C&P Pilot - need help with impression

I am new to letterpress. I just came across a C&P Pilot, so i bought it. Everything seems in working order, but I am having problems with getting a good impression.

Initially, the rollers were too low because they were inking the
boxcar plate. I was able to fix that problem by adding tape to the trucks. The problem i’m having is that there is no “punch” on the paper. I tried adding more packing behind the tympan paper, but it’s still not making any impression on the paper. When I tried adding more packing behind the chase, i had a problem with the rollers inking the plate again. I am so frustrated! I just dont know what else to do in order for the polymer plates to make contact with the paper and make an impression.

Someone suggested that platen is adjusted way too high. If that is true, how do I make the proper adjustments?


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My suggestion: take the Boxcar base out of the chase and lock up four pieces of type-high material (type, cuts) near the four corners of the chase. Put a basic packing (tympan sheet and at least one piece of pressboard) on the platen. Then close the press to the handle stop and get a strip of thin bond paper about 1” x 10” or so. Adjust the platen adjustment screws until the platen is just touching the blocks and then open the press and slip the strip of paper between one block and the platen. Close the press to the stop and adjust until there is some drag when you try to remove the strip. Do the same with the other three blocks to get uniform drag. That should get you close enough for refinements. Check to be sure that the lock nuts on the adjusters are snug after you’re done.

You can do the same test for the rollers — a strip of paper between the blocks and the rollers should have resistance when the roller is over the block — if not your trucks need to be adjusted.

Be sure that your packing is within the width of the roller tracks, as if it is under the tracks, it will prevent the platen from completely closing and making an impression. In fact with too wide of a packing, the more sheets you add the less impression you’ll get.

Ad Lib, thanks for your message. Since i am new to letterpress, can you tell me where the platen adjustment screws are on the press? I want to make sure I’m adjusting the right screws! Do you have a picture??

For picture of impression screws click on:



Hey all, I wanted to restart this thread. I’m trying to get contact with the polymer plates and the paper. When I adjust the screws on the back of the platen, my rollers end up hitting into the plate and grippers. ouch. not good. please help asap!!!!!

p.s. i have check out a bunch of other threads related to this subject and I’m not having any success. *sigh*