Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pasta Machine Press - flatbed printer!

I had been using my pasta machine press successfully with monoprints in 2016, but after taking a print workshop in the spring of this year at the National Print Museum Dublin, my husband suggested it might be easier if I did some further adjustments on the pasta machine to turn it into a flatbed printer. This is the happy result, and below I will give some steps to converting a pasta machine into a small press!


My pasta machine had a base that was just screwed on, so it was easily removed.


 I planned to do some long prints, with the pasta machine on the kitchen table, so this was taken into account when creating a box structure that the machine could sit in. A box structure is required also to facilitate additional clamping to the table the press will rest on. This is a view of the finished flatbed printer including the 800 micron acetate which serves as a flatbed. Please note that the acetate is not affixed.


A bespoke groove is made into the top side of the box in order to facilitate the pasta machine.


This is the view from the right side of the machine, resting in the box structure. The hole on the side is where the crank fits in, so this side must be on the edge of the table.


This view primarily shows how the left side of the pasta machine is clamped to the wooden structure.



This is the press and structure turned on its side so that the under structure can be seen. The press is clamped to the structure.



This is a view from directly underneath the pasta machine.


A view from underneath; at either end there is a small plank of wood affixed to the structure to accommodate further clamps needed for affixing the structure to the table. At first I did not attach the structure to the table, but doing so saved me from having to press down on the machine while printing.


This picture is a side view that shows how the structure is attached to the table by a clamp.


This is a further detail view of the clamp attaching the slat on the structure to the table.


 This is a side view that shows how the 800 micron acetate serves as a flatbed.


I have found that oilcloth makes a good substitute for felt. It is cheap, has a heavier weight for its thin-ness than felt, and is more useful for me, in that I have been doing long prints and needed an unavailable size felt (two pieces of felt left a seam mark in my print!). Be sure to print smooth side up when using oilcloth to avoid any texture inadvertently appearing on your print.


I have tried to make these instructions as simple as possible, but please comment or message me if something is unclear. I have been doing intaglio prints and embossed prints using this machine, so it is working!