How to Make a Powerful Hydraulic Press




About: Here i feature various projects from my YouTube channel and website. i do lots of small office supply weapons and some small vehicles too and some stuff that might be used for science experiments. i try to d...

How to build a hydraulic press at home that can crush everything from metal cans to glass light bulbs. This quick DIY was a super fun project and great for science fairs or class projects on fluid and hydraulics. Check out the full video as well to see a quick assembly of the project

The Parts you will need are:

The tools you will need are:

  • Drill
  • Gluegun
  • hacksaw or reciprocating saw
  • 2 part epoxy

Step 1: Preparing the Base

To start off i get 4 pieces of plywood that i got from the dollar store. I stack 2 pieces on one another to make 2 thicker pieces of plywood. I then drill 5 holes on each side of the plywood. At this point i have 2 sheets of double thickness plywood with holes on both sides. One of these will be used to hold the syringes, the other will be put at the top of the press. The one used to hold the syringes will need to have slots cut out of it with a hacksaw or reciprocating saw.

Step 2: Building the Base

Next we need to put 5 dowels through each side side of the plywood. After that we need to also drill 5 holes in a piece of plywood that will be used as the base. we can then mount the piece with the dowels though it in the base. before mounting you should also add the piece that will slide up and down the tracks. this piece should be drilled with larger holes so it slides freely.

Step 3: Adding the Syringes

Next we can mount the double piece of plywood that belongs on the top. Secure all the pieces that are stationary with 2 part epoxy. After that we can mount the large syringes on the base. For the syringes be sure to use large ones because that gives us a mechanical advantage! Once all the syringes are mounted we can then mount the sliding piece to the syringe (it will probably disconnect when you start using so that’s not too important). I also mount some plywood to the bottom of the moving piece of plywood to strengthen it.

Step 4: Making the Water Splitter

Now we need to create a mechanism to divide water from 1 tube up into 4 different directions. For this i get a little plastic cup and epoxy a piece of wood to the top of it. I then drill 5 holes in that piece of wood for all of the tubes we will be adding. I then put in a 1 way valve in the middle hole and 4 tubes in the other holes. Make sure to put the one way valve in so that water will be able to enter but not exit.

IMPORTANT: there will be alot of pressure in this , not a dangerous amount but enough to cause leaks. I originally had leaks so to fix this i covered this entire water dividing mechanism in epoxy. Its not the best solution but because the wood allows some liquid to travel through it , i found the best solution was to empty a whole tube of dollar store epoxy a piece of cardboard, mix it up and cover the water splitter entirely in epoxy Once that’s done we can attach the tubes to the large syringes

Step 5: Making the Pump

To finish the project up we simply need to add our pump to it. To make our pump i simple mount a syringe on a piece of plywood. I then drill a hole into the syringe and mount another 1-way valve. This will let us draw water from the jar when we pull be when we are pushing the water will only be able to go into the press. The bottom end of the syringe should be connected to the 1 way valve on the press

Step 6: Test

To test the project fill the jar up with water and start pumping. when crushing things be sure to wear safety goggles just in case anything shatters. to reset the press detach the tubes from the syringe and reset the syringe back to their original positions. To see all the things i crushed with mine check out the video .

For more content like this check out with website and youtube chanel !



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    16 Discussions


    15 days ago

    Joshbuilds, A pretty cool project!

    Some questions though, what are all the sizes of your materials?
    Length x Width x Thickness of the plywood
    Diameter of the dowels and of the plastic tubes

    Also, what did you use for the cup at the top of the press?

    I have several students who want to do this project but I need to know what to purchase!

    By the way, I agree with "AndrewA167", safety is a big issue with me and I push that with my students all the time. Not to be mean but I used your video as a learning tool!!
    It demonstrates some of the unacceptable safety practices you used and we turned that into a classroom discussion!

    On a side note, I plan on making my students calculate the PSI that this press produces - that ought to be a fun addition!

    Thanks and I look forward to your response!


    24 days ago

    An interesting project, but I can't understand how you empty the cylinders after you've squashed something? There seems to be no way of emptying them except taking everything apart... :-/ The cuts on the video confirm this as the cylinders always start empty!

    6 replies

    Reply 23 days ago

    it takes a while to empty them out. the tubes that attach to the large pistons can be removed, they are only half be friction. after that I attach a new tube to the pistons and squeeze them out 1 at a time back into the jar. it can be messy because if the thing being crushed is pushing back then when you remove the tube it will shoot some water in the air.


    Reply 22 days ago

    If you reverse the one way valve, (or place it in the tube to the cylinders) you can reverse the system action to raise the plate.


    Reply 23 days ago

    Just make another connection between two tubes with another controllable valve. Make an air hole with controllable valve or plug. Open valve between tubes and air hole in first tube then push 4 cylinders.

    Or make a hole with a plug or valve to drop out water manually into something on second tube.


    Reply 23 days ago

    Syringes the pusher pops out - so it's easy to empty the driver, a bit harder to empty the four pushers because of the crushed thing. With nothing under the press, it would be simple - there's enough length in the dowels to pull the pushers out of the outer cylinder and thus drain the water. Not sure how they manage with something underneath (toy, Lightbulb is no problem).

    Did you consider using a jar with a screw lid for the water splitter, rather than wood and epoxy? A plastic or metal lid should hold at least as well, be drillable, and not be porous.

    Looks like fun - and maybe useful, I make cheese and need to press some of it pretty hard. Though for that it does need to be even pressure (it looks like one syringe gets slightly less water than the others, in your video), and I'd need some way of measuring how much pressure I'm applying - putting a small scale into the press would work somewhat for that, to calibrate.


    Reply 23 days ago

    Nice project, same question, because the circuit has two one-direction no clue on how to return fluid to cylinder. Hydraulic jacks have the screw to do this function

    20 days ago

    Fun project, interesting use of syringes. Thanks for sharing.


    21 days ago

    I liked the video! Good school project too. Thanks for sharing!


    22 days ago

    Very nice! It doesn't have all the conveniences, but that's OK.

    I'm surprised the thin plate at the moving syringe end doesn't walk.

    Why isn't the tubing popping apart?

    Estimated maximum pressure/force?


    24 days ago

    As hydraulic engineer I find it very hard to explain family and friends what my field is about. I always try to find examples they could have experienced but hardly ever succeed. Most times they just can't believe what I say because it sounds like fluids have magical properties. With this instructable I'll be able to show them how cool hydraulics can be :D

    2 replies

    Reply 23 days ago

    Could you reveal some of the "mysteries" you're mentioning?


    23 days ago

    This is a very interesting project, and I appreciate what your company is doing. However...

    ...please, please, please refrain from the dangerous practices you are showing when using power tools!

    One should never follow the example you show in this instructable when using a jig saw. When using such a saw, the work should be properly clamped or secured, and your hands and fingers should be nowhere near the cutting blade.

    A similar thing can be seen with the drill; the work should be clamped to keep it from spinning out of control if the bit catches it, and your hands should not be anywhere near the drill bit when in operation.

    It doesn't take much for something to go wrong when using power tools that leads to injury. Sometimes it can happen in the literal blink of an eye. Using the power tools properly and wearing proper PPE (personal protection equipment) should always be stressed in projects where they are being shown and used.

    In the course of showing these tools being used improperly, you are giving the false impression that doing so is safe, not only for this project, but for all other projects. Such bad practices also lead to more cavalier usage of other power tools. It doesn't take much to find yourself at an ER or urgent care center getting stitches.

    Please consider revising your projects in light of this information, so that you and your company can promote safe power tool usage practices to others who may be new to such tools.