General maintenance for a Windmill

I got a windmill and I’ve been reading the manual, and a lot also in here :)

I have mainly two questions since I don’t want to mess up the machine on the first use or afterward: machine oiling and roller cleaning.

Unfortunately, the common wisdom seems to be more USA oriented, and I can’t find the recommended products in Europe (I am in Spain).

I was wondering if you know any alternatives, or think my proposed alternatives are ok.

For oiling, the main recommendation is Mobil DTE Extra Heavy, but don’t seem to be available around here.
From what I gather, I should look for a gear oil ISO 150 (SAE 40).
The closest thing I found is a bit thinner (ISO 100) MOTUL CLASSIC SAE 30… which is formulated for 1900/1950 engines. They say is low detergent (which is good for felt and fabric gaskets) and has no EP additives (so won’t mess with the non-ferrous metal of the oiling system).
Do you think is any good? Or do you know of an alternative I can get my hand on around here?

Then for cleaning the rollers I’ve seen recommendations of several brands of press wash like California wash.
But then again that is something that is usually not shipped overseas.

I was wondering if I really need a specific press wash (and you know of one that is deliverable in EU/Spain) or if it would be the same for the rollers to simply use mineral spirits for instance.
The metal parts don’t worry me much, I am more concerned about which solvents are ok on the rubber rollers.


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I have some friends in Barcelona who run a windmill and I can ask what sort of solvent/oil they use. I’m sure someone will be comment soon though


Hello DP, rather than searching in the USA for information on a press that was built in Europe, it would be better (and less expensive) to buy your oil and press wash either in Spain or elsewhere in Europe. It could also be interesting to reach out to fellow Spanish printers who use the Heidelberg. Think for instance of Famila Plomez, who are in Madrid:
As for oil and other lubricants, try
They sell the so-called Tiegel oil, specially for platen presses.

And look at the list of European suppliers here:

Our friends in BCN use Brugarolas lubricantes and Primula wash. Hope this helps!

Many thanks to both of you, that was extremely helpful!

Dito to what the other guys have said. We like to use a roller wash that is designed for cleaning press rollers. The reason is some blanket washes are to harsh for the soft rubber rollers. I use a water soluble roller wash and the flush with water as a last step. Since the wash is water soluble any reside will mix with the water and leave no oil film or contaminate behind that might mix with your ink for the next job. Since the press only has a few rollers I hand wipe them with a diluted metering roller cleaner. Some cleaning products leave behind a oily film. They may do a great job of cleaning but that film will mess with the ink for your next project.

That’s what I heard regarding the oily film after cleaning.
Do you also clean the metal rollers with water? Aren’t afraid of rust?

Another tip we use is to add some of the color you are planning on printing onto the rollers run it in and then clean it out. It will mix with whatever was there before. After cleaning I wipe them down. Since it is hard to clean the outside edges I wipe them clean. There are only a few rollers so it goes quite fast. The ends of the rollers can have left over roller wash on them that can spin into your next job. It only takes a small amount of cleaning product or oil to taint an ink. As press cleaner solutions evolved we found a number of them left an oily residue. That was the reason we went with a water soluble press wash. Any left over on the rollers will mix with the water giving it a chalk color. I repeat the water rinse a second time and you can see less tainting of the water. I can switch from black to light gray on the letterpress with 1/10 the amount of time it takes to switch over my regular printing press. Replacing the ink tray cleanup blade is money well spent.

I forgot to mention, some press washes are designed for cleaning blankets and chrome, not rollers. Those washes are to harsh for rollers. I have a roller wash( cleaning rollers), a blanket wash (cleaning chrome) and a metering roller wash (fine touch up cleaning rollers by hand after they have been cleaned with roller wash). I use all Gans Ink products so you can look at their web site to see if they have international locations.

Yeah I heard something similar to always adding a bit of white before changing colors, especially from darker to lighter, to pull out the ink.

I guess on white it makes it more visible that the rollers are not that clean as you thought, but using the second color actually makes more sense, so any residue of the second wipe is already the same color.

Good tip on making sure the edges are clean and dry too, I am sure you learned that the hard way.

With letterpress you are generally working with a small amount of ink in the system. Since the total ink train is only a few rollers a small amount of roller cleaner or press oil contaminate has a greater degree of impact and can effect the tack of the ink by breaking it down and in effect acting like a tack reducer would. While it may take time to wipe things down it is easier that taking printed sheets to the dumpster.