Saw a Heidelberg for sale

I saw a Heidelberg for sale for $700. I am extremely suspicious because the price is so low. Can anyone give me pointers as to what I’m looking for in a press? What would make it unsalvagable? I don’t mind doing some repair on it, but at what point is it a lost cause and for the scrapper?

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There are oh so many things to consider with a press a complicated as a heidelberg.
first off, what model? Windmill, or cylinder, and what size?
You want to be sure that all the major parts are there, (all metal rollers, arms, platen, grippers, etc. Does it need a new motor?
Be sure there are no major signs of damage, like cracked or broken parts, or severe rust.
They are complex machines with a lot of parts, and if you are not familiar with them, it will be very easy to not know if you are missing parts or not.
The good thing about heidelberg windmills is that many replacement parts are out there, both authentic and aftermarket. The bad thing is that they are not cheap parts.
A heidelberg that requires significant restoration could very quickly cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars just for replacement parts. They are also somewhat complex, compared to some other equipment, and may require tools and know how that you don’t have, and paying a professional mechanic won’t be cheap either.
Try to get some photos to post, so we can see what you are dealing with.
I feel like there are enough windmills out there, that it is not really worth it to buy a lemon. If it need some serious help, it may be a better buy for a dealer who can part it out, etc.
good luck

I am going to post a pic. It is front view only. It looks like some type of roller needs to be put back on? Sorry for asking stupid questions, but I’d rather ask now than get stuck with something.

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I have asked (and had answered) the same questions you have about sight-unseen Original Heidelbergs (Windmills). The short answer is that there is a lot that could be wrong with the press depending on how it has been used and how it has been cared for since it was taken out of commission.

Richard Tautenhahn is the man to ask about Windmills, and he is wary of buying any press you can’t test in person. $700 might sound like a deal, but you still have to move it and if you end up with bent gripper bars or something worse you may not be pleased in the end.

Can you get to this press to do some test printing on it?

Thank you for the responses. With the good advice I am getting, I am going to pass on this deal - $700 is still a lot of money to me! It’s a good chunk towards a more expensive, yet operative, windmill.

good call. Even the smallest quirks on a windmill can start to have an effect on registration, impression, etc, and not knowing what little tiny thing is off can drive you batty, and since you rely on the press to feed, it can be frustrating at times, even on a good machine. Better to leave the project windmills for those with the know how, and leave your own restoration efforts to something easier to tackle, or, save the dough for the heidelberg that is really dialed in. It is out there for sure, just gonna cost more.

The roller laying on the feed table in that picture is a steel rider from a 12 by 18 GT model. It doesn’t belong there.

With the $$$ to move it, and the time to part it out, the T model pictured could be worth much more than $700 over time, from people like me looking for, say, Part #T 1047 F guide plate, left hand. Or parts# T1124 F crank handle, and T1123 hand wheel. Name your price… you just made back a significant amount of your investment! An Original Heidelberg windmill operator’s manual for the T model is worth more than $80, IF you can find one.

If you already have five or or six black handle T models in production, $7 bills would be a bargain, for parts. But as your first acquisition, and not a working model, then no.

A well maintained black handle windmill today is worth at least $2500 in production, and almost half that to move from point A to point B. It takes a lot of effort to beat one of these girls up - decades of severe abuse - as they were built to last for centuries, with proper maintenance.

On the other hand, if you are in a position to examine the impression strength, sometimes all the old lady needs is a shear collar. About $100 and an hour or two to fix it yourself at current scale. Many shops that are switching over to a newer technology don’t have the time, manpower, nor the wherewithal to realize that.

The impression shear collar is a device that fails due to excessive pressure, at which point the T model becomes apparently useless. Barring other catastrophic damages, perhaps all she needs is some TLC, a shear collar, and some tech savvy. In which case, $700 would be an absolute steal.

i guess the real test would be to have someone with some Hiedelberg experience accompany you on checking out the machine. As Jim says, it could be a simple fix, but without an experienced eye to look over everything closely, you just can’t know.
I am not sure where you are located, but there maybe someone knowledgeable in your area,willing to take the field trip to see if this press has the potential that you need it to have.