pressure on the top bar will be concentrated at its middle.So we need to strengthen the top bar. You should have one more piece of 2x4lumber 20 inches long. On the wide side, mark a line down the length ½ of an inchfrom one side (3 inches from the other side). Using your wood saw, cut along theline to give you a piece that is 3 inches wide, 1.5 inches thick, and 20 inches long.(If you have a table saw, this would be a good time to use it; but a hand saw isperfectly adequate for this job.) Spread glue on the 3 inch wide side and clamp it tothe edge of one of the pieces you just laminated. Then screw it into place using sixof the 2.5 inch wood screws. Your top bar will then look like Figure 9.Figure 9: Top barAt this point, you need to set the top bar and the bottom bar aside for 24 hours toallow the glue to dry. I would also recommend that you paint the top bar, thebottom bar, and the remaining pieces of 2x4 with a good quality oil based enamelpaint. Once the paint is dry, it will take less than half a day to complete your press.Making the jack ram cupWhile waiting for the glue and paint to dry, you may as well make the cup for thejack ram. The cup positions the ram in the proper place on the top bar and keepsthe ram from slipping. To make the cup, begin by carefully locating the center ofan edge of a scrap piece of 2x4 or 2x2. Standard 2x4 inch lumber is really just 1.5inches thick, and 2x2 lumber is really just 1.5 inches sq

hydraulic bottle jacks have sufficient power to damage the press if extreme . As should be obvious from the title, you are going to need a small, hydraulic jack, commonly known as a bottle jack due to its shape. These jacks come in various designated “strengths” . 2 ton, 4 ton, 6 ton, etc. up to about 20 ton. These