Small Affordable Letterpress Machine?

This fall, Lifestyle Crafts (a division of QuicKutz, which makes scrapbooking stuff) is due to come out with the “L” Letterpress system, a kit that you use with a tabletop die cutter/embosser like a Cuttlebug or QuicKutz’s Epic 6.  The starter kit will come with impression plates, paper, and some ink, and will retail for $69.99.  A kit including both the L pack and the Epic 6 will be available for $149.99.

At first glance, I was thrilled.  I’ve always wanted to try lettterpress printing, but the only way for me to do it is to spend $300 on classes at the Center for the Book in order to be able to rent time on their presses.  Something like the L would eliminate the travel, education and rent required to use a large press.

On the other hand, I remembered how excited I was to get a Gocco screen printer, which only works well for very specific projects (i.e. greeting cards).  The Gocco is also only compatible with its own proprietary supplies, which became a huge issue the last two times they were discontinued.  The L appears to have a very similar setup.  Only small paper can be rolled through the press, and I can’t find any indication of its compatibility with other manufacturers’ plates and inks, or information about printing on surfaces like cardboard.  One of the reasons I’ve never bought a tabletop die cutter like an Epic 6 is that it’s nearly impossible to make your own dies for it, but you can order custom letterpress plates fairly easily.  Though it’s much more competitively priced than the Gocco, I’m still going to wait for more information before I add the L/Epic 6 to my Christmas list.  Besides, there’s probably a way to hack something similar for a fraction of the cost.  Project, anyone?

3 Comments

  1. i just discovered this as well and -just- blogged about it, AND I LOVE IT already. i can’t wait for it, especially if/when you can make custom plates somehow.

  2. No, I never did. It lacked too much flexibility for me to spend any money on it in the end. I don’t have much use for pre-made templates since everything I do is an original design. I tried taking two letterpress classes and found out that I hate real letterpressing — so tedious! So for now I’ll just keep outsourcing any letterpress I need done and just stick to digital and screen printing. 🙂

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