which gauge pins should be used with a photopolymer base?

We have a Chandler and Price 10x15 old style and ordered a base of suggested size from Boxcar Press. (They’re closed right now, otherwise I’d call with this question.) We are having trouble with our gauge pins/guides breaking and wonder what anyone else is using. Here’s what we’re doing:
We’re trying to avoid the base by placing our guides (double spring guides by Megill) out of range of the base. But with some larger pieces of paper, it’s impossible and the guides get squished in the press and pieces break off. We’ve tried other guides, like the adjustable quad guide and the guide that has the little adjustable screws, but both are too thick for the base and create damages in the base surface, which we definately don’t want!!
Anyone have any suggestions for what to do? The way we’re going, we’re losing 4-6 each press run and that’s way too many.

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I don’t think normal gauge pins will work overtop of the BoxCar base. I just read up about the Boxcar deep relief base and it only says it is deeper to avoid inking the background.

To me you only have one real option if you are trying to do this over the weekend and that is create your own PAPER GAUGE PINS.

I put a photo online for you to look at.


You need to use something for that black tape to help you get the paper into the folded paper (any problems doing that on a C&P is going to create serious feeding poblems). Then you also need the red tape to help keep the folded paper folded.

I hope this helps.

You still want to try and get this away from your printing area. You can shorten the top fold more to make it shorter.

Did this make any sense to you?

If your chase is close to the size of the relief base, I don’t see how you can use any of the traditional guage pens. It depends on how close to 4x6 the base is.

Take a piece of cover stock. Cut a square about 4”. Fold it in half and half again. You will have a 1” square with an opening. If you cut one corner diagonally, it will give you a 45º cut with a pocket. Tape the folded edge down so opening is facing the feed side (up) of the form. Tape the outside edge also to keep it flat. Do the same for the other side. You can slide the paper to be printed into the corners to hold it while you print. Of course you can’t do production printing this way because placing each piece of paper takes too much time. But it will hold the paper and will not be crushed by the base or damage the surface of your base.

I hope you can visualize this. I am not at the press or I could make one and send a photo. Hope this helps.

Another method is to glue a 3 or 4 point lead spacer as side and bottom guides. White glue, wax and other mehtods are used. Depends on how much clearance you have between the basr and you platen.

I’m assuming you got the 9x12 base for your 10x15 chase. If you position the base in the upper right hand corner of the chase, you’ll have plenty of room to fix the gauges below and to the left of the base. You’ll have to make sure to have enough extra room on the paper to accomodate, but you should be able to print the full 9x12.

after smashing up all of my gauge pins, i salvaged the metal tongue part out of the smashed up clip part and used masking tape to attach them to the tympan. they function just as well (or even better ‘cause they don’t move… ever) as the gauge pins and don’t get crushed.

hope this helps.

I do something similar to blackbird… it’s a little hard to describe, but it works well for me.

I took a few strips of manila folders, about 3/4” wide by 2”, and folded them over a strip of lead spacer so that one edge is flush with the lead and one edge sticks up about 1/2”. Then I taped the lead to the tympan with drafting tape, which releases pretty easily, so that the shorter piece of manila is flush with the tympan. The lead spacer provides a little “shelf” for the cardstock, and the manila strips keep the cardstock from falling out.

Since the manila is pliable, it doesn’t hurt the press if it gets squashed under the plate by accident, although I try to avoid that.

I can print very close to the edge of the base this way as well, which is good because I hate having to trim pieces after printing.

Just my 2 cents.

I haven’t done any photopolymer printing yet, but I’ve had good luck using adhesive-backed photo corners in place of gauge pins. When I got my press I didn’t have any pins and didn’t really know where to get them, so I just stuck some photo corners to the tympan.

a good way to avoid squashing your guage pins is to take a plate and place it on the bottom left corner of your base, as close to the edge as possible. with no guage pins in place, print the plate on your tympan. this will show you on the tympan exactly where your base is situated. always make sure your guage pins are placed outside of that area. we do this each time we change the typman and have put an end to squashing!

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of their advice! We’ve done a combo of pushing the base into a corner and using paper-guides instead. A huge help!!

I don’t smash my gauge pins and I run a boxcar base.

If you have a 10 x 15 press you should have the 9 x 12 base. Lock it in the upper right hand corner of your chase. Register your art as close as you can to the bottom left hand corner and make an impression with ink on your tympan. Get a ruler and line up your work. I use a pen to draw horizontal and verticle lines for my gauge pins about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch away from the edges of your boxcar base. Measure from your crop marks on your plate to the edge of the base and transfer those measurements to your tympan. Place your gauge pins on the marks you made and you should be good.

You will need to run the paper a bit bigger and trim it down but not by too much. I run tons of my projects like this and have had great success.

A bit of lead spacing, maybe three point , and double sided adhesive tape plus bits of card
will solve a multitude of thse problems, depending on exacly how many thousandths of an inch you have to play with.

I don’t know if it will help in your situation, but to replace pins small paper clips work great. You can bend them to any shape you want. I use them on windmills all the time. But your guides are probably different from what I’m used to.

Really helpful info for bystanders too – thanks!

I use these Megill Flexible Gauge Pins.

They work perfectly with both the Boxcar Base and my Chase Base. They don’t get crushed, and don’t do any damage to your base or paper.

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For anyone interested in more information about the Megill Flexible Gauge Pins shown in Megahurt’s photos above:


- Alan

There’s a new kind of gauge “pin” I saw for sale at Letterpress Things and I bought a set even though I’ve been making a similar kind. I buy those sticky on both sides foam pieces that are for putting up posters and I cut up plastic from anything where the plastic is flexible but rigid such as a strawberry clear box from the grocery produce section. I cut the plastic wider than the sticky foam so it forms the holder part. I had tried other materials together with double stick tape such as davey board which wasn’t successful because it delaminates when you try to take it off and reposition it. I was disappointed because it came in many thicknesses. The foam thingies compress and will definitely not hurt the base so they can be within the base area if you need that. The ones you buy are very nice looking and even have rounded edges. Henry gauge pins I think they are called and NA Grahics sells them. http://order.nagraph.com/media/products/ss_size1/DSCN1206.JPG

Megill Flexible Pins are fantastic.

They let you place the plate anywhere you want to on the base, including near the top so you don’t have to reach as far to feed.

I love my Megill Flexible Pins, too. I got a set from Alan at Excelsior Press along with one of his bases and they both work great. I use them with all of my printing now (whether photopolymer or metal) as the wide paper contact surface makes them very good for getting a clean positioning with your paper. The only (for me, minor) downside to them is that they have a higher chance of moving around on your tympan than, say, a Kort Quad or Megill Double-Grip (of course, you can’t use either of those with photopolymer). I solve this with blue painter’s tape though the traditional solution is sealing wax. You can see my pins in use with a photopolymer plate here:


Those Henry Compressible Gage Pins are great! Available from Letterpress Things, NA Graphics and Boxcar Press.

An unbiased evaluation. ;)

John Henry

I LOVE the Henry pins. They save me so much time because I don’t have to be as careful with lineup. Likewise, I can use a large base without risk of the pins hitting the corner. I can also set up my lineup more in the center of the press even though I have a very large base.

If you’re in a tight spot you can use 3m double sided foam tape and a place of thin piece exposed/blank photopolymer. for the tongue.

The Henry pins last me for 5-6 runs each. Then I peel off the plastic bit, and attach it to a new piece of 3M foam tape. I find they stay put a little better than the megill type. Also, they don’t damage that precious tympan paper.

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