Smudged Type

I know some veterans are going to see this and know in a split second what’s wrong, but for the life of me, I can’t figure it out. Printing on an 8x12 C&P old style platen, smaller text smudges. It comes and goes, but when it happens, I can’t seem to figure out how to overcome the issue.

I’m attaching two images to show the symptoms. I don’t think it’s over inking, since when it pops up, it will persist with lower ink levels. I don’t think it’s excessive pressure, since it happens when giving a deep impression as well as a passionate kiss.

Would you think this is a roller height issue and should double check and retape the rails? Could it be paper/tympan movement during the print cycle? Or is this a roller lubrication issue and this where roller slur is happening instead of rolling smoothly.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

image: 1.png


image: 2.png


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You have not said if you are printing from poly plates or with type. My guess is that it is with poly and you are getting a bit of ink on the shoulder part of the plate. That says too much roller pressure. A roller height correction may be necessary.
This a guess as I cannot examine the plate. That is if you are printing from a poly plate. The wizards need all the information.

This can also happen if the tympan isn’t taut and flat (or the paper is cockled), causing some parts of the paper to touch early and smear.

Apologies, Inky, and thanks for the reply. Yes, printing with poly plates. I’ll examine the shoulders for ink and adjust roller height since that’s what it would indicate. Super helpful!

Also, thanks Arie. I’ll check the tympan as well!

I doubt if it is the plate, because it is not over the entire image, and the smudges are always in the same direction (to the right side of the image). It looks to me like the paper is perhaps not flat or tight (re Arie’s comment). I know it is a PP plate, but the ink on the type may be hitting the paper when it is not yet flat against the tympan, and the paper is smoothing out because the type is pushing it down, which could make the paper shift sideways slightly, causing the smudges. Are some of the sheets slightly warped or bowed? Are you keeping the sheets perfectly flat on the tympan with the gripper bars or gripper fingers, before the impression is made?

something is moving it. I would go with floppy packing .

Geoffrey, I think you nailed it. Hadn’t noticed that the ink was only smudging on side of the form. Using the grippers (tape across the grippers in this case) cleared it up. Thanks for helping me step back from the problem and see the obvious.

Thanks everyone for your input. I wouldn’t be where I am without this awesome community!

Glad you have your problem solved. It is nice to receive your feedback.

The rest of this post is meant for the group in general, not just you:

I hesitate to recommend putting anything across the gripper bars because of the safety aspect……your hand or fingers could get caught in it while the press is closing. If you do put tape or anything across the gripper bars, be sure that what you use is weak enough so that you can break it when pulling your hand out, if necessary. Also, don’t wear any rings or jewelry, or loose fitting clothing.

I must admit that I use string on occasion, but again, I use weak string so that I can break it by pulling my hand out, if my hand should happen to get caught in it. I even practice breaking the string, to be absolutely sure that I CAN break it.

Rubber band