Universal III toggle base (usefulness for photopolymer)

I have two Vandercook Universal III toggle plate bases with all the toggles and tools and was wondering if I’d be able to use them with photopolymer plates.  It seems to me that with metal backed photopolymer plates they might work were it not for the fact that the toggles themselves would print.  Are the edges of the plates or cuts used on these bases meant to be profiled in a way so as not to allow this to happen or is this where the frisketing comes in?
If all else fails I guess I could just turn the bases upside-down and use double sided adhesive tape like I do with my little Boxcar base on the platen…

4 thoughts on “Universal III toggle base (usefulness for photopolymer)

  1. Gerald Lange - November 22, 2006

    There was a fellow in Australia who had manufactured a magnetic interbase that worked with steel-backed photopolymer plates and the Sterling honeycomb base/toggles. Robert Beson at TDI Magneticx P/L . Seemed like it did not catch on though. I thought it a good idea, particularly in regard to the registration problem inherent with photopolymer plates.

    I think your existing Boxcar Base would be better for polyster-backed plates (more exacting) than trying to rig up up those old Vandercook bases. Even the slightest disturbance in a base is going to be revealed in the printing. That’s what photopolymer does best.


  2. Eric Holub - November 20, 2006

    What you have are for Vandercook’s own diagonal groove plate base (which is same vintage as the 219OS): Hooks, filler strips, plate remover hook. The vacuum base is more of the Universal era.
    Maybe with the filler strips you will be able to tape Boxcar plates on the grooved side, or flip it as you already said.
    This isn’t like the other patent bases meant for production work; it was meant for proofing of photoengravings, so Vandercook might have made it compatible with 16-gage originals. A backing plate about .085 was once sold for adapting original plates for use with .759 base, so a few piece of suitable sheetmetal in different sizes would let you use boxcar plate and adhesive (and some interlay) with this base.

  3. The Arm NYC - November 20, 2006

    Thanks for all the information. The bases I am referring to are the hook and vacuum type you mention. I am not really keen on running the vacuum though; I think its just going to be too loud for my sanity. It appears that since thus base doesn’t have the diagonal grooves the plates would have to be run at standardised dimensions, is that correct? Since I am paying for platemaking by the square inch that just wouldn’t be economical.
    Here is a picture of all the hooks, I haven’t taken one of the base yet.


  4. Eric Holub - November 20, 2006

    Which kind of base are you talking about? Patent plate bases (and there were many different brands: Sterling, Blatchford using hooks in toggle-holes, Warnock, Wesel, Notting using hooks in diagonal grooves, and Vandercook offered several bases including hook- and vacuum-types) were in general meant for 11-pt duplicate plates like stereotypes and electrotypes. Original plates were typically 16-gage and the body is not thick enough to work with the jaw of a standard hook without the hook printing. Sterling PMC did sell special low-profile hooks for proofing 16-gage plates, but they were not intended for running, not strong enough. Some engravers can make 11-pt photoengravings, or an original photoengraving or photopolymer plate can be adhered to a backing plate for use with base. The thickest (and most expensive) aluminum-backed photopolymer plates might be made to work with hooks, but normal steel-backed plates will not. I think any use of toggle-hooks will likely require more expensive plates than the Boxcar you are now using.

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