I have been reading about this little die cut machine made in the UK for some time now. It only got my attention because print makers in England were showing how easily it can be used for a printing press. The bed is only 8.5 inches by 12 inches but perfect for my small dry point etchings.
While in Australia I was lucky to use one to do some leaf embossing because Wendy was kind enough to bring hers into class for me to try out. All LinCraft stores over there carried these in stock but most have sold out to printers and now need to be ordered.
When I returned home last week I ordered one on Amazon for less than $200 and today had some time to try it out.
I used my small 3.35″ X 4.5″ dry point etching plate that I purchased at Melbourne Etching where I like to get a small supply to bring home. I cut one in half to get this size and did my drawing and etching while at Baldessin Press. Here are the ten acceptable prints from there.
These of course were printed using a large etching press.
And here is getting the XPress craft machine set up with a clear mylar sheet to use over my guide of where to place the plate and papers. I cut two thin felts to use to cushion the pass.
So the plate is down, the sheet of paper laid over and then the protective paper before the felts roll into place.
Pressure too light.
Pressure too much I think on the next three, but you know how you can convince yourself that they are “okay”.
Ink up the plate and try again at a new pressure of just a bit past the number four on the dial.
Now this is looking better. So I do another group using the same pressure, same paper that has been slightly dampened and kept between cotton linters, and am thinking that this is quite the little press!
The only fault I can find with these prints is with the drawing itself. My darks are too dark but those cute little gum nuts save those leaves.
And this is what I learned. They are right about not soaking the paper as long as you would for a larger press. The dial on the top makes it so easy to set the correct pressure for consistent results. And I will be getting a piece of counter top or chopping block cut to an 8.5″ X 20″ new bed to accommodate longer prints or a small grouping in a row. This is an excellent little press to take to classes and easily stored in the studio.
Even though I have a larger etching press to take larger plates and wood blocks, this little one does a good job with thinner plates such as the etching, plexiglass and sheet linoleum. Embossing is very easy to do with added cushioning on the bottom and top. It comes with two other plates beside the bed plate, one that is used in the die cutting and a metal one for something else that I wouldn’t use.
Now all I have to do is improve my drawing and etching skills, try some monoprints and maybe even a few collographs. This machine can do it all. Highly recommended and thanks to all of you who have posted your experiences on facebook and your blogs. To learn more just do a search on the XPress Craft Machine.