foil printing newbie

hi all, so this is technically a different topic from my last post so I am starting a new thread. I obtained a piece of aluminum as a base for dies to fit into my type holder for my kwikprint 86 and i’m in the process of creating my files to have some dies made. I haven’t tried stamping with it yet since I don’t have any dies or foil, but this question is based merely on an observation. the heating element gets very hot, upwards of 350+ degrees. I placed the aluminum in the type holder last night and turned the machine on. I probably did not allow enough heating time for it to disperse through the metal (it was late and I had to get up early in the morning for work) but my question is, wouldn’t the bottom part of the “base aluminum” get so extremely hot compared to the rest of the base? I wasn’t able to get the top of the base above 98 degrees F so I am sure I need to give it more time to heat, but if the bottom part of the base metal is over 200 degrees and the top won’t even reach 100, how does this result in an even print or evenly released foil? I understand that I will need to reach 250 F or so in order for my foil to release, but will that high temperature on the bottom of the base eventually disperse evenly through the base metal? just trying to find any issues before I go spending money on custom dies and foil. my kwikprint appears to be an older machine so it only has 3-4 temperature settings vs some of the newer heating elements that appear to have many. this probably will make it harder to regulate but my infrared thermometer is helping tell me how hot parts of the metal are. thanks in advance for your help.

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most foils will transfer within 165F- 250F, die temp. the lower to mid range of this scale is most commonly used.
If you have that kind of temp available, then it would seem that it is not transferring to your die. Something is either blocking the heat from going there, or, the heat is going someplace else. a good hot plate will have an insulation layer to prevent heat from directly transferring to the press. you may need a layer of this. my presses use approx .030” thick sheet of mica.
Some pics of your set up would help here. Bottom line is; If a lot of things are heating up, but not your die, or image, then find out where the heat is going and stop it from going there.

hi eric, thanks for your response. my foil came last night so I pulled my first prints and it does appear my main issue is with insufficient heat. Some colors print better than others (some hardly at all so I have to contact the seller about that) although quite inconsistently, and I know dwell time is way too long to get a decent print. I know my heating element heats, that thing gets hot. I had to loosen some screws on it to allow for the full potential of base/die size which could be a factor (i’m just going to go get some shorter screws to fix that problem, however I am not sure it’s the source). The bottom of the plate (the closest to the heating element) gets hottest, but I still don’t think hot enough. Per some advice on this board, I was advised to get a piece of aluminum cut to 7/8” thick as my base, and use a form of adhesive like superglue to glue my die to the base. I think this method will work temporarily until I can find a more permanent solution (other than ordering my dies mounted which is expensive), but I don’t know that that is causing my lack of heat dispersing through the metal. My typeholder also is not straight when I look a the machine, I have to figure out why that is and if adjusting bolts will help that issue as I don’t think my pressure is even in all areas of the die. Main issue is heat though. Bottom of base gets decently hot (although I think it needs more heat as the foil isn’t releasing evenly there either), top of plate only reaching top temp of around 110 F after leaving the machine on for an hour. Will an insulation piece as you mentioned help heat my whole base?

Thanks in advance.

image: foil.jpg


It looks like the temperature is too low and the impression is uneven. You may have to invent a new heating element to make this machine work with a die.

We had one before and could never get it hot enough. We replaced it with an air-operated Kensol and get much better results.

Try makeready with Phenolic board.

You may need to try a different foil. If it is very old, it may not be performing correctly.

thanks ryan, I bought the foil from a supplier on ebay who supplies small quantities, they seemed to be of different brands. some did print better than others, but sometimes I would get an okay print with one foil, then try it again with the same foil and print not so good. I think insufficient heat is my main issue with some impression problems. I got this machine free so I really hope I can make it work. i’d LIKE to get it working for a project now, but if I can’t it’s not the end of the world, just more of a disappointment that once again something else is on hold. If I can’t get this machine printing correctly, I’m not looking to invest in a new one at the moment. Letterpress is my main focus. This was a bonus, even though I had hopes for it and foil would be a nice thing to offer.

Odd lots of foil are okay if you have more time than money. Problems come up when your client likes the foil you used in the past and you can’t find the source. I use one supplier that knows my equipment and the type of work I do.
Foiltech in Scarborough Ontario

At a location i Texas. lives a guy called Gary Runhaar. He was the Sales Manager for a firm selling hot foiling foil
material for half a lifetime. and I think he might be helpful with any probs. He is a life long friend of mine from the time before he left Holland to emigrate to the U.S. I’m sure he wont mind my putting his postal address on here, as follows:
417, Rio Grande Loop, Georgetown Tex. 786334. Take it gently folks, he must now be near as old as me!