1 – Shaft (Red in the below drawing)
So, the shaft is the first part you want to find. You have one laying around, most likely. A 3/8” axle for a bike. Say, those seem perfect, eh? An axle can work perfectly. Some axles are literally threaded bars, which have threads that go down the whole axle. That’s what I used when I made my press about a year ago. If you don’t have one, write it on a list of “things to buy” at the local hardware store. If you are buying one, I would suggest buying a really long bolt, so that one end is stationary.
2 – Bearing contacts. (Green in below drawing)
Now, these MAY give you a bit of a headache. What I used were 4 washers which have a 3/8” bore hole and the OD of a mid bearing. (look at guide #5 for a table of the OD of bearings). [Sorry. OD à Outer Diameter]
If you have some of these sitting around, use them. I personally did not. Use at LEAST 2. I used 4, and the minimum I would personally go is 3 stacked together.
3 – Handles
Well, in your home-made bearing press, the “handle” is 2 parts. One part is simple, a nut to go on the shaft that you have (orange in the drawing). If you are using a bolt for your shaft (so one end is a head), you only need one nut. Then get a wrench.
If you need to buy all of these, I suggest not getting a 3/8” axle as the shaft, but something a bit bigger and tougher. I threw it in there as something to use because a 3/8” axle is something we all may have laying around. If you have a 14mm axle that you can use, I would use that.
Here’s my drawing in Inventor of what my bearing press would look like
Q: Can I use my cranks as a bearing press, just tighten down the cranks and it pushes in the bearings?
A: Yes, it is physically possible to do this. However, your bearings can easily be destroyed when doing this. A bearing press works because it pushes on the outer race of a bearing. Using cranks, you create the potential to destroy the bearings by using the inner race.
Q: I just use a hammer. Is this okay?
A: I'm going to outline a bit here. If you have only a metal hammer, do NOT use this on it's own. If you MUST, use a block of wood as a muffling device, so the hammer doesn't destroy the bearings. If you have a RUBBER MALLET, then you're safe for hitting it directly. Be gentle, but stern.
Q: Well, why not just use a rubber mallet?
A: Bearings can go in wonky, you could miss, etc.
Q: Removing bearings?
A: Have fun. This guide isn't about removal, I do have to make one though.
Q: You basically made a bench vice?
A: Yes. I have. Also, I HAVE in fact used a bench vice to install a BB before! I've also used a C-Clamp and 2 blocks of wood. However, the method shown in the guide has by far been the easiest I have found.
Questions? leave them in comments!