User's instructions, Polymetaal etching presses JS 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 press
  • the bed plate
  • the five spoked star wheel.
  • Optional, the stand with or without casters.

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 adjustable steel guides fixed to the side frames. The image to the right shows the guides in detail. The picture shows a cross-section of a side frame at the point where a guide strip holder is fixed in the side frame. In order to adjust the play between the guides and the bed, the guide strips must be moved. Just unscrew the small screws in the side frame (with a metric key) and readjust the position of the guide strips. You may use a small hammer to move the guide strips. After adjustment tighten the screws again.

  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.

The stand may have come assembled or disassembled. The picture on the main page of the JS presses shows clearly how the stand should be assembled. It is very easy. The metric bolts M8x60 are used for connecting the piping, and the bolts M8x70 are used for the connection between the stand and the press. The bolts M8x70 can only be inserted, "bottom up" into the stand and the side frames.

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. (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)