How to lessen press noise?

Our letterpress studio is moving locations into a building with multiple floors and companies. Our Vandercook universal 1 makes some noise and vibrations (which all presses do) and we want to be friends with our new neighbors. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to lessen the noise? We were thinking of building a platform to hold the press off the floor. Is this a good idea? and should it be wood or metal, I am thinking metal but…
oooo we need ideas, we are moving in 3 weeks!!

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It is common in industry to mount machines on flexible pads which dampen vibration and noise. If you Google “machine mounting pads” a lot of them will come up.

I’m not recommending this, but if you wanted to go the economy route, think of thick strong flexible things like pieces of car tire, pieces of screen printing squeegee blade, etc.

To provide more advice, it would help to know what kind of building you are moving into. Is it an office building, or a mall with stores, or light industrial? Is it built of poured or pre-stressed concrete? If so, the problem should be lessened. If it is “stick built,” (made of dimension lumber like 2X4s, 2X10s, etc.), it will be more like moving your press inside a drum. How many floors are in the building and what floor will you be on? What is the floor made of or what is the floor covering?

At least, in my opinion, you have a fairly quiet press, (but I am hard of hearing LOL)

Horse stable rubber mats will provide a solid yet noise/vibration dampening foundation. But it would indeed be helpful to know more about the new location.


I would not have thought a Vandercook was any noise above a washing machine for instance. My brother moved a Vickobold press into his bedroom after his first wife left. A wonderful press, he made lots of money off the press and it was gone by the time wife no2 turned up. But in that working class street no one worried about a thing. the neighbor welded stuff on the street, next door down car rebuilds. Dont worry just do it!

The commercially-available vibration-reducing pads will be more effective than old tires or bath mats at reducing to near-zero the transmission of the slight vibrations of press operation to the floor. In a building with many different businesses, even a subtle noise seeping into the other offices can be very annoying when, for example, a dentist is working on a patient, or a creative writer is trying to concentrate. Your concern is well-placed and the solution is not particularly difficult or expensive.


A thorough cleaning of all gears, bearings, rails and races will do wonders.

Oiling, cleaning and try and get some padding.

You can reduce echo in the room and noise transmission through floors, walls and ceilings. Put carpet on the ceiling and floor (if possible and safe), install curtains and hangings, mats, soft furniture etc - all that will make it a nicer place to work anyway. A modern motor on a press will be quieter - but you can also get your old motor dynamically re-balanced. If you are using a compressor or vacuum pump a cheaper piston type may be noisy, but there are other types which are much quieter.