Troubleshooting an Arbor Press

An arbor press is device that is used to force parts into place within machines and onto other objects. Small arbor presses can be used to force diamonds onto jewelry bands, frets onto guitars and bullets into their shell casings; while larger presses can be used to mount bigger things such as bearings into wheels. It is not uncommon for people to have issues with these presses either due to operator error or machine malfunctions. Below is a list of three things to check if encountering any problems with an arbor press.

Make Sure There Is Enough Power for the Job

Arbor presses vary greatly and some will provide more tonnage or pressure when being operated than others. If a part will not come out of or go into an assembly when using the press, there is a chance that one might simply need a stronger press. Another possibility is that the handle needs to be adjusted. Most arbor presses have handles that can be extended so that the operator can provide more leverage to it. This will increase the pressure being applied to the push pin below.

Check the Alignment

If the press is continually cracking or denting the object that is supposed to be receiving a part, or if the part refuses to settle into place; check the alignment of the press. Specifically, check to make sure the part being installed is perfectly aligned with the assembly. If not, the force from the push pin of the arbor press will be applied to the wrong area and can cause damage. The same principle applies if a bearing or part is being removed from an assembly. However, in the case of removal, also check the bottom plate (also called the die plate) of the press. Confirm that the part that is being removed is both directly above the hole in the bottom plate, and that the hole is big enough to allow the piece to fall through. If not, the part could be crushed by the press. If this happens, it could expand lodging itself in the machine and causing internal damage.

Check the Gears

If the press is feels like it is not catching properly when the handle is pulled, or if the pin is not applying the amount of pressure it should when the handle is being pulled, the gears may be stripped. This is a problem that occurs to old presses and presses that have been over-exerted. In the case of an old press, the teeth may have simply rusted or corroded to the point of failure. Over-exertion is caused when too much pressure is applied to the press and the handle breaks away from the gears. In the case of over-exertion, it is likely that the frame of the press will also crack. In either case repairs will be difficult. A cracked frame can be welded back together, but if the gears are broken, it may be easier to simply replace the press all together. If the press is hydraulically powered, there loss of strength may be the result of a leak or blockage in the hydraulic line. Check the hoses and replace them if necessary.