I wouldn't have thought of doing this review myself. @Jellypowered suggested it.
After having a bad case of press envy, I bought a 6 ton hydraulic press. It was cheap, $100 delivered, welded construction, very little assembly. I bought it first because I had the money, and because I'd seen on YouTube that the more pressure you have, the less heat you need to extract dab. Well, if that is true, it takes more than 12,000 lbs per square inch to accomplish the task.
I had some cold rolled steel plates sitting around. I heated them to 180-200° and clumsily made some dab. It worked well, but I holding the top plate aligned to avoid blowing the smashed weed out the sides, was difficult. But, altogether, I collected several grams of dab. It was enough to know I really like it vaping it raw and that it makes great ejuice. I wanted to be able to do this easily.
I had planned on making my own heated plates because I found only 1 American that was making them cheaply and would custom make a set. He sold a 2.75" set of circular aluminum jaws for $100. Too small for me and his custom sets got really pricey, really quickly. I set about trying to discover what the commercially available sets were using for heat rods and PIDs. That would tell me sizes which decided whether I could drill for them at home or if I'd need to find a shop locally that would drill for me. To that end, I looked at every set available on both Amazon and eBay, looking at photos and enlarging them to see if I could read numbers marked on the heaters. This is when I happened on a Rosin plate that was a self-contained unit by Tuopuke. It was available both places.
It is assembled similarly to a stamping die. It has 4 stripper bolts and springs keeping the top and the bottom plates perfectly lined up and always parallel to each other, even if you press off center. This meant that it could be removed from the press in seconds if I had another use for the press. I knew as soon as I saw it, I was going to buy it because this was exactly the way I'd have made one if I still had access to machine tools.
I found Tuopuke's website (https://www.sztuopuke.com/16). It sold, directly from them, for $390, DHL express shipping included. I made room in my budget for this month to be able to purchase it. From Amazon and eBay it was: $390 + shipping or $450 shipping included. So I figure I saved $60 buying it direct and messed with any LEO watching my debit card purchases (if there are any watching, you know us paranoids ). All that for the price is amazing. Having been in machining most of my adult life, I know it would probably sell for $2K plus if it was made in the U.S. More if it were made by large corporation.
I ordered it Thursday 3/15 and it arrived on Tuesday 3/20. It was well packaged in a plain, unmarked box and the shipping invoice said the package contained aluminum plates and iron handles.
Notice how the plate fixture is not parallel. All it took was leaning on it for the springs to unload. As you'll see in the next photo,it is parallel. The fixture floats on the springs, it had settled in shipping.
There was literally no assembly, unless you call sliding to heaters into their holes and tightening set screws and plugging in electric cables assembly.
I was really stoked! I was ready to start pressing some good goo. I plugged it in and numbers came up on the readouts. They were high numbers, telling me the plates were at 180° already, so I knew the controller hadn't been properly programmed and set out to take care of it myself. The manual supplied was accurate but was Chinese translated to English by someone that wasn't fluent English, so it contained many grammatical errors. Plus, it used jargon that would have been easily understood by an electrician, but meant little or nothing to me. There was also factory defaults listed for setting parameters as well. Here is a copy:
There were only 2 parameter settings that would have controlled this, "input type" and "output type" and they were not at the factory settings. The only 2 settings that were not at factory default. The input type is the type of heater being used. There are 11 choices. This is one of the settings that was not at default. The output type contains 5 choices. This is the one that confused me as it contains electrical jargon. I assumed the factory setting was probably the correct one.
I should mention, at this time, that I went to Tuopuke and left a message that I would like help programming the PID, but they are in China, so it took about 12 hours for them to get back to me.
I also went to the Morning Group website and looked up XMT7100. They are the folks that make the PID and XMT7100 is the product itself. Unfortunately, they are also the ones that wrote the manual, so the only help I got there was a PDF copy of the manual (the one posted above).
I decided that trail and error was going to need to be my go to method of determining these settings.
Assuming the factory setting of "2" was correct for the output type, then I started on the input type. Every input type I tried, put different numbers on the digital readout, yet none seemed to be heating the plates.
This is a good point to tell you that I am suffering from cataracts and it makes me see things differently from what they are sometimes. This was one of those times. Each readout has it's own small, silver detail near it that looked to me like a circular keyhole, like you'd find on a soda pop machine. Obviously, I didn't look closely at it yet. This may seem like a stupid thing to overlook, but the controller has 2 large rocker switches on the back (look at the picture of the opened box, the back of the controller was facing up). I had those on, so I wasn't expecting an additional on switch and, like I said, the front switches looked like keyholes at a glance.
So, I had been writing to @jellypowered telling him I was having trouble with the manual and setting the PID, he suggested that I ask @ReikoX, @Roux and @Mr.Sparkle because they are pretty good with electrical. I wrote a posting asking for their help and went back to my trial and error testing while waiting for answers to come.
That's when I decided to look inside the box while waiting for some form of help to arrive. It is also when I realized that those silver details were not keyholes, but on/off switches. My face was both red from embarrassment, and yellow from egg as I set about correcting my calls for help.
Once I pressed the on/off button for each readout, the numbers changed immediately. It had begun heating the plates. I put an oven thermometer on the bottom plate to check the actual temperature. I then waited until each readout indicated it was to temp. I checked the readout to the oven thermometer. I started with the 1st input type (parameter "InTy"), and kept changing it until I found the one that had the readout matched the thermometer. I found setting E was correct (sensor type "ETC"). I continued to check it with the oven thermometer for 2 hours, so I could be sure I could trust it. When it comes to trust, I am a hard sell.
There was still the matter of setting the desired temperature. I used the method of setting the temp shown in the manual.
By now, it is 5:00 A.M. and I have received a response from Tuopuke. "sorry for the inconvient. You may take a look at the below video for the setting"
The video is very rudimentary, but it shows an easier way to change the temperature setting than the manual gives.
All in all, I am happy with my purchase. My worst problem was caused by my cataracts messing with my vision. The only other problem was an incorrect input type parameter and was literally no problem to fix.
One thing never mentioned as a benefit in the literature is since the top plat isn't attached to the press ram, the hydraulic jack driving the press gets to cool during idle times.
It makes great dab, I can do it one handed and I can remove it in seconds to use it to pre-press or to do anything else.
As you can see on the scale, there is just over a 1/4 oz. I made each plug from 2.5 grams of sticky leaves and the random buds that fall off during manicuring the finished plant. When I trim, I take the full leaf off, not just cut the tips off. The leaf stem gets woody and I don't like smoking wood. All this trim was 3 days old the day the Rosin press arrived. It was still pretty moist and pre-pressed nicely.
It squished just as nicely. I got lazy and stopped taking pictures at this point.
I started pressing one at a time and then decided the 3x5 jaws could contain the mess so I did 2 at a time for the remaining 4 pucks from this run. I ran the remaining sticky leaves the next day. There was enough for 6 more pucks. After a sleep, it all went very smoothly. I found the 2nd smash to generally be larger than the first. Not sure I get that. I got 3 presses from each of the pucks and then added all 6 smashed pucks together for one final pressing. I did that for both sets of 6 pucks. After that, they no longer felt soft and in fact cracked easily after that final pressing.
I occasionally checked the plate heat with the oven thermometer. I am satisfied that it holds the temperatures it is set for.
If you have been looking at one of these and were waiting for someone else to try it first, here I am. I tried it and I like it. If you have one and are having problems setting it, contact me, I've got figured out what works and I speak English as my 1st language.
Now I need to get a larger diameter pollen press. Pressing these 14mm pucks is tedious. Anybody have a favorite large bore pollen press to suggest?
Edit: Re-arranged a few paragraphs to satisfy my OCD.