gauge pins are getting smashed by grippers and base

I am new to letterpress and having trouble with my C&P pilot tabletop press. It seems that there is simply not enough space! My gauge pins seem to get smashed by the base, and when I move them out of the way, they are getting smashed by the grippers (even if they are moved to the furthest ends). I have tried various configurations of furniture/quoins but to no avail. Help!

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What size is your base?

Post a photo of your configuration to Flickr and I can help you get it sorted out.

Maybe you should watch Boxcar’s gauge pins video!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

You can make some pins out of chipboard. This works great for bleeds as well.

But you might need a smaller base.

Century Printer,

How do you make pins out of chipboard?? And what size Boxcar base is good to fit a Pilot?

Inquiring minds want to know : ) Thanks!


Boxcar recommends a 5x8.5” base for the Pilot. (see link)

to figure out what size base is a good fit for the pilot, I would measure a size that allows for your lockup and some furnature within your chase. This means that you should have a few inches of space around the base within the chase. It seems like Kathy Neely found the specs that boxcar suggests.

You can make pins out of any paper. A cardstock weight that the paper will butt up against flat, and a thin piece glued on top that protrudes a little like the tongue on the metal gauge pins you are using.

You have to watch the tongue to make sure that it doesnt make a mark/indent your paper, but you should watch for this regardless of what pins you use.

If this doesnt make sense, let me know and I will post a pic.

I have used this method to make a soft(paper) gauge pin when the base must hit it for some reason, there is a bleed and the paper must be cut to size, etc….

Thanks for all your helpful comments. The base is 5x8.5”
I have posted some picture to Flickr.

Century printer: if you wouldn’t mind posting a picture of the paper gauge pins that would be awsome!

Is it possible to cut the base if the size is the problem?

-here are some pics. The cool thing is that they have a wide flat edge so it is actually a little easier to feed.

hope this helps.

They wont completely replace the metal ones, but you will find many uses for them. I find that wonky envelopes and large paper sometimes need these if I am having difficulties feeding them into the regular guage pins.

They will not damage your base, and are the right price.

(The bottom is thicker paper, top thin paper if you couldnt tell from the pics)

image: paper guage pin 1.jpg

paper guage pin 1.jpg

image: guage pins 2.jpg

guage pins 2.jpg

And glue or tape them down securely to your typan paper.

sinkinagreen, I’m a newbie too, but I don’t think you need to get your base cut down. I have the same size base in my Pilot and with a little adjusting have managed not to smash my guage pins (Megill). Check out the Box Car videos that Daniel posted, esp Base Lockup and Setting Guage Pins. That’s what I used to get started. From your pictures it looks like they recommend setting up a little differently than you’re doing now. Try placing your guage pins like they do in the video - two on the bottom and one of the left side near the bottom. Also in the Base Lockup video for a large base they recommend placing it to the upper right of your chase. This will put the most distance between your base and your pins. Your left gripper appears to be outside of your guage pin. I have mine inside that pin so that it can hold the paper. To make sure I’ve cleared the guage pin, I just pull the gripper toward the platen and check before printing. Then, I gently close the press to make sure the gripper and the bottom pins are not hitting the base. I hope this helps! Like I said, I’m not an expert, so you may want to get some more advice on your Flickr pictures. Good luck!

I just tried this, because I have partial bleeds and it worked great. Only thing now is my uneven inking..grrrr.