DIY Vertical Press / Printing / Surface Press

In this video I will make a vertical press which could be used for wood and lino cut printing, embossing, pressing plant speciesism, pressing recycled HPDE flat, or even general wooden block and veneer glue-ups.
I did a bit of research and found a few designs I liked the look of. I imagine the first press one has a thick piece of metal recessed between the two piece of ply at the top.

In any case I’m going to make my own version as the price tags of these are quite high. I’m going to use a similar method to the vertical CNC stand I tried to make in November 2015, using threaded rod with large flanged nuts to create the structure.

The first thing I’m doing is cutting some 12mm threaded rod for the four columns, and a fifth for the pressing screw. But as long as they are more or less the same size you

I then cut the pieces for the top, bottom and plunging sections of the press, making sure to batch the cuts so all the pieces are identical.

In this case I made all the 400mm cuts first and the 313mm afterwards. This is going to be an A4 Press.

I also cut some straight edges with the offcuts. I will clamp against these which will help me pull the board flat when gluing.

I set up a stop block on the pillar drill and made the 12mm holes for the rods about 30mm in. Then you have to flip it around this way to keep it in proportion and blow any dust away. Again you want to complete this part of the process in one go in case something moves and you loose alignment.

Ok so this is going to be the bottom section of the press.

I glue the bottom section, using the threaded rods to help hold the pieces in place, and then clamp that against the straight edges. If you have a nail gun you can whack a few brads in to stop it sliding around.

The base isn’t as flatter as I’d like. I guess if I had glued more layers of thinner sheet material, the straight edges could have pulled the surface flatter. But I’ll just add some 18mm MDF between the base and the plunging plate at a later stage.

I’m going to work on the plunging section of the press now.

I decided to drill the guide holes of the plunging section to the same diameter as some copper pipe I had. The original 12mm holes were too small and would snag. The pipe or bushing should help the section move across the threaded rod a little more easily. I use a pipe cutter to cut the copper into 36mm lengths, and a deburring tool to clear out the end.

I then glued the two pieces together, clamped them and while the glue was still wet pushed the copper pieces into their openings.

I now need to bed a M12 stud connectors nuts into the top piece of the press. I first glue and nail these together, and then drill a hole the size as the narrowest piece of the connector nut. This was about 18mm. You could use a threaded rod with washers to push the nut into place but I decided to use a lump mallet.

This was a bit silly because the nut went in at a slight angle so I had to take this out, and file two opposite surfaces to compensate for this. If this is not in square the plunger will snag on the threaded rod columns.

I also cut two pieces of square ply, which will make the section the pressing screw is attached too. I was going to use an E clip but decided for a simpler method using what I had available. I glued and tapped one of the flanged nuts at the end of the rod.

I’m going to file the end down just to flatten it off.

I then drilled a holes with a large 35mm forstner bit, into either side of the two square pieces I had cut to equal the thickness of the flanged nut and two washers. This was about 6mm on one side and 17mm on the other. One piece also had a 12mm hole for the threaded rod.

That fits in there – and there’s wiggle room. What I’m going to do now is put some grease in there so this can turn and put pressure against here – and a bit at the top of this as well so it doesn’t grind the metal down.

So the next thing I need to do is drill a 12mm hole in the centre of this bit of aluminium and a few holes around this which will allow me to clamp (bolt) this to the top of the press.

This is going to stop the stud connector I hammered in earlier from popping out – like a hernia. It would have been a lot more elegant if I had tapped a thread on this plate, and recessed it between the ply – like the example from the beginning.

I am now assembling the various parts of the press – using the press itself to glue the two parts of the plunging plate together.

I then fix the aluminium plate to the top of the press, and secure a final stud connector to use with a ratchet as the tightening handle.

I squashed a little bit of sweet geranium and its clear the press can apply a lot of pressure. I’m planning to make some woodcuts with the CNC machine I’m building and then use those with the press.

It smells good as well. You can see the juices have come out.

Anyway I should also announce that I have set up an Etsy page which I’ll use to sell digital files along some of my videos. So, for example if you’d like to purchase the collection of digital files for the press you can visit my webpage – link in the card and description –
and there you will receive a fusion 360 files of the plates, as well as an Autocad DXF and a SVF vector file, which you should be able to use as reference – taking measurement off or with a CNC machines to cut out your own parts.

I’ve had some interest from people over time who’ve wants plans for some of the things I’ve built, and I’ve normally ignored them but in my old age, I’m a little wise, and a little more patient for things like this now. I’ve also put the Cam Clamp files online and there’ll be extra things including the swan pushing stick and so on.

Anyway thanks again for watching and checking out my Etsy page. Please sacrifice a thumb to the algorithm god of you haven’t done so already and I’ll catch you at the next one.

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