Looking for info and opinions on this press, please.

Challenge Proof Press
Model 1418E


It mentions that ” the cylinder is undercut .040”. What is that all about?

Also, does anyone have experience dealing with these Letterpreservation folks?

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I’m not sure about the press, but I’ve bought a few fonts of type from them. Their service has always been very fast, and the product always as stated in the listing.

If the cylinder is undercut by .040”, it means that you need that much packing to bring it to the level it needs to be to print. Generally you need the amount of the undercut + maybe .002” for “squeeze”, dependent upon the type of stock upon which you are printing.

So I would need to pack the actual roller, behind the tympan to reach down to type-height? Why would it be that way? Is it just a flaw of the press?

Hi Megahurt,

Good question, it isn’t a flaw. If the cylinder were exactly type-high, even the addition of tympan plus the paper you are printing would make the total packing too thick and punch the impression. Undercut is designed to allow you to vary the packing based on your paper thickness, the inherent variability in the form (not all type or polymer is type-high…) etc… They mention it because proof presses were done in a .04 and a .07 undercut, requiring different blankets for packing the press. Most proof presses are 0.04, but a few early Vandercooks and others were 0.07. Also, by giving you some room, you can vary the types of packing and depth to get exactly the impression you need.

In addition to the undercut, sometimes the bed is 0.05 deeper than “type high” to allow you to take a proof while the form is sitting on a galley. If you don’t want to proof on a galley, you’ll need to get a sheet of 0.05 thickness stainless steel to put on the bed as well. I looked at the ebay posting and this press is galley-high rather than type high. All is part of the original design for proof presses.



Gotcha. Thank you very much!

megahurt, “General Printing” by Cleeton Pitkin and Cornwell is a good read, and of course the faithful
“PocketPal”. Best james

What are your thoughts on whether you want a press without an inking system or not. I personally think it is much nicer to have automatic inking.

What are you planning on doing with this presss? That would, of course, have a bearing on the purchase as well.

I didn’t buy it, neither did anyone else.

I don’t mind inking by hand as much as I mind the lack of grippers.

For what it is, the press is just too expensive.