Taping the Rails for Boxcar

I tried searching for all related topics, but the new site won’t let me search. So I apologize if this has been addressed way back.
So I am working on a C&P 8x12, I am using a deep relief boxcar base and deep relief plates.
So first it was inking my base so I taped my rails. I have several areas of concern with this system. 1) After several impressions the tape starts to wear down and I have to add more tape. 2) There is so much tape that my flywheel can not do a complete revolution so there is no way I can use the motor and the boxcar base at the same time. 3) I don’t want my rails taped up all the time.
So my question is is there anything I can do to prevent my rollers from dragging on my base and plate besides taping?

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What kind of tape are you using? NA Graphics sells rail tape that should not crush as you have mentioned. It’ll cost about 10 dollars for 10 feet, but should be very well worth it.

I don’t quite understand the flywheel problem… care to elaborate?

You could consider adjustable trucks. I personally have no experience with them, and the reports I have heard have been mixed based on use.

Roller bearers have been my solution to this problem for many years. No more tape on the rails. Mine are up to 3 points low in spots and it took a lot of tape to adjust for that. On top of that the rails weren’t worn evenly so it took differing amounts of tape to adjust for the unevenness. Keeping that all in balance was a real PitA.

The bearers are almost exactly type high and keep the rollers at the right height. I do trim the tympan a bit on each side of the platen to avoid getting ink on the tympan (and thus on the back of anything being printed), but that hasn’t been any problem.

Here are links to some photos of my roller bearers, both in the chase and by themselves.




VSPress…. From your description, it’s hard to determine exactly what the real problem is. Either your plates are too tall or your rails are too low… OR your rollers are bigger than your trucks. The best solution to the problem depends upon which it is. The plate, roller, and rails must all three match up correctly or you’ll have a problem. Taping the rails might work for an expediency measure, but it is not good practice.

First, look at the rollers…. they should be the same diameter as the trucks. If they are significantly larger, then they will ink where you don’t want them to ink. (It amazes me to see how many new rollers are being made these days that are grossly oversized.) To correct this, you can tape the trucks, use Morgan adjustable Trucks, replace the rollers with the right size, or get new trucks. Most folks tape the trucks….. which probably corrects 90% of such problems.

Do you have a type high gauge? If not, you can use a large (36pt or so) piece of type as a gauge…..

Measure your boxcar base and plate together. They should not be higher than type-high. If they are, then it’s going to always be a problem. You might get it to print OK, but you’ll always be fighting with it. The only solution I know of is to replace the base or plate with the right height.

Finally, measure the rails. If they are not low, or just a little bit low then leave them alone. Fix the trucks and/or type.

IF they ARE really low you can build them temporarily with tape…. or permanently with something harder. I’ve fixed a few presses in the past by having the rails built up at a welding shop, and then milling the rails back to type-high. That is a LOT of work, but it is the best solution. I’ve also seen rails that were built up with “liquid metal” and then carefully ground/ filed to type high…. it seemed to work also. (Arie K’s solution of using bearers accomplishes the same thing. I’ve never done it that way, but it makes sense to me.)

Once you get all of these three things balanced, and keep them balanced, you’ll never have such problems again.

I was curious as to where you might find roller bearers.


I’ve only found roller bearers as I’ve described them in other people’s shops that I’ve acquired and one pair at last year’s APA convention. Shouldn’t be too hard to make if you have access to a sheet metal brake..

Hi everyone so I wanted to let you know how we went about correcting our issues.
1) Our metal trucks were way too small for the width of our rollers so we moved onto Morgan Expansion Trucks.
2) We made our own Rollers Bearers. You really have to have access to the right equipment or you might have a bit of trouble.
3) We still had a bit of taping that we did on the rails.
We can see that our rails are very worn down in certain spots. We are thinking of making something similar to roller bearers, but for the rails then we aren’t messing around with taping ever.
We had a similar problem that I have seen mentioned here several times. After about 20 impressions one part of our plate would just stop inking. If we adjusted our trucks lower it just caused greater problems. So we would just set it to trip and let it ink up for a bit and start printing again and that seemed to solve the problem.
Thanks everyone for your help.

Use strapping tape.

There is actually a good how-to video on the new Boxcar Press website along with some other helpful videos.