Embossing on Heidelberg T Platen?

Has anyone done it? and if so did you use a counter part, what did you use for the counter part and how did you mount the counter part to the platen in registration with the block? I am very interested to hear if anyone has done it on that press.

I look forward to your response… : ).

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Hi there! Your Heidelberg is a great press and there is nothing it can’t do, including embossing. I make my living on these presses and emboss often. I do it 2 ways. I either use a pre-made counter die (hard plastic or fiberglass), or I make my own (3 sheets of soft blotter glued together). The easiest is to use the pre-made counter die that your die maker can supply.

Here is the procedure using the pre-made counter die: Lock up the embossing die, and ink it up. Next, run a sheet through, pull an impression as if you were printing and use the printed images to get it into position. After the embossing die is in position, wipe the ink off. Take your counter die and apply 2 sided tape (or carpet tape) to the entire back of it. Then take a couple very small pieces of tape, put it on the front of the counter die and stick it to the embossing die making sure that the embossing die nests perfectly with the counter die. Now, depending on the thickness of the counter die, you may want to remove all of the packing sheets and just use the tympan alone (also back off on impression to 0). Carefully remove the back of the tape on the back of the counter die and cycle the press once. The counter die will release from the embossing die, sticking the counter die to the platen (the large area of tape is obviously much stronger than the small pieces). This leaves the counter die in perfect position.

2 words of caution. If the counter die is thick and you use too much packing, the gripper bars will hit it pretty hard eventually wearing it out. Also be careful not to move the embossing die once the counter die is in position or the counter will damage the die. Once everything is in position, you have to make all of your adjustments on the guides.

I hope this helps, embossing can be frustrating and will take a while to master. But have patience, the outcome is very satisfying.

I have tried something similar. However I did not run a sheet first before as though I were printing. Does this put an impresssion into the tympan for more accurate registration? Are your counterparts transparent? What sort of type are you using - point size styles etc? What sort of paper are you using? Are there limitations?

I tried the double sided tape thing - but how do you make the coutnerpart stay on when it is locked in the chase?

I was getting a very uneven impression and the coutnerpart was not in the right place so it looked ok from the front but looked like it had been printed twice from the back.

I have an older press therefore am I limited - about 1948 or so.

It is so wonderful to hear from you - I look forward to your reply : ).

My 2 Heidelberg platens are from 1954 and 1962 and they work like they day they were made. Your 1948 probably does too (unless it has been mistreated). They were the Cadillacs of letterpress. Just oil them everyday.

When we emboss, we use dies especially made for embossing. You cant emboss using type or cuts used for printing, although you can deboss with them.

Use the embossing die like you are going to print with it. Lock it up and ink it just like printing. Then run a sheet of paper from the job through the press and print on it. Use the printed image on the sheet as the guide to getting it into position. You can move the die around until it prints on the right place on the sheet, and when it is in its final position, leave it there and wash the ink off of the embossing die. You don’t have to print on the tympan.
Tape the counter die (which is not transparent) to the embossing die using tiny pieces of tape, and cover the back of the counter die entirely with 2 sided tape. So when you close the press, the counter die will stick to the platen and peel off of the embossing die. As long as you dont move anything, the counter die will be in perfect position.

Any paper will emboss on these Heidelbergs, they carry many tons of impression. If you are having a problem with uneven impression, “make it ready” by sticking a thin scrap of paper under the low part of the die to lift it up. This rule applies to embossing, printing, and diecutting.

Don’t let yourself believe that you are limited by a 1948 Heidelberg. You have done yourself a great favor by starting your business with this wonderful press.

Let me know how you make out!

For an explanation and some tips on the embossing process on a platen press see the following …