Fome School Etching Press Mount

Making Mounts for a Small Press

I once had grand ideas of building a big etching press and even got as far as getting a friend to make some rollers for me. That was a few years ago and so recently I scaled back my ambition and bought a small press to test my interest and get better at the other parts of the photopolymer plate printing process.

This post might be of interest to one or two people - three would be very surprising - but on my searching I couldn’t find any solutions other than “bolt it to a table with some L-brackets”. It did seem like it would be worth doing a good job of it because in the researching I did find that some people struggled to get prints off of this press. I read one person saying they’d done it with cable ties but that didn’t sound very solid to me.

The manufacturer seems equally silent on the matter but the slots cut in the side panels made me think they were expecting some kind of U-shaped straps. Not the kind of thing I was going to find in the local hardware shop anyway. Update: Fome sell a kit with 2 g-clamps, which seems like an afterthought as it’s a way to clamp only one side of the press. With another two clamps I can imagine it would be quite solid but your bench would need to be a similar width to the press.

So, 3D-printing. I’ve stuck with the simple L-brackets but filled the slots so there can’t be any sideways movement of the press.

3D print plus bolt and bracket

In position on the press

The reverse side

There are four slots and it turned out that they weren’t even the same width (different by about 0.6mm by my measuring) so I printed two slightly fatter than the other two.

The messiness on the bottom of the print is due to overdoing the glue on the printing platform, this being my first ABS print (I don’t bother with glue when printing in PLA). Result: They work well. Hopefully a future post will show an actual print from the press itself! Update 2: I 3D printed another set and made up a mounting kit for another Fome owner who got in touch. The two different sizes worked for him too. I’ve also used the press to make some small relief prints (A6 cards; see July 2017 post) and I’m confident it’ll cope with small etching plates.

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