Open Press Project


My grandson and I recently completed a challenge together. His challenge was to construct a mini print press using a 3D printer. My part of the challenge was to then hand pull successful prints using the mini printer. We both succeeded! The free plans came from Martin Schneider. I first learned of this ongoing project on Instagram’s OpenPrintForum page, and then specifically, on the Openpressproject page. Here you can view other artists successes with the challenge.

Once Ben had the pieces for the press printed out from his 3D printer he assembled all into the miniature press, snapping the pieces together. 5M screws with 5M hexagon nuts were inserted to become the two pressure adjustments for either side of the press roller. I added the necessary blankets,  cut to the press bed size.

For my first print attempt, I chose to simply cut up an old credit card into a 1” square and scratch onto it with an exacto blade. I set the pressure, inked and wiped the plate, placed it on the press bed, added dampened paper and rolled it through using the little hand crank. Given the fact that ink was not etching ink, and paper was actually water color paper, I was quite surprised and pleased that the experiment worked and I had a miniature drypoint print image!

Now, I was ready to create a more calculated print and chose to try making and printing a collagraph plate. The results varied as I played around with press pressure, inking and wiping and a variety of papers.

This miniature print press really does work! There are, however, some modifications I would like to experiment with. I think the press would be easier to use if it could be anchored to a stable surface. A slight modification of the design, to include flat extensions for feet with screw holes to be able to secure the press to a flat surface, would solve the stability while printing issue.

Jan Thomas / Ben Hochstetter


Jan Thomas’ Instagram — @saylerpark
Martin Schneider Art —


Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.