Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Press Finally Finished

This has been a bigger project than I thought it would be.  Intended to be a full size studio press it has shrunk due to costs - most of the components cost next to nothing from the recycler but the platen was the problem - to get a seasoned cast iron plate AND have it milled made it completely uneconomic.  And my back would have been in no condition to handle it.  So it was reduced to fit an available offcut of fiberglass re-enforced phenolic switchboard panel supplied by Stephen Twohig at Fitzroy Etching Presses & Printmakers, the only place of many I tried where they didn't want(even as far as India) to take me for a ride; like $1000 plus.

Having had shoulder surgery I didn't want a big wheel to hang from (remember the cross Rose Lindsay had to bear, editioning for Norman) and so it has a nice heavy steel flywheel and that drives directly through the little green 8:1 planetary gearbox from an old industrial electric motor.  There is a 1:1 chain drive to the lower roll on the other side of the press, D=145 mm.  The rolls are heavy tubes from a large scrap hydraulic cylinder, 650mm long.  This was too long for my lathe even with a steady and bearing replacing the tailstock.  So it had to be reversed to true it up.  I made a mandrel to set the tail up at the headstock, realigned the lathe before I started and like a fool tried welding up some deep damage on the cylinder and thereby spent a lot of time on it with a mill file.  Should have simply selected better sections, it was a very long cylinder.  But using a four-jaw chuck and run-out gauge the cuts met perfectly in the middle.  The platen is 1240mm. long, the little support rollers sit on 16mm round and are made of nylon with a bronze bush pressed in at each end, pressed in and reamed to fit after the millscale was filed off the rods.  The pressure adjustment handles are only 150 mm long all up in case I or some other idiot - if I lend it in a moment of madness - is less likely to overload and thereby jam the system when it hits the plate at full throttle with that heavy flywheel.
Other features are shelves under the table which has adjustable feet to maintain alignment

 And here are my most recent prints, these are available by emailing me.

Fukushima: The Evacuation of Tokyo with details,  44 x 60 cm,  copper plate etching,  edition of 20

Bandicoot and Magnolia

My wife is the most fabulous person in the world.  For me I mean.  Who else would have put up with this specimen on the dining room table for a week while I was creating the plate?

Edition of 20, 22x30 cm, intaglio from copper plate.