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Hydraulic Skateboard Press

March 16, 2013

Many of you have been asking about our hydraulic longboard press design.   Where did we get it?  Where can you get one like it?  Actually, we made it ourselves and we had a lot of fun doing it!  We wanted to throw up a quick post, to provide a few more details to help you get started if you are interested in building your own.

When we decided to upgrade to a hydraulic pressing system, we were looking to buy—we never intended to build our own.  However, we quickly realized that many of the commercially available skateboards presses wouldn’t work for us.  Most units come welded together as one massive unit.  The fact that our skateboard shop is in the basement complicated things.  Every piece of equipment, all raw materials, and all completed boards have to come in and out through a tight staircase, the top of which is guarded by narrow doorway and a sharp turn.  Trying to navigate a one-piece steel hydraulic press, capable of applying 50+ tons of pressure to a stack of veneers, down a tight staircase would have been virtually impossible.  After some thought, we decided to try building our own.  Our key goal was to make it relatively easy to transport, while at the same time maintaining the performance and high pressures needed to produce a quality longboard.

We chose to use the basic H-frame press design.  The  design consists of two large stationary horizontal beams on the top and bottom.  These beams are bolted onto two vertical tubular sections.  At third horizontal beam, located in the center of the press, can slide up and down.  The vertical tubular sections act as a guide and ensures that the mobile beam tracks properly.  The pressing action occurs between the top horizontal beam and the middle horizontal beam.  The press opening is fifty inches by twelve inches and allows a skateboards mold up to 48”x12” fits easily into this opening. A picture of the completed press is shown below.  Notice the bolts that hold the separate members of the press together.  The entire press can be dis-assembled and transported by two people.  The heaviest member is 125 pounds.



Assembled press with skateboard molds installed.

The structural components consisted of standard A36 structural steel (C-channel, tubular, bar, and sheet).  These sections can be obtained and cut to length at most steel service centers.  High strength A490 bolts ordered from Fastenal were used to fasten all structural components.  Bolt holes in steel sections were formed using a punch (to mark the precise drilling location) and a drill press.  Two 40-ton hydraulic rams from and a hydraulic hand-pump from Fox Hydraulics were used.  Hydraulic hoses rated at 10,000psi and a y-splitter were used to connect hand-pump to hydraulic rams.


Drilling hydraulic ram baseplate for installation on press.


Drilling 1” steel plate to be fastened where hydraulic ram contacts middle moveable beam.


Side View of fully assembled press.

There you have it!  An 80-ton hydraulic skateboard press that is portable, can be easily assembled with a pair of wrenches, and can be made with a drill press.  If you have any further questions or find this post helpful please email us to let us know!

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