With have good results with our embossing die and the vendor made counters, Since the counter is under cut it is actually a little taller than the depth of the die and we have no problem with bottoming out or a pressure scar and get a good hit. We have made our own counter with Pragotherm, pour counter ect but can’t get the same depth. We are wonder about using a deep etch die with would allow a deeper counter at least in theroy and wonder what all of you do. Making my own counter is a cost saving step. Any advice is a big help.

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So, I have a lot of experience with casting my own counters and using precasts. I switched to using all precasts because they save time and frustration. Charging a markup on the counter was the way to go, to make sure we made money on those, not just the die. The angle of the platen on the windmill makes it hard to see what you’re doing if you’re making your own counter. My 2 cents, go with precasts.
Tips: On the windmill use the thin counters with a ramp to avoid damage from the grippers. Tape a cover sheet over the counter for more definition. We used magnesium emboss dies to get more of a beveled edge.

Precast, for the 40 bucks is well worth it. It is good to know how to pour a counter, but the stuff will go stale after a time. But, the grinding and cutting your counter, to get anywhere near a pro made counter will well eat up the money you saved, or would have spent to have one made.
If you insist on making your own counters, I would pour them. Many use 1/2 mil mylar over the pour then close the press. I prefer a high temp “Mold release” spray. It allows the pour into much more detail of the die. Tape off the register holes on the die. You don’t want the pour going in there. Take some extraa and play with it. I make a little ball of it. When it gets hard, the stuff in your press is ready. Watch out tho, a good mix will get pretty hot.

Thanks for the feedback. We are wondering about using a deep etch die with would allow a deeper counter which we would create at least in theroy and wonder what all of you do.

Die makers are usually pretty good at setting the depth of a die according to the stock, if, you tell them what it is. Just arbitrarily going “Really deep” on the die will cause you more headaches than you are trying to solve. A die too deep will cause tearing or grain seperation when you go to “bottom” it out. I seriously gave up on pour counters. I will do them in an emergency, but I have even sent a die to my die maker to have a counter made. This uaually occurs with a supplied die.Billable to the customer of course. I think you are trying to save a buck in the wrong place. It is not that much of a savings. But, follow your own course! PS: I pour on he light geen colored “Glassboard” for best/ more professional results.

Before retiring I used acrylic nail powder with pretty good success, I was told about this from Metal Magic when I had a combo foil/emboss job to get out for a customer right away. It worked very well.
After finding position for die, I stick gray board to the platen (Windmill) scuff it up with sandpaper then mix up the acrylic powder with the liquid hardener, I smear it on the gray board, cover the “goop” with a piece of foil (backwards) to keep acrylic from sticking to die. Then I close up the press on impression and let is sit until it hardens. You now have a counter die.
My wife gets the powder and hardener from the Beauty Supply store. costs about less than $20 for both parts. Give it a try.

Jfitz, That is a common way to do it. I have found tho, that the counter will often break up when removing it as the grey board flexes. My powder and hardener come from a dental supply house. The nail stuff is good for small embossing or repairs to a counter. IMO. Either way, the solution will go bad after awhile. Just stops getting hard. Hmmmm,add some Viagra?

Thank you for the feedback. I agree with what you are all saying and use the vendor made counters now. We had tried the the self made options we found online. We wanted to make sure we kicked over every stone. We don’t know 100% what we are doing, but when it works it must be right.

All of our magnesium single level dies were .012. Brass was usually left up to the diemaker.
If/when I got a die that was too deep for that job we had a roll of .002 copper to shallow out the die. I cut a piece off (scissors) and taped it over the face of the die. It worked every time, truly valuable. I got mine from Cronite.
BTW, the impression was as sharp as ever, I didn’t lose any detail.
-Aside, I still print and diecut a lot on my windmill but I sold off the embossing and foiling part of the business years ago.

Western- keep your self-made options around-in case a counter gets smashed or missing, you can make your own. It’s a good skill to have just in case.

“smashed counters” I have a standing request that when
I order a counter with dies, i have them drill 3 pin holes. With only 2, it is way too easy to accidentally mount the counter backwards.