Good ink coverage!!!!

So for the life of me I can seem to get good ink coverage on anything that is larger then the text on the design. Im not trying to print on big sizes just biz cards and post card sized stuff. I have tried to ask a couple printers online who’s work I saw had great coverage but they never return my emails, like its a great guarded secret. I feel like when I put to mush ink on the lines get messy on the edge if I put to little on you can see the paper, but no matter what I do I never have sold color. What am I doing wrong.

Is the ink to tacky
is it not tacky enough

No matter how many books or articles I read I can find this subject anywhere

Please help its driving me to dislike letterpress, and all I want to do it letterpress

Im using brand new magnesium plates

image: 2261820306_ec98a437d5.jpg

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what kind of press? How many rollers? Any photos?

I have a C&P 8x12 new style and if I am printing something like an illustration or something with more coverage I will make an impression have 2nd or 3rd round to give my rollers a chance to ink more throughly.. (I know it takes longer ect but it seems to work.)

I’m using a Heidelberg windmill 10x12 and so I can’t let the rollers run over more then once. And then there are only 2 ink rollers. I have not used the ink fountain yet only because the guy that I bought the press from said he never used it, and only put the ink directly on drum. I also have a C&P but the same thing would happen on that one as well. Its almost like the ink is not leaving the plate and thus not getting good coverage. I should try a poly plate and see what happens but I feel like its such an investment to get a base and such. Any one want to send me a small base and plate to try? LOL

I don’t know that it’s the plate — seems to me that its would be more likely the rollers, are they too high, or perhaps not enough packing, worn packing or tympan? I don’t know much about Windmills but a plate metal or plastic is probably not the issue.. Now if the plate is not quite type high that could cause an issue and there is thread here somewhere in the discussion on plates form Owosso not being quite type high.. I do feel your frustration I have my own issue — kind of the opposite, ink where it shouldn’t be making a sloppy print..

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.

As a general rule-of-thumb, it’s easier to get heavier ink coverage on a cylinder press rather than a platen. But my main press is also a Heidelberg Windmill, and I’m not having the problems that you are. But I’m not trying to achieve perfect solids. I try to get good even coverage, but I also understand the limits of what can be achieved. It’s the nature of letterpress.

That said, I can offer a few suggestions for getting better ink coverage on the solids. You can try building up the packing underneath the solid areas. You can try increasing the amount of ink. And if it starts to get messy around the edges (as you mentioned) try raising the rollers a little.

If you think the ink is too tacky, you can try to add some reducer. If you do, be very careful, just a dab goes a long way.

You can let the rollers ink the form more than once on the Windmill. Let the rollers go over twice, then put on the impression and print, then take it off impression, and let the rollers go over twice again. It’s a little awkward, but after a while you can get in a rhythm and do this as the press is running.

It’s such a balancing act…you’ll just have to experiment.

Good luck.

Vertallee Letterpress

Updated. I uploaded a picture to show an example, this is just a business card. They look like a bunch of pin holes

Brad is right, everything has to be in balance for it to come out right. Make sure the area in question is type high using a micrometer, learn how to set up your fountain to correctly manage your ink, and set your roller height and impression appropriately. You will have to make the solids ready to increase impression on them only, and you may have to use more ink than you think.
Modern inks are made with transparent white, so the ink will appear very transparent on the sheet. Mix your ink down with opaque white and use more on the press. The color will hold its value even when running it heavy and the color will be very opaque on the sheet. On a very large solid, you may have to run the solid image separate from the text to keep the text from overloading.

No secret formula, just take the time to set up the press and inking system correctly, and practice practice practice.

I have had similar problems and I think in my case it came down to the ink volume and temperature. It almost seems like you have too much ink on the cut causing the ink to squeeze out of the impression. Have you tried cutting down on the amount of ink on the ink disk? I had what I thought was little but the ink was a rubber base and I cut the amount in half and most of my problems went away.

The other thing I did was to get the ink nicely warmed up with an ink knife before putting it on the press. This seemed (may coincidentally) to also cut down on the problems I was experiencing.

Good luck and keep us posted!

I agree that this is over-inked. There should only be a fine film of ink on the type/plate/form, not enough to squeeze out like this.

I would suggest you first get your packing right by pulling an impression on the intended stock with no ink. Then add ink (the right amount) and set the rollers with a gauge.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY