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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone else has made their own headset press.
The dashes are a long screw, the zeroes are bolts, and the parentheses are washers.
---0(-----------)0---

Have you tried it? how did it work?
 

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Ride Responsibly
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I am a hammer and wood type of guy myself, well I have a set of brg/race drivers that work even better, but the idea is the same. If you do build a "press", be careful and watch that everything stays plumb, if it starts to bind, bring out the hammer and tap on the non binding side till all is well again.
to remove cups use a regular or brass punch, tap one side then the other to keep sorta even on the way out.
 

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I second the hammer and block of wood

Of 4 headsets I installed over the last month, the only one that went awry was the one I installed a bolt/washer press. I managed to generated too much force on a headset that was not going in straight and pressed a ridge into my frame. Didn't ruin the frame, I just popped it out and tapped it in straight with, you guessed it, a hammer and block of wood.
 

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sbstumpy said:
Of 4 headsets I installed over the last month, the only one that went awry was the one I installed a bolt/washer press. I managed to generated too much force on a headset that was not going in straight and pressed a ridge into my frame. Didn't ruin the frame, I just popped it out and tapped it in straight with, you guessed it, a hammer and block of wood.
I've lost count of the headsets I've installed with my hammer and wood and have yet to have a hint of a problem and that's including 4 King's that I've owned. I recently made myself a press just to give people (nervous nellies) some alternate info. I'll stick to the hammer and wood though in future as I'll have the job done before all the nuts & washers are in place.
 

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Lets ride
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I did this last year

For me, I just went slow and it worked fine for two installs. I have also used the hammer and wood, but didn't feel very comfortable with starting it out or hitting the first time. Hit Home Depot and for about $8 you have a great tool, but do spend the $20 on a head set removal tool, unless you don't want the head set.

My $0.02

crisillo said:
 

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I end up beatting the crap out of them

I only do this maybe once a year and the last time I used the screw driver and hammer to remove a head set I noticed, after about two hits with the screw driver I was making indentations on the under side of the of the head set. I felt (again not doing this all the time) like I was killing the head set and I would absolutely would not use a screw driver on my King head set.
I have heard of folks using a pipe and cutting it four ways to make a removal tool, but for $20 why not. If they where $80-$120 like head set presses I would be trying to make one too, but they are inexpensive and in my mind not worth the trouble of making one.

Again my $0.02

Mike T. said:
Can you explain why?
 

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bog-one said:
the last time I used the screw driver and hammer to remove a head set I noticed, after about two hits with the screw driver I was making indentations on the under side of the of the head set.
You were hitting the exposed part of the headset? The place to tap with the hammer and screwdriver is down inside the headtube and on the ends of the piece inside the headtube. This way any marks will never be seen. But in all the headsets I've removed I've never seen more than superficial marks - nothing more than any headset remover would leave.
 

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I would suggest a press, one you make is fine. And a proper removal tool, not a screwdriver and hammer. A standard headset is an interference fit, as you hammer one side then the other and back and forth to remove your headset with a screwdriver or punch, you will in turn be reaming out your head tube, not to mention the possible damage of your headset. imagine to tubes precisely fit one in the other like you headtube and headset, they would slide back and forth fine, but you can not torque one away from the other without damage. This is the same reason I would only suggest a press, even if you make it yourself, would and a hammer, or a vise, just dont cut it,
sam
peloton cyclery
 

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There you go. Now you have the full range of opinions. Take your pick.
But if you take Sam's advice, you might as well buy a real press, because the bolt and washer home made job won't push those 'perfect tubes' any straighter than gently tapping with wood. And from the experience I had, you stand a better chance of properly screwing up the head tube with that approach.
 

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samstlouis said:
I would suggest a press, one you make is fine. And a proper removal tool, not a screwdriver and hammer. A standard headset is an interference fit, as you hammer one side then the other and back and forth to remove your headset with a screwdriver or punch, you will in turn be reaming out your head tube, not to mention the possible damage of your headset. imagine to tubes precisely fit one in the other like you headtube and headset, they would slide back and forth fine, but you can not torque one away from the other without damage. This is the same reason I would only suggest a press, even if you make it yourself, would and a hammer, or a vise, just dont cut it,
sam
peloton cyclery
Sam, please consider editing your post and changing "you" and "your" to "I" and "my" because otherwise it makes it sound like we all have the problems of which you speak. This is very far from the truth. For many of us, the mechanics of the simple interference fit holds no mystery. We might tap on headsets but we don't cause damage. Many of us have a lifetime's success (45 years of headset installations for me) to back us up. Just how many headtubes have you ruined to back up your statements? I have no ruined headtubes, or headsets, to contradict my statements, otherwise I'd be an inconsiderate idiot for offering up my motivation.
 

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I made myself a tool exactly as you suggest. A long piece of threaded steel from Home Depot, with two big washers on each end and a nut. Headset went in perfectly. Two washers helps since the washers tend to dish under the pressure.

Star-fangled nuts, that's another question. Those things are from Satan.
 

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ravingbikefiend
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I'm wrapping up production on my own headset press as even though I have always used a block and hammer (with no problems) I figured a press would be a nice addition and a fun building project.

I've tried the threaded rod, washers, and nuts but didn't find it to be an improvement over tapping in the headset with a block and hammer.

Since I work in a machine shop (as an apprentice) I can use the lathes on my off time and use any scrap we have lying around... our scrap tends to be a mix of 4130 and 4340 chromoly and I've been collecting scraps for all kinds of little projects.

Turning out the rod and threading it was pretty easy and I am making some custom press plates to accomodate a range of headset sizes. These won't dish under pressure and provide a precise set... it's pretty much a Park HHP2 without the guides although I could probably make those too if I felt ambitious.
 

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Sixty Fiver said:
I'm wrapping up production on my own headset press as even though I have always used a block and hammer (with no problems) I figured a press would be a nice addition and a fun building project.

I've tried the threaded rod, washers, and nuts but didn't find it to be an improvement over tapping in the headset with a block and hammer.

Since I work in a machine shop (as an apprentice) I can use the lathes on my off time and use any scrap we have lying around... our scrap tends to be a mix of 4130 and 4340 chromoly and I've been collecting scraps for all kinds of little projects.

Turning out the rod and threading it was pretty easy and I am making some custom press plates to accomodate a range of headset sizes. These won't dish under pressure and provide a precise set... it's pretty much a Park HHP2 without the guides although I could probably make those too if I felt ambitious.
I made some stepped brass press bushings several years ago to use with a threaded rod. It worked but not any better then the wood/hammer method. The last couple of times I used the bushings and a hammer. That worked very well, much easier then holding a block of wood. Hint: clean and deburr the parts, put the headset in the freezer, then put some light oil in the head tube, take the headset out of the freezer and quickly install it in the headtube you had just warmed up with a hair dryer. If your lucky you can press it in with your hand. This work best with alum. rather then steel parts. Once they normalize everything is tight. Don't use a heat gun on the headtube, you can ruin the paint, just warm it up. Don't want to use oil because someone told you it will cause the headset to move later, fine with me but it should not be an issue with an interference fit. If it moves the problem is more likely quality control on the parts.
*********WATCH THE WHOLE PROCESS CLOSELY NO MATTER WHICH METHOD YOU USE OR WHO'S TOOL YOU USE********
 

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ravingbikefiend
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Using heat and cold to press in bearing cups is a really good idea as long as the parts are all made to accurate specs... we do this all the time at work except we often use dry ice to cool the parts (heat treated steel) to be inserted and a propane torch to heat whatever is receiving the part. Some things only require heating of the receiver and this is all dependant on the tolerances of the parts and their intended useage. Our tolerances on parts is extremely tight and 3/1000 is the norm.

We build parts for cranes that have to bear loads of 250 tonnes so the QC on our respective parts is extremely high... you can't have your products coming apart or failing prematurely and expect to stay in business.

I often find myself looking at parts and bike frames and am amazed at what kind of shoddy workmanship can pass QC...I looked at a headset at the LBS the other night and was dismayed to see that the bearing seat was so poorly finished. It would not have affected the fit of the cartridge / washer bearings but was still some shabby workmanship.

I really appreciate the workmanship on many of my vintage bikes as the welds are perfect and the quaility of the machining work is outstanding... these bikes predate the invention of CNC machines so all the parts would have been turned on a manual lathe.

As I am also studying to be a welder so am now looking at bike frames and their welds with a different eye and see many frames that I would be embarassed to sell if they were my own.

Working as a machinist is wonderful as it opens up so much opportunity and access to materials and tools... I just redesigned my Park FR6 (BMX freewheel tool) so that it would slip by the axle locknut (the original design required that you remove it) and since their facing work on the nutted side was shoddy I corrected that too.

It took me all of ten minutes to do on my old Monarch lathe.
 

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samstlouis said:
I would suggest a press, one you make is fine. And a proper removal tool, not a screwdriver and hammer.
Homemade press = OK
Hammer and Screwdriver = not so good.

I'd use a hammer and a soft drift.

Your argumenta bout reaming holds some water... if you'd be installing three of four headsets a year. But as you'll install headsets into a frame like two or three times in a lifetime, the tapping method goes just fine.

Just remember to go even on all sides, tapping in a cross pattern all around the headset circumference.

A small machinist's hammer will do wonders as opposed to a heavy sledge hammer.
 

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Mike T. , I myself have never ruined a headtube, or headset either. And have installed hundreds using all the above methods. My statement was not to say that he would ruin it first time everytime, just to make sure he had a full understanding of the mechanics behind the process so he could make an educated decision. Just because most of us can use these different methods hundreds of times with success, does not change the fact that some of the methods described can and do from time to time cause damage. I have serviced many frames in the shop throughout the years where a customer had a loose cup in the headtube or bottom bracket (american or spanish cup) while sometimes this was caused by an impact or parts with poor tolorances, other times it has been caused by several removal and installations of shimmying a cup in and out.
If someone wants advice on a tool or part, I just think they should have a good understanding of what is going on. and if someone made a healthy investment in a frame and headset and damaged it I would feel bad. Whats the harm in recommending a cup removal tool, they dont cost much and will push the cup out more even. If it were a 500.00 dollar tool I would have said tap away.
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He asked for advice, I gave mine, and nothing I said is incorrect. It might of been the more expensive advice, I dont think anyone gave bad advice, all the methods will work and usually work well. But why not give the full range so someone understands
Why jump on someone for giving sound mechanic advice
sam
 
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