🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
A common question for people just getting into rosin is what type of rosin press they should buy. A hair straightener is some extractors’ first foray into solventless extraction, but the limited capabilities of this makeshift approach soon grows old (especially given the easy availability of better alternatives). Although a hair straightener can definitely produce quality rosin, a press that utilizes heated plates designed specifically for rosin production that can generate several tons of pressure is both easier to operate and more efficient for processing cannabis material.
There are several different types of rosin presses including manual, hydraulic, and pneumatic. The means of pressure generation is the main differentiator between the various types. For example, hydraulic presses generate pressure through compressed oil, while pneumatic presses generate pressure through compressed air. Read more about the different options available in Best Types of Rosin Presses.
In addition to the various types of rosin presses available, you also have the option to either build your own press, or buy one that’s pre-assembled and ready to go right out of the box. There are pros and cons to either approach.
Let’s take a look at the options for building your own press vs the ready made alternative.
Building Your Own Rosin Press
At first it might seem intimidating to consider building your own rosin press. The truth is that building your own rosin press doesn’t require specialized skills, tools, or knowledge of machinery. It’s a straightforward assembly. There are only 5 main components of most custom-built rosin presses, including the frame, cylinder, hand pump, driving ram, and rosin plates/controller box.
The frame, cylinder, driving ram, and hand pump can be purchased as a set, which are common from companies like Harbor Freight and Dake. There are several reputable brands that make quality rosin plates, including The Press Club. It’s actually pretty easy to build your own rosin press at home. Check out our 3x5in and 4x7in rosin press plates here.
Learn more about the process with How To Build Your Own Rosin Press.
Building your own press is normally the most economical way to incorporate quality equipment in your extraction lab. The H-frame press setup plus rosin plates generally cost under $1000. You can do it for less, depending on your components.
Purchasing an H-frame setup that generates 10 tons of pressure is sufficient for most extractors pressing at home. Read more about pressure in our Rosin Press Pressure Guide.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of building your own rosin press.
- Allows for customizations (e.g. specific brand of rosin plates, various sizes of plates, hand pump modifications, size of press, etc.)
- You don’t need to rely on a certain brand or manufacturer for troubleshooting
- Economical way to get a high quality and reliable press
- Easy to build and maintain
- H-frame presses have an open structure that makes every component easy to see
- Straightforward operation; no pre programmed settings that may require troubleshooting
- Gives you a better understanding of the process and mechanics of pressing rosin, a “feeling” for the art of extraction
- Can be bulky and heavy
- Not as compact as some prefabricated options
- Require some assembly
- Often more difficult to move around
Buying a Pre-Assembled Rosin Press
Buying a ready-made rosin press is the alternative to building your own. These pre-assembled rosin presses come with rosin plates already installed, and the entire unit is ready to go right out of the box. Several companies manufacture rosin presses that include pre-programmed settings that allow you to select time and temperature. With the push of a button, the extraction is automated.
Pre-assembled rosin presses are often made with an enclosed design that keeps all components sealed behind a metal housing. Troubleshooting individual components can be tricky, and upgrading parts (e.g. rosin plates) generally isn’t feasible with the ready-made presses. Pre-assembled rosin presses don’t offer the same freedom and flexibility for customization, which is a feature of home-built presses.
Buying rosin presses as complete kits can be convenient, but there are some downsides as well. Let’s look at the pros and cons to buying pre-assembled, ready-made rosin press.
- Automation with pre programmed settings
- Compact options available, which can save space and be easier to transport
- Ready to use right out of the box
- Often more expensive; not as economical as building your own press
- Harder to “feel” the extraction, limiting the opportunity to sense and respond
- Troubleshooting can be tough and you’re often dependent upon one specific brand/manufacturer to solve issues/replace parts
- Generally more expensive than building your own
- Depending on the brand/manufacturer, some of the components may be of questionable quality
- Often difficult to modify, repair, or upgrade individual components
Building your own rosin press is not as difficult as it may seem at first. You don't need to have machinery skills or specialized tools. Building your own press requires only a basic assembly of an h-frame press (common shop press) with a rosin plate kit installation. All you need are some common tools found around the house.
Building your own press is also a good way to get a thorough understanding of the mechanics of solventless extraction. And it's often more economical than buying a pre-made press. This also gives you the ability to upgrade or modify different components like the rosin plates and hand pump.
While there's nothing wrong with buying a quality pre-assembled rosin press, we recommend building your own rosin press.
Did you build your own rosin press? Let us know in the comments!
Thoughts? Let us know by joining our secret Facebook group. Hang out with a community of like-minded solventless heads like yourself. Ask our head extractor questions, share your latest press and learn from hobbyists and experts in the industry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What size rosin press should I get?
For most in-home extractors, 10 tons is the right size.
How do you build your own rosin press?
H-frame press (common shop press assembly) plus a rosin press plate installation. It's a straightforward process. Learn more in How To Build Your Own Rosin Press.
What kind of rosin press plates should you use to build your own rosin press?
Use heated plates designed and manufactured specifically for pressing rosin. Go with a reputable brand like The Press Club.
How much does it cost to build your own rosin press?
Including the press itself plus the rosin plates, you can spend around $700 for a press that will serve you well for the long-term.
Is it better to build your own rosin press?
We recommend building your own rosin press for the flexibility it gives you to upgrade/modify components, troubleshoot, and remain independent of specific manufacturers to support the machine.