Hand and Ink

Hand and Ink is a self powered letterpress that prints business cards, merchandise tags, and other small designs. The press is made of aluminum and wood. Printing with Hand and Ink uses vegetable oil based inks and recycled plant fiber paper. The press encourages small scale production, an honesty of materials, and sustainability in printing.

Prototypes inspired by biomass briquette compound lever presses.

While the compound presses were effective in multiplying the input force, they did not spread the force uniformly across a wide surface. It was important for the force to be distributed evenly across the printing plate for the impressions to be consistent. I began to look at bench-top presses that use a long lever and a toggle to generate a large amount of press force. Several different designs were prototyped in MDF to understand the constraints of building a toggle press out of sheet material.

The final design uses 5mm MDF or aluminum, three turned parts, and standard hardware.

There is a huge difference in tolerance when changing manufacturing processes.

To keep prototyping time and costs low, everything was made in MDF using a laser cutter. This process is vastly different from cutting parts with a waterjet. The cutting beam size is very small in a laser with relatively minimal taper as the part gets cut. The opposite for an older water jet. None of the parts fit smoothly together due to a large taper created by the water jet as the beam slowed down through the material. This quick lesson was solved with a bit of filing and sanding.