Heidelberg Windmill - Paper Feeding

I am hoping for some help understanding “feed lift” vs “pile height” and how this works on the Windmill.
On page 71 or the Original Heidelberg Manual it describes the use of the feed lift lever. Initially I interpreted this as meaning it controlled the rate at which the table advanced. When running the press (with the pile height well below the feed position) it appeared to me that in the cardboard position the table advanced more rapidly than in the thin paper position.
My question is: Does the feed lift lever position actually determine the height to which the feed table will rise? Does it also control the rate of advance?
Any clarification here would be much appreciated.

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I believe that upper adjustment just does the pile height. Do you have this adjustment down by the pile height hand crank? never played with this, but i think it to be the “rate of change” for thick or thin stock,
it been awhile since i ran mine.

image: windmillstockadj.jpg


I believe the bottom adjustment to which ericm referred is to give you a general setting for the average thickness of the paper you’re printing. Then, the feed adjust gives you a range within that setting. Since I run a lot of thick Lettra, I have it set for heavy cardboard and the feed adjuster to cardboard, so the table lifts faster. You’ll need to play with it some to find the optimal setting for what you’re running. If you find you end up missing feeds, try to adjust the feed table for thicker paper. If you end up pulling a lot of double feeds, then set it for a slower (i.e. thinner paper) lift.

Thanks, yes I do have that adjustment down by the pile height hand crank. Every other letterpress machine I have run has been hand fed. Every other offset press I have run has had an adjustment to set the pile height which gave you a place to start from and judge the effect of the fluffing of the pile before you started the feed.
I would be surprised if the windmill did not have the same capability. Unfortunately the press is a bit of a commute away and I am just trying the figure out what steps to take when setting up to feed papers of different thicknesses and size to save time when I am on it next. From my experience with offset feeding I remember time spent on this saved a lot of problems later.
If the upper feed lift sets pile height and the lower adjustment sets fed rate that makes sense.

My setup routing is as follows:

1. Gauge thickness of paper.

2. Set thickness on lower feed adjustment:

For anything UNDER .020” thick, I set the lower adjustment to “Normal”.

For anything ABOVE .020” thick, I set it to cardboard.

Above .030”, Heavy Cardboard.

Following this, I refer to the page in the manual which explains the height of the pile VS the LOW point of the sucker bar, but here is my general practical finding for your use (of course, this is on my machine with it’s own profile of wear):

Normal stock- start pile 1/4” below sucker bar, blast at top to just below top, medium to nearly full blast (for my machine), and set cat’s whiskers to just barely about 1/16-1/8” out, enough to separate the sheets. Sort of set the suckers full to 3/4 full, but I run all of them and the sucker bar.

I tilt the pile with a shortened, staggered pile of stock about 20 pieces of paper thick, taped into a wedge. Or a piece of furniture, wider than your pile so it stays out at the top. If the sheets are longer than 8”, and this seems to help the sheets ‘peel’ as when the head of the sheet lifts, it naturally peels off the angle.

.020” and thicker- Just below sucker bar, cat’s whiskers same as normal stock. tilt the pile a bit less.

.030” and thicker- Cat’s whiskers as above, but also two fluffer wires on the outside to keep the cardboard from lifting two- I also tend to ‘tilt’ the pile a bit less than normal stock as well, maybe 1/2 as much depending. If the stock is bowed at all this helps a great deal.

3. I start to feed, without printing or any ink/form on the press, and let the press run through 1/4 of the pile, watching it feed. If it seems to lift too much, move the pile adjustment on the top towards the thinner; too little, I adjust towards thicker stock. If I have to move it more than 3 clicks from the center, though, I tend to make a small adjustment to the LOWER feed adjustment to compensate, return top adjuster to center position, and repeat observation.

It so far takes me less than 10-20 minutes to gauge the feeding rate if I follow this routine.

Good luck!

Thanks very much for that description HavenPress. Very helpful.

I run older Windmills which do not have the additional quadrant at the bottom of the feeder. It appears to me that the press will raise the pile to a fixed point and then stop. The upper thickness quadrant determines how fast the pile will rise. I tend to set it to where the suction bar has to “work” to catch a sheet (about a 1/3-1/4 second hiss before pickup). If the press isn’t working, then it’s likely the pile is high enough that the sucker bar will pull doubles, especially on stocks like Lettra.

The sucker bar tilt may vary, depending on stock curl, the presence of “breakers” in or under the stock (to impart curl/bend for feeding) and may have to adjusted during the run.

Thanks Mike. You said ” It appears to me that the press will raise the pile to a fixed point and then stop”
Presses I have run in the past allowed you to vary that point.
From reading the manual and the discussion here it appears to me that the Windmill does not. Therefore, if you want to maintain a distance of say 1/4 in between the suckers and the paper (disregarding the affect of the air blast) you need to find a feed rate to match.
Does that sound right to you?

Thanks for the comments and hints on this. From the comments here, the manual and the last couple of days on this press I have learned a lot. I am really impressed with the capability of the windmill to feed different sizes and weights of stock and how easy it is to change and flexible it is to adjust.
I am also struck by how much better the manual explains things after you understand them.


So far as setting the feed rate to the stock fed—yes, that’s how I approach it. There are a couple tricks here—if you are feeding light stock and can’t keep the advance rate slow enough—use a slide (yellow or the “pinhole” (super scarce) pink to reduce your suction. Likewise, if you can advance at what seems fast enough for heavy board, run with no slides, and perhaps suckers (though seriously watch for feeding double sheets with this strategy).

Thanks for the advice Mike. I did not run into a problem keeping the advance rate slow enough, but with heavier stocks was having trouble getting it too keep up. I could see the feed pile gradually slipping lower and then it would fail to pick up one or two and then resume when the pile caught up. I was thinking of suckers. I was able to adjust it with the stock I was running but I print coasters on my C&P and would like to be able to print them on the windmill, some are pretty thick, so I will keep that in mind.

The press came with a few slides and I also noticed quite a few springs in the tool box, which the manual indicates are used for cardboard. Do you ever use these for feeding heavy stock?

We stock all three of the Heidelberg slides—pink, yellow, and red. These are original Heidelberg parts, not after market. Slides made by anyone other than Heidelberg are junk and will prove to be unsatisfactory.

I should add that all three slides are now made from a red colored plastic by Heidelberg—it is the size of the air hole that determines the old size by color that these were originally made.

Haven Press, what are “cat’s whiskers?”

There are two sets of “whiskers” on the Windmill feeder. The most common are the four on either side of a central spring tongue. Each of the spring tongues can be adjusted to break a double away from the sheet being fed (this works best if there are back standards at the rear of the pile). There is also provision to have side springs on either side of the pile—these are held by screw brackets on either end at the top of the feed table and work best on wide stock (8” or better).

……. https://www.printersrepairparts.com/ItemDet.aspx?ItemID=HE-WI114&Interchange=HE-T1249F&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqr2Gi6_W2gIV2YWzCh12NgOkEAYYASABEgKxcfD_BwE

And they can be had here.

Also, here, 25 items up from the BOTTOM of the page (Fritz! Why is your site so poorly organized as far as the categories of press parts?!):


“Heidelberg Sheet Separator—Windmill”

It’s like the grocery store that puts the most often purchased items at the back of the store so you will browse through it all before you get to the item you want. You never know what you might find on the journey.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Yes, well, I see your point John, but- I don’t shop online to be at a grocery store. I shop online to find what I need easily and quickly, thereby cutting down on the time I spend at work looking for things that I require in order to get the job done; time is money.

In my old Heidelberg Parts Manual T1632 which
is listed as something like “Feeder Control Bar”
may have something to do with your situation.
Unless this part is making contact with the pile or the table,
the table will rise every revolution. When the bar is making contact with your feed pile the settings for pile height advance
and stock thickness begin to take over. Forgive if above remarks are stating the ultra obvious or irrelevant.