Convince me I don’t need a Miehle v50

A Miehle V50 has come up for sale locally. $1,000 for a good machine and an extra parts press.

Naturally, I want it. But do I need it?

I have four Heidelberg Windmills running.

A Heidelberg KS awaits the moment I can afford to install 3-phase power.

What can I do with a V50 that I can’t do with these other machines?

What would you do? Snap up the easy-to-get V-50s, or let them go to the scrap heap while saving up to get the Heidelberg KS some juice?

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Well, a cylinder will do lots of things a Windmill just can’t.

So far as a Vertical vs KSBA, well that’s tougher, but I suspect you can set up a job much quicker on the Vertical, you can also use conventional plunger numbering machines (though they’ll chew up your rollers). If you are running a lot of score/perf jobs, it might be better to run those on the Vertical and keep the KSBA as an ink press.

The Vertical also has a straighter paper path, but is more or less limited to 15 point stock. Not sure how heavy a sheet will deliver well on a KSBA.

If you can drop a Vertical on your floor and have it running right now, that’s worth a lot against a press that will run “someday”, even if that press does have greater capability.

Your call, but I’d say chip the price down and get the Miehles.

A lot of Verticals have been running scoring, perforating and numbering jobs for decades and have been thrashed to hell. What has this press been up to? Don’t ask the owner, what does the printing look like that is sitting around this shop?

Be careful that you’re not just itching for a new press and seeing a cheap answer to that. Moving isn’t all that much fun and rollers aren’t exactly cheap either. Even if this press is sweet it is going to set back your KS power budget in a major way and take a bunch of floor space too. And the resale value- I don’t care how nice, you’ll probably have to pay them to move it out.


Buy the Vertical, period!! You can set up any job faster on the vertical and it will run all day without effort if you have the feeder set low so as not to pickup doubles. If you set the rollers to .918 numbering machines do not chew rollers. I have both presses and the vertical is priceless. Bob

Get it, you will love it. It will not chew up rollers with numbering machines and perf rule. They are 14x20 in size…..for a thousand bucks you can’t go wrong. Easy to set up, will run all day long with no problems. Most misunderstood and under rated press out there. Drawbacks…. I do most of my diecutting on a windmill. I don’t like running heavy board on them, although I have run .018 railroad board with the propper grain. You MUST always use lockwheel numbering machines!!! Most of them are 3 phase….I think I have a single phase motor or 2 if you get in a jamb. I run 4 v50x’s and one 13x18 Heid. I couldn’t be in business without the Verts. My foiling is done on Klugies and I do have a SBB Cyl 32” for long run diecutting jobs. My Verts run every day…all day Get the Vert…you will love it!!! Carl

I had a V50 that had been flogged most its life and it was terrible. I poured money into parts and just never got the joy. It had to go. If the Heidelberg is in good nick it could be a lot better but harder to move. Apart from the V50 I had, all my other experiences with the verts have been good. not good on big solids I recall.

To Miehle, or not to Meihle apart from the odd negative vibe, your well informed friends appear to be giving the thumbs up!!! … . My insight and working knowledge is basic but founded on involvement from a repairing point of view, and backed by contact with a service engineer (general Printing Machinery) but laterly dedicated Vertical Miehle Specialist… . .All that the enthusiasts say and more, But follows a few little points that may be worth keeping in mind:-In the U.K. Verticals were fitted with 2 different air pumps Diaphragm and Vane type, double sided, Pressure/Vacuum both very efficient, and possibly because of this, occasionally picked up more than one sheet, thin stock no problem!! 2 sheets on heavier stock, on impression would jam the machine and cause big problems, first of all freeing the machine but more importantly springing and cracking the cylinder carriage supports….BIG repairs….this problem was partially overcome by fitting an aftermarket strengthening bar at the back of the cylinder, hopefully American Models have been uprated… … .As the Vert is Just that VERTICAL, as was on several occasions aptly demonstrated by a Machine Minder/Manager who worked on the principal that, if under the right circumstances, he could whack the biggest slave pulley on and have it flying at full tilt, He would and could and DID… … 90% of the time NO PROBLEM but now and then He came unstuck, as did the Forme with a 4 page up that had not been locked up 100% accurately, I.E. adequate for a flatbed, but not a Vertical, coupled with lack of attention, to the very critical condition, of the sprung loaded dogs that retain the forme rollers… …I have been involved with repairs in the aftermath of such, but would hope that due respect is offered, to terrific, Senior Citizens of the Printing World… Good Luck

To answer your question “What can I do with a V50 that I can’t do with these other machines”? Not much if you have flexibility on how you run jobs on your 10x15 windmill.

We had a V50 in here years ago and sold it when we purchased a Heidelberg 13x18. If we did not have a KSBA we would probably still have the V50 although I don’t miss the clakity clack of the V50 either.

I see a V50 as being good for jobs that a windmill would struggle with. We had a job we used to do for Ames Department stores and they were little jewelry price inserts that were die cut and perforated. IIRC they were about 1/2” wide by 6” long and 15-20 up on a sheet on a fairly thick stock…..too much for the platen to handle but doing it on the V50 cylinder was perfect, although really noisy!

The 10x15 just couldn’t handle that much impression all at one time but the V50 was perfect.

V50 is also good when sheet tail whip on a 10x15 is an issue.

I personally would rather run a Heidelberg windmill or Heidelberg cylinder any day over a V50 for 99% of the work I do. Although there have been times I wished we had that old V50 in here for the occasional job that I thought it would be better suited but not 100% needed.

I could die cut certain jobs on the V50 and still be able to clean out the bowels of the machine rather easily where you really can’t do that with the Heidelberg Cylinder.

A V50 wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you can get it on your floor up and running without breaking your bank roll. And who knows, if you get it you may find a stronger desire to get a KS on your floor quicker than you planned! :)

Good Luck!!

The main reason to own a V50, shop space. Every press mentioned are great presses, and I have run all of them.

Every press offers benefits. The reason to purchase any press is the reason you use it.

If you are going to do the art poster business, a Vandercook is the press for you. If you are purchasing a press to do short run printing job the V-50 is fast. Long press runs, the Heidelberg cylinder. The Heidelberg windmill does great work, just not great on heavy ink coverage.

So, once again, what you plan to use the press for, is the reason for a purchase.

I would opt for getting the Heidelberg up and running if you can do so for about the same as the purchase and installation of the Vertical. If I understand correctly, you have the Heidelberg already.The Heidelberg has many features which are far superior to the Miehle. Some of those are the larger diameter of the cylinder, a much better feed system, transfer grippers, heliacal gears, and the list goes on.

For me neither inking control system is ideal for operator ease of adjustment. On the Heidelberg, the sheets are delivered just under the feeder, but the ink fountain is at the other end of the press. If you want to adjust the inking, you can’t just look at the delivered sheets and know where the adjustment needs to be made, you have to pull a sheet and walk around the press to the fountain.

On the other hand, the fountain on the Miehle is inches off the floor, so you must bend over to make those adjustments, and as one gets older, that isn’t the greatest, either. Of course, if just diecutting on the press, that is not an issue.

John Henry

According to the manual, the KS can do 21-point stock, but I’d bet that is best run with grain across the cylinder.
If numbering is really a concern, get center-driven machines because the individual low-plunger machines intended for Heidelberg cylinders still print on the tympan even if they don’t advance and you’ll get set-off.
For multicolor work, Heidelberg cylinders wash up for color change quickly even though they have many more rollers than a Vertical, and therefore better coverage. If you just leave rubberbase black on the press forever, a Vertical is ideal. Not so many rollers to scrub when the ink is finally dead.
My 1960s KS has a scale in the delivery that matches a scale in the ink fountain so you know which fountain key to adjust. Older models are not exactly identical in such features. Some even have a scale on the splash guard, which is intended for a strap that holds an extra-thick sheet against the cylinder and through the delivery cycle. By the time Heidelberg discontinued cylinder presses they’d solved many problems, but the solutions are not found on earlier models. Some even had provisions for rotary scoring perfijg and slitting with attachments much more robust than the more common Cowan slitters.

Perhaps it should be mentioned in passing, for the benefit of a would be purchaser a couple of positive vibes, A, the entire feeder unit swings away with one positive quick release hand wheel, obviously repositioned (timed) aftere wash up or forme change… . .*B* The ink carriages are also quick release, the entire wash up is not confined to the press direct, the Ink Duct also swings out for easy(er) wash up!!! … . With the Feeder and the Duct swung out of the way, access to and inspection of the forme, surely beats hands down, crawling under the cylinder or being stabbed by the arms of the platen.???

A vert is good ,long runs of perforations and the vert is a winner ,I have never put ink on one ,only die cutting and the only problems we found was it needed to be a wee bit bigger ! Yes the tight curve in the cylinder is grief but you overcome all sorts given the need and the time .
I relied on one to die cut in a company for a couple of years and the only mishap die cutting we had was the rule cut the horizontal oiler pipe in half and it pumped oil everywhere !! I had to basically teach myself on this one but its a cylinder at the end of the day and printing from a cylinder is as good as it gets , you have a small cylinder ,if its in print livery then put your thousand dollars into that . If its been butchered for die cutting only then buy the vert to print with ……