Asbern Impression Issues

Hi! Has anyone encountered a similar problem to what we are having on a cylinder press (Asbern). I’m attaching a photo for reference, but most times we print we have an issue with type pressing inconsistently on the press. This has been an issue across multiple typefaces so it is hard to believe it is all the typefaces that are the issue. Any thoughts?

image: image0.jpeg


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Which Model Aspern?

Can you attach a Pic?

I don’t think it’s an impression problem. Could be that the rollers may be set slightly too high, inking the form in one direction and wiping it in the opposite direction. Rollers may also undersized and flared.

Starting with the impression first, when I was a letterpress apprentice we were taught to take a heavy pull then turn over the sheet and make ready the type by looking at the impression showing, so any light areas were patched up with a layer of tissue to increase the impression in those areas and the patched sheet was put in position in the packing. If you take a heavy pull and can see variation in the impression I would guess it is the type, maybe because it’s old used type … do you have a mix of old and new type in your type trays? Unless its your cylinder packing, do you put on new packing for each job? If it looks even then it could be inking. Hope this helps

I have some updates on the Asbern as I’ve been doing tests. I tested the rollers and it has a pretty good mark on the lollipop stick. I did notice that the front rollers have a small area that does not touch the lollipop. Also, our back rollers always make contact with the motorized ink drum when the cylinder is back at the feed board end of the press. I wonder if this is because the rollers were not made to the correct size? We had the rollers done about two years ago so they are fairly new. Lastly, I am attaching an image that shows two prints one of my students did. The first one on the left is perfect. The next pull was the one on the right, which is so interesting the difference in the quality of the saturation in the wood type. I’m lost!

image: Asbern_Pulls.jpg


image: Asbern_Roller_Test.jpg


Hi Ashley,

That Asbern at MSU has been having that problem for years. My best guess when I was using it is that something in the adjustable cylinder impression is slipping due to some part being worn down with that mechanism. I remember that you can get around that press’s quirk by doing something fiddly with the crank as it’s engaged in printing.

The Asbern operating manual says “For initial starting of the press it is recommended that the cylinder be set at the 20 degree mark and checked for printing impression. Then, as needed, cylinder should be lowered by 2° increments to the required impression. Care should be taken to assure that the locking screw (8) is tightened after lock change”. You’ve probably already googled this manual but just in case here is the link

Maybe it is the Locking Screw that needs to be replaced? When the prints get salty like that I believe the cylinder is “jumping up” too high and therefore not producing the correct pressure and it has nothing to do with improper ink roller distribution. Probably time to have someone like Val Lucas (Bower Box Press), Benjamin Jones (letterpress_mechanic), Adam Case Leestma (adamisinky), or Paul Moxon do a video chat. I do not know of anyone that understands the problems of Asberns specifically. Maybe some ink slingers across the pond would know better since that is where most of those presses still live.

Best of luck, hope you can diagnose which part of the press needs to be replaced!

The roller next to the Feed board is always in touch withe the ink drum, that is how you keep the Roller fed (sic).
D you have the distribution rollers which sit on top the Form rollers.


Thank you for your comments. For some reason, I had assumed that the Asbern had a trip default that when it makes contact with things that maybe are too high it will put itself into a safe trip, but perhaps my assumption is wrong and it shouldn’t be putting itself into trip midway through print. I have experienced printing on one press that does this intentionally but cannot remember the name off-hand.

typenut, yes the asbern does have distribution rollers that sit on the form rollers. And from my understanding of presses, the back roller should not sit on the ink drum when the rollers are lifted. Our rollers sit on this drum when lowered and lifted.

I used to use one decades ago, the Drum lifts if rolled all the way to the end, that also lift’s the entire ink train, drobs down on return to feedboard, in that sense it is always in touch, but than you flip the little handle to raise the entire inktrain at the Feedboard, the roller close to feedboard just hoovers over the inkdrum so as not to develop a flatspot.

Curious if you’ve found any answers to this problem. It looks similar to the issues we have with our Asbern ADR-1.

With ours, I’m fairly certain the cylinder is lifting on heavier areas of the form.. although you’re having trouble with small type so that’s a little different. Hmmm..

We also have this issue with the rollers not lifting properly with the lever engaged. On ours, the metal pieces that should lift the rollers are only barely working (like 1/64” lift). I suspect it’s either from natural wear, or it may be that the roller cores are not original and are of a smaller diameter so that’s why the lifting bars aren’t quite reaching. A replacement piece wouldn’t be hard to have machined and I’ll probably get around to that eventually but for now we just work around it by advancing the press an inch or two so that it’s not just running on the drum constantly.