Heidelberg Windmill Questions

Hello Everyone,
We are considering buying a Heidelberg Windmill, but I have a few questions to make sure its a good fit.

Any information is appreciated.

Here are my questions:
1. Can I fit a Heidelberg through a 36 inch door? I understand it will need taken apart, but curious if anyone has done this before. What is the floor space needed?

2. We normal do business cards and wedding invitations. Can we put precut paper on the press easily? So if I wanted to do invitations and have the paper precut would this work?

3. What is the normal setup time? I understand this may depend on how good you are, but if you were doing 150 one color invitations, what would be the average setup and production time? How about compared to a Vandercook (SP-15).

4. Which Heidelberg would be best? It seems getting the correct serial number matters a lot.

5. Can you have one Heidelberg for letterpress and foil? Or would you need to modify it to much to do both?

Thank you for your help!


Log in to reply   5 replies so far

1. Yes but it’s a nightmare. Getting a heidelberg platen taken apart is no easy feat. Putting it back together can be quite the headache as well.

2. Yes as long as you’re not trying to print a full bleed. And be sure to keep the grippers and guides clean as a whistle.

3. The speed of a Heidelberg really starts to pay off when runs are longer than 150 pieces. I’d guess you’d save a little time printing 150 pieces on a Heidelberg platen when compared to a vandercook. Print 500 pieces and the time savings will be far greater.

4. Late models will give you lockout rollers (important for foiling) but presses above serial number 100.000 are all excellent as long as they haven’t been beaten to hell by die cutting.

5. You can switch back and forth if you have the proper press with the proper equipment. Many times printers have dedicated machines for foil and ink. Saves setup time and makes everything that much more efficient.

Hope this helps.


Hi Brad,
Thank for the comments!

I would budget an 8’x8’ space minimum for the press and operator. The operator needs clear access to all sides of the press.

It’s sometimes easier to knock a bigger hole in the wall than to take a press apart. A thousand carpenters are readily available, but press mechanics are a bit more rare.

That’s how I got my spare parts for my windmills, someone stripped one down and no one could get it together again. I would knock out a wall before I strip a windmill. My windmill is 1966, just before lockouts, I have a foiling unit on it, I can switch from foiling to printing in just 5 minutes. After you learn the press setting one up is easy, I run my windmills as slow as they can go, they can do about 2000 an hour, even short runs are easier than hand feeding, I don’t believe in running these older machines fast, I think you are asking for trouble, they can run over 4000 an hour.

Good diecutting will not ruin a press. If a press can kiss cut it is in good shape. Thanks to diecutting many of these presses still exist. My Heidelbergs can die cut, kiss cut, print and emboss. However I avoid deep impression printing on anything but the softest and least dense stocks.