Max Form vs Bed Size - Vandercooks

I’m a bit of a newbie to letterpress, and currently in the market for a Vandercook. Naturally, and given the investment, I am looking to maximize the print real estate; specifically for larger prints/posters. I haven’t been able to find a simple explanation, but what is the main limitation of this for the larger models (Uni III, 320, 325)? Is it the form or the bed size? Can I print beyond the deadlines? Would greatly appreciate an explanation. Thank you!

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The following link will take you to the Vanderblog site, created by Paul Moxon, which contains all sorts of things “Vandercooky”.

The maximum form size will give you some idea of the area you can print. Notice it is smaller than the maximum sheet size, for as you indicated, you cannot print beyond the deadline because of the gripper system.

The press must be properly adjusted and in prime condition to print well any sort of solid form nearing that maximum form size.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press
(Universal III User)


Thanks for the swift response! I have actually been using that site as a reference for comparing models. That said, what you added about the form was immensely/much more helpful. It really confirmed a lot of assumptions that I had, but was just not confident in holding. Anyways, thanks again!

The tail deadline on the 320/325 shows where the cylinder ends, no impression beyond it. However, it also marks the midpoint between the two form rollers which are behind the cylinder unlike other Vandercooks. If you run a form up to that deadline, the rear form roller will not reach as far and will stop on the form, and could slur. If you really wanted a full form on the 320 series you might need to hand roll, at least partially.
The only time I tried a maximum form on my 325 I had to redesign so the rear form roller stopped over an open area.