Cleaning dirty presses

Hi everyone,
I’m preparing to be the new home of two presses (and I am a newbie). They are in desperate need of a clean as they haven’t been used for close to 10 years! Can anyone in Australia suggest the best cleaner for this?

Also a suggestion of what kind of oil to use on the press would be invaluable.

Any advice would be much appreciated!!

Thanks in advance!!

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Why just someone in Oz? Cleaning and oil are the same over here too. Would you accept advice from a Yank?
Look under your kitchen sink and find some concentrated liquid detergent you would use for greasy pans. A solution of that plus rags and an old toothbrush will do wonders. If there is rust on the ink disk, platen, bed or rails; go at it with the green plastic pot scrubber from under the same sink. Get a new one for use on pots. After you get the rust off the platen and bed, give them a coat of wax. Auto wax works well. Do not wax or oil the ink disk or rails. Wipe them clean.
Clean out all oil holes. Get a small tin of thin oil with a plastic spout from the hardware store. Oil all holes and other places where metal works against metal. Oil liberally. You want some to run out to flush. Operate the press to facilitate the flush. Think about this and have something under the press.
Later, a 30 weight automotive oil is good. Oil often. Oil is cheap. Wear is bad.

Hi Inky,
thanks for the reply.
i only asked for aussie advice because some of the products i read on here, i cant get :( but i guess thats mainly washup products. need to look further into this.

but great instructions, thankyou! i do have rust of the ink disk and platen. what do you mean by a green plastic pot scrubber?

im completely new to this and am getting two presses none the less, and am starting to feel like im getting in over my head!

but i will oil oil oil! :)

Here is a thread you might wish to read:

What do you mean by a green plastic pot scrubber?

Non-woven nylon webbing AKA Scotch-brite. You may also find it in a redish brown, grey, black or white. Each color identfies how coarse it is. You may even find it with a sponge bonded to one side. Look in house wares at you favorite department store. Course steel wool will work as well. Sometimes the webbing is impregnated with aluminum oxide which is very effective for cleaning metal.

Best of luck.

Get a new one for the pots after ? Is this why my ex left ?
I thought it was the platen in the kitchen she hated !

I heard it was the composing room in the living room she hated.

Nah ,thats in the hall with the offset machine !

This sounds horribly familiar…

Thats probably because we are a breed of our own ,apart from the human race and all fuxxxxx up by the Pica rule we stir our tea with when you cant locate a spoon !

Amen to that!

i thought the tweesers were for stirring the tea and removing the tea bag???

Four dips of the three point lead = half a spoon of sugar !!

HI Rachel,

You haven’t said what type of presses you have. But for my windmill I use Mobil Vacuoline 528, if you can find a local Mobil (not the servo, an commercial outlet) they can help you. I can’t remember the cost but unfortunately the smallest qty you can get is 20L which will last you a lifetime.

For cleaning I used low odour kerosene (you can get that from your hardware store) on all areas that don’t connect with ink. For the ink drum and the platen, to remove small amounts of rust I used WD-40 and a scotch brite pad like Ink Spot said. After you’ve got that clean wipe it over with press wash to be sure it’s all ready for ink. My press wash came from a place in Sydney called Brissett, called BR3B. They can also help you with rollers possibly depending on the presses you have.

Hope that helps.

Hi from Oz Rachel

I don’t know what kind of Press you have but on my old Etching Press I used WD40 (CRC is the same) the night before to loosen everything up. The next day I cranked the Press over backwards and forwards a few times. Then I scrubbed the whole thing down with fine steel wool ( Triple 000) to get all the metal surfaces polished. Next, a wipe down with cotton rags.Then an oiling with standard engine oil to all moving parts,cogs etc. The bed of the press and main roller I coated in Penetrene. Then polished off the excess the next day.
All these items are available at your local Bunnings, anywhere in Oz.
I guess it all depends on the condition of your press ? This is a suggestion for a press with minor rust.



thanks everyone for your comments.

i will be receiving a heidelberg windmill and a chinese hand-fed platen in about 3 weeks, and im not sure i can wait that long im so excited!

i think i will be visiting bunnings very soon for all mentioned supplies.

i will be getting the hand-fed press up and running first as it is a smaller cleaning job, whereas the windmill needs a major clean, but quite minor rust (and it needs a new motor).

thanks for the mention on Brissett, i think they will be a good source.

hello all

depends on equipment
first cleaning often use coin car wash

have even done this with
short wave radio transmitters
must dry everything off
right now
heat gun works

yours truly

I will pass this info along since it has served all of the 12- step program “press buyers anonymous” group well for many years…PBA is sort of like AA but when we see a press we can’t live without we call each other and go have a drink and try to forget the press…anyway - when we get the press the drinking rarely helps, and it looks like they all do when they are the bargains we fall for, we make a fifty/fifty mixture of fast orange hand cleaner (citric acid, gunk and pumice) and naval jelly rust remover and coat the rusted surfaces and cover it with plastic drop cloths and let it sit for an hour ..not long enough to dry but long enough to see the metal get grey again.. then we scrub gently with scouring pads or steel wool until all the rust is up and stirring around in the mixture and wash with water…dry with heat guns rub with a rough rag and buff…sometimes I use a car buffer pad in an electric drill.. then apply a liquid floor wax and “bob’s your uncle”.

I see you’ve been dealing with Bernie. ;-)

If you need help with the motor I can suggest someone who can help you, I know he’s worked with two Windmills (converting 3-phase to 1-phase) at least and he’s also in SA. So if you need the details just message me, I don’t have it on me right now.

Hi quidditycreative,
yes i have been dealing with Bernie, and he has be more than patient and helpful! and a very lucky find i believe.

i looked into Royce cross, and called him a few weeks ago and said he stocks the motors. is there anything else involved in converting from a 3-phase to single phase? (sorry if this is a silly question)

im going to need all the help i can get!!

and im picking them up tomorrow! YAY

It’s not a silly question, I went round and round in circles trying to figure it out as few people in Aus have posted what they did. One changed the motor but I was told by multiple people that it wasn’t possible due to our motor shafts being metric and the Windmill’s is imperial (although this person was lucky enough to have a mechanically minded husband). But Sam will take care of you. I have no idea exactly what was involved but if you aren’t super handy, grab someone good with a spanner to remove the motor and Sam will do the rest. Then grab previous muscle again to pop it back on. If you need any help in the ‘how to’, I’m happy to help if I can. But you will get a lot of info from the manual you can download from Boxcar.

thanks quidditycreative. appreciate your comments.

i think it will be a bit of a learning curve, very different from my graphic designing! but very excited to learn something so beautiful!

ive been all over Boxcar, such a good resource.

actually, i have one more question. im about to purchase a base from boxcar and was wondering which one to get. i read that the standard base is for the windmill, and a deep relief is better with any other platen. would a standard relief base still produce good prints on the hand-fed platen? it would just save me purchasing two bases first up.

The deep relief base can give you a slightly (very slightly) deeper punch in the paper if that is what you wish. It is not designed or intended to punch the paper. Rather it was intended to compensate a bit for those who do not have rails of the proper height. The standard plate can be inked on the shoulder or non relief part of the plate if the rail height and roller pressure are not very closely adjusted. An alternative is also to use roller bearers if you are not going to take the time and effort to adjust the rails and rollers.
The standard base plate will work on any press in the hands of a good printer with a well adjusted press.
Good printing begins with proper inking.
Thus, one base can certainly do.

thanks Inky.
if i needed a second base down the track, i would buy it, but at the moment, too much money. standard relief it is, thanks for the feedback. i hope to be a good printer with practice!