The spendy part of Knifemaking


"The Montana Bladesmith"
After months of the cylinder leaking, it finally got bad enough that I had to do something. The heart of Orange Crush is now in intensive care. :)

I'm bracing for when the hydraulic shop calls me with the estimate to overhaul it..... I suspect it ain't gona be cheap to overhaul a 10" X 18" stoke cylinder....... but, it's the price of being a Bladesmith.

That darn cylinder is HEAVY..... but I'm not a young pup anymore either! :)

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hopefully all it needs is a piston kit and a rod gland kit. Is it an agricultural cylinder, or an industrial cylinder like a Parker Hannifin?
I am really surprised at you Ed you usually come up with a way too make it work better must be Elk season is too close :)
Most of my hydraulics knowledge came from growing up on the farm..... in those days 3" was a "big" cylinder. I can "map out" the components to build a press....but I think I know just enough to be dangerous trying to overhaul a cylinder myself! :)
The tricky part of doing your own hydraulics is access to parts and knowing what you have. Most often, it is way cheaper to let somebody fool with it who does it for a living.

Ag cylinders (agricultural: the round body cylinders you see on tractors, track hoes, log splitters, etc) are not always rebuildable. They are also not always standard and very rarely have any tag on the side with the information you'd need to order parts. You really have no option other than to send them to a place that works on them because those guys will know how to get the critical dimensions they need to order parts. They do this every day.

Industrial cylinders are the ones you see with square heads and caps and tie rods. These are designed to be rebuilt on site in factories by the maintenance crew. They are built to industry specs and standard parts are readily available and fairly inexpensive. The flip side is that these cylinders cost a king's ransom to purchase compared to Ag cylinders.

If you ever find yourself in the position of buying a new cylinder, buy a replacement seal kit (piston kit and rod gland kit) at the same time so that you will always know what you need years later, long after you've forgotten all the details and the tag on the cylinder get painted over or falls off.
Most often, it is way cheaper to let somebody fool with it who does it for a living.

It funny how it works..... when I was younger, I did EVERYTHING myself.... from fixing our cars/trucks, to building whatever I needed. As I've gotten older, I've changed my tune. Now a days I'd rather pay someone else to do what I don't want to. :)
WHEW! Now I'm getting nervous. I stopped by the hydraulic shop this morning to check in on the cylinder..... They are not sure yet IF this one can be repaired. If it can, the estimate is $800-$900. Just in case they can't I'm already looking for a replacement cylinder...... and I think the only way to get one of the size I need, is to have it custom made. If I have to go that route, then it's gona be painful. :)
Ed, if you want it to be less painful, start thinking about it in Knife units... how many blades do I have to sell to do this. In your case that's only one! And you love making knives!
YOUR ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Around this household, we always do just that..... OK.... it's gona cost I gotta make..... XX knives to pay for it! :)

As soon as I got home I started beating the bushes for a replacement cylinder, just in case mine can't be repaired..... (Thanks John for that link....that was one of the first places I looked, but can't find anything larger then 6"..... I need 8" or larger to keep the tonnage and pressures where I want them) I have found one "possible" so far. In fact even if they can repair mine, I might just buy another cylinder to have on hand. Anything I could get outside of a "custom built" cylinder would have to be modified to work on Orange Crush anyway.
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Ed, I'm hijacking your thread, but since i was reading it, what's a good stroke size for a hydraulic press? Will be doing damascus billets and maybe some blacksmithing stuff with it.

Personally, I wouldn't go less then 18" stroke. My thought process is that it's far better to have more stroke on a press then you need, rather then not have it....and need it. :)

Making feather pattern comes to mind..... gotta fit a long billet to cut lengthwise, and the same length or more hot cut.... at least for most folks. :)

More important, if you're building a press, get the biggest diameter bore cylinder you can..... more power with less pressure. I consider 6" bore the minimum to use on a forging press. I'm not willing to take the chances that go along with smaller cylinder/higher pressure setups.
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Ed, I'm wondering if it isn't worth a call to Motion? I doubt an 8" bore is anything that would be stocked anywhere for anything. But just because it's a special order doesn't always mean it will cost that much more. Almost all industrial cylinders are built to order except for the super common sizes. The companies I used to deal with didn't charge more for ordering a given size, there just isn't any reason to have one that big sitting on a shelf. Add to this, why build it ahead of time when they have no idea what kind of mount the customer wants, threaded rod end, type of seals, etc.

Just a thought, but if you do have to order one I wonder what the cost difference would be to go the full monty and get a tie rod cylinder so that you can easily replace the seals next time without having to send it off. Tie rod cylinders are more expensive, no doubt, but only you know what the life expectancy is on your press. If you had to replace it three more times, all of a sudden buying the cadillac version makes sense when seal kits are probably 100 bucks for both the piston kit and the rod gland kit. Doing a rebuild on a tie rod cylinder is child's play.

Just thinking out loud for anyone else who may be following. I'm sure you've thought about this 100 times already.
Thanks John! Good idea. I'll give them a call and see what they say...... never know till ya try! :)
found a source maybe. this is one end of the spectrum 8" bore, 24" stroke, all welded construction this is the other end, sounds like you spec it they build it, no idea of price. my experience with Parker at the office was a product that ran 24/7 for years. never had issues with the cylinders, mostly with valves and the electrics that directed them
link to parker catalog
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I called motion industries, and just emailed them the specs, so we'll see what comes. Seemed like nice folks when I was talking to them on the phone.

When it rains, it pours!! We hit 25F last night, and when I walked into the Blacksmith shop this morning it seemed awful cool. Circulating pump went out on the in floor hot water heating system. DANG IT! Luckily it just means another cartridge for the Taco pump..and the weather for next week indicates a "warm up" into the 50s. Down side is that it'll be an all day job to drain down the system, replace the pump motor, and then refill/chemical/pressurize the system. Guess I should be glad.... this will be the first pump motor replacement in 12 years. :)
You don't have isolation valves on either side of the hydronic pump assembly? That is a standard detail for every HVAC pumping system I've ever designed. Saves big on draining down the system for standard maintenance.