AB Dick 360

I been keeping my interests in turn of the century Letter presses, but the other day a AB Dick 360 for $50 showed up on Craigslist about 20 miles from home so I could’nt resist to respond. It came with lots of extras and the seller even threw in a laser printer for making plates and about 60lbs. of different colors of ink, which I was going to buy a few lbs. so it saved me from buying, and a manual and CD. I guess he’s going different directions and needed the space. So my #1 question is that there’s a lot of built up old ink is there a faster way of cutting threw it other than kerosine and veg. oil? And what do I need to do to make plates using the laser printer?

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The AB Dick 360 is an offset duplicator. Nothing letterpress about it, as you probably already know. For $50 you will likely get a well used machine that will need everything. They were made in great numbers and parts are available. You can still get offset plates made for it, and these machines do print well if used within their capabilities: no solids or large halftones can be reproduced well due to the limited capacity of the ink train, but lines of type and small graphics, with no need to re-register a second pass, can be well realized at high speed. From my experience, the laser printed plastic plates are sketchy and very vulnerable to damage. Your best bet with these presses is aluminum offset plates. In its day, the AB Dick 360’s nearest competitors were the Multigraph 1250, the Hamada 600 and the ATF Chief 15/17, all capable in their own right but all subject to the same inking & registration limitations.

Yes I know it’s not my cup of tea and after watching the video God what you have to do Geee, but I got so much ink included it was like OK , but I’ll still keep her and clean it up got lots of extra rollers, ect. and I’ll find room in my collection.

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If your up for some tinkering, it is possible to use adhesive backed Photopolymer plates with this press. You’ll have to find the spec for the rubber blanket and find a plate as close to that height as possible. You’ll run no water and ink up the plate solid. Lots of places used to do this for printing envelopes.

Ii can print halftones, though nothing museum quality and all. Course line screen 100-133 at best. There is no register board so your registration is all in the feeder setup. It’s not precise, but two color work with sufficient trapping can be done.

The laser plates are very temperamental. They tend to scum or fog easily and end up with a lot of specs that need to be removed. They are still available however from Xante iirc.

Ok thks for the Insight, I’m going to focus more on my letterpress ambition for now , but is there any suggestions on cleaning up this old ink buildup?

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You might tell us where you’re at, possibly getting some nearby help or a chance to see one of these in action!
Main thing…HAVE FUN!
Merry Christmas..

It now occurs to me that I didn’t really answer your question. To get rid of all the ink buildup you’ll need to first remove all of the rollers. If it’s really bad, I would remove the inking section all together and have it steam cleaned. Otherwise, a lot of soaking, scraping and chipping. The photo shows how the inking unit is a separate assembly which contains inking, dampening and plate cylinder. It might weigh about 150 lbs.

I never thought of outfitting such a press with photopolymer plates but it seems like a great idea!

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Question, do you want to be in the offset printing business or letterpress?

I have owned a AB360.

At $50 it shows like there was many parts needing replacing.

And, do you have a supplier for parts and supplies for this press?

Oh my interests is in letterpress but Im open minded and know from my experience its best to be versatile, plus I did get two boxes of nos parts and rollers, and about 60 lbs. of colored ink so it was well worth the $. Yes when the weather gets better I’ll take out my steam cleaner Billy and give it a good cleaning. I’m in Wa. State Stan, and have a great xmas also :-)

I would run the press without anything in it- no plate, no ink, just a blanket if you can figure how to install- and feed some paper through it. See how the paper looks after it is delivered, if you need to clean the press- clean it. If you want to put it to use, don’t bother cleaning it anywhere you don’t need to keep clean. That thing doesn’t need to be spotless, it’d be a waste of time.
Just chip away at anything that looks like it’s thick and close to a moving part, vacuum the chips out with a shop-vac, and get going. Look for a local offset plant and ask if you can sit in on a pressman’s shift and ask questions in exchange for some beer or wine (this is how I learned to operate an engraving press, along with offering to teach edge painting) and see what you can turn up as far as tips.

These were kind of no frills crappy offset presses that just couldn’t contend with the advancements in press design. As a company they failed to keep up with the industry, but certainly set some standards as far as duplicators were concerned. I’m sure they run well but they are persnickety.

Also, laser plates are great if you have a good printer and a good fountain solution, and you follow the etching/processing steps. The key with them is they are only as good as the person handling them before imaging, and as good as the printer imaging them. It really helps to SET THE TONER in an oven at 250’ F prior to mounting. We printed with those plates constantly in school when I was in a printmaking program- not the same as your offset press- and the only time we got great results was after heat-setting in an oven.

Even better advise from H.P. Just power it up and try to get some 8.5 x 11 to go through. See what you got first. Yours has a chain delivery and there can be issues with the grippers, chains, etc. But hopefully not. I don’t have a print shop but if I did, I wouldn’t mind having something like this around just in case someone wants 5,000 of something real fast.

that is a real bargain it is a very simple machine the main thing as with all offset presses is to keep the balance water and ink as tight as posible so you just need to be one step above of when it dries also use a good fountain solution very important if its good you dont need to add any alcohol for plates the best is ctp(computer to plate) just send a pdf with the gripper margin of what you want to print and thats it very cheap .also a new blanket,and the paper height to avoid missfeeding or doubles that will damge your blanket and regulate amount of pressure start from cero and increase on demand the impression drum needs to be very clean if you want to move register side ways move the paper if its circunferencial there is a different mechanism for unsquareness you move the plate

abdick 360 4 color cmyk run

presswash, ink knife and MAYBE some emery cloth. Soak, scrape, wipe, repeat. You can use emery cloth on the bars that hold the frame together that do not actually carry ink in the roller train.

All you really need is to be sure any old dried ink isn’t touching the rollers. As long as that’s the case it just doesn’t look all that appealing but will do no harm.

Neat video. Looks like they might possibly have 4 presses set up running one color in each. I’ve seen that done with some smaller table top presses too.

Hope everyone survived all the hustle & bustle we have to go throught this time of year :-) anyway thanks to all the comments and ideas. I powered it up today and run a reem of paper through I need to work a little on the grippers and clean it up more but it works! Ok that’s done back to my letterpress lol. Here’s a short video

A little late to the party but an easy way to remove the hardened Ink is Ez off oven cleaner. You just have to be really careful not to get it on the hard rollers.