Frequently Asked Questions
We add to this list as questions arise, if we think the answer may help others – click the question to see the answer!
Topics covered here include questions about:
- Polymer Plates
- The Chase Base
- Ink Rollers
- Technical Support
You can also visit our Printer’s Forum.
Q. “What’s the difference between KF95 & KF152 polymer plates?”
KF95 is a plate with a depth of 0.95mm – KF152 is a plate with a depth of 1.52mm
Q. “Which Plate Should I Choose?“
The question really is ‘what stock’ are you using? Paper thickness and type will affect the plate choice, thinner stocks may be better on KF95 plates while thicker stocks (e.g. 400 gsm and over) produce a better effect with KF152 plates. The letterpress effect which many desire to achieve is enhanced by the angled plate ‘shoulder’ (the shoulder angle widens as it nears the floor – bottom – of the plate) which creates a bevel in the paper casting shadows and giving highlights but in order to achieve this you need to get the shoulder of the plate into the paper far enough so the bevel shows.The deeper plate can’t do this on thin stocks so the KF95 is better – but on thicker stocks the KF95 won’t allow you to go deep into the board and so the full potential is not realised. There are other factors such as the KF95 holds slightly finer detail and is very slightly harder which can be useful e.g. tiny dots will hold a little better through the press run. It is horses for courses!Remember if you over pack the platen you will push through the back of the card, print close to the metal!
Actually, you can use either the KF95 or KF152 it depends on the board/stock you are using. We use as a general guide the thickness of the stock. If your paper is less than 1mm thick then the KF95 is perfect, this will usually include papers up to 300gsm. If your paper/board is greater than 1mm the KF152 becomes a better choice.
If you are only printing a small run, wood or plastic will be fine but, Plastic and wood changes shape and will dent and squash out under impression and you will never get good inking – avoid this error at all costs! You will also need to make sure you are using the right thickness of wood or plastic. If you don’t have a base we can supply type high blocks for you.
If we make plates for you, they will come with ‘Sticky Mount’ already applied. Peel off the carrier on the back and stick the plate on the base. Sticky Mount is designed for strong grip to the base while printing but peels off easily so you can remove or reposition your plate.
Yes, after printing clean the plate, dry it and place in a ziplock bag for indefinite storage. These plates are very robust and yield high quantities of impressions.
We recommend WM35 Press Wash which is water miscible (so you can dilute it with up to 20% water) and is gentle on the plates and will condition them. WM35 is also very kind to your inking rollers (unlike white spirit!!). It is also a good press wash (though you may need to test on automated washup systems).
Use our plate calculator
by entering the total image area of your artwork. No need to allow for borders, we only charge for actual image area. If you have several plates, place them on your artboard
next to each other (with only 5mm space between them) to form a square or rectangle then select all and check the dimensions. Add these numbers to the calculator, select the right unit of measurement and the plate type. We use this calculator too so you should know exactly what you will pay before you ship artwork!
No… Not at the minute.We are thinking about it but most people are converting to foil (plastic) backed plates for a number of reasons. Steel backed plates are more expensive, they buckle under impression and cause inking problems, you can’t cut them easily and they don’t give the right sort of impression. The shoulder on steel backed plates tends to be very narrow and so the finished impression is not easily observable and most people are disappointed with the results. Foil backed plates like the KF plates we provide are clear so easy to line up on the grid of the base, perfect for letterpress to give the type of results customers expect, they are easy to cut, ideal for multi-colour work and cheaper.
Yes, though photopolymer is difficult to recycle the floor material of the plate is a polyester type product which is readily recoverable. You may still find it difficult to recycle but you can return spent plates to us and we’ll take care of it for you.
We try to label the bases for the correct chase size e.g. 13’x9‘ or 10’x15‘ etc but if you are at all uncertain simply measure the inside dimensions of your chase and check which of our bases is the best fit.
You need to allow room for locking up the base using quoins. We’ve allowed what we think is the safest measurement to leave room for quoins on one side and the bottom to secure your base.
It is very important to clean your base after every run. If you have ink on your base clean the worst off with a standard press wash but use a “speedwash” (a strong solvent press cleaner) for the final clean. This will make the grid lines on your base white again. You should not use blades or scrapers on your base.
Actually, yes but you will need a lot of adjustment to your ink rollers
and then if you change back to the other plate system you’ll have to adjust it all again. If you are prepared to spend the time (remember inking is crucial to good printing so you’ve got to get those rollers right!!) then it is possible. This may be more trouble than it’s worth especially if you’re running something like a Windmill.
Absoultely! We have made many custom bases for private presses, universities and full time professional print shops. Just send us the measurements and the plate system you want to use and we’ll do the rest.
Cost depends on the size of the base. There is a premium on custom bases as the manufacture process has to be adjusted for a single base, for cutting, milling, maching and lasering. The cost is reasonable and simply covers the time of the bespoke setup. Email us for a quote
, it’s no problem.
Delivery varies depending when the last production run took place at the time you order. We’ll put your base on the back order list for the next batch and this could take anywhere from 6-10 weeks, do ask about the lead time when you order.
As this is a bespoke service you’ll need to email us and we’ll give you a quotation and if you wish to order we’ll forward an invoice you can pay on-line.
No. The Chase Base is a very expensive product to make and we keep the prices as low as we can to help the letterpress community grow. If you shop around you’ll see that. We really can’t discount bases. The one exception is the coupon offer we currently run but this is limited to one per customer and can give you up to £10 off a base purchase. Full details are on the coupon page
Yes. Details about shipping (including rates and packing) are on the shipping page
Q. “Do you re-cover ink rollers?“
No, we can’t do everything…but we can recommend one or two companies we’ve used as well as tell you who not to use! See the roller section of our forum.
Q. “Does Lyme Bay Press offer any technical support?“
Yes, a complete support servcie for any product you buy from us, we also offer advice on buying presses and help troubleshoot printing problems. See the support
page for advice about contacting us or getting help.
Almost anything – you can even send us original drawings and we’ll scan it in and even vectorise it for you. Charges may apply depending on the artwork. You can also send us .ai .indd .pdf .eps and bitmaps – you can send us raster images but they need to be high quality preferably 900 dpi or higher. For more advice seee the artwork
section of the forum.