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Uses for a 12-ton air-hydraulic jack

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  • Uses for a 12-ton air-hydraulic jack

    I have one of these (cheap import) air-hydraulic jacks that I picked up in almost unused condition from an estate sale with a bunch of other stuff a few years ago. Paid $25-30, I forget. I've never owned one before, and have never used one. The hydraulic press in my shop is one I home-built from 6" channel a good forty years ago, using a Sears 12-ton bottle jack. I have never plumbed a guage into this manual jack. I have thought of swapping-in the new air-hydraulic jack, and plumbing-in a guage so I have some idea where I'm at when turning the valve on the input air. The thing Iike about my manual jack is that I can sort of "guage" the degree of press by how hard it is to push the handle. But as I think of it, the new jack can also be used manually . . . .

    What uses, if any, have you guys found that these air-hydraulic jacks do particularly well? I rarely use bottle jacks under cars, since I have a good selection of swing-arm car jacks. As of now, this air-hydraulic jack just gathers dust. Of course, as with all Chinese tools, you have to hope you are lucky and get an example that doesn't [email protected]

    It looks about like this one, maybe same thing:
    Last edited by old jupiter; 02-19-2016, 01:50 PM.

  • #2
    I have a 20 ton harbor freight jack. Someday I'd like to put an air over oil hydraulic bottle jack like yours on it to speed up bending operations, when I am doing a bunch of pieces. There is no downside to it, because you can still use the lever for manual bending operations when you want more control.

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    • #3
      I have a 20 ton Vulcan hydraulic press that I bought some 20 years ago at the old Post Tool store. It's similar to the Harbor Freight units except it has extra plates welded in to make it stronger. I used it until recently with the standard hand-pumped bottle jack. I changed to the 20 ton air-over-hydraulic unit that HF sells because it was on sale for $59.95. I had to make a base for it, since it hung over the cross brace a bit. It works very well indeed with air and you can also hand pump if if you wish. Set at 100 psi, it's very powerful. The H.F. unit is very well made. They only need an occasional shot of oil in the air intake to keep them working nicely.

      I also got a SWAG Off-road press brake kit. Once welded together, it makes nice bends in sheet metal and up to 1/4" X 2" strap. You can't go wrong converting to air-over-hydraulic. I wish I had done it sooner. Photos of the air unit and the press brake. I made the base under the brake from 1-1/4" A-36 scrap.

      I don't know how to make the photos open here like they will on other sites.

      Air unit and press.

      Press brake and base.
      Last edited by Synchroman; 02-21-2016, 09:41 PM.
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      • #4
        Hey, thanks Synchroman. I have a hand-operated press-brake for light-guage sheetmetal (it's a part of one of those 3-in-1 HF sheetmetal tools), but I can see yours having far more capability. You call it a SWAG kit; is that a company name, or did you mean that you built it yourself? It looks simple enough, and useful, and it certainly looks like an accessory that would make compressed air operation of the press really shine.

        Here's the HF 30" version of the above-mentioned tool. Maybe they no longer sell the 40" version. It's like a lot of HF stuff, you have to do some manual detailing and make your own up-grades before you have a decent amateur-grade tool.

        That settles it; I'll put the new air-jack on my press. I thought maybe guys would be coming up with other uses that hadn't occurred to me, and maybe they will, but Synchroman has sold me. Thanks again.
        very interesting.

        (EDIT) Okay, I found the SWAG Off-Road tool site; interesting.
        Last edited by old jupiter; 02-22-2016, 12:47 PM.