User's instructions, Polymetaal etching presses HP 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;

  • the etching pres
  • the bed plate
  • the six spoked star wheel.
  • Optional, the stand with or without casters or shelves.

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 fits between the two sideframes of the press and between the lower and the upper roller. The bed should have 1 or 2 mm play.

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. (If this press is fitted with a stand, it is strongly advisable to put the star wheel in place after the press has been mounted on the stand)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.

The stand may have come assembled or disassembled. The pictures on the main page of the HP (or HPV) presses show clearly how the stand should be assembled. It is very easy. The metric bolts M8x60 are used for connecting the piping. If the stand is fitted with casters, use the M8x16 hexagon bolts M8 nuts and the washers (on each side) for the assembly. If the stand is fitted with shelves, one should begin with connecting the two side frames of the stand first with the lower connecting pipes. Secondly put the lower shelf in place, and after this the top connecting pipes and the second shelf.


The press is fitted with four hexagon bolts to connect the press with the stand. Two of them are situated at the bottom side of each of the two side frames of the press. Take them out of the frames. When you have assembled the stand, do not tighten the bolts of the stand yet, since this facilitates the assembly with the press. You can now lift the press and put it on top of the stand. Be very careful doing this, because the sliding of the press in this position can cause much damage. Bring now the hexagon bolts M12 (metric) back in place and use these to fix the press to the stand. Now you can also tighten the bolts in the stand.

Use of the press

This press is very well suitable 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 this press


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. (ball bearings, or self lubricating bronze 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)