Magnetic Aluminum Bases

Does anyone have any experience with the “Aluminum Base with magnetic surface for steel backed photopolymer plates” that is sold at

I’ve read that the steel backed plates are better than plastic backed and since elum is out of stock for at least a month on their aluminum bases, I started looking elsewhere and stumbled up on this.

Pretty much just looking for reviews. It seems like a cheaper alternative to other magnetic bases. Does anyone know if you can use the adhesive backed plates on it as well?
Not sure why I would but just trying to get an idea of versatility.

Item no. AM68 @

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I started with the magnetic plates because that’s what I was taught with….but when I got my own press…I ordered a base that was for photopolymer…not knowing! SO glad I made the mistake. Here’s why…with the magnetic plates it was harder to registar, especially if you were doing more then one color, or tight registration. I should add the base I was using had NO grid on it…if there was a grid, that would have been helpful!

Also, if you were needing to cut the metal it can become a bit of a problem catching an edge. Its do-able but you need to be careful that the metal is not bending up or down as it will ink up.

The upside of the photopolymer for me, is the fact that they are clear. My base has a grid, and with the clear plate, registaring is way less time consuming.

The downside I have found from time to time is with the cleaning solution around the edges. The photopolymer has a sticky backing. You can reposition it on the base many times, which is great….however, I have found that even after I have set the plate firmly down, the cleaning solution (I use California wash) will remove the sticky backing. I should add…this has only been a problem with multiple runs…) You can send them back to the platemaker and have a new backing applied. Having said all of this…I do like the photopolymer. Storage is nice too, as they are flexable.

I’m interested in the opinions of other printers…I know there is someone out there who will say the exact opposite! This has been my experience, hope it helps!

P.S. Forgot to add… after I bought a base and had that shipped…I was told that I should have gone to a machine shop with my dimentions and had it cut locally. WAY less expensive! You might want to try that. Good luck!

I have a couple of homemade magnetic bases that I use in my C&P 14 x 22 Craftsman and I have done a couple of 4 color posters and had no problem with registration or the printing. The base material is a phenolic panel and it has an adhesive magnetic sheet applied to the face. I now have a 12” x 18” magnetic base that cost about $40.00. I used the same method to make some smaller bases for the big girl and for my Pilot. You can see some of the posters I have printed along with some other items on my website at


Paloma letterpress the magnetic plates are aslo polymerplates, they just have a steel back oposite of the polymerplates which are flexible.

It’s easy enough to register a metal backed plate on the base, I print multi color jobs all the time with tight register and my plates are all steel backed.

Bases: The magnetic aluminium bases (Patmag was the first name used for them) are fine on platen presses (C&P ) or vandercooks. If you print with a deep impression (punch it), either have a lot of meat around your image (added plate space to increse the amount of either magnetic hold or sticky tape, to prevent the plate from slipping, especially than using a vandercook or resort to a Bunting base wich has a stronger hold.

There are a number of misconceptions here.

Photopolymer plates are supplied with several different backings: steel, polyester, aluminum. They are available in numerous thicknesses that must be correctly configured to the specific base that you will be using.

In regard to bases: the industrial grade Bunting Magnetic Cerface has a hard surface (a combination of the aluminum or steel housing, ceramic magnets, and steel bars), its economic alternative, the Patmag, has a magnetized rubber surface glued to an aluminum base.

There are several aluminum flatbases made to accommodate polyester-backed plates, such as the Boxcar and Eluminum. These are both quite similar.

Yes, polyester-backed plates can be used on a Bunting Cerface base if the combined plate, film adhesive, and base measurements do not exceed .918. It is best not to use polyester-backed plates on a Patmag as damage to the surface of the magnetic sheeting can occur.

Not all polyester-backed photopolymer plates are translucent. One of the best photopolymer plate brands on the market, the BASF, is opaque.

If you want accurate registration you really can’t rely solely on a grid, you need a line gauge; no matter what kind of letterpress printing you are engaged in.

Any type of adhesive, whether spray-on or film can be problematic.


Typenut…thank you for the info on the magnetic plates! I did not know that!! Learn something new everyday…however, I still don’t like em! Luckily…there are options…

BielerPress…I will have to try the BASF plates! Where can you get those? I have always ordered through Boxcar for my plates. Your information is awsome…I am really happy to learn from other printers. Thanks again!