Is this press a good deal?

Hi everyone,
I’m a newbie searching for my first press and I think I may have found it — locally too!

Can anyone tell me if this press is missing any critical parts? I can see it’s missing rollers and trucks.The seller is asking under $500 for this and will include rollers and trucks.

Anything else I should know/ask about?

Also, any advice on transporting this by vehicle is appreciated (i.e. what size vehicle and how to secure it for a 2 hour drive).

Thanks for all advice and comments!

image: pilot_1.jpg


image: pilot_2.jpg


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I’m not positive but it looks like a craftsman, the chase is there and there are 2 grippers, the only thing i see is the handle looks like it was broken and welded. Can’t really see the parts that hold the rollers (saddles) and under the disc should be something to turn it when the handle is pulled. Had one of these for a little while, they are very well made and print nice. Craftsman still has some parts for these. My press was about 8x12, it took two of us to put it in the back of my mini van, remove the handle and the ink disc i only had to travle about 1/2 hr. i just put some old blankets around the press. Good Luck Dick G.

Looks to me like the handle is a aftermarket replacement for the original — looks like welded steel tubing instead of cast iron — but that’s OK. If the roller saddles are OK and you get usable rollers and trucks it’s probably a pretty good deal. I don’t know the weight but it’s under 200lbs I’m sure, probably more like 150lbs. Handle it carefully so you don’t drop it and moving it should not be a problem. I suspect if you remove the handle (probably one set screw) the press would fit on the back seat of a regular car, and buckle the seat belts around it and it should travel just fine.


That vertical pin on the right side of the plywood delivery board was most likely to hold a feed board. This would probably be like the delivery board, but smaller and without the back stop. If they have it, it would be good to get it.

Like Dick said, this is likely an early style Craftsmen Machinery press called the Superior. It looks like it is in good shape. and well worth $500. If it comes with quality rollers even better.
I have a later model of the Superior, and it weighs ~250. I can lug it around if I have to, but it is much more easily moved by two people.
The handle may have a square key to keep it from shifting on it’s mounting shaft. If so, It may take considerable work to remove. If so, leave it on, remove the ink disk and lay the press on it’s back. This will make it easier to set on the back seat of a car. If you have a van or station wagon, you will have no trouble moving this press fully assembled.
Great find. Good luck.
Keep us posted.

I actually should have included this photo of the back of the press that says ‘PILOT.’

I can’t go and see it until next week but I’ll let you all know how it goes :)

image: back.jpg


Even better for you. Pilots often sell for $1500 - $3000. Here is a link every beginner should read.

Another good overview of table top presses.

Hello pressvirgin,
That is a beautiful old style Pilot. The color more than likely caused other members to identify it as a craftsman. What should concern you, is what is locked up in the chase. It appears to be a steel rule cutting die. The platen shows a piece of tympan paper and some packing. What does the platen look like after all that is taken off?

Girl with a kluge, that is a die cutting die in the chase, good catch, if the press was used for die cutting there could be damage to the platten, remove the tympan and see if there are marks on the platten, if die cutting was done right there should be no problem, even a few small marks shouldn’t cause a problem, my kluge has a couple of circles cut into the platten and it hasn’t been a problem. These table top presses aren’t really production presses like kluge’s so i don’t think there are too many impressions done on it. If you get newer rollers with it that could save you about $200. looks like you are getting a great deal, see if you can talk them out of the table it is on. Good Luck Dick G.

Although I have yet to see the press in person, I’ve been told that it was last used for die cutting.

When I inspect the platen, if I find that it has more than just a few marks, would the press still be a good deal, i.e. is the platen replaceable or is that a crazy question?

If there are a lot of marks on the platen, does it affect the quality of a print (sorry for my ignorance)?

Dick G., just wondering, is there something good about the table? I was going to ask the seller if I could just take the press and not the table…

Thanks again for your help!