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DIY Printmaking Press – Open Press Project

by martin_schneider Mar 27, 2018
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Anyone know what infill % I should use?

This was super fun to print! I have made two already. One for my girlfriend who is a printmaker and one for a friend of ours who is a tattoo artist wanting to get into printmaking as well. Thanks for this design!

Un placer que se imprima. Y que se lea lo que esta mujer dijo y escribió hace tantísimos años. Estamos a 1 mes de un nuevo aniversario del golpe militar de 1955 que bombardeó plaza de mayo matando y fusilando luego.
El impreso no es para vende, ojalá funcione como un disparador de conciencia y acción contra la opresión del poder real en el mundo.


This is a great design and project. I've been thinking about how to create a press for my lino and litho projects. Thank you for creating and sharing this with everyone.

What did you design this in? Do you have design files for this? I want to shrink this a bit without changing the aspect ratio. The reason for this is that I have a Monoprice Select Mini, which has a max build volume of 120x120x120. The side pieces are slightly bigger at 130mm. So changing the design slightly to allow it to fit in this printer without reducing the print area for the press would be great.


Hi! Super excited about the OpenPressProject, btw I contributed to the kickstarter campaign but couldn't wait so I'm trying to print my own hehe. I'm having trouble with the sidepart, my printer is an SLA printer, don't know if you have any experience or advice with SLA printing... The inside piece seems to be part of the outside piece, all though I've managed to slide a small piece of paper, so I don't understand why it won't move... I would appreciate any help :) Many thanks in advance for the help and for creating this tiny press!

I'm making this press for my mom, and I'm having trouble printing the rollers. The rest of the parts are going smoothly, but the lower and upper roller won't build in my software. I'm using a Cube3. Any suggestions?

sidepart.stl should be printed on its side, right? No support? I'll print it tomorrow, but I'm nervous about the weird bridging on the sliding piece.

Hey! The side files i downloaded don't have holes n them for the bolts. And i don't really understand how your supposed to a just it. What do you unscrew and screw to raise and lower it? can you please help. and please explain

Also I dont understand how when you "unscrew" the bolt it doesn't come out of place from the very bottom hole. please help

did anyone get a working file for the table? everything i tried so far does not put down a solid layer first

Mr. Schneider, I found felt at https://www.aetnafelt.com That seem to be about the best deal that I can find.
Printed one of your presses for my sister's Christmas gift. Turned out absolutely beautiful. I'll post a picture soon. Every part fit smoothly and the moving parts in the side moved with ease after printing. No force required. I did get her some copper plate but she wanted to start with the recommended beverage container. Can you please explain what beverage containers have the aluminum lining that you referred to?

Hi! Thanks for giving it a try, I'm glad you like it. It's actually quite difficult to buy felt in small pieces, so you would need to pay quite a lot of money for a big one and cut it into pieces. If you have a printmaking studio nearby, it might be easier to ask for felt scrap there. They might also sell you a small piece.

I'm not sure what kind of beverage containers you have in your country. In Germany we have Tetra Pak, lots of orange juice and milk containers are made out of it. It doesn't need to have an aluminium layer, it can be out of plastic as well! It just needs to be smooth and scratchable. There is a tutorial on Make with some explanations. Hopefully that answers your question! https://makezine.com/projects/3d-printed-etching-press/

someone should make automatic version of this using 28byj48 steppers.

Awesome idea! It might require some mechanical engineering, not sure if one motor would be powerful enough ...

The 28byj48 are already geared and have very little torque. Nemas with a gearbox would be a must.

Hi! I'm using a Lulzbot Taz 6 and am rather new to 3D printing. I was wondering what do you mean by using and not using support for the rollers. Thanks! =]

Hi! For the rollers I'm using the option "support on build plate only". That way the printer won't print support in the hollow part of the upper roller, but has support for the first 10mm or so.

Does anybody have a source for the felt without buying a huge sheet?

If you're not aiming for the stars craft felt might be an option. Really cheap and easy to source at craft stores. It will probably distribute the forces of the press differently. I've used it with some success though.

It's a bit tricky, but you might get some offcuts at printmaking studios. I'm using old felts with holes, they can no longer be used with a regular press, so I just cut them into pieces. If you have a printmaking studio nearby, that would be perfect! Depending on what you are planning to print, you might get away with using a synthetic felt from an art supply store. You should be able to get them in smaller sheets there. Hope that helped!

Do you have any links or tags to search out to print out stamps/images folks have used in the press and enjoyed? ( saw in one make someone had makey robot etc)
I'm printing out my press right now and look forward to trying it.

Hi! Thanks for giving it a try! Unfortunately I don't know of any shared files for that, sorry! But it shouldn't actually be too difficult to create some out of vector files. Maybe you could ask the one who printed the makey robot?

Hi there.Thank you, nice work but I have a serious problem with printing the table because it looks like in the screenshot attached.
and it looks the same in all my slicers. Rapairing is not possible. What can I do? Can you check the file please?

Servus. Danke dir, tolle Arbeit, aber ich habe ein echtes Problem mit dem Druck-Tisch, denn der sieht so aus wie im angehängten Bild und so sieht es in allen meinen Slicern aus. Reparieren funktioniert nicht. Was soll ich machen? Kannst du die Datei bitte mal prüfen?

Hi! Sorry for this! Someone else had problems with the press bed, too. I tried to fix it, but somehow made it worse I guess. I've uploaded the old file again. Hopefully that works for you :)

Thank you for your fast reply ... this one looks way better, only a little gap or something at the bottom, but this should work fine ...

Comments deleted.

Hi! I printed this awesome design a few weeks ago, and i would like to tweak it a little, but i can´t edit some STL files on solidworks :C
Any chance i can download the original files in which you designed this?
Thanks a lot! i´ll be shure to upload some photos of the tweaked press once it is ready

Hi! Thanks for giving this a try! Unfortunately I don't have anything better than the STL files at the moment ... I was actually using Blender and Rhinoceros for the parts mainly because I'm familiar with the software. I do actually want to build it in Fusion 360 or Solidworks at some point, so it's easier for people to edit the press, but I didn't have the time to do it yet. What are you planning to change exactly? Maybe I can help!

Hi! Thanks for answering
Actually, it´s just 3 simple things:
Add 5 cm to the press table
Enlarge the roller pin
And cut the lower roller completely, so that the roller pin crosses the whole lower roller

I want to do this to put some screws at the sides of the roller pin once it´s inside the lower roller, so that the roller pin stays fixed within the roller
I already enlarged the roller pin and added the 5 cm to the press table, (so that it doesn´t fly off), could you cut the lower roller to make it hollow and post it here please? i would really appreciate it!
I´ll add the "enlarged press table" here, in case anyone finds it usefull ( scale it to 10%, i don´t know why solidworks imports it at 1000%)

Again, thanks a lot, and have a nice day!

Sorry for the delay! Here's the hollow roller! I might work on a better solution in order for the roller pin and handle to stay in place since this is happening to me as well. Would love to see some photos of your press once it's finished! :) Happy printing!

Hi! I'm so excited that the 3D components I sent for have shipped! Got it almost all assembled, except for the movable pieces that go inside the side parts and hold the large rollers. I can't seem to fit them inside! It is common to sand these parts in order for them to fit inside?

Oh dear! That's not supposed to happen. Seems like they printed the pieces separately! They are supposed to be already assembled while printing ...
There should be a tolerance of 0.75 mm on both sides, so you might be able to sand it just enough in order for it to squeeze it into the side piece. Hopefully this is going to work! :/ It shouldn't be too much of a problem afterwards, because the main force is going to be pushing upwards and not to the left or right while printing. Good luck!

Thanks for your prompt reply! I will try sanding/filing the pieces tonight and see what happens.

I'm currently printing one of these and just have to do the rollers. How do you print the upper roller "Without support structure." as it says in your PDF? I don't see how this is possible if printing on end.

Thanks for giving it a try! If you print them standing up it should work without support structures. My Anet A8 has no problems with the small overhangs. If you want to you can add supports for the first 5 mm of course, but you don't need them inside the upper roller. It's hollow, but it should be steep enough for printing without support material. Hope that helps. :)

Thanks for your prompt reply. My printer (Prusa i3 MK2.5) prints from the outside in so it would try to print in mid air so I've added support.

Did you glue your press together? The connectors I've printed seem to be a little loose, at least not tight enough to hold the two side uprights firmly in place.

Ah, I see!
I didn't glue the parts together, because I want to be able to replace parts if they break. But my printer isn't the most accurate one, I actually needed to use sandpaper in order for the connectors to fit. Since quite a few people pointed this out I just uploaded some new files! There's a tolerance of 0.1 mm instead of 0.25mm now, so hopefully these fit! Please let me know if you decide to print them and tell me if they work for you, so I can tell the others :) Happy printing!

That's great! I printed the new parts and while the top connector was a good fit, the others were still too loose. So I printed them at 103% size and they tightly pressed in. Now to get some ink...

Would this work for linoprints

Yes! Lots of people are using it for linocuts :)

HI! I saw this demonstrated on instagram by @sweeney2400! Ca't wait to try it!

Great! Let me know if you have any more questions :)

Thank you! Printing in Argentina!

In your assembly diagram it looks like items G and H are Bolts and Nuts? What type, size, length, etc should be used to fit?

Sorry for the late reply! I've used these M5x35mm set screws with dog point https://www.amazon.de/dp/B06XBSJ4CD/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_VG71Ab48TVB36 (might be in German)

But every M5 screw with a regular M5 hexagon nut should work. If you use very long screws it might be difficult to grab the handle of the press while printing, so I wouldn't use anything thats longer than 50mm ...

Is PLA an adequate material for this press?

Yes, PLA is the only material I used! :) PETG and nylon would be interesting as well, since it should be much more durable. But I need a new hot end for that ...

PETG is nice for its interlayer adhesion strength but the surface is softer and almost too sticky for moving parts to slide past each other. ABS and nylon are a pain to print due to ventilation and enclosure requirements, and nylon especially requires a dryer setup. So i'm glad it's only PLA. Thanks!

Interesting! Thank you for the information :)

Thanks for fixing the lower roller file! I grouped a bunch of the files together to print overnight, but was having trouble getting that one to work with the others. Working with the art teacher in my school to make a set of these, so thanks for sharing! We are also toying with scaling it up by 40% and using M8 screws in its place. Have you attempted this at all? Also, tried adding a back end for the connectors that seems to help the stability. See files attached. Cheers!!

I've never tried to make it bigger, since it would take a lot longer to print and I needed to finish the exam :P You could try to make the rollers longer and the side parts wider instead of scaling it up in every direction. For relief printing this should be no problem, but it might break with intaglio ... You just have to try it out. Also, make sure the standard version works for you before you print a bunch :) I would love to see some photos!! The modification looks great, although it might be difficult to disassemble the press later. There shouldn't be too much stress on these parts, the main pressure is on the end of the rollers and the moving parts of the sides. Keep me posted, super cool that people are changing the design. Exactly what I was hoping for this project :))

And I'm back ;-)

We use an Up Mini and the press table is too large to print in one go on the flat. So I had it sideways on the diagonal, but it was just not coming out alright. So I tinkered it in half and uploaded the files, how would I correctly attribute those files? With a link to this project? thanks, Petra

Great! I would love to see some photos :) I guess the best thing would be to upload it as a remix of this project, so it's easier for people to find. But sure, a link to this project and the website is fine, too! :)

Hi there, I am having some difficulty opening the "lowerRoller.stl" file in my slicer tool (using Slic3r, tried both v1.2.9 and a prerelease 1.3.0). Is there anything wrong with that file that you can see? I can open the STL in a CAD tool (Fusion 360) just fine, and it saves out the same file, so I am not sure. Do you have any suggestions? Trying to use various "repair" tools on the STL do make it openable, but some faces are missing at that point.

Hi! Sorry for the late reply. I just checked the file, there are some overlapping surfaces inside that might cause trouble. I've attached a new roller here, hopefully that fixes things. Let me know if it works, so I can replace it with the old one :)

That fixed it up! Thanks!

Hi, awesome project and thanks for sharing. I'm in the process of printing and have two comments: a reminder to export the side part and create a mirror file.
The sliding unit had lightly fused and we were able to release it by applying leverage in the side groves.
I'll add photos when we've finished printing.

Thanks for trying to print one! I think I did write that down in the PDF and on the website, I've used a wrench to break them loose. You actually don't need to mirror it. They should be symmetrical, so you can just print two of them.
Can't wait to see the photos, so awesome to see my design being used around the world!!

Oh dear, both my husband and I had a 'blonde moment' obviously! Thanks.
Anyway, printer is not working properly, I'm thinking the nozzle has given up and will have to wait til Thursday to get a new one. :(