The second set of coasters gave me another serious problem to overcome. I knew that the day of reckoning was coming for this particular problem, and I’m glad it happened on one of my projects and not one that I was doing for a customer. Here’s the problem… The rollers are not making contact with the bottom of the ink disk when they roll up onto it. The end result is uneven inking, which really shows up on a big, solid background. The edge of the disk stays inked heavier than the center because there’s never a chance for that ink to get picked up. This means that the ink reaching the image plate is uneven, too.
Here’s the solution recommended by my friend, Sean, who helped me to find and move this press. If there isn’t time to drop everything and drive to a specialty hardware store for special washers, make some out of hard cardboard. It is stiff enough to keep from compressing over time as the heavy disk rotates above it.
Here you can get an idea of how tricky it is to get the disk back into place with the washers on it. It may not look very tricky, but you need to know that the disk weighs about 50 pounds and is covered on one side with ink.
Here, the ink disk is back in place with the washers underneath of it, raising it up just enough to fix the roller contact.
After inserting these makeshift washers, the disk is raised up just enough for the rollers to make contact almost all of the way to the edge. I don’t want to raise it up any further because the rollers could be damaged if they are repeatedly smashing into the hard edge of the disk.
After solving the problem, I was able to get through printing that second half of the designs for the full 12-coaster set.
At the end of the second-to-last design, I realized that I could rotate the coasters 180 degrees and print them again, giving beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These will have to be another set of coasters in the future, maybe with more pressure and a thicker layer of thinner ink for more dense transparent coverage.