printing with guides on small stock and with small margins

I am printing small cards on my 10x15 heidelberg t platen (about business card size). I have a very small margin on the artwork (also on block) but the side lay gauge won’t allow me to print with a small margin. I believe this side guide gives an 18pt margin and I want one that is much smaller than this. I recently purchased the extension side lay gauge however it does not fit on my press - I think this is because my press is a little older (about 1948) and made before these improvements and parts were added??

How can I print with this small stock and small margin on my press?

Please help!

thank you in advance,


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The first thing you have to remember is that your margins cannot be less than 1 pica (12 points). I have done slightly less than these but only by using my own inventions.

To obtain the smallest margins when running business card size stocks, you must use the nickel guides with the special extention guide (watch your pins!). Next, install the extension side guide. You said that yours doesn’t install but if you have the correct extension, it has to work. This was not a later addition to the press. I have one on my 1955 and 1964 platens. The extension does not go on easily, it is at a funny angle and hard to get the screw started. It installs on the bottom of the side guide bracket. After this is installed, adjust it all the way in. Next, install “cheaters” if you have them. I’m sure that is not their real name but it escapes me. They are metal strips that attach on the feed board that hold the paper back 6 pts. These keep the paper from traveling too far into the side guide and bouncing back out.

Option 2: Run the job oversize and trim to the desired size.

Option 3: Run the job off guides. You may sacrifice some registration, and you will still have a gripper bite, but depending on the job, this may be ok.


Interesting! Have you got a photo of the extension on your press? I just can’t get it on the back! my press is about 1948 and the bottom of my bracket is rounded and the extension is flat (I have the parts manual and ordered the correct part so I am pretty sure it is the correct piece) - I will try again keeping in mind this ‘funny angle’

I will have to get a paper cutter for all this cutting won’t I? Can you suggest a good one?

I hope the word for ‘cheaters’ comes to you, I have no idea what that is! Are they friskets?? I am looking for something like what you describe in my parts manual without any luck!

Thank you so much :).

Ok, you have a 1948, not ‘58. That may make the difference. Heidelberg did make sporadic design changes and improvements during its career, and my father remembers changes happening around 1950. But if you were sold a part for that particular press, I would hope it would work.

I looked through my manuals for the “cheaters” I wrote about. It looks like Heidelberg didn’t have a name for them either. Heidelberg calls them “flat rods for running business cards to be hooked over front lay gauge 1201”. And the price list from 1977 calls them “flat rods” They are part # T1244. Like most of the accessories, you can make your own by taping cardboard or 6pt reglets on the front lay gauge. All these things do is hold the paper back to reduce the gripper bite by 6pts.

As far as paper cutters. You get what you pay for. Luckily, cutter technology hasn’t changed all that much so you can find an older one cheap. Peerless is an antique brand but made a solid cutter, Challenge is more contemporary and produced good machines as well for many years. Remember though, that the older cutters didn’t have safetys so watch your fingers! New cutter brands for small printers include Triumph, Titan and Champion.

Yeah sorry 1948! did they make an extension for this on my press?
Thank you for the tips on paper cutters :).