Moving an Arab platen press

I have just bought an Arab platen press and need to move it from Sydney to Melbourne early in October. I am a complete novice but another printer has advised that at the very least I should take the ink disc and feed tables off before I move it as these can easily be damaged. He also suggested I remove the flywheel to lower the centre of gravity. Is anyone in Sydney familiar with this press and perhaps available to help me remove these parts or can advise as to how difficult it is to do. We are planning to move the press between the 5th and 8th of October from the Sydney CBD.

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And don’t forget to take the treadle off, close the press and secure it well (platen against the bed with a strong strap). More information can be found here:

Thank you for all you comments. We are moving it next week and seem to have it sorted. Will have a story to tell I’m sure.

Scull -

Let me wish you the best of luck with your move, and please forgive me for adding my own “two cents” after you’ve already got it sorted..

I have moved a number of larger C&P & Heidelberg presses over the years, and my primary rule of thumb is to “keep it low to the ground - and avoid when ever possible - use of heavy lifting equipment.”

Raising these presses more than a few inches off of the ground is inherently dangerous. Printing presses may be well-balanced when they’re still - and should be leveled when installed, but there are not always so well balanced in transit. Many platen presses are top-heavy.

So, Instead of relying upon forklifts, pallet jacks and pallets, I install new strong wooden rails (2x6’s - construction stud grade wood ) beneath the feet, raise the press up only 2 1/2 -3 1/2” and insert a length of 2” or 3” pipe below and between the rails. Once the press is on one pipe, it’s relatively easy to position a second pipe beneath it as well.

And, once it is on the pipes, it will roll easily - and safely - over any flat surface. I can push a Heidelberg Windmill - by myself - when it’s on pipes like this, and the C&Ps are easy.

As one pipe reaches the center point, it’s easy to tilt the press back, remove the other pipe, walk around to the other side of the press, tilt the now-balanced press forward, and insert the pipe under the other end. Then we then roll another 1/2 rail length, remove the pipe, rock the press, and repeat the procedure.

It’s not really as slow as it sounds. I recommend the technique and have used it for years - well over a dozen press moves - as well as for moving presses within the shop. Although at times I have had to, raising a press up to get forks under it is just too risky, difficult and often unnecessary.

I use a chain-hoist or “come-along” cable device to pull the press up onto a low trailer, and simply roll it off when it’s time to unload.

Since it can only roll a few feet before it rolls off the pipe, this technique includes a fail-safe braking system - the press cannot “run away” or tip over as it might on a skid, dolly or forklift.

So. Sorry if this was a bit verbose, possibly even unwanted advice, but I’ve done this a lot and I hate to hear stories of presses damaged in transit - and, sorry to say we do hear too many of those stories here.

Best of luck with your move - and with your new press.

- Alan

Oh - and one last thought.

If you encounter a rough surface - and need to travel over gravel, steps or even a lawn, these same 2x6’s - in 6 or 8 foot lengths - also make excellent rails to roll the press on.

You will need 4 pieces:

Just lay two of them them out in the path you want to follow, space them apart the approximate width of the rails on the press, and roll. When you’re about to leave the first set, lay the second set in front and continue on your way.

We once moved both a press and a heavy paper cutter across 50 feet of lawn using this technique, and it worked great. The lawn wasn’t even damaged.

Again, best of luck with your move - and with your new press.