User's instructions, Polymetaal etching presses JH series
Perhaps you received your press through a transport company, in which case the star wheel and the bed will be not yet installed. Delivery includes:
You should clean the rollers first. For safety reasons these rollers are packed with grease paper and plastic tape. Make a very small cut in the plastic tape which allows you to peal off this material. The rollers must be cleaned from grease with a solvent . The rollers must be clean and dry before use.
Put the bed in place. The bed just fits between the two side frames. Take the tape off from the lower roller where the key is that connects the lower roller with the star wheel. Check if the key is still in place. Slide the star wheel over the shaft of the lower roller until the whole shaft is inside the hub of the star wheel. There is no problem if some force is needed to slide the wheel over the shaft. But never use a steel hammer directly on the hub to put it in place. Use a woodblock as a buffer between a steel hammer and the hub, or use a hammer made form softer material (wood or plastic) There is a small metric screw (m8) in the hub that has to be tightened now to secure the star wheel
(Optional) The press should be fixed on top of the stand with the four hexagon bolts M8. The image shows a cross-section of a side frame. Each side frame has two threaded holes for fixing the etching press.
Use of the press
These presses are very well suited for printing intaglio (copper and zinc plates) as well as woodcuts and linocuts.
The following drawing shows the situation while printing from an etched or engraved metal plate (intaglio).
The purpose of the felt is to press the paper into the small engraved lines of the plate, in order to accept ink.
Some people use cardboard shims under the pressure spindle (between the small moveable part and the bearing block of the top roller) to generate more "flexibility" in the press. For etching is has not much effect, but for printing woodcuts or linocuts it can be of help. It helps to compensate the irregularities of the wood's surface.
Printing woodcuts and linocuts with these presses
The drawing shows a layer of felt. This felt has also the feature to compensate for irregularities of the woodcut or linocut. (differences in thickness). If the woud or lino should be perfectly plane, no felt was needed. Underneath the felt is a plastic layer (PVC) of appr. 5mm thick. This is only functional in combination with the felt. If the PVC layer should not be used, the felt would press the paper into the hollows of the woodcut or linocut. If you want embossing, very well. If not, prevent this from happening by using the plastic layer.
The bearings of this do press not need lubrication. (all ball bearings)
It is recommanded to use and store this press in a dry room, to prevent rusting (For example, etching with aggressive agents should be done in a different room, for the same reason)