paper size for printing versus finished size of print

Total newbie question….my first honest-to-goodness attempt at a print run is coming up! I have a 10x15 C&P with a 8.5”x5” boxcar base locked in. I have my gauge pins, etc.

I am hoping to print some one-colour cards. Nothing finicky, no bleeds, only about 20% coverage, etc.

I am wondering: how much larger should the paper be than the plate? As in, how I ensure I am accommodating the base and the gauge pins when cutting paper to print on? I am trying to get as much as I can out of 8.5x11 Lettra sheets. At the moment I am aiming for a 4x5” flat card, but the best I can do in non-trimmed paper is 4.25” x 5.5”. Is this enough of a space for grabbing inky prints and not breaking my pins on the base?

Any help is very, very appreciated. I’ve attached the graphic I am printing if it helps at all. Thanks!

image: Screen shot 2011-07-14 at 10.21.45 AM.png

Screen shot 2011-07-14 at 10.21.45 AM.png

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You do not say what size your poly plate is.
You can trim your plate with an Xacto knife to about 3/32” on the two gage pin sides. Place the plate right at the edges of the base. Then with about 3/8” or more paper margin, you should be fine. Do close the press by hand after you have set your pins and peek in to make sure the base clears the pins. A flashlight is handy to peek in through the flywheel for the bottom pins.

Two ways to get the printed piece out if it is printed very close to the near margin.
Cut fairly coarse sandpaper strips and attach them to three fingers of your left hand with rubber bands. If you are not heavy handed, you can put your fingers right on the fresh ink and extract the prints for numerous pieces. Do check periodically to see if you are getting any ink on the sandpaper and transfer. With the big open space on your plate, you should be able to place your sandpapwer fingers there.
The alternative is to get your fingernails between the pins at the bottom and skoot the paper up the tympan sheet and on to the delivery board. The prints fall in a sloppy pile. Don’t jog them right away.

It may be obvious, but I add this to be completely clear.
When you close the press to see if the pins are clear, you close it slowly and not all the way. Just almost.

Thank you! This is very helpful. The plate will be just slightly smaller than the card size, so perhaps 3.75”x4.75” on the 4x5” card. I am assuming this is a good thing in terms of paper size as it it still centered and works with the max height of the base I have….?

When I use Photopolymer, I place the plate so that it is on the edge of the bottom base and to the side I am feeding too. This means the pins will always clear the base. The bottom and side guides must clear the base but if the pins are fine they can potrude into the base area. Sometimes I glue stiff card to quads as guides and this works fine. If the plate is trimmed close and is on the bottom left side (for instance), take a miss on the packing and set the guides to the print area. Everything clears and should be fine. As mentioned in previous posts, if in doubt close press (nearly) by hand and carefully observe!