Uneven Inking on Adana 8 x 5


I am a complete novice at letterpress and I really need some help. I am trying to print some business cards using an Adana 8 x 5 and a polymer plate.. As you can see, the ink coverage is far from even. I have got through 200+ pieces of card to get this (best of a bad lot) and I think this is a ridiculous amount. What am I doing wrong? Cheers

image: card.JPG


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what’s the size of that card?

It looks as though you are getting sufficient ink in the image areas of the plate, the major problem seems to be inking of the non-image areas, and subsequent transfer from these areas to the paper substrate.

If you have watched this website for any length of time, you probably know that this problem is one confronted frequently, and can be remedied by proper setting of the rollers to the plate by wrapping tape on the trucks (roller wheels) or by placing tape on the rails upon which these trucks run. The ink should sit on the printing surface of the plate, but not on the non-image areas.

I’m betting you’re trying to print white ink on black paper, right? Harder to do well than black on white, if so. Even harder if you’re not using a smooth paper stock. Or if the ink isn’t opaque enough.

You can try increasing the makeready in the spots coverage is lightest. Or if your registration is very good, try printing once and then after the ink is dry overprinting again with the same form. I doubt adding more ink will help. I recall one acquaintance had to print the same form 6 or 7 times to get a good coverage in a similar project. He did that on a Windmill with it’s excellent registration system. A handfed Adana would make it much more interesting.

The cards are 85mm x 55mm. I am printing silver (metallic) onto black card. I dont think opacity is a problem with this ink.

You cannot add more ink regarding to the textbooks in the bottom of the card - so my advice is: Try a little more impression on the solid arrears.
Regards Jens

Centro- I could easily print this on a 3x5 Kelsey…. so I’m sure that your Adana (which is a better machine) can handle it.

Ink opacity or inking is not the problem you are encountering. Your press is probably putting down more than enough ink to properly print this amount of area.

What you are seeing is the texture of the paper where there is insufficient pressure to transfer the ink. Large solids are very prone to this malady….. and printing light colors onto dark makes it more apparent.

This can be corrected in four ways that I know of: 1- you can use brute force, and try to smash the ink into the paper. This is the least desirable solution. 2- you can use a softer or smoother paper. That is one reason Lettra is so popular with newbie printers….. it’s soft and thus easy to print large solids upon. 3- you can dampen the paper. This will soften the paper so that it takes less pressure to print larger solids. 4- you can run the cards through the press several times. This can work if you are good at registration and feeding….. if not, it winds up looking bad.

My preference would be to dampen the paper. If you’ve never tried it, you will be amazed at how it improves the performance of a small press like your. If you do a search here on Briar Press, you will find several posts where we discussed the technique at length.

Good Luck…. and please let us know how it works out.

As you are trying to print from a polymer plate it might be worth considering the use of a second plate which in the
litho printing trade is refered to as a shiner.
This plate is exactly the same as the original image but overexposed to blur edges and could incorporate a screen
dot say 100 screen at 80%, as the image is overexposed
hence slightly blurred you should have a reasonable chance
to acheive registration even on an 8 x 5 Adana.