DOES THE DIAMETER OF THE TOP ROLLER MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

One of the best ways to compare machines to each other is in the diameter of the top roller. The larger the top roller, the better you can apply pressure on your plate. I always like to use a simplistic example: if you are going up over a one-foot curb, in which vehicle would it be easier to go up and over the curb: a Mack truck or a Volkswagen automobile? Of course, it's going to be easier with a Mack truck because the wheels are of a larger diameter.

The diameter of the roller of the machine is proportional to the size of the print one is printing. For the Griffin table-top machines, the roller is 4-1/2". For our 00 model, a 16-1/2" x 34" bed and a self-contained stand up machine, a 6-1/2" top roller is used. For the 000 model, a 22-1/2" x 44" bed, the top roller is 8-1/2". For the larger machines, our top roller is 8-1/2", and for Griffin's largest machines, the diameter varies from 8-1/2" to 10" depending on the width of the machine.

Back to top...

 

IS IT BETTER TO HAVE A SOLID ROLLER?

A solid top roller is not related to the quality of the image printed from your machine. If you had one machine with a solid roller and another machine with a fabricated roller, the quality of the print from either machine would be the same. The real factor is the diameter of the top roller. The weight is not a factor. All a solid roller does is add more weight to the machine and does not increase the quality of the image being printed.

Back to top...

 

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEDS? THERE ARE BEDS MADE OF STEEL, ALUMINUM, WOOD, PHENOLIC RESIN, ETC.; IS ANY ONE BETTER AND WHY?

Historically, steel beds have been the ones most frequently used because of their durability and long lasting qualities and equally important, they are also the ones most preferred by professional artists and printers.

Companies that utilize aluminum, phenolic or wooden beds are basically manufacturing machines that I feel are trying to stress economic factors, light weight, and speed (the quickness of making the machine, that is). Companies not using steel beds emphasize warpage and/or some sort of memory steel. When I make a steel bed, it is cut from a very large steel plate. As the perimeter of this bed is being cut, the exterior temperature of the steel raises to approximately 2000 degrees while the interior of the bed remains cooler. Consequently, this creates stress in the bed. This bed stress is relieved in the next process by heat-treating the bed. We use a company that specializes in this process. This company puts the steel bed in a large oven, heats the steel over a period of six to seven hours while increasing the temperature to about 600 degrees, and then slowly cools down the bed. This process makes the material more homogeneous and relieves the stress. The bed is then sent to the grinder and is blanch-grounded on both sides for flatness. Our beds are, of course, proportioned to their size and thickness.

Wood, aluminum, and phenolic resin beds are basically materials that weigh less which in some cases is an important factor, but the main reason for their usage is that they are economically cost effective for the press makers. In my opinion, the best material for professionals is steel. It's a lot denser and will last longer than any of the above-mentioned options.

Back to top...

 

WHAT IS GEAR REDUCTION?

A gear reduction is a mechanical device to make it easier to crank the bed under a lot of pressure.

All press makers have a gear reduction tailored to their machine. If you have an 8" drive roller, you are going to need more gear reduction than you would on a machine that has a 4-1/2" drive roller. The amount of effort to crank either of these machines would be the same.

Different companies will emphasize their gear reduction. Some are 1:14 or 1:22 or whatever. What you have to understand is "What is the gear reduction driving?" It's driving rollers! Hence, if the drive roller is eight inches, you are going to need more gear reduction than if your roller is 6 inches or 4-1/2".

Back to top...

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHAIN DRIVE AND A GEAR DRIVE?

A chain drive uses a chain to transmit movement from one sprocket to another. A gear drive is a device that meshes together two gears to transmit movement.

The issue of whether or not you have a chain drive or a gear drive in my experience does not make any difference. I use a sprocket chain drive on my larger machine because it allows me to put the crank handle at a suitable height, which gives the print maker a more convenient and easier method to crank the machine. I use a gear system on our smaller machines because it is more compact and easier to crank.

Back to top...

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOP DRIVE AND A BOTTOM DRIVE SYSTEM?

There are two types of etching press driving systems: either a bottom driver or a top driver. A top drive system usually has more gear reduction because they're driving a larger roller. The disadvantage of this type of system is the fact that the press bed movement is unresponsive unless contact is made with the press bed. This type of machine is a little simpler to make because the frame does not have to incorporate a protruding shaft.

A bottom drive system means that you have contact between the bottom drive roller and the press bed. So when the handle is turned, the press bed is going to move. Consequently, I feel this type system is more responsive. We use this bottom drive on all of out Griffin Presses.

Back to top...

 

I CAN'T GET ENOUGH PRESSURE ON MY MACHINE!

Periodically, I get a phone call from someone saying that they can't get enough pressure on the machine. A lot of times, you the artist have a set of three blankets which are new, you are trying to apply pressure on all three blankets, and consequently, sufficient pressure cannot be applied. What I suggest is to stagger one of the thinner blankets so that you are initially applying pressure on two blankets. By staggering the third blanket, you will be compressing this third blanket thus providing more pressure on your plate.

Back to top...

 

TYPES OF PRESSES

At this point one of the major deciding factors on the machine that you are going to purchase is purely economics. That is, you probably have limited funds to purchase the machine size that would best suit your printing needs. Currently, there are basically two types of machines on the market. One is what I call a hobbyists' machine, and the other is the professional machine, a more heavy-duty type of institutional press. A hobbyist machine will be less expensive and I am sure will fulfill your needs providing that you don't use the machine on a daily regimented basis. This type of machine would obviously not hold up in an institution or workshop setting, as opposed to a heavy-duty professional press, which would hold up for many, many years, if not an entire lifetime.

Back to top...

 

THE GRIFFIN COMPANY, INC.

Initially, we started making printing presses because most, if not all the companies, were located back east. At that time, the presses were very cumbersome and very heavy. We were one of the first companies to make a fabricated tubular framework. This type of framework is very strong, and at the same time lightweight. One of the things we were trying to do was to make a press that would be somewhat portable, and also make a machine that an artist could afford. We were successful in both points: our machines are somewhat portable as well as affordable for the artist. And in our 30th year, our creed is still "There is no substitute for Quality."

Back to top...

 

Home | Lithography | Etching | Contact The Griffin Company
Frequently Asked Questions | Price Sheet | Guarantee