Greetings from Georgia's foot hills;
I'm new to the forum also; but I am pleased to see that so many people are interested it making cheese to old fashioned way ( sort of ). I've read bout your plans to make a home press, sounds good, I've made my own as well ( Dutch style hardwood with an over hung weight system, good luck on that project, it was fun making my own.
Also; read that your intention was to make a cheese like a Colby or an American Cheddar. Those are both rewarding and fun to make, if you can stand the suspense while it ages. Where do you get your recipes from? I got a recipe from a website linked to the Vermont Cheese Counsel, after I scaled it down to a five gallon batch size and tinkered with the times and temperatures, it worked great. Let us know what you make and how it turns out.
I have made several types of cheese for my family and the neighbors, and our pretty much all around first choice is for the simple cooked curd cheeses, like cheddar and the cheddar cousins.
By the way; I'm originally from Michigan also, just a southern transplant now though.
Enjoy your cheese.