Thursday, 25 June 2009

DIY printing press part 1 - bottle jack press from mossworks

for the last few weeks i have been researching for a printing press... i really want one for printing my collagraphs and etchings... and possibly our invitations...
the prices for a printing press though are jaw droppingly expensive... i cannot really justifying spending $2000+ for a proper press (mind you they go up to tens of thousands of $$)...
i also surfed numerous sites and forums for benchtop / hobby / baby presses... the user responses are not too great - and they are nto cheap either... the cheapest one so far would set me off $400-500 ("might as well get our invitations printed by a shop", mcduck said... he's got a point there)
may be i can DIY one...
then i came across http://www.mossworks.com/techniques.html
the "bottle jack press" pdf looked "do-able"
after much procrastination and time wasting internet surfing, i went to buns buns and got the parts today!
i spent the arvo half of today on the project... only stopped when the sun went down... here was what happened...
first i printed and studied the steps and plans...


"how am i going to adapt this plan to the materials i already have?"





i listed out all the stuff i had and the stuff i needed to buy from buns...





stuff required - timber pieces (got at home, recycling bed slats), slotted steel angles x4 (gotta buy), melamine pieces (got at home, recycling kitchen cupboard scraps), nuts/bolts/washers (gotta buy, got 1/4 inch ones), angle brackets (gotta buy), elastic rope (gotta buy), hooks (gotta buy), eyelets (got some from roman blind making), hydraulic bottle jack (i want a 20 ton, why? on that later... gotta buy too)


the only thing i haven't got today was the bottle jack... the plan suggested a 6 ton jack... but forums i have been to suggested up to 20 tons for printing of etching plates to be possible... so better bigger than smaller... bottle jacks are not cheap though... the "larger" it is, the more $$... the cheapest 20 -ton one i researched came to over $100... so my plan is to finish the frame and get the jack later...



first was measuring out the dimensions, ready for cutting...



after much hard work the timber pieces were cut to size (cut manually bu heck saw and reg saw! sweat and hard labour involved)



more measuring b4 putting on nuts and bolts...



i figured that drilling 3 pieces of timber secured together by rubber bands to be the easiest... i did start of with drilling each piece of timber, then put the bolts in - didn't really line up (v easy to be out by a mm)...



major bit of the frame done! (after numerous hours have passed)



time to do the bed plate... securing angle brackets to the "timber feet" & melamine bed...







done! looks easy but was bloody hard to do...



by the time i finished... it is well into darkness outdoors... so i had to pack up in the dark...
but v happy with the results so far...



Thank you charles for putting up the bottle jack press plans! otherwise i won't be able to have my own press for under $200!

1 comment:

charlesgmorgan said...

Your press looks really nice! I used mine for years, but I have made some improvements. You should download my latest plans at:

http://www.monoprints.com/info/links.html

Have a read through the plans, and you will see that you can make just a few changes to your current press to make it stronger. Basically, all you have to do is add two more pieces of 2x4 to the bottom and reposition the bolts so they pass above and below each of the top and bottom bars, rather than going through the top and bottom bars. That means that under high pressure, the top and bottom bars are much less prone to crack.

Best of luck with it. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, problems, or suggestions.

Cheers ...... Charles