My Dad was kind enough to be supportive of my cheese habit by designing and making me this press. I thought I'd post about it in case folks wanted ideas for their own presses. There are a number of things I like about it. The base comes off to make it store easily and it's adjustable. Also, if I needed more weight than it makes possible I can always retrofit with pulleys. I also like the way he created something for the plunging portion so that it would keep follows level. I've taken a bunch of photos to show it all.
First photo shows the press and all the pieces. The plunger assembly is held by a swiveling pin to allow it to swing freely as the cheese presses. He gave me rods of several lengths and the whole pressing arm can be moved up or down depending upon how tall a cheese I'm pressing.
he made a round piece of wood that fits onto the plunger rod and that piece of wood is sized to fit into the indentation of the wood followers he made to fit all my molds and it also fits into the central hole of the plastic mold followers that came with some of my other molds. Kind of neat how it fits all of them. I use plyban disposable cheese cloth, just a small square, to put between the wood follower and the cheese. The cheese cloth that is lining the mold gets all pulled up to avoid folded cloth making ridges in my cheese. I used to fold a corner over the cheese and pull the rest up but got too many ridges and I like the plyban square method much better.
The pressing weight is determined by where the follower plunger is attached along the pressing arm AND which notch the weight is hung from. He created a multiplier chart to figure it all out. For instance, if the plunger rod is set at point D as in the photo, and I hang 3 pounds of weight at notch 8, I calculate my pressing weight like this: 3 pounds times multipler 4 equals 12 pounds of weight. Of course there is still the psi to figure out if that's critical because I'm using a strange sized mold for a particular make.
Last but not least, he made the base so that I could tuck a small glass pan under for whey collection. The whey groove around the edge of the base works but would work better if it had a downhill slope towards the outlet. I'm happy with this press and grateful to my Dad!