Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Homemade Printing Press

I took a printmaking class when I was in school and loved it.  My all time favorite are Intaglio prints.  I like drypoint etching on plexiglass (acrylic sheet.)
I have wanted a home press for a long time, but even small tabletop presses run close to $1000.
My genius husband, being the handyman and engineer that he is, took my problem under advisement.
Here is what he came up with.

 You will need:
two pieces of hardwood (we used Red Oak)
these scraps of 11" each were $2.60 a piece
they measure 1"x 4"

two hex bolts 1/2" x 6"

four corresponding washers $0.33 each

two corresponding nuts $0.38 each

two pieces of 1/16" board
(I used Masonite, I cut up a clipboard but you can
buy this board at Home Depot)

5/8" Spade Bit $4.37

Ideally, your boards will be the same size, but I started out with a press made with a clamp (failure)
and these are the pieces I had laying around.

Put it together like so:
washer, board, board, washer

This is a horrible picture of the plates I am working on.  These are made with acrylic and etched with a needle.  Maybe that will be my next tutorial on here.

Make a mat board template for your plate to sit in.
It should be the same size or bigger than the paper you intend to print on so that you don't end up with creases on the print.

See how the plate sits tight in the mat board, so that it doesn't move when you print.

After you ink the plate, put down the soaked paper and top it with your second board.
Then sandwich it in the press, and tighten it down with wrenches.  3/4" works for the bolts I used.

Leave it inside for 15 minutes.
Then release the press and remove the printing "sandwich".

This is what you end up with.

I have the best results from this Akua Intaglio Ink in Carbon Black.

This Domestic Etching Paper from Daniel Smith.

These are the plans for the press if you want to make bigger prints than I did here.
(Probably everyone!)
Use 1" board at 8" x 10"
Four holes, Four Nuts, Eight Washers.
Makes sure you tighten down the press from printing you do it evenly. I use a mini Level placed in the middle of my press to make sure I'm printing evenly.
For the larger press, tighten in an X pattern. (ex. top left, then bottom right, then top right, then bottom left.)  If you don't, you end up with one side printed deeper and one side not printed.

How fun is this! Try it yourself.
All together, under $20. 

1 comment:

Julie Collings said...

i love it! great photos and tutorial. can't wait to see the prints in your shop.

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