Friday, 21 May 2010

my platen set up

I've been asked if whether or not I mind sharing my printing tips. Of course not, but I can see the reasoning behind the question. Wouldn't I want to keep some trade secrets? It is after all becoming a larger industry with competitors just around the corner. I think letterpress printing is a brain trade, tips and techniques passed down and onto others. What better way to keep it alive than to share it? Sure there are downfalls to passing along information because not everyone is genuine or as passionate as others. But that fact alone isn't a good enough reason to withhold what you know. So to that end, I say - share. Help out the ones starting out or have dreams to. Even long time practitioners will find another printer's way of doing things helpful. And if someone takes your knowledge and capitalizes it or runs with it as their own ideas or practices (and they will) don't sweat it. It's what you bring to the table-top that matters.

That said...here are a few tips that I use and share in the Letterpress Curiosity Workshop. They are my way of doing things and I hope it's useful to you readers.

Above are photos of the Boxcar base in action with Boxcar photopolymer plates and my platen set up. I'm not in the habit of changing my tympan paper. The typman grippers take a mighty might to move and it's just a downright hassle. It's another reason why I don't use gauge pins. When I did use gauge pins, I had to switch the typman paper to new ones quite often.

Instead, I've got just enough typman for every run and make adjustments with packing per project. On the platen I've placed a sheet of grid paper that helps me line and square up my cardstock. This is super helpful when it comes to blind printing and when I'm not using crop marks.

On top of the grid paper, I've placed a plastic sheet. This comes in handy when a print is accidentally made without cardstock on the platen. Alot of my workshop participants have done this and their eyes go wide with fear. You can use baby powder to help take away some of the ink on the platen/tympan paper but it's much easier to wipe it off the plastic completely and it's like it never happened.

I've also mentioned the use of photo corners before. I use these because gauge pins would get in the way of the base and do damage. The photo corners aren't without a disadvantage though. They prevent printing a small area on the two corners of the cardstock. But for the most part, it hasn't hindered any designs I've made. Sometimes you just have to design around the tools you're working with.

If you've got any (usual or unusual) printing tips and techniques that have worked for you and you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about it.

UPDATE HERE.

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8 comments:

small caps said...

Thanks for sharing. It is always intersting to see how other printer work! Haven't try photo corners, but why not! Good idea.

jax said...

Well said Tanya :)
Neat idea with the grid paper!

I totally agree, the other night I got a fraught email from someone trying to letterpress their wedding invites which was going horribly wrong, I emailed her back with an idea what to do and it was so rewarding to get a lovely reply, saying it had worked!

Moose said...

I love photo corners...and the price too! Your site is truly a wealth of information for newbie, me!
Tail Wags,
~moose

amuse-toi bien said...

Thanks for sharing these tips Tanya! I still remember them all from the workshop we did together, it helped me so much, I know that I will be using these techniques when I get going on my printing :)

Laura said...

I love using the photo corners too although it slows me up sometimes because it takes a bit to fit the paper in them.

I also agree with the grid paper too--it's so much easier to line everything up that way.
I'm glad that I must be doing something right if you're doing it too :)

t a n y a said...

small caps: if you end up using the photo corners, let me know if like them.

jax: well done! if you try out the grid paper tip, let me know you find it.

Moose: right, the photo corners are so inexpensive. i get them from the dollar store.

amuse-toi bien: nice! keep me posted!

Laura: the photo corners have advantages and disadvantages, you're right. when i can, i try to lock up my forme as close to the top of the chase so that my cardstock doesn't sit so near to the bottom where i have less room to fit my hands in to place the photo corners.

nr said...

wow, your photo polymer plates look great. Mine never come out that high or that detailed for the small type.

t a n y a said...

hi Naomie,

yes, the Boxcar plates are awesome!