Buy a smaller Boxcar base or buy bigger to cut half?

I need some advises before I buy a boxcar base. After a week to set up my wooden base and my polymer plate, I figured I should invest on Boxcar Base instead of investing my time on wooden bases. It’s been pretty frustrated week for me. I have read others feedbacks from this site that buying a bigger base might get into gauge pin or even safety reason place the base too off from the center. My press is 8x12 C&P, should I buy a 5x8.5 base or 6x9 base? or may be buy a 6” x9” base and cut into half size to 6” x 4.5” for 2 pieces. My print jobs mostly are about 5”x 7” fold size or 8.5” x 11” flat size. Wonder what’s the best options?

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If you’re printing pieces that is generally the same size, buy the 6x9 and leave it in one piece. Lock it up in your chase and learn where the gauge pins should be on your tympan. Move the photopolymer plates around on the base to move the image on the printed sheet. This will help you speed up your workflow.

If you’re printing all different sizes you might want to use the 2 piece baseā€”but be careful to keep your plates off the seam where the 2 pieces meet.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Brad, this is helpful to me!

The issue of gauge pin smashing metal bases is a challange. Sometimes a bit of creative thinking is required. First, keep in mind that the paper may be fed into the press four ways. Normally the long dimension of the paper is fed parallel to the long dimension of the platen. Dipping, or feeding the short dimension down can sometimes solve a pin problem. If an image is to be printed close to the margin in the upper right corner of the paper (lower left if fed in conventionally), and there is a pin problem, move the plate and print it the other way on the upper right side. The beauty of the poly plate is that you can cut it apart, print it in pieces and often solve the pin problem. One just needs to think about it a bit differently than a conventional type form.

I agree that the impression should be as near to the center of the platen as possible. I do not believe the base need be centered. It may work best in order to avoid conflict with the pins to move the base nearer the corner of the chase just so long as the image portion of the plate is near center of the platen. The portion of the base not supporting the plate should be no different than a bunch of metal furniture.

If you print a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 letterhead stationery on an 8 x 12 press with either type or a poly plate, you can’t print the image at the center of the platen. You get it as close as you can. It works fine.

Thanks Inky for your throughly explanation. This is help me think differently.

My previous comments were not complete.
I remarked that the image or plate should be near the center of the platen and that it really didn’t matter if the base was at the center or not. That was valid. I said that the rest of the base which might be off center was just like metal furniture. That was partially correct. It is just like metal furniture (or wood) as far as the impression is concerned. It obviously is not like furniture as far as pins are concerned. Pins can be where furniture in the chase would come to the platen. Pins cannot be where the higher metal base is. Does that clean it up?