Boxcar Base and a Platen Press

Hello Briarpress Users!

I have a C&P and have been using magnesium dies. It is getting to be very costly to use these dies. I also have a Boxcar Base, but have issues with placing my gauge pins in an area where it will not get smashed by the base. Does anyone know of a technique to use with a Boxcar Base on a platen style press? I would like to start using PP for small image areas, but I do not want to ruin my base, or my gauge pins.

I work with Kort gauge pins. I like how they are snug on my tympan paper for a tight registration. I’ve heard of people using card stock, folded as gauge pins. Not sure how sturdy those can be for a tight registration? Also, my press is motorized, and sometimes, if the gauge pins are not secure, paper slides out.

Any pictures of a setup will help greatly.. as well as some advice!


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You are not the first to ask this quesion nor the last, I suspect. Boxcar has a Frequently Asked Question page and also a short demo. Try this

In a nutshell, lock up the base in a corner of your chase. Place the chase so the base is in the center, not the corner, and put the gauge pins just outside the edge of the base so they don’t get smashed.

Thanks longdaypress!
I have tried locking up my base in the corner of my chase. The problem I ran into is the distribution of weight. I will re-read the boxcar press FAQs. I think I may need someone to show me, physically, ways to setup a Boxcar base with various image sizes, etc. The smaller the image the easier, because I can then move it around to various areas of the base. The larger the image, I run out of space and it’s pushed to the edge of my base with not much room for the gauge pins.

I will try to take a photo of the set up we use at the college. You need the base centered so you get an even impression.

An alternative that some use is a copper or brass spacing 20 point or so in size with very strong tape. You bend the spacer just slightly so the paper can slide under it. Tape it to the tympan. Set up is the same as you would normal guides. Two at bottom and one on the side.

We can also cut bases down to fit better for your platen, for instance to make a 6x9 base into a 6x3 and a 6x6 piece. You could then print the smaller matter with the 6x3 piece better centered in your chase. When you lock these two pieces back up next to each other, you can print across the seam to effectively still use this base as a 6x9 (minus the 1/8” kerf). We actually don’t charge for the first two cuts on any new Boxcar Base. Let us know if you need one cut down…

I’m thinking maybe I should’ve done that! Any tips on having that done after the fact? What kind of machinist would one ask to cut the base? Can I assume so long as they can guarantee a square cut it should be fine?

We have had this problem and use photocorners from Target or any random store instead of the gauge pins when printing larger plates. We have a C and P platen press too and this works fairly well, we refresh them if we are doing jobs of 200 or more and tape them down securely but they do work well even with jobs requiring tight registration. Hope this helps.

I’m reviving this thread instead of starting a new one. I had I purchased a base for my Pilot press, 5 x 8.5 cut down from 6.5 x 10, and now with some use can better see why I’d want it even smaller.

I’m looking for any advice on having the base cut down without having to send it back to boxcar. I just have no idea where to start looking for the kind of people who can cut aluminum squarely and cleanly. I’m in NYC so I imagine somebody must be able to. Anyone know how I would go about doing this?

Any machine shop should be able to do it, though I can’t guess the cost — check the yellow pages. I would trust our cabinet saws in the Science Museum of Virginia’s exhibit fabrication shop to be accurate and strong enough too. (I don’t work there any more, though.)