6 years agoI’m looking for some help, insight, magic, or printing dust to fix the problem I’m having printing. I’ve read a few forums with similar issues, but I can’t seem to find the solution.First off, I have a C&P Pilot Tabletop Press with a Boxcar base (5.5 x 8″). When using plates with long text lines, my inking/impression is pretty jacked up. I wish I had a picture of an example, but what happens is the left and right edges of the line become over inked and the middle of the line of text is either normal looking or under inked. What seems to be happening is perhaps the rollers are ramping the plate on and off and squeezing more ink out of the rollers.I’ve tried to place some scrap polymer on either side of the text lines off the printing area to see if ramping that plate would help get an even impression on the printed plate, but it was to no avail. I also tried running the plates both parallel and perpindicular to the rollers, but got the same results.Is there any obvious or not so obvious magic I’m doing incorrectly? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.THANKS AND HAPPY PRINTING!
Judith BerlinerParticipant@judithberliner6 years ago
Hope, how old are your rollers? Sometimes they can wear unevenly.Judith
Tiffany SmithParticipant@tiffanysmith6 years ago
Are you using a deep relief base or a standard base? Are you using the right kind of plates for your base (K152 for deep relief, for example)? Do you have the “lollipop” roller gauge to test your roller height and check for the evenness of inking? Also, do you have the platen leveling tool from John Falstrom?
Both our C&P Pilots are OS and old, old, old. We had to level the platens (one of which we still need to work on but have to get the paint off the platen bolts first … brilliant, right? not!) before really checking the roller height. One of the two needed tape on the rails while the other did not. Sometimes, one rail needs more tape than the other. Also, make sure your rollers are in good condition.
Lastly, troubleshoot your packing. Is it too hard? Too soft? Sometimes, packing that is too soft and too built up makes for really crazy ink issues. Sometimes, it helps to pad one side more than the other with an extra sheet of paper or just a scrap.
Okay, finally, sometimes changing the orientation of what you’re printing helps, too. I’ve had to rotate projects (when possible) to face sideways or whatever in order to get the best inking, especially with more type or more linework. It depends on the paper you’re using and the print, obviously, if this is possible at all, but sometimes, that helps.
If you do get any photos, post ’em up! I struggled with inking with my last print project, so I think I’ve been through the ringer on this one. 🙂6 years ago
I acquired my press about two years ago and have never purchased new rolllers. I can’t see any physical wear on the rollers, but that doesn’t mean anything!
When I purchased the press, the rollers were about 1-3 years old; I’m not positive actually. I’ve printed a LOT for this little press over the last couple of years, so that could very well be the problem. Here’s a photo of what’s happening. It’s not a great photo (iphone), but as you can see, there is an overall unevenness, but particularly, the edges are over inked, where the middle is lighter. The second image I uploaded seems fine. I pressed that piece yesterday. I know certain designs press better than others. Do you think it’s that script font? I’ve used that script font before and had a similar issue. The piece was also the same size and layout as the problem file, so maybe it’s just a coincidence.
Thank you for replying!!6 years ago
I have a deep relief base / K152 plates. I don’t have a roller gauge or platen leveling tool (not any that are made for letterpress), but I certainly need to invest in such.
I’ve adjusted my platen a couple of times. What doesn’t make since to me is that I pressed a piece yesterday and it looks perfect. It was a smaller area, so perhaps the longer lines of type/plate are in fact getting inked by a less worn place of the rollers. When I run the plate with no ink, the impression seems fine, so it’s got to be the rollers!
I’ve tried running the plates both parallel and perpendicular to the rollers and I get the same result.
I uploaded some photos to the last reply (a bad one and a good one).
Thanks for your help!
Tiffany SmithParticipant@tiffanysmith5 years, 11 months ago
You may need to invest in new rollers! They aren’t too old, but you never know how they were used/stored before they came into your hands. That said, my rollers are only about a year old, and I sometimes have similar issues. After taping my rails (one more than the other) and adjusting my platen (and/or packing), I’ve gotten some better results, but I still find that some pieces just ink and print better than others, much to my chagrin.
I think part of it is discovering the limitations of the Pilot press itself; large forms (whether they are solid or not) may actually ink well but the pressure is what is uneven. I’ve found I have to make a bunch of tiny adjustments to either the platen or packing when moving from a large form (like an invitation) to a small form (like a business card) in order to get even inking, impression, and nice prints.
There’s always some fiddling involved to make everything come out right each time!
Those invites are way cute … 4 colors! Insane. 🙂5 years, 10 months ago
Hi Tiffany! I realize this is months late….but I figured I’d share.
I did purchase new rollers. That was probably 80% of the problem. I’ve made notes on certain types of fonts that are causing me problems too. After I put in my new rollers, I’ve had to adjust the roller height a good bit, so clearly, the old rollers were pretty worn. I’m still getting some unevenness at times, but I think it’s partly the design, partly the limitations of my press.
…and thanks for the props on the 4 color run. Those were fun!! =))
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