What is the best way to keep rollers from drying out? In my shop it’s feast or famine. I’ll have work for two weeks then my press is idle foer 2 or 3 days or longer. Right now I’m using Crisco(picked that up from one the off set printers I know) shorting to keep the rollers ‘wet’(if that is the correct term) Is there some other chem. around better? Also what is the life expectancy of a rubber roller? Thanks for any help!
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If you mean keeping the ink “wet” or open on your press—wash your press, it’s simpler and you don’t wind up with dead bugs stuck in your ink. If you are cleaning your rollers, read on:
If you are using a commericial printing roller wash you shouldn’t need to keep your rollers “wet” The only rollers requiring such treatment would be composition rollers, and these are best coated with machine oil (the same 30 weight you use on your press) just rub it on with your hands before you put the rollers in the box (if you are
taking them off).
Vegetable shortenings tend to polymerize when left to sit, which creates a nasty goo (think of oil left in a pan after frying foods). That will clog the pores of the roller and eventually lead to glazing, which can cause ink transfer issues.
A rubber roller, treated well and cleaned with mild solvents (mineral spirits or roller wash) will last a long time, so long as they are kept away from strong UV sources (sunlight). Washing rollers is actually the most demanding part of a roller’s life. Keep strong solvents (lacquer thinner, acetone, alcohol) away from the rollers, as they draw out the plasticizers from the rubber and will result in hard and cracking rollers.
You can use a roller conditioner paste like febo clean. Typically eft on the rollers over the weekend, but I have left it on a long as a week. Washes up like ink.
Mike and Lammy I’ll stay away from the crisco and the sunlight, and I believe I’ve seen febo paste around, I thought it was just for cleaning of which I’ve been using roller wash. Thanks mucho!