I have been working on a Vandercook Uni and C&P out of a local collaborative studio for almost two years and have decided to purchase my own press. I decided on a Heidelberg Windmill and am looking for some tips on choosing the right one.
I am grateful to this community for all it’s knowledge and am just looking to get started on the right foot. Thankfully, I have a local older printer that just sold his that’s willing to teach a bit on the one I end up purchasing.
I will be using it for mostly stationery and small business collateral. I would love to have the ability to do not only printing but foil stamping and die cutting.
From what I have gleaned from my research here, I am looking for a press with-
-foil stamping unit
-single phase motor
-intact inking system
My questions are- am I really going to find this all on one machine if I look hard enough? Is it practical to switch from die-cutting to printing? I assume you remove the jacket? How about foil stamping to printing?
What else should I be looking for or making sure the Windmill has before buying? What should be wary of when looking at a press?
Thank you to anyone that can help me along!
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You won’t find a lockout model that’s NOT a redball, so those two items on the checklist can be combined. Same with the washup feature—you just need to make sure the trough is intact (you can always get a new washup blade).
Any Windmill can die cut and the jacket is easy enough to install and remove.
New rollers are readily available and start about $250 per pair for rollers and cores. You’ll want to make sure your trucks and roller bearings are good. Having those with the machine you purchase will save you money in the long run.
Single phase motors are out there too—just keep looking and you’ll find one. Alternatively you can use a VFD as a phase converter—not a ‘cheap’ option, but it would work in case you find a machine that’s in great condition, has all the feature you want, but has a 3-phase motor.
It does seem easier to find Windmills with foiling units installed than it is to find complete aftermarket foiling units. I don’t know what your budget looks like, but I’d recommend contacting some of the usual suspects if you’re looking for the very nicest Windmill that will last for the next several decades if properly maintained:
Good luck and keep us all posted!
be careful when buying one that does foil stamping, some units were added that required the roller arms to be removed of disabled. With lock outs this would not have to be done. I foil stamp, die cut and print on my windmill, and mine is before the lockouts. these are great presses, the only problem is parts are expensive.
Usually the units used exclusively for die cutting have the Roller arms / inking unit removed, but that is easy to spot, isn’t it?
Lockout Roller is always a Redball, but a mid 50’s blackball which is tight will do just as fine.
The motor is exchanged easily enough.
If a press has a inking unit is easy to spot, if they have inking, thy should have a clean up unit.
If you find a clean mid 50’s with a foiling unit, you’re golden,
mine does anything I need do to on it.
If you want a late model with Foil, go for it. The die jackets you can find all day long with vendors.
Hi Brad and DickG! Thanks for the comments and tips.
So it sounds like lockout rollers are going to be a big plus when selecting a press and they were standard after about 160,000?
Dick, were there some windmills that came with a foil stamping unit or were they all added after?
How difficult/time consuming is it to switch between rollers and foil with lockout rollers, how about without?
If a press doesn’t come with a die-cutting jacket, is that pretty easy to pick up? Have you come across instances where parts don’t easily fit with changing years of the windmill?
Do you know if there were particular years that were better? I have read ‘oh that was a good year’ etc.
Thank you again for your input!
i never ran a press with lockouts but my windmill i can change from foil to inking in about 10 minutes
Hi Typenut! Thank you for your comment- just seeing now. I have seen people reference tight windmills, will you share with me what that means?
Are the mid 50’s windmills more well made than the later models? I have seen people saying some 50’s are good years but don’t know if it’s like wine or something, ha!
Thank you for your tips again-especially on the die-cutting jacket being easy to find!
Tight means the press is not abused, If you grab the 2 grippers and you can wiggle them just a bit - or the platen can be moved. Age of the Press has nothing to do with it. But- the old printers knew how to take care of their equipment, whereas I have seen several late models were the current Printer not once (!) followed the oil and grease protocol as affixed to the Press. A tight press will hold a perfect register. Simple as that. Understanding what a good press is, which had been cared for and will give you good service for years to come is more important than the fixation on a redball.
Tight is basically just a generic term for being without slack in reference to moving parts with bushes etc or simply put one that is not showing signs of wear in the bushings and bearings . If you buy a fifties machine that has been cared for properly it will be as good as a sixties model , if a seventies generation press has been run to death without good care and no oil then a fifties machine will surely be better. the production years are not so important as how the press was looked after . You should however try to find a model or year that has the fittings for the form rollers that have bearings fit them as opposed to the old dears that the rollers run in a plain hole in the form roller carriers with just a simple plate and clip that hold them in place.
The old ones as i just described eventually eat throughthe roller stock and if not watched can break through the shaft and deposit a roller in front of the platen which really is a bit of a pain.
That will teach me to learn to type !!
well said typenut!!
Thanks for the tips Peter and type nut!
Will pay very good attention to the rollers and bearings.