metal dies for a kwikprint 86 machine

hi all, I acquired a kwikprint 86 machine and want to give foil a go. i’m looking to have a couple metal dies made for this machine and wanted to give the business to metal magic since they’re local to me, but I contacted them and they said they no longer mount their dies on metal to use with this machine, so I guess that option is out. does anyone have a solution to this problem so I could still use them, or does anyone have a recommendation on who to use instead?

thanks in advance.

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Fortunately, you have lots of options as the dies do not need to be exactly type-high for that machine. A block of aluminum or steel which fits in the type holder and extends above its jaws can be found in the scrap barrel of most machine shops. Have them saw it to a rectangular shape to fit. Make sure the top and bottom surfaces are reasonably parallel (rolled or extruded bar stock will be accurate enough).

Buy your die unmourned and use heat bonding tape or superglue to mount to the block. Superglue will not bond permanently to the smooth surfaces, but will hold the die in position for use, and will pop off with a sideways blow when you want it removed.

I order 11pt or 1/4” dies when I stamp leather, but 16ga metal dies will work fine on smooth surfaces or cardboard.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

hey john, thanks, so what you’re saying is that the metal piece that fits into the type holder does not need to be the same size as the die? I guess what I am asking is that as long as there’s metal to connect to metal, it will heat the block + the die evenly, correct? this is all new to me but this is how we learn, right?

thanks for your help. I’ll see if I can find someone local who may be able to cut me a piece of aluminum down. maybe it’s something I could even find online somewhere?

thanks for the help.

i guess what I am understanding is that this is basically like a metal base for foil stamping that will allow the heat to extend to the die in comparison to a base for photopolymer for letterpress users. same concept, I think.

i’m going to see about getting a piece of metal for my “base”. metal magic has also offered to mill me a piece of brass - this would probably be expensive since it is brass, but I’m guessing it would last. is there a need for brass? should I just do aluminum?


brass is better for the heat and will last longer


I would keep the mounted plate the same size as or smaller than the mounting block. It is a limitation of the Kwickprint, but you’ll be able to live within that footprint for most things. If the plate exceeds the block (even if 1/4” thick material), you will lose some heat where the plate is unsupported, and will have to wait to recover between impressions.

I would use whatever would come to you with the least expense at this point. Try it out and see how it works for you. My own preference would be for steel, for just the reason Mike says. If you are continually putting plates on and scraping them off, steel would last almost forever, while on brass or aluminum you will begin to scar the softer surface. But if aluminum is readily available or significantly lower cost, give it a try. Aluminum has a greater thermal conductivity than either brass or steel, so the die will heat up more quickly. Steel is not as good a conductor of heat, but has the advantage of longer life and a harder surface.

You certainly can find a piece of bar stock online, but might have to hack-saw it to the length you need.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

thanks for the help all. so in short it appears I should source a block piece of aluminum (if planning to glue plates) that is basically the largest size that my typeholder can hold? that way any die I place upon it will always evenly heat? I have to measure my typeholder tonight to see what its dimensions are. metal magic has offered to mill me a brass block with a threaded screw pattern and manufacture all my plates to match this pattern so that I can easily screw my dies in rather than gluing. sounds like a good idea if it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg right now, but i’ll find out once I send them the measurements of my typeholder. would anyone go one way or the other? aluminum because of conductibility and cost, or brass because of longevity and method of screwing rather than gluing?

appreciate everyone’s insight!!

Here’s a photo of a block of aluminum with a 1/4” died glued on. This has produced several hundred impressions and has been mounted for about 6 months without s problem.

image: IMG_3359.JPG


Thank you for the visual John, and you said your best way to remove is how? I’ll have several dies I’ll want to change out in the next month or two and would want to make sure it’s not a super hard thing to do. Would you steer me away from the idea of brass for cost or any other reason? Do you mind telling me the depth of your aluminum block? I’m measuring my type holder tonight but I don’t want to get a peice too tall or too short.

Thanks again,

If you place a screwdriver st the side of the for and tap it with a mallet, the die will break loose. You will be able to scrape off any excess glue with s blade.

You should be able to use 7/8” high block for mounting, or anything near that. Since the Kwikprint has a long travel, you needn’t worry about getting the final height to match type height.

John Henry

Thank you, I just measured mine - I was thinking 3/4” if my dies are on 1/4” copper? Or maybe just go to the 7/8”.

I’ll see what metal magic says about the cost for the brass base, otherwise I’ll go the aluminum route if it’s more than I want to spend.

Kwikprint has 4-5 different sizes for type holders. I wasn’t sure about mine until I realized someone was using screws that are too long to attach the heating element because it was limiting how far I could pull the clamps out. So I’ll get some shorter screws and get that squared away to fix that problem. Glad I figured that out or I would have been limiting the size of my form by over an inch. This holder is 2”x5-3/4” - maybe I should go 5-5/8” long for the block, or less maybe? Maybe 5-1/2”, not sure.

Anyway I really appreciate the help!!