Windmill Embossing Counter Clearance

Let me say in advance I dont know what I am doing when it comes to embossing. We took another attempt at cold embossing with a photopolymer die set. We worked out the clearance limit factors of the dies and it works great except the underside of the gripper wants to drag over the counter when a 20 pt sheet is in place. It clears the counter fine when no stock is in the gripper. Our counter is attached to the platten with no underpacking. While not perfect it worked for the small 3 x 3 area we are embossing. I then put a piece of 30 pt epoxy glass board along the bottom of the platten to keep the tip of the gripper off the platten - and thus the whole gripper- (elevated) and that sort of helped by controlling the clearance as the gripper passes over the platen. Without the epoxy glass board the gripper dances very close to and almost dragged long the platten and thus hits the counter. I know my grippers are old, a little wacked out and not very true. I was suprised there was any flex to the gripper bars, I guess I just thought they would be more solid. Is there a better way? Will replacing the grippers change the issues? Is there a way to change the clearance of the grippers over the platten? Is there a different type of grippers out there I am not aware of. Am I trying to fight a batter a cannot win.

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I’ve done a lot of embossing on a windmill, but some may look at this post as cringeworthy. In my shop, we used 60 point embossing board along the TOP of the platen to lift the grippers to clear the counter. We used duplofol tape under and packing tape over it to hold it in place. This method worked for all but the deepest of counters. We ordered the thinner counter base for our copper or brass dies. The grippers can be bent fairly easily. I would start out by making sure both sets of grippers are even across the platen. Strip off all packing, and run your grippers down about 3/4 of the way across the platen-and do a visual check. The gripper should have the same clearance across the platen. If that gripper looks out of alignment, you can rotate the gripper to the vertical position and push or pull to bend it to the proper position. Bend a little, then check. Running 60 point board did not damage our grippers, and gave us the clearance we needed.

Thank you for the feedback. The grippers run fairly true across the platen. Since this item I am embossing die cuts I like to run to guides which adds to the issue. I am trying to control the far end of the gripper where the greatest flex can occur. My grippers are worn and A little rough on the underside which normally would not be an issue. The photopolymer die worked great but my gripper was rubbing a little along the counter tearing at it causing wear marks. After 8 hours I came up with the epoxy board strip like a track to control and raise the gripper. I see in your post you do what I was doing so I am sitting here laughing that it took me 8 hours to figure it out. The whole time I was sure there was some other way to do this. I had never seen this in any video or on any post or discussion. Thanks again for letting me know I was on the right track

Sure, no problem. Just a comment on your grippers, some of the roughness may be ink buildup and can be smoothed out just by removing dried ink. I had to do that last week. I used a single edge razor blade and some type wash.
The other option is aftermarket grippers. $99 on eBay. I spent $150 on a gripper a few years back, and it was good quality.
So where are you getting your photopolymer dies?

bppayne- the underside wear was from a lot of die cutting. On heavier stock the gripper can rub along the die jacket and over time the underside of the grippers got a little pitted and rough. With the embossing they dragged on the counter. We got the photopolymer dies from, ask for Rolly. Embossing was something sort of new for Western Press. Setting up and aligning with heated (copper die) embossing took me to long and was to costly for some projects. With cold embossing I used my regular base and it was liek setting up a printing project. I was surprised how well the cold embossing worked and it was easy to setup. The dies are created with a pin built into the art set outside the image area to align the photopolymer counter to. We used a small .5 clearance and the counter worked great. Our next project is to try a combo emboss and deboss single pass.

image: Screen shot 2019-02-04 at 9.17.46 AM.png

Screen shot 2019-02-04 at 9.17.46 AM.png

Wow, that’s great. Thanks for sharing that. I’m only printing at this point, but I used to do a ton of embossing with mag or copper dies with premade counters. Kudos for a great method!

Cold Embossing/Debossing with photopolymer dies it almost like setting up for printing but with no ink. There is a little added time to align the counter and do the math for packing but I was surprised how well it worked. If you talk to Crownflexo they may work with you to get it off the ground. Some days I am like a blind folded man learning to drive. I did not hit anything, nothing caught fire and nothing blew up - it must be a success.