By: James L. Batson
Reviewed by: Enrique Vega
Batson Engineering & Metalworks
176 Brentwood Lane
Madison, AL 35758 USA
When Jim sat down to write this 47 page manual, he did not leave a stone unturned. The book is written with the skills of a mechanical engineer and experienced blacksmith. Jim provides all technical information and detailed drawings to build a 24 ton Hydraulic Forging Press. Actually, he gives you options to go as high as 36 tons.
This manual is not for the lighthearted. You wouldn't want to read it before bed time. It is a technical manual that is filled with tables, formulas, figures, and in-depth discussions on the hydraulic systems, gears, pumps and what-have-you, for everything you need to know about putting these presses together.
(Figure above) Hydraulic System details each component
Many blacksmiths are turning to the hydraulic forging presses for greater control over forging operations that are being done either by hand or with mechanical hammers. The ability to control the precise depth of forging and the accurate placement of tooling, makes these presses a desirable addition to the smithy.
The only drawback I have heard is in the heat loss during the press operation compared to the striking action of mechanical hammers. Since the mechanical hammers have a striking action and do not linger touching the hot metal surface, more work can be done to the material than with the press. On the other hand, some operations like deep piercing are done with one pressing action rather than the repeated blows required by mechanical hammers.
Anyway, if you are looking to build an inexpensive 24 ton hydraulic press, and you want to be sure that you are building one that has been properly engineered, then you should consider getting James L. Batson's "Build Your Own Hydraulic Forging Press."
Here is what Don Fogg, an experienced hydraulic press user said about this book:
"Jim is a retired rocket scientist, bladesmith and all round knowledgeable type. He did his homework on this project and has produced a very professional pamphlet and primer on working with hydraulics and building a functional hot forging press."
"I think he gets $25 for the book and I have a copy. It is well worth the money. He took the basic plans after looking at my press and one Jimmy Fikes built and then made some refinements and engineered the safety factors into the plans. I have used his press and it is a good design. It would replace a large hammer in its capacity for work."
ArtMetal Editor: Enrique
Last Updated: Sun, Feb 11, 1996