Homemade Ironworker Plans/Ideas?
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  1. #1
    Perk is offline Cast Iron
    Join Date
    May 2004


    Has anyone built an Ironworker from scratch? I’m thinking 50-ton minimum. I have a bunch of heavy structural steal so that would keep the cost down. Another option I was thinking about was making a scaled down unit that would fit in a 75-ton press (motor driven pump). A little advice would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Doug is offline Diamond
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Pacific NW


    How about using Unipunch and Unitttol punching and shearing tooling in your 75 ton press.

    That's what I do.

    They aren't exactly cheap, they come up at auctions once in awhile for reasonable prices though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    suburbs of Ann Arbor, MI, USA


    The ironworkers I've been around were built of heavy Plate. The structure has to be significantly stronger (actually designing for stiffness here) than the press tonnage at hand.

    Also there are very large pins/bushings for the pivot points. Attention must be paid on how the load is transferred to the punch & dies without side-loading or misaligning them.

    I think it could be done, I have seen smaller mobile punching stations built that are rolled on-site for the lighter end of structural steel fabrication.

    Thinking hydraulics you'll have money in a pump, motor, reservoir, control valve(s), cylinder, and lines. Depending on what you can scrounge will pay a large part in the end cost. I am not sure if you can have enough motor/flow at high pressure to help speed things up.

    Taking careful sizing notes on an existing design is probably the best bet, followed by a chest of cash. IMHO it's not as easy as it seems at first.


  4. #4
    surplusjohn is offline Diamond
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Syracuse, NY USA


    2 ideas, shop for a good used unit. or if youhave the room, use a series of punch presses which can be had practically free these days. depending on your work load and versitility needed you can either set up one each for shearing, punching, angle shear, etc. or set up one with easy slide on dies, I did this. One advantage of a mechanical press is that is is very fast. In hydralics speed = $, the faster the press the more expensive the pump set up. a fast pump can be 10 times the cost of a slow pump. I know some iron workers are slow as sin for this reason.

  5. #5
    swellwelder is offline Hot Rolled
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Valley City, ND USA


    I built my first ironworker about 6 years ago, using mostly 10"channel for the main frame,(It was what I had a lot of, and wanted to see how well it would work before I spent big bucks!) and 2" plate for the upper and lower blade mounts It has a 50" capacity, will shear up to 1/2" mild steel, also has a punch station, capacity 1" hole in 3/4" mild steel. Uses a single 5"x 18" hydraulic cylinder and a 2 stage pump on a 2hp motor. All the later ones I have built I have used 1" plate for the frame and still 2" for the blade mounts.

    Dale Nelson

  6. #6
    Richard Rogers's Avatar
    Richard Rogers is offline Titanium
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Bentley, Louisiana


    swellwelder's never posted a pic of the legendary machine either. I'd really really like to see it

    QUIT teasing me! [img]smile.gif[/img]


  7. #7
    snowman is online now Diamond
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Southeast Michigan


    i started to consider this, but when i started to calculate what the steel would cost, i decided it's easier to wait and watch the auctions and get a machine that is properly designed.

    if i went to the scrap yard a lot, i could probably do it for a reasonable price...but at the price of steel right now, it's almost cheaper to just buy a used unit and rebuild the cylinder and pump.


  8. #8
    Kevin Beitz is offline Plastic
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    I'm building one now... It's my own idea. One inch steel table top with the cly coming in from the side.
    It will also have a whole in the table with a gearbox under it for bending dies.


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