What is an Arbor Press Used for?

Although arbor presses are never the centerpiece of any manufacturing company, you’ll find them as the most popular “support equipment” in many large industries.

But what is an arbor press used for, you might wonder. The real question should be what can’t this small yet versatile machine do? They can handle all kinds of press-fit tasks such as pressing dowels, straightening metal, installing bearings and bushings, and installing and removing components like- arbors, rivets, and bearings. They can also be used for light riveting, staking, reloading bullets punching holes in leather, broaching keyways and so much more.

Read the whole article if you want to know more about this wonderful press machine.

What is an Arbor Press Used for

What is an Arbor Press?

Arbor press is a type of machine that is generally used for fine detailed work and the installation of bearings. The main target of using an Arbor Press is to apply extreme downward mechanical pressure accurately and efficiently between two items.

This small hand-operated press is mostly used for compressing any item or installing and removing components like- arbors, rivets, and bearings.

It also excels at smaller jobs like staking, installing, riveting, configuring, and removing other press fit works. Its simple mechanism is quite easy to operate and can save you hours of beating and pounding on an object.

Like many other heavy-duty pressing machines, arbor presses are also rated according to the load they can exert on an item. So, a 2-ton arbor press means it will be able to apply 2 tons of pressure.

There are mainly 3 types of arbor press. The single-leverage ones are smaller in size and can apply pressure from 1-3 tons. Compound leverage ones are heavy-duty large presses that can apply from 6-15 tons of pressure.

Lastly, a ratchet leverage arbor press can apply 3-5 tons of pressure on any given object. This leverage is achieved when a force is applied to the lever or arm wheel. The accurate operation and small press make these perfect for any sort of precision work.

Types of Arbor Press

1. Single Leverage

single leverage arbor press

These machines consist of only 3-4 moving parts (handle, pinion/spindle, rack/ram, and frame), making them the simplest kind of arbor press among all others. They are widely known for their efficiency and versatility. These can apply up to 1-3 tons of pressure upon any object.

The general applications of arbor presses include compressing any item or installing and removing components like- arbors, rivets, and bearings. Single-leverage arbor presses are mostly used for pressing small bushings or bearings. Due to their small size, they are also often used in leatherworking or jewelry making.

Although it can vary from model to model, they all come with an adjustable handle that can slide through the spindle to provide a comfortable operating position. This makes the machine much easier to use.  

2. Compound Leverage

Compound Leverage arbor press

If you want something a little heavier than a single leverage arbor press that offers more tonnage, this is just the thing for you. These double-leverage arbor presses come in a variety of 6-15 tons. Their compound mechanism makes it possible to apply higher pressure with minimum input.

This means you can achieve a lot more force without having to give much more effort than the other models. It comes with a sliding pin to engage and disengage the compound feature. Meaning that you can easily turn it into a single leverage if needed.

Compound leverage arbor presses consist of short sliding pins, long sliding pins, pawl, and lever weights. There is also a hand-operated break on it. Double leverage arbor presses are great to use in applications that require more pressure, like- larger gear boxes, electrical generator works, etc.

3. Ratchet Leverage

Ratchet lever arbor presses

Ratchet lever arbor presses are the most popularly known ones. They have a ratcheting function that places the pressure-applying handle at the most optimum position. For this reason, it’s really easy to apply pressure using this press.

Another great feature is the hand wheel that makes the rapid ram work. Ratchet lever arbor presses are great for broaching. Some of the models have extra daylight for long broaches and maintain pressure on the work even when ratcheting the handle.

Other models have deeper throats for larger diameter pressing, such as wheels or large work pieces.

Working Mechanism of an Arbor Press

The precise load application and smaller size often make the arbor press the first choice for many machine industries. The most common use of an arbor press is compressing an item or installing and removing a component.

Typical arbor presses come with a hand-operated hydraulic ram mounted inside a steel frame. The ram is usually driven by a rack and pinion. Depending on the task you want to perform, inserts, punches, and other tools may be added to the end of it.

When the ram is pumped, the press exerts a specific amount of pressure against an object. Next, the object is held in a place against the frame of the press so that it can’t move.

As the pressure keeps increasing, the parts give up at a point and pop free of their mounting location. During the installation process, the new part is pressed in place in the same way. While applying pressure, it’s crucial to align all the parts properly.

Otherwise, the immense pressure which is applied to them can destroy the part which is even slightly out of alignment. So, carefully inspect all the pieces before you start the force-applying process.

You usually won’t need to apply heat on any object placed on the press, but if you do, apply it sparingly. The heat along with the force placed on it can make the part come shooting out of its mounting location.

It can cause serious injury if you’re not careful enough. Arbor presses are usually mounted on a metal work bench, wall, or pedestal.

Read Also: How Many Feet of Wire Are in a House

What is an Arbor Press Used for?

Arbor presses are commonly used in many industries for their easy operation and versatility. In this segment, I’ll be discussing some of these industries and how an arbor press plays a role in them.

Metalworking Industry

Arbor press is considered a valuable tool in the metalworking industry as it can be used for assembly, repair work, and fabrication processes.

Some of the tasks it’s used for are- punching holes, removing or installing bushings, bending metal sheets, forming or straightening metal parts, and pressing bearings.

Woodworking Industry

In woodworking industries, this machine is used to press in dowels, assemble furniture joints, set hardware like hinges or knobs, and apply decorative features or designs over wooden surfaces.

An arbor press provides better precision and control over the force-applying process. That is why this is so popular in this industry.

Jewelry and Watchmaking Industry

Single-leverage arbor presses are often used in jewelry or watchmaking industries because of their smaller sizes. They are used for tasks like forming metal wire shapes, setting gemstones, assembling watches or jewelry components, resizing or repairing watches, embossing jewelry pieces, and so on.

Due to its precise control over force application, this press can handle delicate projects pretty well.

Fabrication and Customization

During the fabrication and customization process, this press can be used for shaping or bending metal brackets. They are also pretty good at imprinting designs on leather goods.

DIY and Small-Scale Applications

Many artists often use arbor press in their small-scale DIY works for its easy operating system.  This simple and small machine can be used for stamping leather crafts, creating metal jewelry pieces, installing eyelets in fabrics, or even assembling small-scale mechanical components.


What can you do with a 5-ton arbor press?

A 5-ton arbor press is designed to do light pressing jobs like staking, riveting, and installing/removing bearings. These are mostly single-leverage arbor press machines which are known for their smaller presses. Single-leverage arbor presses can also be used for pressing small bushings or bearings.

Due to their small size, they are also often used in leatherworking or jewelry-making industries. They can produce precise results suitable for any detailed or intricate projects.

What are the components of an arbor press?

The basic components of an arbor press are- a sturdy base, a vertical frame, a movable ram, an arbor (a cylindrical bar or rod), and a handle. The press is placed on the ram and then it holds the specific tool that applies pressure to your desired item.

However, these components can vary with the machine’s type and model. For example, the components of single leverage and compound leverage arbor presses wouldn’t exactly be the same. A single leverage press consists of a handle, pinion/spindle, rack/ram, and a frame.

On the other hand, there are short sliding pins, long sliding pins, pawl, and lever weights in a compound leverage arbor press.

What is the difference between an arbor press and a drill press?

Although both of these presses look quite similar, they should never be used for the same projects. Arbor presses are usually used for dealing with larger loads. So, using a drill press in that place might damage the machine instead.

It’s best to use a drilling press for creating, enlarging, or finishing holes. can handle all kinds of press-fit tasks such as pressing dowels, straightening metal, installing bearings and bushings, and installing and removing components like- arbors, rivets, and bearings.

What is a 50-ton press used for?

This sort of large-scale load capacity is typically found in hydraulic presses. A standard 50-ton Hydraulic Garage Press has an incredible capacity of pushing bearing into shafts, stamp work, bending, or flattening metal in a safe and efficient way.

They are available in an H-frame and Roll-frame configuration and can be powered by manual, air, or electric pumps. 


If you’re just starting your journey in this industry, an arbor press can be quite handy for you. This small yet precise press machine can be operated pretty effortlessly. Moreover, just using an arbor press can save you many hours of pounding and hammering objects.

You can simply use this to achieve the best result for any detailed work right at your home workshop or garage. If used properly, this machine can save you a lot of time and resources in the long run. Just remember to stay concentrated and take necessary safety measures while working with any press machines.

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