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Printing with the Xcut Xpress

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Xcut Xpress is traditionally used as a die cutting machine but has found a whole new life as a printing press! This small scale machine is portable, affordable and can produce amazing quality prints. We used our Xcut Xpress with Extended Print Bed and Felt to produce a linocut, a drypoint etching and a collagraph!

The Xcut comes folded into its portable form. The press unfolds to produce the print bed and rollers.

Each side has a removable piece that can be lifted out.

Underneath is a slide that can lock the sides of the press down in place.

The side pieces can then be replaced the other way up, clicking into place to produce a flat bed.

The Xcut Xpress from Handprinted comes with an extended bed and compressed felt. To print, we added two pieces of newsprint between the bed and the felt.

Linocut: Pressure at 6.5

We inked up one of our linocuts with Hawthorn Dense Black Stay Open Ink. We used a Hawthorn Roller to transfer the ink to the block.

We adjusted the height of the roller to 6.5 and gently fed in the print bed and felt. The lino was placed face up on top of the print bed and one piece of newsprint. The second piece of newsprint and felt were placed on top.

We are using 3.2mm traditional grey lino onto 190gsm Kent paper. 6.5 seems to be the perfect pressure for this combination with our 3mm thick compressed felt and extended bed.

You will need to guide the bed with your hands until the roller takes hold of the lino. The handle is easy to turn and requires no pressure.

After one pass through the press we got a perfect print.

Drypoint Etching: Pressure at 4

We inked up one of our drypoint etching plates with Caligo Safe Wash Etching Ink in Carbon Black. For more information about making and printing a drypoint etching, see our blog post.

We turned the dial to 4 to get the correct pressure and gently fed in the print bed and felt, again with two pieces of newsprint to sandwich our print (you will need to turn the dial to 4 before feeding the bed and felt in as the felt will resist the dial being turned this low). This seems to be the lower limit of the press when using this print bed and 3mm felt. We are using 0.5mm drypoint plastic with 190gsm Kent paper with our extended print bed and felt.

Dampened Kent paper was placed on top.

The print came out crisply with lovely embossed plate marks.

Collagraph: Pressure at 4.5

We inked up one of our collagraph plates with Akua Intaglio Ink in Carbon Black. For more information about creating a card cut collagraph like this one, see our blog post.

We turned the dial to 4.5 and gently fed through our print bed, newsprint and felt. We used 1400 micron mount board with very low relief collagraph textures. Again, we printed onto dampened 190gsm Kent paper.

Although the plate was old and worn out from lots of use, the print came out beautifully with varying tones and embossed plate marks.

To have a go on an Xcut Xpress, see our product page. We also have an accessory pack available allowing existing Xcut Xpresses to be adapted into printmaker's presses! For more information on how this press has been used you could visit Colin Blanchard's really helpful blog: or watch his video below.