CNC & Machining Workshop
DiResta: Printing Press, Part 2

In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy continues with his restoration of a classic Chandler and Price letterpress that he found rusting outside of an upstate NY antique shop. – Gareth Branwyn

Tools and Supplies:

  • Oxygen and Acetylene Torch
  • Hammer
  • Wrenches
  • Wedges
  • Pry bar
  • Gibbs oil
  • Red paint

Jimmy’s Notes:

To get started, I began dismantling the press. It has very heavy casted parts, precisely machined to fit together. I quickly realize taking it apart was not as simple as I first thought. The rust had basically welded all of the parts together. I almost gave up over the course of few months, trying to get the larger parts moving. I used an oxygen and acetylene torch to heat up the frozen joints till the metal was red hot. With hammers and wedges, I was eventually able to get most of it freed up. In the video, you can see I use the flywheel for leverage to get the larger parts moving. Now I fully understand why old machines need oil all of the time. Since I have the machine in motion now, I’m keeping it well-oiled. I’ve purchased new rollers for it. Now I just have to make a printing plate and print something!

18 thoughts on “DiResta: Printing Press, Part 2

  1. I restore the tabletop models, and they’re fun, but these freestanding ones are amazing to watch. It’s almost hypnotic. All that metal moving with such fluidity and grace, but one wrong move and your finger would come off like a skinny hot dog. 8-)

    1. I agree it’s pretty but why does that make you sad? To me it harkens to a time when overbuild was required due to poor materials quality and available tech. Certainly awesome but you can’t build a space shuttle that way.

  2. Every time I watch a DiResta video I have a head-smacking “why didn’t I think of that moment?” This time it was him using an open-end wrench to make a hammer-point for tapping a collar off a shaft.

  3. Heating up the metal with an open flame, then watching the lubricant vaporize as it was sprayed on. I was awfully surprised that the vapors weren’t ignited by the torch.

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