Letterpress printing in the space?

Has anyone tried this already? I’m very interested myself, and it looks like you can pick up a press for a couple of hundred quid which seems doable.

Just a few questions? You want to do exactly what with this machine? How much space does this equipment need? Does it produce foams? Is it electric or analog? Sorry if some questions are stupid to you but I’m curious beast :smiley:

If you want to gauge size, they have them ranging from small to huge at the science and industry museum, or at least they used to, what sort of stuff are you planning on printing?

I’ve worked in the print industry for the last 30+ years, does that count?:grin: Are you thinking an old letterpress machine or building something yourself?

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Thanks everyone! I should preface all of this with: I have almost no idea what I’m talking about :slight_smile: I have been absorbing things from the internet, e.g


But! I’ve always liked the way letterpressed things look, and found out recently that it’s apparently relatively easy to get started on a small second-hand machine like an Adana 8x5 or something. I’d like to make cards and posters (which would probably require a slightly bigger press).

I wondered if, given that there’s a whole visual arts area in the space, whether some other members might be interested too.

Very analog. I don’t think they produce foams, unless they’re haunted. Which is a possibility, given that some of the machines floating around are easily 100+ years old!

We’ve got a bunch of engineers amongst us, Stephen being one of the more notable ones with respect to printing, they can be big, heavy, clunky, and noisy, but smaller ones can be relatively smaller and less so.

It’s really down to the nature of what you print, maximum sizes required, cards should be easy on a smaller one, but posters would require a significantly larger press…

Thanks! I was really only thinking hobbyist level to start with, and size of the press and thus what can be printed would mostly be dictated by budget, suitability for beginners and what would be acceptable in the space. e.g it seems to make sense to start small.

Anyway, it’s only really worth considering if any other members are interested, or whether we think it’d be a worthwhile addition to the space for future members.

This looks really cool! I probably don’t have much capacity in terms of time and such but I’d probably chip in if there was a pledge drive for one.

Me again! A bit of research and asking around has suggested that buying a second-hand press might be pricey; apparently they’re in high demand at the moment.

But! This bloke spent some time over the last couple of years designing and building a cheap starter press kit, which he’s selling for 250 quid a pop:


He’s doing monthly batch sales - I’d definitely be up for chipping in for one.

What’s the best way of organising a poll / pledge drive to see if other members are up for chipping in?

Can you explain how the F-Press works? I feel like there is something I’m missing for a £250 price tag (If I search YouTube for information I just get the ‘press F to pay respect’ meme).

As for pledges on here is best for keeping track as it gets lost very quickly on Telegram. I don’t think there is a formal procedure though.

The F-press is very like the cricut embossing machines my mother has, novel idea, and you’d have to CNC the print faces.

I had visions then of a small cast metal print with reverse letter metal dies like the old ones when I clicked on the link :rofl:

I think when you say “reverse letter metal dies” you’re talking about moveable type? Which the F-Press can totally do, and is the thing I was most interested in doing with it:

although CNC wooden blocks would be interesting too, and it can also do lino printing:

There’s a good explainer in his intro video:

(the magic google keyword is ‘typetom’ along with ‘f-press’ :upside_down_face:)

EDIT: oops, I pasted the wrong video in here earlier. It’s the right one now!


As in these:

I used to know a retired typesetter, it was because of him I learnt to read backwards and upside down, meant I didn’t have to wait for the newspaper in the brew room if someone had it lay flat on the table.

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So, would anyone be interested in chipping in for an F-Press? I reckon we’d need to raise about 300 GBP altogether - 250 for the press, and 50 to buy accessories and start a consumables fund. Maybe if we could raise a bit more we could buy a letterpress font, too (which seem to go for around 100 at the low end).

Give this post a like if you’d chip in, that makes it nice and easy to count :slight_smile:

Heh, several months later, I’ve set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a press and supporting bits.

If folks are interested in trying relief printing (letterpress, lino woodblock etc) in the space, chip a bit in! If we raise enough, I’ll get the press ordered and look after it once it’s in the space. If we don’t, I’ll refund everyone (or give people the option to pass their donation onto the space).

(I hope taking the initiative on this is okay. Let me know if I’ve blundered :upside_down_face:)

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Thought I’d give this another little bump.

What are you actually proposing?
I’m proposing a small (£350 or so) crowdfunder to purchase an F-Press manual printing press for the space, along with a few consumables (ink, roller etc) to get us started.

What can we use the press for?
Pretty much any kind of manual relief printmaking, up to A4 paper size.

The last one is really interesting - I met a printmaker at EMF Camp who’s been making woodblock prints using blocks she makes at her local hackspace using CNC machines. Digital woodblock printing!

I’m interested in making posters on the press using letterpress or custom CNCed woodblocks. I’ve seen some lovely lino prints recently, on paper, t-shirts and tote bags, and some classic use of letterpress is for posters, wedding invitations, business cards.

Who will be maintaining the press and ordering new consumables as we need them?
Me! My day job includes project management and creative production, so keeping track of this should be fine.

Who will be training people to use the press?
Also me! I intend to pay for some training for myself (out of my own pocket, not the crowdfunder), which I can then pass on to other members. There’s plenty of training videos on YouTube, also.

Sounds great! Where do I chip in?
On this GoFundMe page.

If we don’t raise enough, I’ll refund everyone, or, by individual choice, donate funds to the upkeep of the space.

Hey Henry. I was thinking about this because I saw two such presses (bigger, actually) in an auction a few weeks ago. They went for about £50 as a I recall. These were older ones used in a college.

Is there any specific reason you’re after that press in particular? I have done a fair bit of linocut printing in the past and have used a giant press but got very good results with the wooden spoon method.

If you can show the board that enough people would use it, the board might be prepared to put some money in.

Thanks Mike. Damn, I wish I’d known about those presses! I’d totally have bought one.

I was after the F-Press in particular because it seemed cheaper than a second-hand letterpress, but you’re right that a cheaper lever press might do for lino & woodblock. Might even be able to coax one into doing letterpress, maybe?

I think it’d be hard to justify the board putting some money in - this thread and me doing some promotion on a couple of the Telegram groups didn’t get much traction, so I guess folks just aren’t that interested. Which is fine! There’s many other things to do.

Maybe I should just start with a wooden spoon. I’d forgotten that was a thing :rofl: