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Vintage Homemade Crystal Press.............refurbished.


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I purchased a cheap Chinese crystal press when I took up watch repairing/refurbishing a few years ago, this was one of the lever operated type with nylon dies. This has served me very well, but there are some jobs that a screw type of press is far better for because of the more sensitive control.

Being a canny Scot, I kept an eye on eBay for a second hand Robur or Horotec and stumbled across this antique home made press for £14 delivered.


The engineer in me immediately saw the potential, all it needed was stripped down, modified to take new dies and repainted.

The other thing that was required was a set of new aluminium dies, so after a search on AliExpress I purchased these for £26 delivered from China.


Right, down to business.

(1) Modify the lower die holder to accept the 6mm threaded alloy dies.


(2) Make an adaptor to fit the bottom of the ram with a 6mm thread to take the dies.

(3) Machine the lower end of the pillar to give clearance for the largest die.


(4) Accurise the dies to ensure that the faces are parallel. Many were slightly out of truth.



(5) Remove paint and rust from press, paint and polish.


(6) Reassemble.


Total cost of complete set £40.................well pleased!



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PS didn't know you had a lathe. Wish I had room for one

Wouldn't be without it CB, I also have a lightweight milling machine. I put together a machine shop when I was building target pistols many years ago, now it so handy for both my motorcycle and horology interests.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks great Geo, nice work. It reminds me that I bought a press very similar to yours meaning to convert it to take various dies I already have. You've inspired me to have another look at it, although I'll have to try and figure out a way to do it without the use of any similar equipment :). Not that easy when you're not particularly mechanically minded! Thanks for sharing.


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  • 4 weeks later...

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