What to look for when buying a Heidelberg T Platen/Windmill?

I have found a Heidelberg T Platen/Windmill not far from our studio for sale and as our studio needs a more motorised update so we are considering buying it.

Having only printed on our C&P Platen presses we are fairly new to the world on windmills. The press is a 1973 red ball model , and has only been used by its current owner for numbering, perforating, scoring and diecutting. Its previous owner before that was printing with it, but I believe this was some time ago.

We plan to print with it and maybe a very small amount of diecutting. What should one look for when inspecting the press? What sort of damage can be done by its life as a diecutter that could effect it when printing?

Known faults of the press are:
• One of the delivery pile side guides is missing
• This machine has an air suction operated jogger fitted to the delivery pile and it needs a spring to make it return to start position.

I have attached an image of the press below. Any advise would be greatly recommended!

image: Unknown.jpeg


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hi the one thing that comes to mind is check the grippers to make sure that they haven’t been bent as it can dramatically affect registration and they are expensive to replace.

looks like a nice press from the photo, i would watch out for the gripper arms swinging around because of the lack of a guard on the front.
Since they were using it for scoring and diecutting it must register alright but thats what I would ask about the press. Also check if the platen bed is not damaged in anyway, perforation marks, lines cut into it, anything like that will screw up your impression.

1973 good year should have lock out rollers that can stay on when diecutting. Picture looks good.If it is under power now find out if it can kiss cut if so then it has not been hurt by diecutting.As for safety guard a same size plate can be bolted to the arm.As for jogger I dont use mine for diecutting or printing but the parts are still available Ebay, Heidelberg or could be made locally if you get the specs.If it was used by a reputable diecutter they would be using a die jacket to protect the bed.Watch youtube vids to get pointers on use like mine 937die. good luck!

Without a doubt, if you buy this press, make sure you either buy or fabricate a guard. This could save you a trip to either the hospital or the funeral parlor.

Be sure and check for slop on the platten. If you grab it and try rocking it back and forth, it shouldn’t move. If it has movement, this is an idication that the press wasn’t well oiled.

Pull the hose off of the sucker bar and unscrew filter holder. If the filter is all clogged up, this is another indication of poor press care. Its not a deal breaker, but just an indication of lack of love.

The grippers should be striaght.

Don’t worry about the missing delivery standard. Heidleberg will be happy to sell you a new one!

On the pump side of the press, there is a little drawer. It should contain a set of nickle gauges, brass gauges, and even no-margin gauges if you are really lucky. There also should be a replacement shear ring and numerous other small parts. Also, there should be a full compliment of wrenches with the press, those any metric wrench will do.
There should also be a parts manual and an instruction book.

Take a look at the register bar (its down at the bottom of the platen). If its all bent up, this is a bad, bad sign. If its all dirty and gunky, don’t sweat it. This usually means that nobody ever printed on-gauges.

Every windmill has its own sound. Don’t worry if its a “groaner”.

Look around the press for obvious welding and other repairs. Make sure the feed table goes up and down easily.

If the machine is OK, you are going to love it and wonder how you lived without it.

If the photo is the very press you are buying, I would buy it with my eyes closed. Looks good. It is a 1965 and up model. Looks good. Good luck.

I am an independent Heidelberg Mechanic. I agree with BDesigns. this is a Red Ball machine with lockouts on the ink arms. If the price is good, buy it!! You can get parts from Whittenburg, Inc. at 615-212-0015. He has everything for Heidelberg letterpress, all machines. Looks like a good machine. Whenever I buy windmills, I always disassemble the oil distributors under the inker (remove the caps) and make sure that the caps are not filled with oil. This will keep the central lube from working correctly. Just a hint.


Don’t worry about the air jogger. They can be more trouble than they are worth. They can drop the amount of feeder blast available when used. The side guides are sufficient. Besides, the jogger can offset the job if the sheets are moved too hard.


Can’t see for sure, is the handle on the feeder pile raising mechanism broken???