12x18 press

Hello all,

I recently got a 12x18 C&P new style press. It has a crank shaft (bend or “u” shape) and I’m looking to hook up a treadle. I contacted Hern Iron Works and they said that they’ve had a customer modify the 10x15 treadle kit to fit the larger press. This is the mock up drawing for the modification. To be honest lol I’m so new that I’m having a hard time making sense of it.

I was also thinking about making a wood treadle and buying a hook from Hern.

The press came with a motor, but it looks like a lot of electrical work to get it connected and for it to have a speed dial.

So ideally treadle would be nice. Lol I know it’ll definitely be a work out to run.

If anyone has any advice I’m all ears :)

image: E1125C56-9311-4589-BE0D-1B9030E5C274.jpeg


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That diagram has both motor mount and treadle mounted on the same shaft. necessitating an offset of the treadle and a modification of the treadle attachment to the treadle hook. If you’re not going to use the motor, don’t attach the motor mount and the treadle can go in the center of the press as it should.

I don’t know if the hook/treadle for a 10x15 will work comfortably or not on a 12x18. Treadles and hooks can certainly be made of wood. I’d try that out before spending big bucks on a metal one.

I do know it takes 6 pushes on the treadle per impression for the 12x18 vs. 5 for the 10x15 and 4 for the 8x12. As you said a good workout.


Yes the hook length was my concern too since it’s meant for a 10x15.

My press currently is on some 2x4s and is currently 7inches from the floor. Which I’m hoping that height helps when it comes to pressing the treadle.

What is the best way to make my own hook/treadle? And what wood is best?

If looks aren’t important, whatever is cheap. 2x4s for treadle, strapping to attach at the bottom of the press and a loop of some sort for the hook. I’ve used wire loops and a friend used leather.

Oh wow really? Yea, looks isn’t a huge thing just want to make sure it functions well and doesn’t break lol.

Do you happen to have pics of how you connected everything?

I don’t have any photos…we did eventually replace it with a Hern treadle. But it was simplicity itself a 3/16th cable looped three timed around and clamped with a U-shaped cable clamp. it swayed a bit from side to side if you weren’t careful, but it worked. I think I drilled two holes in the 2x4 approximately under offset crank in the flywheel shaft and looped through that. A cross piece at the front for your foot and a longer cross piece at the back that was laced with more cable to the bottom shaft where the bed hinges.

A number of years ago Virginia Commonwealth University had a 12x18 C&P that was motor driven and the teacher was concerned about inexperienced students trying to feed a motor driven press. I designed a simple treadle made of three pieces of angle iron, a couple of U-bolts to attach it to the rear lower crossbar, and a pedal of textured plate steel such as is used where traction is important such as stairs in machinery situations. A sculptor at VCU welded it up, made a hook for the crank,and helped install it and it worked fine. I think I have the drawing I made if you are interested. The materials cost very little.


Yop, Bob is right. I’m not a welder but I can work with wood, so I tend to look that way. Angle iron might be a better way to go if you have access to a welder (either the machine or a person).

Here are a crude diagram for the C&P treadle, and a photo of the one made for VCU’s 12x18 C&P. The end opposite the pedal would be a piece of angle iron slightly less than the width inside between the rear legs of the frame where the long rod passes through, and the angle iron was held onto that bolt by two U-bolts over the angle iron and the rod, each left a bit loose and having lock nuts on the adjusting nuts so the treadle can rotate on the rod without binding. The two long angle irons between the pedal and the rear rod can be closer together, but not too close so as to avoid the treadle twisting if the user’s foot is close to the end of the pedal.

image: angle iron treadle.jpg

angle iron treadle.jpg

image: CandP Treadle.JPG

CandP Treadle.JPG

Bob & Arie,

Thank you so much. You both have given me lots of insight and info. Going to definitely look into finding someone local that could potentially weld something for me. In the mean time I’ll definitely try the cable and wood option.

Thanks again :)

Bob & Arie,

Thank you so much. You both have given me lots of insight and info. Going to definitely look into finding someone local that could potentially weld something for me. In the mean time I’ll definitely try the cable and wood option.

Thanks again :)

They upgraded these presses with a motor for a reason. It’s better. I would bite the bullet and get an electrician in there to hook it up. Unless of course you want the “Romantics” of the treadle. The less distraction you have, the safer your hands will be.

The gear ratios of C&P presses are: 7x11 and 8x12 — 4 to 1; 10x15 — 6 to 1; 12x18 — 7 to 1; 14-1/2x22 — 8 to 1. Think whether or not you wanna kick the d—n treadle 700 times for 100 impressions! ! had an old, old 8x12 once that I ran off 14,000 envelopes on, one Saturday, in my garage. Of course, I was fifty years younger then, and a long-distance bicyclist! If you think your legs will take it, be my guest!

This response is bound to get some pushback from the purists, but I think you might find it helpful and interesting.
After “treadaling” my 8 x 12 press for almost 40 years I decided it was time to motorize it. But I didn’t want to go the traditional route for all of the reasons you mention; belts, speed controller, electrical power hookups.
So I came up with the apparatus you’ll see in this video on my website.

Called Motorizing the C&P.
I’ve been using it for almost a year and it works so well and easily. My new wife, who has just taken up printing was able to get the hang of using this very quickly. Basically, you only need to give it a 2-3 second tap every few rotations. For more speed, it is adjustable with the digital buttons, or just keep your foot on the pedal for more consistent timing.
If you want to talk send me your contact info.
regards and good luck. Steve V.

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I guess we’ll just have to disagree on this. A treadled press is much safer; because it is slower. After a surprisingly short time the treadling motion of the foot becomes automatic. At least, that is my experience after teaching a couple of hundred people how to print on a treadled C&P. I can agree that if commercial gain is your goal, the treadled press is the wrong one. But bypass the motorized hand-fed press and go straight to a Heidelberg Windmill.


I’m pretty sure you’re wrong on the 10x15. All three we have at the university are 5:1 ratio. Haven’t treadled any bigger ones, but I’m told the 12x18 is 1:6.

I’m a confirmed treadler; on my own 8x12 and the university’s 10x15s. There are simply some things I can’t do on a motorized machine. (12x18 posters on a 8x12 press is challenging and a lot of fun but impossible on a motorized press…it would be a lot easier on a Vandercook but I studiously avoid making money with my printing and can’t swing one of those) And If I need 14,000 of anything printed, I’m going to talk to a friend with a Heidelberg.

Treadling a 8x12 and treadling a 12x18 are entirely different beasts. Some people do find treadling small platens a rewarding activity. But a 12x18 needs either a motor or cheap apprentices. A century later, electricity is cheaper than apprentices. Thank Franklin!
I like Steve Varvaro’s setup above, but a secondary lever to lift the main lever could easily make it a brake as well, and a brake is one of the two add-ons to an already-motorized C&P I consider essential. The other is a rider roller, more than a fountain. Photopolymer & PMS inks don’t let you run the rollers over the form when you miss a sheet and use the throw-off, because a designer-client will reject the next over-inked sheet and want a discount. Braking may save a sheet or the whole job when you don’t get any overs.

I stand by my statement. Go measure the pitch diameter of a 10x15; you will find that the ratio is SIX to ONE. Same thing goes with the 12x18; seven to one; and also the 14x22. I’ve been calculating gear ratios since I was eight, so I know what I’m talking about. The bigger the press, the more iron the foot or motor must move to make one impression: the increase becomes nearly exponential to the square of the print area, therefore, the machine must be “geared down.”

Interesting points. The brushless sewing machine motor I purchased is “instant on instant off”, is 1/2 HP but comes in higher HP versions, is high torque.
The way I’ve set it up, I must rotate the press by hand and treadle to get it spinning then step on the “gas” (foot pedal lever), to effectively add a boost to the press while spinning. There is no brake on my press or braking effect from the motor since the driven wheel on the motor is only in contact with the flywheel when my foot is on the lever. The treadle is still in place and moves along with the crank as it would normally. I suppose you could remove it and just use a flywheel push to get the press spinning. This setup allows me to use either the motor, the treadle, or both.
These comments do not refute any of the solid points made in the two above posts.


I haven’t ever calculated a gear ration in my 70 1/2 years of breathing. I’ll happily concede that you are much better at it.

I can, however, count to five reliably and that is the number of times my leg goes up and down per impression cycle on the 10x15, at least in my memory. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been able to run the university presses and it is possible after the same 70 1/2 years my memory is beginning to fail me, so as soon as I can get back in to the university, I’ll check out the presses and report back if I was accurately remembering or not.

Either way, Happy Holidays to you and all here.