A 21st-Century Tabletop Printing Press

A 21st-Century Tabletop Printing Press
RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection

A group of RIT Mechanical Engineering students spent the 2014-2015 academic year in their senior design class collaborating with the Cary Collection to design and fabricate a 21st century hand-operated platen press.

The press that was designed during this engineering exercise met several requirements:

  • be under 30 lbs
  • fit in a 24 inch square table top space
  • be manufactured with a majority of components which could be purchased from a standard parts supplier
  • be able to print with commonly manufactured ink rollers, ink, letterpress chases, spacing and furniture
  • the platen and packing had to be adjustable to accommodate many thicknesses of substrates
  • the press had to accommodate vintage metal and wood type, as well as modern relief and polymer plates
  • the quailty of the prints had to match excellent printing that could be obtained with vintage platen presses

The Cary Collection offers the the students' parts list, drawings, and assembly instructions under a Creative Commons license. The parts and limited machining time is estimated to be about $600. The Cary Collection assumes no liability in the resulting presses made using these documents; we are merely sharing scholarly work of a student group to the greater printing community.

Download the Tabletop Press Manuals. This includes the press's bill of materials with part numbers and specifications (Microsoft Excel file); the CAD drawings for the press (PDF); the assembly instructions guide (PDF). This is a compressed ZIP file of the 3 manual files.

Image Gallery