What should I look for - Heidelberg T Platen purchasing

I am looking to buy a Heidelberg T Platen for letterpress & die cutting, and have found this one close to my workshop to buy. However I am fairly new at this trade and don’t know what to look for.

It has been advertised in working order with 2 chases, however it was previously used mainly for die cutting and the owner said there may be some wear on the rollers if I intend on using it for letterpress. I have read a similar thread to this saying that I should be aware of the state of the grippers, register bar and bed. To my untrained eyes the grippers look fine, and I don’t know what is considered a marked bed or bent register bar.

I would like to get an idea of what I will need to replace and spend on top of the already asked price. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Unless you can pick that one up for $500ish, I would pass. lots of cleaning on that guy. You can find good clean black balls for $2000-2500. Rollers can be recovered for around $70 each.

Myself I wouldn’t buy a press that has die cut a lot to print with.

Also, where are you located? I shipped on of my windmills from Detroit to Indy for only $400.

In response to Your original query several points to look for, so that You may view, or view 2nd. time, armed with some searching questions, from the top,:- the Michelin Man style Hoses in seen in Your 02, shot (One for the suction to pick the stock up,) and one for the pressure to supply the delivery pile jogger, even when not needed has to maintain the pressure for the pile seperator blast, both look well past the sell by date.!!!
Low down and just to the left of the Impression Counter SHOULD BE the complete Speed control handle, very similar to the >Manual< Pile Height 02 shot bottom left.

As the flip top section of the belt guard is A.W.O.L. even from this distance?? the belt would seem to be just about to *secede* from the race, plus if it is that bad (and Very expensive) the chances are that the Coned, Variable speed, slave pulley on the Motor is also questionable.??? Not easy to see.!!!

The statement re the condition of the rollers, when allegedly having been used for die-cutting, also sounds like a Load of C***, On that machine (Black Ball) for die-cutting, OR Creasing OR perforating, normally the rollers are removed.

On the RED BALL, the Rollers are locked OUT and remain Parked and raised above the Ink Cylinder.

04 shot, top left, there should be a small, black ball, (ended) extension to the rear mounted Safety Guard.????

Under the 12 Ink Duct, adjuster thumb screws, sight glass for the Central Oiling system, any evidence of Oil, ever, the sight glass, should be stained to the marked level of the oil.!

Same shot but hard to see, just under the inspection door, can be seen a ring of 5 Bolts, with one Bigger central bolt, this is the Safety collar, which breaks, in the event of serious mishap, but have a close look, is their evidence of all six being disturbed in the recent past, by implication as so many other parts are DEBATEABLE, clean, fairly shiny bolt heads, may suggest hidden stories.

The above (even if not used) but implied at, Viewing or next Viewing may prompt more of the truth.

Much Much, more, but suffice to say that the, *Good Buddy*, above J Feltz probably *Hit the Nail on the Head* originally. Tread Carefully, and Good Luck. Mick

Get yourself a copy of the press’s operator manual and a parts book. You’ll be able to better understand and determine what parts and tools are worn or missing from that press.


If the press is from a shop that does die-cutting, ask if any of the dies are still around. Examine then and see how sharp the cutting rule is—if it’s rounded off and looks like creasing rule, it probably means the press has been abused. Also, see if there is a die-cutting jacket. If there is, and it has massive grooves, or dents, again signs of abuse. If neither dies or jacket are present, pull the tympan/packing and examine the platen for signs (grooves-cuts) that the owner wasn’t die-cutting against the jacket.

These sorts of signs of abuse are signs of a careless or negligent operator, who likely didn’t oil the press or treat it well. There are a lot of Windmill’s out there so you have the opportunity to find a press that was treated well and is in good condition.

Die-cutting, in and of itself, is not abusive to a press. However, using dull rule and running oversize (too much rule) forms; coupled with poor lubrication, is a death knell for any press.

good comments above. Die cutting gets a bad rap because there are a lot of poor operators out there. If not for die cut, foil and emboss work most Heidelberg platens would have been melted down by now.

Great feedback! Thank you all for your comments! I have downloaded an operators manual and have started to go through it.

jfeltz - I am in Australia and I was going to go and pick it up with a ute, forklift it in so transportation wasn’t going to be a problem. Also he is asking for $1500 for it. The seller collects machines from old print shops and sells them on or ships them overseas - so I am unsure of how much he actually knows about the Heidelberg

I have an engineer that would be able to fix it up for me - but if it is not going to be worth my while I’ll keep looking.

Mick on Monotype - thank you for your in depth feedback, there’s not a lot selling in Australia at the moment and I just missed out on a refurbished one - I would prefer to spend a bit more and get one that works then spend months fixing it. I’ll ask him if he could get it working for me and go and inspect it.