Arab tympan

Hi. I feel very stupid posting this. My Arab arrived this week and I want to replace the old tympan and packing but I can’t figure out where to undo the old one. Can anybody help?

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Post some pictures.

If it’s like almost all other platen presses there are two “bales”, on the upper and lower edges of the platen, that are hinged on the sides. Pry them open at the center of the long edges of the platen; the tympan is held in place by them. When reinstalling a new tympan, clamp it in the bottom bale first, then insert your packing and clamp the top edge last. Use the old tympan as a pattern to cut new ones.


Bob - the Arab is not like other presses - it does not have bales. Therein lies the problem…

I have to tape my packing onto the base, it’s mostly rubbish and needs redoing doo often, am trying to think of a better way

There’s some posts at the bottom of the platen, push your tympan onto them and tape it to high hell. I would imagine there could have been some kind of locking bar that went over the top of this at somepoint but ours doesn’t have it.

Then at the top of the platen (near delivery board) there’s a bar, which rotates—cut the top of the tympan into a ‘V’ and stick the small end to the bar (with gaffer tape) and then turn the bar (picking up slack) until it pulls tight.

That’s the theory. In practice I’ve never got it to work.

Thanks for the replies. Attaching some images…

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I did not know the Arab does not have bales — sorry! I’d be at work adding them or something similar right away if it were my press — or swapping it for a Golding! ;-)


I want that Lay guide/gauge.

Don’t be afraid to take your old tympan off. When you do however, try to keep it as intact as possible as you will need to use this as a template for a new tympan.

At the bottom of the platen, nearest where you put the chase, run your fingers along the bottom, you should feel four small steel rods poking out. At the top of the platen, once you have taken your tympan out you will see that there is a metal rod, that is bent at both ends. The ends fit into holes. At the end by the wheel you will see there is a hole big enough for an alan key to go in. This is what you tighten and loosen the tympan with.

You will need to punch four holes in the bottom of your tympan, these will fit into the four small steel rods at the bottom of the platen - they hold your tympan in place. Pull your tympan up to the top of the platen fold it over the top, towards the back of the platen, get your steel rod and put it onbtop of the tympan, the ends of the metal rod should be bent and will fit into a hole at either end. Use your alan key to turn the metal bar that your steel rod fits into to tighten your tympan - try it, you will see what I mean. Put packing underneath before you do this. You will need a flat headed screwdriver to push the steel rod through the gap between the metal bar that holds the metal rod and the back of the platen when you are turning the metal bar with your alan key.

I know this sounds complicated, but believe me, it’s very very easy!

I think the last post pretty well covers the process. If I can add the following- The Arab tympan system is the best in the business and is set up very much like the early cylinder presses. That is you, hook the lower end on to the the little posts at the bottom edge of the platen, draw the tympan/blanket (and any packing) up and over the platen. The “tongue” of the blanket is then held in a shallow groove in the rod that runs across the top (nearest to you) edge of the platen by a wire held in the two small holes at each end. This rod is then wound up to get it really tight before you secure it with the nut on its left end. Re-packing is as symple as loosening this nut to make the top tympan loose enough to slide the packing in or out and then re-tightening the rod and nut.
At the risk of throwing a cat among the pidgeons, I have an Arab, a Morfitt Empress and a C&P, and I would rate them in that order as far as precision, quality of manufacture and quality of resulting print. I know the C&P’s are the most numerous platens out there but quantity does not translate into quality. The Arab is the “Rolls Royce” of the platens by a long way.On that contraversial note I bid you adieu

Thanks very much people… I will try that out. I’m glad I have a Rolls Royce!