Embossing advice please

I’m new here and new to letterpress printing. I am very keen on doing some embossing but not sure where to start. I have access to a Heidelberg Platen. Can this be used for embossing or do I need another machine?

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Thanks for the link. The video isn’t very clear though. Doesn’t the Heidelberg need some special equipment to do the embossing? I mean, what’s the difference between that and ordinary printing?

Basic info on embossing on the Heidelberg platen is in the manual:


Embossing does not require ink. it is a process to raise an image. If you are referring to foil stamping then you require foil holder,puller and heater.

You do have to tell your die maker you will be using a windmill, the counter has to be thinner or your grippers will rip it off.

Polly 97, you seem to be getting some good advice, but one point that seems to be missing, (admittedly you state access to A Heidleberg Platen) but that may be the LEAST desireable Machine for embossing, as Dick has already implied, the clearance of the grippers over the platen limits the thickness of the Counter die.… . There is frequent discussions on this forum, about Grippers scraping the platen with just a modicum of packing, hence Dick,s response,
Parallel approach would seem to be the ultimate, with the relatively wide range of adjustment on approach it was/is conceivable to have female counter dies with .060, .070, (more) depth of drive, so much so that the stock would split, beyond a certain point.!!!. . Next best might seem to be Clamshell with the facility of 4 point Bed, (Or Platen) adjustment, either one backed off adjusted to take .025, .035, depth of drive (Emboss) or deeper.???
Last option, Clamshell with preset approach, and a fine balancing act, for packing and impression (embossing)

From a tatty oil soaked, original H/berg Manual, (inherited recently) it is noted that in the *Embossing on The 10 x15. Platen* the thickness (or otherwise) of the Counter Die, is conspicuous by its absence, up to date Clean, Non oily, Manual may state, up to date, or better???
Apologies if options are limited, and apologies for potential rubbish, but may be bring forth the real info.. .Good Luck.

P.S. as M. C. remarks/implies above, embossing is a different animal, just one little suggestion, instead of the initial cost of Male/Female Die,s and steep learning curve,?? perhaps a little investigation into Thermographic Printing, Raised Image by another name, providing the origination is type rather than a *Logo* or similar, minimal outlay for materials, even (well documented) Hot Air Gun, Paint stripper style, then progress to a Thermo Machine, or not ,Accordingly!!… . One perfect, actual example, U.K. would be Truck Stops, or Greasy Spoon, Cafe,s,>> Stateside, Diner,s or Roadhouse,s Where there is presumably, the obligatory, customers use, Notice Board with the traditional spot lamp, trained on,??… *THERMO* cards hit you in the eye from 20/30 feet away, *Embossing* is in the Minor league

embossing with Heidelberg platen is no problem if one does the math. I do it on a regular basis. .25 mag female on .625 hot or cold base on bed. on platen 10pt card under bar plate boxmaker die jacket and male counter mounted with cantech carpet tape. tip use glue tape(some call snot tape) to hold counter in position on female die release liner removed from carpet tape then slow impression remove snot tape and start with little pressure increase as required if racking or bruising back it off. sometimes mylar on die will smooth out the embossing. you should not expect to raise the image more than the thickness of the stock, .015 if often enough.
Note Cantech is the only carpet tape I have found that does this well and it is getting harder to find.

thermo or virkotype is not as classy as good embossing but depends on your market.

Thanks for the link to the manual, that’s great. Plus all the other info, which will take me some time to decipher!

Perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. I was under the impression (excuse the pun) that blind embossing was inkless and that normal embossing used ink. I have used a thermographic machine before and if I carry on with this then that is something I am also interested in.

What I really want though is to achieve the very deep impression that I have seen on some business cards and invitations (e.g. http://creattica.com/business-cards/letterpress-business-card-for-photog...) but I don’t know if that is achievable with the Heidelberg or not.

You can get the embossed look by increasing the impression while printing.

Technically speaking, deep impression is de-bossing.

Exactly- their example is a deboss, but have been asking about embossing. If the example is what Polly97 is looking to do, then increase the impression pr packing in the area.
I wasnt very clear in my response.

So, basically, it possible to achieve a finish similar to that in the link using the Heidelberg with no extra bits required?

Yes, but it’s not as simple as just cranking up the impression. There will be a balancing act of stock, impression, packing and inking to get a high quality result.

The edge-painting is done manually after printing. ;-)

The edge-painting looks stunning, I think I’d like to try that too one day!

Hi everyone,
I am printing a run of 100 pieces (8.5x18) on 220# Crane Lettra. The piece will include an emboss for which I plan to order a mag. plate. I’ll print on a Vandercook SP15. But I’m concerned about the quality of the embossing using a mag. plate. Can anyone give me some advice—or reassurance?
Many thanks.

I meant “deboss”…thanks for noticing my mistake Typenut.