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Which one is best?

I am considering buying a Vandercook Press. I will be using the press with photopolymer plates and working on small runs such as notecards, invitations, etc.

Can anyone tell me which of the following models would be best? Why?

SP-20
325
#3
425P

Thanks a lot for your help!
Rebeca

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For small runs of fairly small items (much less than a poster) I’d prefer a 10x15 C&P to any of these. mostly because you’ll finish printing a lot sooner than with any Vandercook.

I’ve only worked with a 325A Vandercook and it’s a nice big, wide press that would do a great job on posters. The inking system leaves much to be desired, though, especially for short runs of smaller items, because cleanup is much more interesting than on the C&P. The inking mechanism is under the feed table when the press is at rest and ours came with a flat metal plate there for more inking with the rollers. Hard to clean when changing colors.

Even if you’re printing a small invite, you still have to roll the cylinder all the way down to get it into trip mode.

I’d have to agree with Arie on this. Unless you envision larger format printing, You will pay dearly for the extra capability of the Vandercook and it is not really well suited to small format printing.

For 1/8 the price of almost any decent Vandercook, you can pick up a very nice C&P or other platen press which will serve you much better for the type of work you have indicated. Even a tabletop hand-operated platen might meet your needs if the runs you intend are not long on quantity.

Arie and jhenry,

Thanks so much for your response!

Rebeca

Of those the 3 (or better a 4) would be best suited to small jobs, but condition is important; a worn 3 will not be suited to photopolymer work which requires accurate roller adjustment and consistant impression. The only 3 I’ve examined had worn rails, and the owners, who specialized in notecards by photopolymer, eventually got a Miehle Vertical (amazing! for photopolymer users.) I have had an SP-20 and a 325 and I’d say the 325 takes more experience to get satisfactory results compared to an SP. A 425P is not something you are likely to see, ever.
The only problem with the C&P/photopolymer combination is the VERY steep learning curve regarding roller adjustment (a problem intensified by PMS color use, and also by online advise from people with limited photopolymer experience). Once you get that right, the printing is easier than on the Vandercook. That is, for form sizes suited to the C&P. Go larger and the problems will also intensify.
Any Vandercook Universal would out-perform the models you listed, a Universal I being the smallest, and the same sheet size as a 3. Heavier though, since it has a motor. Neither the 3 or the 325 are motorized.

parallel_imp,
I really appreciate your response as well.
Many thanks!

if you want printing small works why not an tabletop press?
like a pearl?
I think is most appropriate for this job.