Forster coax press...should I buy one?

Svashtar

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Svashtar - Thanks for the follow-up. It would appear that making these "simple" modifications to the Coax press is not so simple.

And, it is super awesome that Josh will listen to his customers and try to come up with solutions to improve his product. That is the kind of business that earns strong customer loyalty.

Although there does seem to be a difference between how each of our presses functions with the Manzgear plate and the Badeau linkages, if your shell plate screws are contacting the press body, then I would say your press does have the same problem as mine. Its just to a lesser degree.

The shell plate screws are hardened steel. They will eventually wear divots into the press body where they make contact. Maybe that won't cause any actual problems, but I don't know. Myself, I would rather just not go there.

Plus, I would not want to have any less ram travel than what the Coax designers originally intended.

I agree, but with the new spacers you will have a fraction of an inch less travel by necessity. I could get maximum travel with both parts by shaving the top of the screw heads, or finding lower profile screws, but the 1/10” difference over the standard setup is negligible, and seems like an easy fix.

Also agree that even though the screws just touch at the same time the stops engage on my press (and earlier on yours), that eventually they will mar the bottom of the press which isn’t good.

The one thing I haven’t measured is the clearance with the standard links and the standard shell holder, but I imagine it’s comparable to the .055” found with the std holder and Badeau links.
 

shinbone

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I am wondering if the most expedient first attempt at a solution is to simply grind .01" off the top of the screws, as you mentioned. The screws would still function fine (just need to be aware of the reduced hex key engagement) and that would buy a little more distance of ram travel.

Due to how the press is designed to produce maximum leverage at the top of the stroke, removing a little from the tops of the screws would gain a lot of lever travel. That might be enough to allow the stops to make their own contact before the shell plate screws do.
 
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DFHarley19

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The screws would still function fine (just need to be aware of the reduced hex key engagement) and that would buy a little more distance of ram travel.

I know it might be a pain in the neck but just throw some idea. You could install a set screw with thin nut thickness. What do you think?
 

shinbone

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I know it might be a pain in the neck but just throw some idea. You could install a set screw with thin nut thickness. What do you think?

I agree, but, I checked a few sources and couldn't find any screws with a lower profile head than those supplied with the shell plate.
 

Svashtar

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I am wondering if the most expedient first attempt at a solution is to simply grind .01" off the top of the screws, as you mentioned. The screws would still function fine (just need to be aware of the reduced hex key engagement) and that would buy a little more distance of ram travel.

Due to how the press is designed to produce maximum leverage at the top of the stroke, removing a little from the tops of the screws would gain a lot of lever travel. That might be enough to allow the stops to make their own contact before the shell plate screws do.

Well, I’m not sure about a _lot_ of lever travel, it would be .1 of an inch only, and I don’t know enough to state that would make any difference at all. That is, the difference between the press travel with the new side links and standard shell plate, and travel with the new side links with spacer and Manzgear plate.

Another option which would be a bit more work would be to reduce the OD of the new spacers, (I could spin them down fairly easily on a slack belt grinder) bringing the press down a fraction more, but again, I don’t know if 1/10” is worth the effort, and evidently (as shown by your pics) each press is different for some reason. (I suspect you have an earlier thicker version of the Manzgear plate, while mine was recently purchased. ?)

By the way, Michael couldn’t confirm it, but mentioned “mcmaster carr” as a possible source for ultra short socket head cap screws. He thinks we might need 10-32 thread screws, but didn’t measure the pitch so that would have to be verified.

I think we’re on the same page though: the fastest solution that leaves the least amount of travel (although it’s a fraction) is to use the new spacers; the fastest solution that will actually give _more_ travel than OEM, is to shave the screw heads or get shorter ones.
 
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Far North Hunter

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Well, I’m not sure about a _lot_ of lever travel, it would be .1 of an inch only, and I don’t know enough to state that would make any difference at all. That is, the difference between the press travel with the new side links and standard shell plate, and travel with the new side links with spacer and Manzgear plate.

Another option which would be a bit more work would be to reduce the OD of the new spacers, (I could spin them down fairly easily on a slack belt grinder) bringing the press down a fraction more, but again, I don’t know if 1/10” is worth the effort, and evidently (as shown by your pics) each press is different for some reason. (I suspect you have an earlier thicker version of the Manzgear plate, while mine was recently purchased. ?)

By the way, Michael couldn’t confirm it, but mentioned “mcmaster carr” as a possible source for ultra short socket head cap screws. He thinks we might need 10-32 thread screws, but didn’t measure the pitch so that would have to be verified.

I think we’re on the same page though: the fastest solution that leaves the least amount of travel (although it’s a fraction) is to use the new spacers; the fastest solution that will actually give _more_ travel than OEM, is to shave the screw heads or get shorter ones.
 

Far North Hunter

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I just installed a new set of links I received from Josh. He also sent me a freshly made set of spacers.
I don’t as yet have my new Manzgear shell holders. What I had on the press for shell holders was the conversion kit allowing u to use standard shell holders.
I have to say the new links, without any spacers, allowed a very nice cam over with the standard shell holder conversion.
I am not able to check run out using this method until I get a replacement dial indicator.
I also should receive Mike’s shell holder conversion next week. Then I will be able to run a more detailed comparison.
I do know that I will never take off the new style links. What a great upgrade.
 

Svashtar

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I just installed a new set of links I received from Josh. He also sent me a freshly made set of spacers.
I don’t as yet have my new Manzgear shell holders. What I had on the press for shell holders was the conversion kit allowing u to use standard shell holders.
I have to say the new links, without any spacers, allowed a very nice cam over with the standard shell holder conversion.
I am not able to check run out using this method until I get a replacement dial indicator.
I also should receive Mike’s shell holder conversion next week. Then I will be able to run a more detailed comparison.
I do know that I will never take off the new style links. What a great upgrade.

Good deal, glad to hear it. I’m very pleased with my set, tons of extra access on the sides. I’ve also felt the cam over with the new side links.

At the end of the week when I get back home I’m going to take the screw heads down just enough to clear the bottom of the press, and see how that works out. The standard screws are already so low profile, there’s no way (IMO) that you’ll find anything out of the box with less height.

I’ll try to take the heads down, and if that doesn’t work I’ll turn the spacers to a slightly less diameter and call it a day.

I’ll post before and after specs of the screws, or on whether I modify the spacers.
 

marchboom

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Feb 12, 2008
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North Idaho
I'm no metallurgist but I don't think you would lose very much strength in the Manzgear plate by countersinking the bolt holes a little and using taper head bolts.

upload_2020-1-13_8-29-6.jpeg


If stock removal is a concern then just countersink only whats necessary. I think you would have plenty of clamping strength. If the plate is hardened then I don't know how to get around that issue. But I'm sure it can be overcome.

Just a thought.
 

Svashtar

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Dec 8, 2019
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Central Coast, CA
The plate is hardened steel. Manzgear tells me he won't countersink the holes.

Yep, he told me the same, and I had the same taper head screws.

I figure I’m only going to have to shave barely more than a 1/32nd off the already thin screw head to stop all contact. If that fails (I ordered an extra set of OEM screws from Forster just in case) then I’ll reduce the OD of the spacers, or just use them as is and have .10” more clearance between the press and shell plate than the default co-ax setup.

So, I’m probably going to this trouble for no reason, because the quick solution is to simply use Josh’s workaround link spacers as is, as I don’t think that tenth will make a difference.

Still, I want to reproduce the OEM range as closely as possible.
 

nuggety

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Jan 27, 2020
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Australia
Just an FYI: I have the improved shell plate by Manzgear. I also have the linkages by Josh Badeau for improved access. Both products are super good!

Unfortunately, the Manzgear shell plate runs into the top of the press when using the Badeau linkages.

Shinbone,
Are you supposed to remove the backing wear plate under the universal shell holder before installing the Manzgear?
I noted gavintoobe made this note about jaw thickness when installing the newer type Forster Quick-change jaws in this video (2:45) and the need to remove the backing plate.

I do not own a Forster Press but I have been researching a great deal deciding what to get and stumbled across this forum.
 

Svashtar

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Dec 8, 2019
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Central Coast, CA
Those are the Forster quick-change jaws, and may require that. I don’t know, don’t own them. The Manzgear plate isn’t a quick change jaw, it’s a better built slightly thicker replacement for the standard jaws, and Manzgear confirmed that you leave all the OEM parts in place when installing it. So the backing plate would be used normally.
 

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