Arbor presses are extremely versatile tools that can be used in a wide range of professions. Jewelers, clothes-makers, automotive mechanics, and metalworkers are just a few people who could find value in an arbor press, but even the DIY-hobbyist can use an arbor press for everyday press jobs. Arbor presses range in tonnage – from 5 pounds of force for precision jobs to 5 tons for heavy-duty machinery.
An arbor press does its magic with the help of a rack gear and a long handle which moves up and down to deliver and release force. The lower plate rotates to allow different fits for different jobs. Adjustments can be done by using the push pins found on the plate. All of these components put together within a durable cast iron or steel frame make up an arbor press.
In this article, we’ll go over the steps of one of the most basic applications an arbor press is used for: pressing bearings together.
Step 1 – Preparation
Before we get started, it’s always a good idea to put on the right protective gear, especially when working with machinery that exerts a tremendous amount of force. When you have your gloves and eye-protection on, lay out all of the necessary tools and materials, so you have easy access to them when needed.
Step 2 – Placing the Part You’re Working With
When putting together a replacement bearing for a machine, you need to put the bearing assembly on the lower plate of the arbor press.
Remember that the bearing should be placed upside down and in line with the correct-size hole of the lower press. If the assembly is placed right-side-up or misaligned with the lower plate, then you run the risk of sticking the part of the bearing you want to be replaced. If this happens, unfortunately, you’re left with only one option: purchase a new bearing assembly.
Step 3 – Releasing the Bearing
The next thing to do is adjust the press so the rack gear can be dropped down onto the push pins found on the lower plate. Make sure that the push pins are positioned correctly for whatever job you need to do.
After adjusting the push pins, it’s time to lower the handle and press the bearing out of the assembly piece. When doing this, be sure that you exert only enough force to remove the bearings from the assembly piece since pulling the handle too quickly or delivering far too much force can damage the assembly plate or even your arbor press.
Step 4 – Positioning the Assembly Piece
After pulling the handle back up, you can now safely remove the assembly piece. Turn it right-side-up and check to see that the opening is spotless and there are no damage marks or scratches. The assembly part is now ready to be placed on top of the replacement bearings on the lower plate. Line up the holes with the bearings by adjusting the push pin. You want to use a larger hole than the bearings so everything can be fit together with ease.
All we have left to do is push the handle back down. Turn the handle and deliver enough force, so the replacement bearings drop right into their proper holes. If everything was lined up correctly, the replacement bearings should have been inserted into the assembly piece correctly and are ready to be installed in whatever piece of machinery it belongs.
Troubleshooting Your Arbor Press
Putting together a new bearing is one of the most basic tasks you can do with an arbor press. However, if for some reason you’ve followed the four-step process above but have yet to yield a perfect replacement bearing, then there are several aspects of your arbor press you need to check.
Before purchasing an arbor press, make sure that the unit can deliver sufficient power for the job. Depending on the size of the bearing, you might only need 0.5- or 1-ton of force, but bearings for industrial-grade machinery will most likely require greater amounts of force.
If the press is cracking, denting, or damaging the object in any way, then either you have misaligned the object on the lower plate, or the alignment of the press has been ruined (can happen after a fall). Depending on the model of your arbor press, disassembling and putting it back together may not be too big of a challenge, but for heavy-duty maintenance, consult the manufacturer or a professional.
If you feel that the press isn’t catching properly when pulling the handle, this could be an indication that the gears are stripped. This is commonly found in presses where users exert far too much force without the proper adjustments or unseen rust. In any case, it’s more than likely that you’ll need to replace the arbor press, but you can consult your arbor press’ manufacturer to see if they have replacement parts available.
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