Introduction: DIY Hydraulic Benchtop Press

Dimensions 750x470x320mm including the truss and the footings.

The main frame with the truss can handle a 6T jack mounded at the upper side of frame with no problems of distortions or cracks. If you plan to use a 3T jack, the truss can be skipped.

It is a tool, that can handle vary tasks, according the dies that we have or that we will made.

It is a circle without end.

What isHydraulic Press

A Hydraulic Press is a machine press using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalent of a mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795. As Bramah (who is also known for his development of the flush toilet) installed toilets, he studied the existing literature on the motion of fluids and put this knowledge into the development of the press.

Main principle

The hydraulic press depends on Pascal's principle-the pressure throughout a closed system is constant. One part of the system is a piston acting as a pump, with a modest mechanical force acting on a small cross-sectional area; the other part is a piston with a larger area which generates a correspondingly large mechanical force. Only small-diameter tubing (which more easily resists pressure) is needed if the pump is separated from the press cylinder.

Pascal's law: Pressure on a confined fluid is transmitted undiminished and acts with equal force on equal areas and at 90 degrees to the container wall.

A small effort force acts on a small piston. This creates a pressure which is transferred through the hydraulic fluid to a large piston


Hydraulic presses are commonly used for forging, clinching, moulding, blanking, punching, deep drawing, and metal forming operations. With the growth and importance of light-weighting in the aerospace and automotive industry, more applications are present in Thermoplastics, Composites, SMC Sheet Molded Composites, RTM Resin Transfer Molding, GMT Glass Mat Transfer and Carbon Fiber Molding. All of these applications require precise control and repeat-ability. wikipedia article:

Step 1: Tools

Remember Safety First.

Welding Cutting and Grinding Tools are Dangerous!

Do it at your own Risk!

Use Always the Suitable Protective Equipment.

Angle grinder 115mm (4 ½”) or 125mm (5”)

Cutting disks according to grinder ø115x1mm (ø4 ½” x 0.04”) or (ø125 x 1mm/ ø 5” x 0.04”)

Flap Disk Grinding Wheel

Drill press

Drill bits ø3 / 4 / 4.5 / 5 / 6 / 6.8 / 8 / 8.5 / 10 / 10.2 / 12 / 16 / 16.5mm


Center punch ø3mm ø4.5mm ø8mm,

Taps set M12 / M8 / M6 / M5

Tap handle

Welding machine

Welding Mask

Welding gloves

Welder magnetic angles

Tape measure


Pen Scriber

Benchtop Vise

Drill press Vise


Vice grips

Wrenches 10-11 / 12-13 / 18-19mm

Allen Keys 4 / 5mm



Steel stock pieces at vary dimensions and shapes

Step 2: Materials

Tube80x40x2mm 2pcs 348mm

Tube60x40x2mm 2pcs 640mm

Angle iron40x40x4mm 2pcs 70mm

Flat bar70x5mm 2pcs 335mm, 2pcs 290mm, 4pcs 35mm & 1pcs 185mm

Flat bar 40x3mm 2pcs 60mm

Flat bar 40x5mm 1pcs 100mm,& 1pcs about 500mm for the making of the 8 rhombuses

Flat bar 40x10mm 1pcs 340mm & 1pcs 160

Plate120x8mm 4pcs150mm

Plate80x8mm 4pcs 150mm 1pcs 165mm

Square bar 14x14mm 2pcs 150mm

Rod ø3stainless steel 2pcs 20mm 1pcs about 50~60mm

Rod ø16 1pcs 185mm

Rod ø10 2pcs 240mm 1pcs 100mm

Axle ø12 2pcs 230mm

Bolt M12 1pcs 60mm

Stud bolt M12 2pcs 220mm

Nuts M12 10pcs

Washers M12 10pcs

Bolts M8 10pcs

Nuts M8 10pcs

Bolts M6 10pcs x40mm

Nuts M6 10pcs

Bolts M5 8pcs 20mm

Nuts M5 8pcs

Electrodes 6013 2.5mm

Hose Fitting 1pcs per jack

Plastic pipe according the hose fitting about 500~600mm

Bottle from refreshment juice for the extra oil container

Step 3: Plans

Step 4: Main Frame

1. Mark the cuts around the tubes and cut the tube sides one by one.

2. Grind the welding areas at the edges of tubes.

3. Assembly/adjust the four pieces of mainframe using clamps, one piece of rectangular tube, vice grips, and welder magnetic angles. Place the horizontal tubes at 3mm distance from the up and down edge of the vertical tubes.

(You can use as guide a flat bar 3mm)

4. Do tack welds at the two upper side corners.

5. Release the clamps and the vise grips and remove the down tube.

Measure the diagonals between (left up corner - right down corner) & (right up corner - left down corner) to see if the measures are equal.

- If not, re adjusts.

- If yes, place/adjust the down tube complete tack welds.

6. At the up side of vertical tubes weld a piece of flat bar 40x3x60mm

7. Complete the welds and mark the centers at the front and back side of horizontal tubes.

They will needed later to installing the beds.

8. Prepare 2 pieces of flat bar 70x5x335mm and then weld at the inner side of the horizontal tubes as substructure for the beds.

9. Make 8 pieces from flat bar 40x5mm at rhomb shape to strengthen the joints of frame. (See the sketch at the photo). Leave 1mm gap between the marks of each piece for the wastage of cutting, or you can mark and cut one by one.

10. Weld the rhombuses according the plan at photo1

11. Installing the beds.

Now using the marks of step7 we find the centers at the beds substructure and do a hole 4.5mm and no deeper than 4.5mm.

12. Prepare the plates (120x8x150mm) that we will use for beds. Mark the orientation of the plates. Then using the first one as model, we make the five holes using the same orientation at all plates.

13. At the upper plate that we will use for jack base cut four M12 threads. Using a drill bit 4.5mm as guide we place the plate at the main frame onto the substructure. The hole at the plate's center is 4.5mm too. Adjust the plate and welded onto substructure only at the left/right sides.

14. Use the same method to install the second plate (Mold bed).

15. Truss

For the truss we will need two pieces 240mm of a rod ø10mm and one 185mm of a rod ø16mm and one piece of flat bar 40x5x100mm.

At the midle of flat bar 40x5x100mm do hole ø16.5mm and at the midle of upper tube do a hole ø16mm using

ø4-8-12-16/16.5mm drill bits.

Place the flat bar onto the tube, place adjust the ø16mm rod into the hole.

The bar must be supported on the underside of the tube and be perpendicular.

Tack welds the bar onto the tube and then weld.

Weld the rod around the hole at the flat bar.

Prepare the two ø10mm rod members of truss.

Place - adjust - tack welds - Weld.

Video: My Hydraulic Benchtop Press Main Frame-Hydraulic Jack-Frame Footings

Step 5: Hydraulic Jack


For Jack base we will use a piece flat bar 70x5x185mm with a hole at the middle about ø36mm and two holes ø12.5mm near the edges.

From the first hole would be pass the cylinder. The other two are for the supporting stud bolts (M12 x 220mm).

Also we will need two pieces of a pipe at the same height as the bottle of jack.

At the middle of flat bar, we mark two circles using a center punch ø3mm.

The bigger circle represents the hole that would be passing the cylinder.

The smaller circle will use as guide for the making of the holes that will be cut the big hole. We can refine the hole using a file or a grinding tool for better results.

Modifying Hydraulic Jack to works up-side down (with the method of extra oil container).

(I have modified two jacks one 2T and one 3T using two different hose fittings).

For this modification we will need a brass hose fitting, a piece of plastic pipe, and an extra oil container.

I removed the plastic plug from the jack. Under the plug was an ø8mm hole.

I decided to use a brass threaded fitting with ø6mm nozzle (because I had it).

For sealing I used one O-ring, a piece of copper sheet with an ø8mm hole, and one M8 stainless steel washer.

With the fill-port of jack at highest level, I filled with oil and waited till the air comes out.

For the extra oil container I used a bottle (250ml) from a refreshment juice.

At the upper side of bottle I made a small hole about 1.5mm (this hole is needed for the oil regression).

Step 6: Main Frame Footings

For the footing base we will use two pieces flat bar 70x5x290mm for brackets and four pieces from the same flat bar 70x5x35mm for footing pads.

We do the diagonal cuts as described at the plan and keep the cut out pieces, to use for supports.

Prepare the four pieces 70x5x35mm and do a hole 10mm

Place / adjust and tack weld the footing brackets onto the lower of frame. Proceed to welding.

Place / adjust and tack weld the footing pads onto the brackets edges.

Place / adjust the supports and keep in place using a vise grip. Do some tacks and weld.

Step 7: Movable Support

Before proceed with movable support must be leveling the jack so the cylinder to be perpendicular at both beds center at X and Y axis.

Cut a piece of flat bar 40x10x340 mm

mark all drilling points as described at plan

and then drill all marks using a ø3mm drill bit.

Cut two pieces 70mm from a 40x40x4mm angle iron (L).

Place align the pieces at the main frame as seen at photos.

Use a flat bar and two clamps as guide.

Mark the orientation of pieces and then tighten all together using the jack.

Use a center punch ø3mm and mark the two angle iron pieces.

Release the press and do an ø12mm hole at the two angle iron pieces over the marks using ø3-8-12mm drill bits.

Use a countersink to clean up the holes.

Abroach two nuts M12 using a ø12mm drill bit.

Cut the extra length at the angle iron pieces, don't need it any more, and round up the corners.

By the use of two flat bars as guide, some stock steel pieces and the jack to keep all in place, mount the movable support piece at the upper position, as well the axles, the axle’s bases and the nuts.

Do tack welds.

Release the jack - lower the main piece - adjust the axles - tack weld the nuts.

Complete the welds.

  • To securing Axles

I made an ø3mm hole into the axle next to the down side of the up base and pass through a stainless steel ø3mm pin from the hole.

Place the support bed (80x8x150mm) over the down bed and lower the main support piece till to touch over it.

Use a center punch or a drill bit ø3mm to centering the pieces passing through from they midle hole.

Adjust and be sure that the axes of the two pieces are parallel.

Using once again the jack tighten all together.

Mark the four holes using a center punch ø3mm.

Release the jack,

remove the support bed and put at its place the last piece of flat bar (40x10x160mm).

Place a flat bar at the back side of main frame with two clamps as guide.

Use the same procedure as at the previous step to mark the five holes.

No need the jack at this step, the flat bar at the back it is good enough to keep the two pieces in place correctly.

Drill the nine marks at the two pieces using an ø3mm drill bit.

Τhe smaller the diameter, the better the centering

  • Leave the middle hole at the three pieces temporarily ø3mm.
  • At the support bed increase the four holes to ø6mm.
  • Do a Countersink at the down side of holes. The depth of cone must be at least 3.3mm so can fit correctly the head of M6 bolt, but always I make it a little bit deeper (about 3.5mm).
  • At the upper piece (40x10x160mm) increase the four holes to ø6mm. Use a countersink to clean up the both edges of holes.

At the main support piece increase the four holes to ø5mm, clean up the edges of holes and using M6 taps, make / cut the threads.

Assembly movable support

Assembly the three pieces using four bolds M6x40mm and four nuts.

With the three pieces of movable support assembled,

Increase the middle hole from ø3mm to ø6.8mm,

and then make/cut a M8 thread using a M8 set taps.

For bushings

I decided
to use two pieces ø30x20mm with internal diameter 10mm that I had in stock, and I needed only to increase the internal diameter to 12mm.

For once again the jack will help us to complete and this task.

Place the bushing onto movable support’s flat bar and use an axle or a drill bit ø12mm to center the two pieces.

  • Place a pipe onto the middle of press bed
  • place the movable support with bushing and axle over the pipe
  • tighten all using the jack.

Make three welds about 12~15mm each

let it cool for a whille - release the jack - repeate the same task at the other side.

At the four corners of support bed, drill an ø10mm hole. The center of holes must be at 10mm distance from the edges.

For the returning of the jack at the zero point, I have use two pairs of tensions springs, one into the other.

Video: My Hydraulic Benchtop Press Movable Support

Step 8: Add Ons and First Tests

Bending Die I.

Suitable for bending flat, square bars, rods and sheet metals.

Punch / Male Die

For this making I used a piece of steel ø24mmx85mm.

It is a very simple make and need only a hole with a M8 thread. (By the same way we can make a punch at any dia).
I haven't a lathe, so I used my Circle Center Finder Tool, to find the center that would become the hole.

If you interested for this build you can view my instructable:

DIY Circle Center Finder Tool, Stainless Steel Made

Using my drill press made the needed ø6.8mm hole starting with ø4mm drill bit and threading a M8 thread.

  • Cut the head of an M8x40mm bolt, and screw two M8 nuts at the thread.
  • Using two wrenches (Num.13) tighten reversely between them till locked
  • Using a wrench screw the thread at the punch
  • Loosen / remove the nuts.
  • Screw the punch's thread at the support's bed.

Forming / Bending Female Die

In use with the punch and a piece of rod can do bends at vary radius, according the rod diameter.

For this make we will need a plate 80x150x8mm 2 pieces of rod ø20x100mm and 2 pieces from flat bar 40x5mm at rhomb shape.

Place/adjust and tack weld the rods near the edges onto the plate and then tighten using the press or the vise. Weld with two tack welds about 35mm. Let it cool down and weld the other side of rods. Let it again to cool down and straighten the plate using the press.

With the male die attached at the support bed place the female die at the press bed, lower it and centering using two pieces of flat bar 3mm, and tighten the press. Remember the punch dia is 24mmm, plus 6mm the two pieces of flat bar, total 30mm. The gap between the two rods at female die is 30mm too (see the plan). Place the rhomb pieces, mark and drill the holes (ø9mm), secure the rhombus at the bed's holes with M8 bolts/nuts. Weld two tack welds about 15mm.

Release/remove the female die from press, turn it upside down, and using a cutting disk 3mm make a groove about 4mm till the root of the welds.

Place it again at the bed, screw the bolts and tighten the press.

Before proceed to welding oiling the axles to protect them from splatters.

Weld filling weld at each groove.

Let it to cool down.

Use a flap grinding wheel to grind the welds and refine with a file.

First tests

  • 2T jack - flat bar 3mm - 90° bend - ok
  • 2T jack - stainless steel sheet metal at thickness 0.70mm (used at punch die: rod ø10, ø20 & square bar 10mm) - 90° bend with big radius - ok
  • 2T jack - flat bar 40x5mm - 90° bend - ok
  • 3T jack - flat bar 70x5mm - 90° bend - ok

Bending Die II.

Forming / Bending Female Die

For this make we will need a plate 120x150x8mm,and 2pieces of angle iron (L profile) 25x25x3x150mm. Place/adjust the angle iron pieces onto the plate leaving a gap 3mm between them using a piece of flat bar 3mm thick. Tighten using the press and a pice of steel stock. Weld tack welds at the outer sides and let it cool down. Remove the flat bar and weld tack welds at the inner sides. Refine the welds at the inner joint of angle iron pieces using at first a flat file and then a triangle file.

I made from a 0.90mm thick galvanized sheet metal, two load supports with a load guide at the back one, for repeatable tasks. This add on is optional but I think that is very helpful and too easy to made. Needed a piece of threaded rod M6 about 200mm, 2 bolts & 3 nuts M6, 2 bolts & 2 nuts M5, a piece of aluminum profile as at the photos, and a piece of ø3mm stainless steel rod about 50mm.

Punch / Male Die

For this make we will need one plate 80x165x8mm for base, one plate 80x150x8mm for blade, and 2pieces of square bar 14x14x150mm to securing the blade onto the base.

Place the first one piece of the square bar onto the base at 22mm distance from edge and use the press to keep it in place. Weld tack welds at the short edges. Release the press, place the blade and check/adjust the perpendicularity and tighten using the press.

Place the second piece of square bars in place and secure it using two vise grips (square bar-blade-square bar). Weld three tuck welds at each pair of square bar/base.

Release the press, place 2pcs of rod ø20x100mm onto the middle of square bars and tighten by press. Weld four tuck welds at each pair of square bar/blade.

Let it cool down.

Make four ø9mm holes at the base, according the dimensioning of the holes at the movable support bed.

Sharpening the Blade

Paint the blade with Aniline paint about 20mm from the edge at both sides. (You can make it using 400ml Alcohol, 50ml Shellac, 20ml Aniline and a very good shake, until dissolved the shellac completely).

Place the male die onto vice using a rectangular piece of stock steel at the blade's edge. Mark a line at 10mm distance from the blade's edge using as guide a plate 10mm thick and then mark a second line at 8mm distance from the blade's edge using as guide a plate 8mm thick.(see plan and photos). Do the same at the opposite side.

At the blade down side, mark two lines at 2mm distance from the edges, and one at the middle.

Place the blade vertically at the vice. Using a grinder with a new 3mm cutting disc, grind the blade at the both sides till the line of 8mm, slowly and carefully.

Using a file refine the grinding till the line of 10mm at the both sides.

By the eye, refine the grinding at the down side creating an acme of 2mm.

First tests

  • Galvanized Sheet Metal at 0.90mm thickness - 90° bends - ok

Video: My Hydraulic Benchtop Press Add ons

Step 9: Behind the Scenes

As we say at my country

"Whoever has no mind has legs"

I forgot to drill the four holes at the bed before welding at the main frame and unfortunately my hand drill it was away at my home at town. My home shop is at my summer place and too away from town.

So I decided to give a try, using the drill press.

The first two holes (the left at back and the right at frond) it was the easy ones, but the other two it wasn't so easy.

The space between the wall and drill press it wasn’t adequate and the handles of drill press hitch on over the frame.

So i decided to remove the three handles and replace them with two bolts M8x80.

Lower the drill press, and adjust the frame so the drill bit to can be passing through freely into the bed's ø3mm hole.

Tighten the clamp's bolts.

Place an ø10mm drill bit at the chuck, and drill the hole.

By the same way drill the rest three holes.

Video: My Hydraulic Benchtop Press Behind the Scenes

Thanks for your reading.

Good Luck if you try it.

Never say I can't do it.

Necessity is the mother of invention.


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