Buying my first Printing Press.


I am buying my first Heidelberg Windmill and needed some advice. I have attached pictures of the press and just wondering if I should ask any particular questions regarding the press?


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You’re not buying a ‘letterpress’, you’re buying a ‘printing press’ to print in letterpress!

In, *CONSTRUCTIVE* reply to your question, assuming You are in the States, your first port of call could well be (your) Wittenberg Inc who apparently do know the score, and ARE helpful & constructive regarding all things *Heidleberg*. Next may well be, (On the Web) U.K. Senior Graphics, Mayday Graphics, and probably, Ray Canter, Heidleberg Engineer, (very busy but always has time to help with info)
Apologies for, and on behalf of the *Negative Vibes* previous post, until one has had the opportunity to learn the accepted terminology, one can only go with current info, and there are 2 ways, at least, of navigating the Minefield, unfortunately you caught the wrong one first. so, *Nil Desperandum* Good Luck.
In the fulness of time a post may appear, asking where ENGLISH.! *Farley Proof Press,s* were actually Made.?

A windmill is not the best choice for the typical printing novice. They are complicated machines designed for high volume production, dangerous for novices (and expensive to repair).

Allegories: A novice pilot would be advised against buying a 4-engine commercial airliner; a novice driver would be advised against buying a tractor-trailer rig.

A better choice might be the venerable C&P: very affordable, very simple and very capable of producing high quantity of professional quality. C&P presses fitted with variable-speed motors are easy to learn and develop skills on and can print on a diverse range of goods, from Lettra to fabric bags, to custom-cut coasters.

The key wording when I read the statement “I am buying my first letterpress,” is never printed a thing in my life, and now I want to be a printer.

As a printer for many years, this is NOT a toy. This is a great press, unless you never printed a day in your life.

Within a second you could lose an arm or get hurt by NOT knowing this press.

I totally agree with AnonyMouse a hand feed press that can run slow is a good starter.

My first press was a 10x15 C&P, ran it slow and before touching it, I watched it run to see what parts move and how.

The Windmill is a fast press with a lot of things happen at once.

the scariest thing about running a windmill is they don’t back up, you get caught in it and you are in trouble.

Eniigma, think carefully before this press, as the others already warned you of the dangers. The person who taught me to print on a treadle platen press, lost his index finger in the press. And when I went to school and we had to learn on a hand-fed power platen press, a classmate had his wrist damaged forever in the press. Maybe you should attend a couple of classes first, before you launch yourself into this.

And Mick on Monotype, it was not meant to be ‘negative’, my comment.

Where are you located? Any reasonble Heidelberg operator would be happy to go over the press with you and teach you how to operate it. Yes, safety first, but it’s not brain surgery.

Looks like a good fairly recent press but I don’t see any of the tools needed on the wood tool tray at the bottom front of the press. Make sure those are available as well as the usual contents of the slide out tray on the right side of the press that should include lay pins and lay gauges.


If you can see the press running get a kiss cut demonstration, a good indication of press quality and consistant impression. Get a manual read it well, make sure you have as complete a press as possible(little things can be expensive) If you can get some instruction great but get to know your press. Good luck and be safe.

Hi i would recomend doing a test drive if possible a scuare with die cuts along the hole surface and check for bites on the tympan that could cause uneven pressure ,and dont let the hand that feeds you bite you:-)
Good luck and success

I was very very when I purchased my Heidelberg Windmill, I was able to get a loan and purchase a brand new in the box press.

The Heidelberg company send out a fellow that set it up test ran it, and gave us a week training on it.

It would the best money spent, if you found a letterpress printer that you could pay to teach you about the press.

Over pass few years, reading the post on this site and viewing items on ebay and other auction sites. I can tell just by looking at the photos, a person, wanted to do letterpress printing, went out, purchase equipment they knew nothing about and taught they could be a letterpress printer.

It would help us, if you told us your background, so we know how much you know about letterpress printing.

Interesting people on this forum, so by mistake I wrote letterpress instead of windmill and that means I don’t know anything about printing?

@thomas - I meant to write “first windmill” but I will change to printing press as you suggested. Thanks for pointing that out.

@Mich - Thank you my friend, will look at the links you provided.

@AnonyMouse - Thanks for the suggestion, we will be getting some training from a previous windmill operator.

@Aaron David - heh, so how does a person become printer? you being a printer for many many many years how did you start? did you just wake up one day and knew everything about printing?

@dickg - that is scary.

@daveroszel - I am in Canada. True, safety is first.

@Fritz - Will double check that before buying the press. Thanks

@Mike Conway - it’s a long trip to see it in action :)

@Phase4 - Thanks.

Here how I started as a printer. Back in the late 50s early 60s I purchased books on printing. I went to a trade school had 3 hour classes each day on hands on letterpress printing. I purchased a 10x15 C&P and some foundry type and buy going to printing class and books, learned to print on the C&P.

I guess what set me off, was going to buy a letterpress. Sorry, I see everyday on ebay or on this website, people that think printing is easy, never really learned the trade, purchased some equipment put the heavy press and items in their home and found it not plug and play.

So, sorry I got upset, just hate to see people spend money on equipment before learning the trade.

I think all the reply’s was to make sure you would be safe with operating the press. No one needs to get hurt, and a Heidelberg Windmill can hurt a person if you are new to printing.

Yes, I took my keyboard off my Intertype and cleaned it, but, I have been working with Intertypes since 1964, so, I understand what will hurt you if you do not careful.

Just remember people on this website want people safe first, enjoy printing second.

Color me skeptical regarding the OP’s experience with letterpress. The original verbiage said it all.