Heidelberg Windmill

I work for a digital printing company and they have a Heidelberg Windmill that they have been using strictly for die cutting and scoring (such a shame). Anyways I have been dabbling in letterpress for about a year now but mostly on tabletop presses. I might have an opportunity to get this machine for free or very cheap. It is definitely missing it’s abilities to print, like the rollers. It runs great though. Does this seem like a worthy opportunity for a beginner? I am a graphic designer and have been wanting my own machine forever.

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I would thoroughly examine the machine with someone knowledgeable. It’s missing rollers. Does it have the bearings for them, or would you need to buy them? Many presses used for die-cutting have had their inking systems removed. If that’s the case, skip it; it’s no good to you.

I am guessing you have seen this press operate and can see the dangers compared to a table top press. The windmill is a great machine but is it for you?

If you can, snap some good pictures of the press at different angles and we may be able to point out any points of interest that may need addressing or could be problems for you.

1.The windmill is great for long runs…are you going to do long runs?

2.Do you have the room for this machine?

3.Can you afford to have it moved and then have an electrician hook it up for you?

4. Ask the present operator/operators if they know of any bang ups the machine may have ever had that they know of.

If you are only missing the 2 form rollers I could donate an old set with bearings and trucks that would be in good enough condition for you to get your feet wet and play around a bit.

Good Luck and keep us informed.


The Heidelberg is the most amazing press and is by far my favorite press. The Heidelberg is a press of incredible precision and quality. That said, you must always treat the machine with respect and pay close attention when running the press.

You can use the press for shorter runs, but be aware that you can waste a lot of paper very quickly.

Read the manual over and over! And make sure it is well oiled and has the inking system intact.

Go slow.

If you do take the plunge, try to get someone experienced with the press to show you the ropes. I had someone help me with my first couple jobs and that was enough to make me comfortable with all the various moving parts. It’ll ease the learning curve a little (you’ll learn plenty on your own still!) and give you the basics on how not to hurt yourself. A Heidelberg bites hard if you’re not careful.