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Old 12-31-2013, 01:26 PM
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winking cat press winking cat press is offline
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my mini-press for ACEO prints

Recently I discovered ACEOs, which are tiny little works of art that folks trade and sell. They are 2.5" x 3.5".... the same size as Baseball Cards. I think they are VERY COOL, and would be a great outlet for the small woodcuts, linocuts, and relief etchings that I've been doing for decades.

The problem was though, that all of my big presses were just too big, too heavy, and too clunky to set up for printing such tiny little pieces.... and my little letterpresses with automatic inking, grippers, and all of that sort of thing just don't seem right either. Yes, of course they will work for little bitty prints, but they all seem to over-complicate the whole thing. I guess I could use a Baren or Burnisher, too.... but that's too slow for me.

So.... I decided to build my own little cylinder press, just for printing ACEOs. A picture is attached below.

As you can see, it's a very simple little press based on the Galley Proof Presses of yesteryear. The maximum print area is 3.5" x 5", and the roller is 3" in diameter. The bed is made out of two layers of 1/2" birch plywood, with hardwood rails. The rails were attached by both glueing and screwing them from the underside. From past experience with larger wooden presses, I know that this construction will last a very long time, and does not tend to warp.

I made the rails 1" tall instead of "type high" since 1"x1" hardwood sticks are easliy available at my local building supply house. It's an easy matter to shim up the block with chipboard.

The roller was made out of a piece of heavy wall stainless pipe that I found in a scrap-pile, but you could also use just about any cylindrical piece of metal. ( I've used old fire extinguishers for cylinders.... just be sure they are empty before you cut into them). The roller hubs are scraps of plywood, cut out with a jigsaw, and the handle is a 1 1/8" dowel stick. I filled the roller with old lead type for extra weight. ( to be honest I don't think the extra weight helps much.)

The carved block is held in place while printing by 1/4 screws that go through threaded inserts in the rails, just like the set-screws on a 3x5 Kelsey chase. It also has a blanket bar, also with threaded inserts, so you can use a blanket (or packing) if you want to.

The great thing is that as a free-cylinder press gets smaller, the printing pressure goes up, assuming a constant downward force. (like duh!.... the same force over a smaller area equals higher force per square inch.) With this little machine, the printing pressure is around 300 to 350 psi across the 2.5" wide print stripe as it rolls along, which is more than sufficient for relief printing.

Anyway, there it is: The Winking Cat Press mini-press. How does it print? It prints GREAT. The pressure control is superb, and the resulting images are as good or better than those produced by my larger presses. I love it! I now wish I'd built one years ago!
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Last edited by winking cat press : 12-31-2013 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 01-01-2014, 03:49 PM
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Diane Cutter Diane Cutter is offline
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

What an ingenious idea...

Diane
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:31 AM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Thanks Dianne.... but i guess you are the only one on Wet Canvas who thinks so.

It's funny.... this little press has been well received when shown at art shows and in our printmakers group. In fact, I've had a number of requests from folks for me to build presses for them .... but here, nobody appears to appreciate it.

Oh well, in the future I'll spend my time on more productive sites.
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Last edited by winking cat press : 01-08-2014 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:46 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Try this site: http://printuniverse.ning.com/

Wet canvas doesn't seem to have many printmakers, but remains a good source for more general art discussions, so don't give up.

Thanks for sharing the press too. It looks a good way to do demos for schools and local groups without being restricted to hand rubbed monotype.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:13 PM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Ian... thanks. I went to the site, and liked what i saw. I'll add it to my regular sites.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:30 PM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

I was fascinated too, Dave, just not into commenting that day. I wish I could have one, I use my small etching press, but it's really stretching it to get a type high block under it. I've been painting a few ACEO's and was thinking printmaking would be the way to go. I'd love to have a more convenient press. Not sure my construction skills are up to it, but may try. I can do the carpentry, but the roller would have to be different. Maybe a ceramic rolling pin would work, my wooden one is too uneven on the surface. Thanks for the clear explanation.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:40 AM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Thanks Lynn....

About your construction skills: you can do it. it's easy. There is a trick to make it even easier than it looks: buy your wood already cut to size at the hobby shop. they sell 12 x 16 plywood, and 1" square sticks.... so all you have to do is cut the sticks to length, and glue it all together. If you aren't up to using the threaded inserts, just use wedges to hold the block in place.

And yes... a ceramic rolling pin would work great. I've used them on larger presses before. The commercial aluminum pins work good too. I made my own just because I wanted a smaller version that would fit into my travel case.

Now... about ACEOs: I love 'em! I'm working on a series of tiny little politcal posters right now. As soon as they are done, I'll post a few.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:36 PM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Thanks for the encouragement, Dave! Maybe this summer I'll have time to work on it.
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Old 01-25-2014, 01:12 PM
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Cool Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Quote:
Originally Posted by winking cat press
Now... about ACEOs: I love 'em! I'm working on a series of tiny little politcal posters right now. As soon as they are done, I'll post a few.

I would like to see those posted!

Have you seen this: http://www.printeresting.org/2013/10...print-company/

Scott.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:32 AM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Scott.... thanks for the link. I've seen the tiny equipment before.... and it was part of the inspiration for my own little press.

Update: after posting this, and demonstrating the press locally I was asked to put on a little "how to build a little press" demonstration over in New Orleans. It was yesterday at a shop on Magazine Street.... and was a HUGE success! In two hours, I showed a group of 15 folks how to build their own little presses, and then printed on the newly built machine. They were all amazed at how easy it was.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:12 PM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Oh wow I would love one! I'm primarily a painter but do love printmaking. Can't afford a press of my own and the local print workshop is expensive to use. It really is a clever idea.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:04 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

If you don't feel up to building one of these how about using a pasta roller as here:

http://happyfaceschicago.blogspot.co...a-machine.html

I haven't done this yet, but I bought a cheap machine some time ago and forgot I even had it until this thread started.
Google 'pasta roller printing' and you gets lots of other references
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:18 AM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Ian sent me over here from my blog, and WOW that's such an ingeneous little press! I'm doing some lino etchings that are 14x14cm max so might consider building my own. I might cheat and buy the roller at a printmaking shop; I know you can buy handrollers.

Thanks for sharing!

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Old 02-03-2014, 11:27 AM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

Ian- I've not tried a pasta-roller, but it might just work. I say to give it a go.... then let us know how it works.

Timelady- The little press scales up very nicely to about an 8.5 x 11 inch image size. I've found though, that the smaller presses (maybe 6x9 or smaller) seem to work the best. If you do scale it up, be sure to use 2 pieces of 3/4" wood glued together for the base to prevent warping. The first roller presses I built were that size, and they've worked well for over a decade now. If the roller seems too difficult to build, i'd recommend a good aluminum rolling pin. You can get them at any commercial resturant supply house at quite reasonable price.

Vhere..... yes, you should build a press. they are so simple to make, and will expand your capabilities greatly.... plus they are a lot of fun to work with.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:06 PM
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Re: my mini-press for ACEO prints

That is beautiful!
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