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Old 02-19-2017, 08:37 PM
Ifitaintbaroque's Avatar
Ifitaintbaroque Ifitaintbaroque is offline
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Printing Press Care & Maintenance

Does anyone know of a good score(s) for printing press care and maintenance tips, specifically etching presses? Videos, books, websites, forums, etc.?

Thanks so much!!
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Old 02-22-2017, 09:29 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Re: Printing Press Care & Maintenance


The below information is a small snippet out of our Maintenance and Instruction manual.
The full set of instructions explain how to put your press and stand together, how to maintain and look after your printing press and help you print. You receive one of these when you purchase a press from us.
If you would like any further help we run many workshops throughout the year at our beautiful print Gallery in Ironbridge. If you need any help please do not hesitate to give us a call.
About your new press
Your press is a direct drive press that is made using fabricated steel, dense walled cylinders and pre-oiled bearings, it is available with either a star or round wheel or both. The GunningArts Presses are easily maintained and include safety features such as bed safety stops, press lock down as well as easy removal of star or round wheel and press bed.
We provide runners with your press so that you can easily set your pressure to print Lino or woodblocks or any other thick plates. There is also a blanket provided with the press so you can get printing straight away. We suggest you try using a single blanket before you go ahead and purchase the traditional three blankets.
The top roller on your press has been lathed perfectly so you do not have any in-discrepancies. This means that you can print without a blanket if you need to on certain materials like wood blocks or lino. We do suggest you use a blanket when printing from metal as you can mark your roller. If you are going to purchase the traditional three blankets we suggest you use Intaglio Printmakers as their blankets are good quality at good costs. Their contact details can be found on page 15.
The maintenance instructions are also included here for you; it is important for you to make sure you maintain you press to make sure you keep it in working order. If you need any help with this, please donít hesitate to get in touch.
Over 40 years ago Dave Gunning designed the first Gunning press so that he could have his own press at home in his print studio. Forty years later thousands of printmakers all over the world have Gunning pressís in their studios, schools and Universities.
Thank you for purchasing one of our presses from us, if you ever need any technical support please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer a wide range of workshops in our print studio exploring both traditional and contemporary methods of printmaking. We also have a large beautiful Gallery in Ironbridge (a UNESCO world heritage site) where we exhibit both our own work and other printmakers work, so itís well worth a visit.
Please keep us updated of the work that you produce, we look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Printing!
Maintenance of your Press
The top roller is lacquered with clear varnish, if this starts to come off at any time, this will not affect your printing quality however visually if you want to keep your press looking brand new you will need to re lacquer the top roller. You can buy this clear lacquer from any Halfords store.
The printing press pressure is set by adjusting the tommy bars. Left to loosen and right to tighten. Every 6 months or so depending on how much you use your machine just put engine grease in all the moving parts of your press, this will keep your machine working perfectly. Do not use WD40 as this is white spirit based and will eventually evaporate. We suggest you use engine grease; this will not evaporate over time as it is oil based however it does need to be replaced every 6 to 8 months depending on how often you are using your press.
The press bed is made from steel and marine ply. Your steel surface on the bed is lacquered with clear lacquer which allows the surface to be wiped clean after printing. It has two safety stops on the bed also to make sure it does not fall out when printing.
Do not clean your plates on the press bed. Always use tissue paper on the press bed to keep it as clean as you can.
The printing blanket that we provide with the press is a substitute for the etching blankets, they do the same job as the traditional 3 blankets but do not last as long. Very similar results are achieved using the traditional set or using our 1 blanket. If you need a replacement, we sell all the different sizes. However, if you need the more expensive blankets please order from Intaglio Printmakers.
Ways of Damaging the press
Winding one pressure adjuster down without the other one continuously.
If you drop a press from a great height, or if you try to put things like metal screws or sharp objects through the press.
Not maintaining the press including not cleaning, greasing or looking after the press.
If you leave the blanket wet in the press all the time this will eventually rust the bed.
If you are tipping white spirit over the press bed to clean printed plates the white spirit can wash away the grease in the bearings. Moving parts need grease.
The Gunningarts Etching Printing Presses are made with loving care so they should be treated accordingly.
To help ensure that your press is kept in the best possible condition we suggest the following.
  • At the end of every session using the press make sure the blanket is not left in wet, release the pressure and make sure all surfaces are clean and all ink is cleaned off
  • Keep the rollers clean and avoid getting ink on them.
  • Every 6 to 8 months clean the rollers off to get them shiny clean, if they are a mess use white spirit and sandpaper, then spray with Halfords clear car lacquer.
  • Do not put foreign objects into the bearings or under the rollers.
  • Every 6 to 8 months grease the bearings (these are the blocks that hold the rollers in place) this is a moving part so these must be greased to keep the press working. Use engine oil or grease from halfords.
  • Keep the press bed clean and tidy and clean off any ink that is left on the bed after a dayís printing. Do not clean plates on the bed of the press. When using wd40 or white spirit to clean the press do not spray near the press. Spray the cleaner onto a cloth and then use cloth to clean press.
  • Every 6 to 8 months clean the bed off and sand down and spray with Halfords clear car lacquer.
Please note this is not a conclusive list of doís and doníts but merely a guide to assist you in keeping you press in a good condition. Should you need any information or assistance please contact us. We run many workshops throughout the year at our beautiful print Gallery in Ironbridge for both beginner and advanced printers for dates and further information please contact us.

Another one

There are some tips on this page for the Conrad but most presses are pretty much the same as far as the moving parts. Some will have sealed bearings that don't need oiling or greasing. If you can find an oil cup with a little lid on it or an oil hole near the bearings then your bearings are not sealed and need oil. Also if you can see the ballbearings themselves, yours are not sealed and will need oil.


Conrad Etching Press Maintenance

Your Conrad Etching press requires minimal care and maintenance in order to maintain optimal performance. The most important area of maintenance is oiling and lubrication.
Lubricating your Etching Press


Your Conrad press rollers turn in oil-impregnated bearings that require very little maintenance. Simply, put one or two drops of light machine oil, 30-weight motor oil, once a month into the small hole located on the top of each of the four bearing blocks.
Geared Drive

On the planetary reduction drive models, the drive is greased before it leaves our factory. Once a year, remove the pinion and crank assembly and inspect the pinion gear to see that it has a film of grease on it. If it appears dry, insert approximately three tablespoons of general-purpose grease in the opening and replace the pinion and crank. The rotation of the internal parts will distribute the grease to the planet and ring gears.
Pressure Screws

The pressure screws and the upright columns should be kept coated with a light grease applied with a small paint brush to prevent corrosion and to assure smooth operation.
Maintaining your Etching Press

Polishing Rollers

Keep your etching press clean and away from water. Try to keep water from coming into contact with the roller. If your Conrad Monotype press does not have chrome rollers, you may want to keep a light coating of oil on the exposed steel surfaces. You can accomplish this by keeping a tacky cloth, lightly oiled rag, handy. At the end of each day, wipe down the exposed steel surfaces including the rollers. Make sure to wipe off any excess oil on the roller before you begin printing, so the oil doesn't interfere with your printing or stain your felts.
As you use your press, the rollers will gradually become dull and stained. Don't worry; light staining or rusting on the surface is fairly common in humid and will not affect the proper operation of your press. You can clean, polish, and remove discoloration on your press rollers with fine steel wool or "scotch brite" pads. If you are going to store your press for any extended period of time, we recommend putting some type of oil-based preservative on the rollers to keep them from corroding and rusting while in storage.

Last edited by contumacious : 02-22-2017 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:35 AM
ArtyAdventureHighway ArtyAdventureHighway is offline
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Re: Printing Press Care & Maintenance

Hello All,
I am a new member and would like your guidance on maintenance for a 1974 Charles Brand 12 x 24 table top etching press. I have not used it for some time and do not recall getting a manual. It looks the same as the day I brought it home, 43 years ago. Wanting to make sure I do the right thing as I prepare to use it again.
This is a wonderful forum for artists. Thrilled I found you.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:19 PM
Jeffro Jones Jeffro Jones is offline
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Re: Printing Press Care & Maintenance

Originally Posted by ArtyAdventureHighway
and would like your guidance on maintenance for a 1974 Charles Brand 12 x 24 table top etching press..

If there is no visible corrosion, it probably only needs lubrication. I don't know specifically the oil or grease requirements of your press, but Charles Brand are still in business, and googling them will take you to their website. Why not email them, they may have a manual or something to help you. If not, a mechanically minded friend might eyeball the machine and help identify the lube points - typically the bearings associated with the top and bottom rollers, and maybe the pressure screws. Etching presses are NOT complicated creatures, so it shouldn't be too hard

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Old 03-13-2017, 04:39 PM
Heft Heft is offline
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Re: Printing Press Care & Maintenance

Actually Charles Brand went out of business. But searching for Charles Brand does show a link to Conrad Machines who say they know Brand machines well and they may have advice more specific to the table top Brand presses than contumacious has quoted above.

Interestingly they appear to be creating a line of "Brand new" Brand-like presses.

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