Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Ye Olde Mangle revisited:construction of the bed

I regularly get inquiries about how my mangle was converted to a printing press.
The short answer is, I asked hubby if he was up for a challenge, he said, "you bet!" and next thing (sort of) I had a converted mangle ready to go!

To read the longer version of the conversion with accompanying photos 

Further to previous info however, I am frequently asked how certain aspects of the mangle were dealt with, in particular how the bed was attached to the mangle. There were no "plans" to speak of, it was just a case of "make it up as you go along" and trial and error.

So, here goes an attempt at an explanation:

This first pic was taken before the wooden runners were added. It shows how L-shaped metal sections were added to support wooden runners which the bed will slide along.

There is one shorter length which runs through under the mangle and is bolted to the frame of the mangle on both sides and beneath the rollers as seen in this next photo. (This section has the right-angle facing downwards and towards the rollers. )

Two shorter sections are then bolted, one on either side of the rollers, to the lengths of metal beneath it, this time the right-angle facing upwards and again towards the rollers. 

Rimu runners are bolted to these L-shaped metal supports, stopping just short of the bottom roller. The top of the wooden runner is flush with the top of the bottom roller. 

The bed (in my case laminated hardboard continues to work just fine) glides along these runners.

Four threaded rods are used to hold everything square from one side of the frame to the other, two in the base of the mangle, one at each outer end of the metal bed runners.

There has been some on-going tweaking happening in regards to the tension of the springs.

 The best tip I learned however that has helped me the most in setting up the mangle to print successfully in a number of print mediums is the use of runners of different thicknesses to hold the rollers apart to the desired amount. Unlike a printing press where the rollers are raised and lowered to set the pressure and/or clearance for different thicknesses of plates, the mangle is sprung so even if you release the pressure the rollers are still sitting firmly on the bed. This is where runners come in! I have a selection of runners of different thicknesses that I insert under the top roller meaning I can go from printing monotype surfaces, drypoint and etching to linocut or woodcut with a quick change.

Hope this info is helpful for those lucky enough to find an old mangle to give new life too.

Here's a wee pic from a visitor to my blog, 
of a converted Ewbank mangle, a lot like mine, 
apparently rescued from being sent to the dump! 

Cool idea for a different way to make the bed - could allow for extra storage too.

I'd love to see/ hear from you 
with any images of your mangles 
before, during and after their make-overs!