Asburn having uneven inking - tried everything to my knowledge

Hi all,

First time using this troubleshoot, and I turn to you all for some help!

I have an Asburn flatbed press, and have tried everything to my knowledge to make inking consistently perfect, but I am still getting salt and pepper only in the middle of polymer plates. Its not specific to one side either, just always in the middle not matter where I move my base.

The roller height is a perfect 1/8 inch on the front and back rollers and both sides, the impression is perfect, and I have added enough ink for it to start squishing out of the edges, so it’s not the amount of ink I am using. I have a boxcar base, and the bed of the press is fine. Everything is well oiled, and my ink is new.

Some issues that may be a factor are-

I had to have a roller truck fabricated when I bought the press, and it seems to fit really tight compared to the other 3 trucks, but it seems to work alright.

I bought the press with new rollers, and they are extremely sticky, more sticky than I have ever dealt with. I don’t know if that could be a factor with how they are laying down the ink.

My ink drum also seems to be tilting ever so slightly on one side.

Please help, I can’t think of what else to do to help this problem!

image: salt and pepper skateboard.jpg

salt and pepper skateboard.jpg

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

I don’t use the press you use, but it looks like your coverage issues are coming for one of a few different sources…

Sometimes, increased impression will help to even out a salty print.

If that’s not possibly, the ink may be suspect. Picking may play a factor if the ink is too tacky, and you can try to reduce it with an appropriate additive.

On my platen presses, the rotational speed of the roller sometimes causes this issue. Adding some traction to the rails could also help.

But, you say your rollers were already sticky, which sounds like a composition roller or vinylith roller issue. Both of these roller material types, even if new, will not last long without proper care. They can disintegrate on the press.

Not sure by any means, but try the above. You may just be encountering some of the troubles encountered with trying to print a solid via letterpress.

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

You don’t indicate what type of paper you are printing on. If the stock is very rough and airy, you may not be getting enough pressure to get ink to the “valleys” in the paper. Try printing on some smooth bond paper or newsprint and see if the image is solidly inked.

I have seen this behavior with some of the blotter-like papers that are popular these days. A little mekeready, putting more impression in the middles of the image areas can make a big difference. Also dampening the paper can assist in improving the ink laydown.

J Henry

We often love a very flat color (like you get with silkscreen) when we are printing via letterpress. Most often we are either using a Vandercook or a Heidelberg windmill and many of our greeting cards are printed on Crane Lettra (very open and hard to get solid). So we often have to print multiple times in order to get the paper ABSOLUTELY covered. We often like to get the solid color to keep it from looking like most all other printing via letterpress. It is often a fine line between printing something that has a wonderful lightly printed quality and one that just looks poorly printed.

This is an example of a card we did where we wanted absolute solid ink coverage and it is on Crane Lettra 110#.

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