Categories
New additions Updates

November Update

Nearly 40 documents have been uploaded to the site, thanks to Mimeograph Revival reader Kevin B. who scanned them from his collection. They include advertisements, sales catalogs, and instruction and parts manuals from popular manufacturers ranging from AB Dick and Heyer to Rex Rotary and Roneo, and including less widely known machines from Banda, CopyRite, and Ellams.

On the back end of the site, a few things have been reorganized in the “projects” section in preparation for eventual print works. The duplicating project got started with a hurrah once my fax-machine woes got sorted out, but then I got slammed with a big series of work projects just as I was figuring out that my Heyer Lettergraph Model D has a likely impression-roller issue.

The next few weeks will have me assessing whether this is the case and deciding if I need to get the roller refurbished – possibly making it time for me to review the work needed on the Heyer Model 1770 and see if I can get it running even though it’s got scars from its battle with the USPS.

I also made up a gelatin duplicator (hectograph) and used it to make a few dozen prints of the cover for the project I’d started on the Model D. A post is forthcoming with more details on that.

In addition, I’m considering putting together a print-on-demand book or two of some of the documents available here. If that’s something of interest to anyone else, please let me know!

Meanwhile, the comments sections of various pages and posts are little treasure troves of useful information provided by MR readers with years of mimeograph experience. It is rather inconvenient that they’re scattered all over the place, so I wonder if a dedicated forum would be something other mimeo enthusiasts would like to see (maybe especially those who don’t want to be involved with facebook or who can’t access it from their country).

Please leave a comment here if any of these things sound useful to you!

Categories
How-to Trial and Error

Functional Fax, Finally

-plus tips to ensure that you get a good machine-

With a new Brother Intellifax 775, I am now in thermal-stencil-making business. I prepped my Riso master sheet, inserted it into the paper feed tray, put my original into the scanner feed tray, hit copy, and voila, a thermal stencil with good resolution and no marring of the thermal paper.

It was pointed out to me that I could easily apply tape over the cartridge sensor lever to trick the machine into thinking a cartridge was in place (see photo below). Thermal paper could then be taped to a sheet of paper and, when run through the paper feed mechanism, the thermal printer would print directly on the thermal paper. That trick prevents the massive hassle of winding thermal paper onto cartridge rolls.

Should you wish to use a thermal fax machine to print stencils, I recommend the following:

  • Get the newest machine you can.
  • If you get one that is “new in box” make sure it’s NOT a model that has been sitting in its box since the 1980s. Or even the 1990s… and maybe not even since the early 2000s. Really, get the newest machine you can. Unfortunately you’ll likely be guessing when any particular fax machine was made – I have had no luck figuring out the manufacture dates of particular models; that information doesn’t seem to be publicly available. Still, you can kind of tell by brands’ model numbers that, in many cases, increase in relation to later release dates.
  • If the fax machine is used, ask the seller to test the copy function and send you proof that the output is clean. Ideally see a photo of both the original and the copy. If the seller says they can’t do that because they don’t have a cartridge installed, think long and hard about the purchase.
  • Purchase only from sellers who accept returns.
  • Test the fax machine immediately upon receipt – I waited too long with my first one because I was busy with other things and missed the chance to get a refund for its being non-functional.

Had I done those things, I could’ve saved myself some trouble. Oh well, at least I gained the experience with which I can help you make a better fax-purchase decision.

Here is what you want to look for:

  • A plain-paper thermal fax machine* – this prints on regular (letter or A4 depending on your location) copy paper with a thermal-printer mechanism.

Avoid laser, laserjet, and inkjet fax machines. They do not have the thermal printer unit that Riso master paper requires.

Alternatively, you can try one of these:

  • An Older-style thermal fax machine that prints on rolls of thermal “fax paper.” If you try this, make sure that the rolls are the same width as the Riso master rolls you wish to use. In some cases you can just swap out the thermal paper with the Riso master roll.

*Today I spent some time looking for the latest in thermal fax machines. I hate to break it to you, but there isn’t one. Most (all?) thermal fax machines have been discontinued. I checked the following manufacturers: Brother, HP, and Sharp. Likewise, neither Amazon, Walmart, Staples, OfficeDepot, nor Best Buy are carrying new thermal fax machines. Ah, the poignant sound of another obsolete technology slipping out of reach.

Your best bet is your local used-goods market/garage sale circuit, or online via ebay or facebook marketplace.

If you don’t need to make stencils from originals that are already on paper and are willing to produce directly from your computer, you can try a “pocket printer” that uses thermal printing technology. A Mimeomania member reports good results with a Paperang A4 printer (300dpi) and a quick search shows several such things for sale on various sites. Looks like A4 size is cheaper than letter size – but, since Riso paper is most easily found in A4 size, Americans don’t have to aim for letter-sized since stencil size can be flexible.

If you’d rather have a plain-paper fax machine, I can attest that the Brother Intellifax 775 works for this purpose. In addition, I’ve seen videos with the Intellifax 575 making thermal tattoo stencils, and of course Stampalofi uses a Philips (model unknown).

Categories
Trial and Error

Crazy mimeographing guinea pig, at your service

I have run into all sorts of either “dumb luck” or “this is reality” with my ongoing experiments. I try take the sting out of it a little bit by accepting that I am doing these experiments in the service of a greater good – but gee, is it somewhat discouraging to keep hitting one dead end after another.

But, you know, I’m failing so that eventually you won’t have to, because someday I’ll be able (fingers crossed) to point out a path toward accessible, affordable, and somewhat fool-proof duplicating. Or at least that’s what I hope.

You may recall my first foray into thermal stencil-making with the impressively sturdy Pitney Bowes 8050 fax machine that nobody had ever heard of:

Ok, that’s not exactly true. One person had heard of it, but I’ll get to that in a minute. When I got around to plugging it in and found that something was haywire in its internal workings (a result of it sitting around, new-in-box, for too many years), I looked high and low for a repair manual or other information on it. None of the fax repair companies I contacted had even heard of this model. In the end, fellow mimeo-enthusiast Plaugolt SachsWetzler (or psw), the one person in the world who knew this model, and who was using this same machine to produce mimeograph stencils contacted me. Her own PB8050 had seen heavy use and was starting to falter. So, for the cost of shipping it to Germany, I gave her mine. She and a circuit-board-savvy friend figured out what ailed it, repaired it and are now putting it to good use.

My second fax machine, a Sharp UX-108 was incapable of printing stencils. My guess is there was something wrong with the thermal printer – very spotty results and lots of blank space where there ought to have been print. Thankfully the seller accepted a return.

At this point, I thought it might be best to give up on fax machines even though psw and stampalofi were having good luck with them.

So, I caved in and bought one of those darned Chinese-made thermal tattoo-stencil printers. You know:

I started using it not long after I purchased it – that was how I made my very basic stencil-header stencil.

(Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but the reason the print quality looked so gloppy was because I installed the stencil backward! Word to the wise – the shiny side faces the paper you’re printing on!!)

Anyway, I then attempted to print stencils for more complex things. Apparently too complex?… maybe the font size was too small, or the image resolution too much for the machine to handle? Maybe the humidity was interfering (more on that below)? I wasn’t sure what the issue was, but I was seeing lots of “shredding” on the stencil (more on that below as well). This put me in front of my computer for far more time than I wanted, manipulating text and images to try to get something workable. It didn’t work.

I gave up for a while and mulled over what my next step would be.

The next step ended up unrelated to the general point of this post – the purchasing of some old-style stencils – shipped all the way from Japan. But, before I figured out how I wanted to approach the use of this very limited resource, Mimeomania member Arnø Jürgen van Matendouce kindly shared a print test page drawn by his friend TYST (it’s on the resources page, just scroll down until you see it), and that inspired my next move:

I decided to try the tattoo stencil printer again, to see if I could figure out what the issue was:

And it turned out that those copies weren’t half bad. There was obviously a learning curve – and some sections couldn’t be rendered by the thermal printer at all, but it seemed like I was heading in the right direction. There was no shredding.

I went ahead and made a stencil for the title page of a little booklet I want to put together (part of a collection of some public domain works):

Honestly, this was the best quality print I’d gotten so far. It’s a little fuzzy around the letters’ edges, but it’s a pretty small font size (probably 9 or 10?). I could forgive it (the ghost image you see is just because there’s another page under the one I’ve photographed). A day or two later, I then went ahead and tried to make a stencil for one page in the booklet that really requires decent resolution and the “shredding” reappeared with a vengeance:

In the next image, you can see where the image is clear and sharp and where it simultaneously has shredded sections. It was really teasing me.

At this point, I’m realizing that these multiple failures are asking something of me. It seems I’m really having to be an intrepid and committed experimenter here, and that this isn’t just about whether or not I can duplicate something, it’s about how easy it’s going to be for anyone to do this. And thus far, the results have not been inspiring, to say the least!

But wait, it gets worse.

So, I make my decision. I am in this for the long haul. I want to figure out a way for regular people to engage in DIY, low-tech-if-possible, printing and duplicating. I’m inspired by the print quality Rachel Simone Weil achieves with a label printer, so I resolve to keep trying.

Having learned that a fax machine that uses a thermal printer to print on plain paper (rather than a roll of fax paper) might possibly work for this task, I purchase yet another used fax machine – this time a Brother Intellifax-775:

I quickly figure out that this machine will not work the way stampalofi’s Philips fax machine does. His prints on Risograph paper inserted through the paper feed channel. Nor does it do what psw’s does, which is directly feed the Risograph roll over the thermal printer from inside, as though it were fax paper. Mine requires the print cartridge to remain installed – in effect requiring that the Riso paper be carried through the cartridge. So I spend a good couple of hours, rewinding the cartridge to the beginning (so the machine doesn’t tell me I need to insert a new cartridge), cutting the Risograph thermal paper down to size (because I’m using a roll that would’ve fit in the larger Pitney Bowes feed mechanism but that’s wider than the letter-sized paper this cartridge fits) so that I can feed it onto the cartridge, then, taping and winding it in; finally I’m ready to give it a try.

First, though, because the thermal printer does not have a “mirror” option, like the tattoo stencil printer, I have to get onto my computer and reconfigure my original so that every page is a mirror image of the original, and change the page order so that the print layout is adjusted to accommodate that (it was complicated, you don’t want to know at this point. Just know that it was a little mind-bending). I do that and I run one page through the fax machine.

And my stencil has a fine, fine line right across it that’s not part of the original. I try again, and once or twice more – and they’ve all got the line. I then remove the Riso paper, wind the cartridge back away from the beginning to a section that’s unused, and make a standard copy. It looks like this (copy above, original below):

I’m completely thrilled about the resolution and really stinkin’ mad about the line.

I go at the inner workings of the machine with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. I test it – still a line. I clean it and wipe it and shine a very bright light inside it to try to ascertain the problem. Nothing looks amiss. I clean it again and fiddle around with the thermal unit’s alignment. It still doesn’t work.

The seller very kindly offers me a refund even though the fax function probably works.

I spend the next few days questioning my sanity. I tell myself that there’s no guarantee that my tinkering will work and I ask, “Do you still want to go ahead with this?” and the answer is still, “Yes.” I find myself daydreaming about finding an electronics nerd who’ll help me build a thermal printer that actually works as well as a (functioning) fax machine but without the hassle and all the extra apparatus.

I can’t fall asleep because I’m wondering how I can make a “printshop in a box” that isn’t reliant on way too many “outsourced” and weak-supply-chain-linked pieces (Hush! I’m not obsessed).

But I’m kind of obsessed. I’m waiting now for my area’s relative humidity to decrease a bit (having heard that the tattoo stencil printers don’t like humidity) – but in the meantime… yes… I’ve bought another fax machine to try (same model since I’m now intimately familiar with it). It’s on its way. It’s supposedly new, so perhaps there’s hope.

By golly, I hope there’s hope.

That’s all I have for today.

Signed,

your good guinea pig who will keep on trying.

P.S. there’ll be a follow-up post later that’s focused on fax/thermal-printer pitfalls and how to avoid them (if in fact they can be avoided).

Categories
For Sale

Please Save this Beautiful Mimeograph Machine

This machine is at risk of being destroyed.

If you live in or near, or are willing to drive to Central Texas, this lovely A. B. Dick “Edison-Dick” No. 77 Model B is in dire need of a new home. It currently resides in a commercial property that’s going on the market and is expected to sell quickly.

The person overseeing the sale reports that the machine was in frequent use until a few years ago when the owners moved on to other technology. The machine is complete and includes an interleaver and a supply of interleaf cards that allow you to print on standard paper without having to manually slipsheet pages between prints (this prevents ink transfer to other copies).

The table and a dust cover are included. There is also a Mimeoscope for stencil-work, accompanying documentation, lettering guides, T-square, and screenplates.

This is a fantastically complete collection – a duplicating shop all in one. To discuss price and logistics, please contact the person overseeing the sale via the original post on facebook. No price listed at this time, reasonable offers entertained. More pictures are included in the original post.

Categories
Updates

Mid-Year Update

It’s been quiet here at Mimeograph Revival, but there’ve been things going on behind the scenes and on some of the site’s far-flung pages.

On the Resources page, you’ll find a link to the Made in Chicago Museum’s exploration of A. B. Dick history, as well as a link to Rachel Simone Weil’s clever use of a label printer to make postcard-sized stencils that she then prints by hand (screen-print style) – written in tutorial style, so go check it out and expand the use of your label printer if you’ve got one. Her sample shows great detail (better than what I’ve gotten from a tattoo-stencil-printer, anyway).

Recent commenter Sherrinford chimed in with a novel stencil-making technique utilizing electro-etching paper and a typewriter. You’ll find that comment on the Contact page.

Likewise, Kevin, a commenter who’s well-versed in things-mimeo, has shared a few tips over on the Heyer Model D page. In addition, he’s graciously been scanning original mimeograph advertisements and documents to share with Mimeograph Revival. Two Gestetner ads have already been posted to the library’s advertisement page, and two manuals (one for Roneo and one for Standard’s Rocket Spirit Duplicator) have been uploaded to the manuals page.

In the next few weeks more documents will be added to the library and, fingers crossed, some more experimenting with the thermal stencils and maybe a hectograph will occur here at the MR studio.

Categories
Uncategorized

Mimeo Experiments

French printing aficionados have been playing with the techniques found in Rich Dana’s book. Here’s a look at how things turned out.

Categories
Uncategorized

It isn’t pretty, but it’s print

Trial run – template for Heyer 60 stencil headers.

Something to print, check.
Ink pad made, check.
Stencil made and attached to header, check.
Ink on the ink pad, check.

And we have a functioning mimeograph machine.

I’m not super impressed with the quality of the stenciled image, but I’ll see what I can do to refine it a bit.

Categories
Uncategorized

Ink Pads

Single drum rotary and hand-printing mimeographs use ink pads to either convey the ink from a reservoir or hold applied ink in place (acting as a de facto reservoir), so that it feeds through the stencil onto the paper in a controlled manner. They’re of relatively basic construction – and my guess is that it’s for this reason that patent information about ink pads is relatively scarce. I was able to find two A. B. Dick patents, each referencing “improvements” to already existing patterns.

This second patent is interesting because in advancing its improvement it also explains the typical method for printing multiple colors without changing out the ink pad and cleaning out the reservoir. The method entails using a blocking sheet over the primary ink pad to “restrain” ink of the first color so that a second color, spot-applied to a second ink pad can be used temporarily. I’m not sure what the blocking sheet would have been made of (plastic or rubber or ??), but it’s an interesting technique that might be of use.

While every duplicator brand had its own ink pad specifications, I hope that the information I provide here will help you improvise an ink-pad pattern for your own machine even if its dimensions are different from what I post.

From what I’ve seen so far (on my three Heyer machines), flannel is the fabric of choice. I did see a passing reference in a 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics (I couldn’t figure out which exact issue, the search just pulled up a phrase by itself) that mentioned cambric used as an ink pad. Cambric is a densely woven cloth, initially made of linen. I don’t know if it was made of something else by 1937. But, cotton flannel is certainly easy to come by these days – if you have an old flannel shirt you’re willing to sacrifice, you can cut ink pad pieces from it, so I think it’s safe to just stick with that.

I am lucky enough to have unused pads for each of my machines, so before I gunk them up with ink, I’ll be measuring them and noting any construction techniques that seem relevant.

Since I already had flannel on hand and none of my household’s flannel shirts were in bad a enough a state to require upcycling, I am using the new flannel to make extra ink pads for my Heyer 60. In this post, all my photos and measurements relate to this machine’s ink pad.

Heyer Lettergraph Model 60, disassembled.

To remove the ink pad, unscrew the bolt at the center of the handle. The handle serves to lock the inkpad in place with a small amount of tension generated by a metal bracket seated under the handle. Unscrewing the bolt and removing the handle releases this tension.

The bracket hinges on a pin that is inserted into a narrow “envelope” sewn into the ink pad. Release the wire clasp that serves to snug the stencil (not shown) to the pad and you can then lift the ink pad from the mimeograph. Remove the pin and set it aside.

Feed the ink pad through the slot on the opposite end of the mimeograph. The anchoring bar can then be removed from the ink pad.

Congratulations, you have loosened your ink pad.

A new one can be made following the measurements of the original. It consists of a rectangle of flannel that is a finished size of 5×5 inches (but see caveat below AND see the section on “sizing your ink pad” for other important considerations!). The sides are unhemmed but are finished with a backstitch to prevent fraying. The top and bottom are hemmed so as to provide “envelopes” to accommodate the pin and the bar.

The underside of the ink pad is lined with a 4.25×5″ rectangle of 3mm-thick felt.

The two pieces of fabric are joined together at the “envelope” seams (so, in constructing a new ink pad, you can sew the felt on and hem the “envelopes” at the same time.

To make a new ink pad, cut felt and flannel to correct sizes.

  1. The felt piece will not be hemmed or otherwise folded, so it should be cut to its finished size (4.25×5″). See photo “#1,” below.
Photo #1. Though I ordered 3mm-thick felt (blue, in contrast with the original black), it is actually 5mm thick. We’ll see if it matters.

2. The flannel should be cut larger than the finished size because two ends will be hemmed to create “envelopes” (so, it should be somewhere around 6.5×5 or 7×5 inches before sewing). Here’s the caveat: because my felt is thicker than 3mm, my finished flannel pad will need to be longer than the original (to accommodate the extra thickness of the felt). You may need to keep this in mind for yourself. (And you should still read the “sizing your ink pad section” before you start)

3. Stitch the “long” edges of the flannel piece (do not fold, just do a backstitch as near to the edge as you can) to prevent fraying. See photo “#3”, below. If your fabric is very prone to fraying, you might sew a blanket stitch along the edge, instead or in addition to the backstitch.

Photo #3 – showing the backstitching parallel to and near the edge.

If your piece of fabric incorporates the selvage, the woven end of the fabric, there’s no need to backstitch that edge as a selvage will not fray. See photo “#3.1,” below.

Photo #3.1: It’s hard to tell, but this is the selvage edge of my flannel.

4. Fold the short ends over so that the main section measures 5 inches. Pin or baste to hold. Basting is to be preferred because pins introduce folds – when you get to the point where you’re stitching the second side, you’ll want the ink pad partly loaded on the mimeograph to assure correct fit, and basting stitches will allow this more easily than pins. Baste or pin the felt to the side of the ink pad that hosts the folded-over flannel sides. See photos #4 and #4.1.

Photo #4: Set the felt on top of the folded-over edges. Here it’s not yet been lined up so you can see the folded flannel edges.
Photo #4.1 Lined up and attached with a basting stitch.

5. Stitch one side of the felt to the two layers of folded flannel using a backstitch (not a running stitch as in basting). Keep the basting stitches in place on the other side. Install the half-done ink pad to see if it will fit or if the flannel needs to be adjusted.

At this point, I found that the thick felt made reinstalling the ink pad inconvenient. I had to force my small flannel “envelope” into the space and almost couldn’t get the metal anchoring bar into what little fabric peeked through. There are adjustments that I can make to subsequent inkpads to assist reinstallation, but I did get this to work as is.

It became obvious, though, that in spite of keeping my measurements correct, the new ink pad will be ever so slightly too short (this is because the felt is thicker than the original), so I will increase my flannel’s finished length to compensate.

6. Make any adjustments you deem necessary, stitch the last edge, then reassemble your mimeograph.

The new ink pad installed on the Lettergraph.

Sizing your ink pad

This tutorial was based on an original, unused Heyer Lettergraph 60 ink pad. In preparing to use my first stencil, however, I found that the original design’s measurements would not allow ink to fill a standard postcard-sized piece of paper to its edges (in the US, commercially available postcards are 4.25×5.5 inches in size – conveniently, this is one quarter of a standard letter sized piece of paper [8.5×11 inches]). The mimeograph body can accommodate that size, but for some reason the original ink pad is narrower than the mimeograph body.

My first stencil is going to be a template for Lettergraph 60 stencil headers – the card header that allows the stencil to be mounted on the duplicator:

Stencil header.

You’ll notice that it’s wider than the 5.5 inches I have available to print on. By making the templates a quarter inch narrower, I’ll be able to print them on postcard stock. Unfortunately, because my ink pad is only 5 inches across, there’s half an inch of my stencil that won’t receive ink:

The template, which, as you can see, extends past the ink pad. This is a problem.

In order to achieve ink placement across the entirety of a postcard, I’m going to have to make a larger ink pad. I’ll keep the ones I’ve already made to use with color inks when they’ll only appear in the interior of postcard images. My new ink pad will be designed to fit 5.5 inches of the width of the mimeograph (out of a total width of 6 inches). Since I’ll be applying ink manually to the ink pad, it won’t matter that the perforated ink-flow-through section is significantly smaller than the ink pad.

Here are photos to show the Heyer’s original ink pad in relation to its metal mimeograph frame. These will help you get a sense of the relationship between the perforated ink flow-through section and the felt layer so that you can experiment and come up with your own ink pad pattern. The felt layer extends from edge to edge (top to bottom) along the face of the mimeograph but is narrower than the metal frame (left to right). The felt and flannel extend about a quarter inch beyond the ink flow-through section in the other direction but do not extend the full 6 inches all the way across.

As I’ve not yet tested this mimeograph, I can only offer my theory that a felt layer will be useful in cases when you don’t want to fill the ink reservoir, because it allows the ink pad to hold more ink than it would if it were just a single layer of flannel. Since I’ll be making my first prints with unthinned Riso ink, I’ll be applying ink directly to my ink pad.


Addendum

  • A double layer of flannel can be used if no felt is available or desired.
  • If your flannel has an obvious “nap” (with one side fulled [fluffed] more than the other), the fluffier side should be up for paste ink. The smooth side should be up for liquid ink.
Categories
Uncategorized

Yes, Cheap Copies!

Imagine for a moment (because this has to be imagined and is in no way connected to real events) that you’re a seventh-grade girl, a bit gangly and with legs up to your armpits, freckle-faced and with flyaway hair, and braces to boot. You’ve stepped out of your habitual fashion comfort zone, which is no fashion at all, and are wearing a jersey-knit red and white mini-skirt/t-shirt combo and white tights (why? because it’s 1983). You’ve ducked into the girls’ room in the middle of lunch period, have finished up, and are about to head back out to wander around a bit aimlessly before the next class because there isn’t exactly a group you hang out with, with whom you feel really comfortable.

You step out of the bathroom, make a sharp right toward the building’s corner, but before you round it, you hear a sudden chortle and look back to find two eighth-grade girls nearly doubled over in laughter.

At this juncture — before you’ve dashed around the corner and out of sight so you can, unseen by mocking schoolmates, run a hand down the back of your outfit to find that you’ve tucked your mini-skirt into your tights — you realize you could’ve really used a friend. That friend would’ve caught your fatal error before you’d made it public and most definitely would not have let news of that error leave private space; just as importantly, she wouldn’t have thought badly of you for not being aware of the mysteries of clothes-that-aren’t-pants.

In short, that friend would’ve had your back.

Rich Dana is that friend to Mimeograph Revival. In fact, he’s that friend to all of us who want to learn old-school-style duplicating methods, play with print and copies and colors, and walk boldly into the world with what’s intended to show, showing, but with even our mistakes (perhaps even of the fashion sort) embraced with flair and energy and courage because they reveal something about our thumping-in-our-throats hearts.

Just a few minutes of browsing around is all it takes the astute Mimeograph Revival-reader to notice the site’s exposed … underbelly (shall we say). As of yet, I simply don’t have the practical experience with mimeographs to offer the full suite of helpful resources that you — as experimenters and tinkerers and down-home/low-tech publishing aficionados and hope-to-be’s — might need.

Yet, when I leaped out the door of my inner world onto the internet with a crazy idea and the gumption to just make it happen, the mimeo-enthusiasts like Rich, along with Sam Keller, Erwin Blok, and many others, met me with a warm welcome and hastened me around the corner where I could sort myself out and not be embarrassed by my own presence.

Cheap Copies!: The Obsolete! Press Guide to DIY Hectography, Mimoegraphy, and Spirit Duplication, self-published in late 2021 by Rich Dana, who has some nifty publishing credits and projects to his name, is a crowd-funded book that, to be honest, is exactly what I’d hoped Mimeograph Revival could grow up to be. I am nothing short of astounded that I lucked out enough to jump into this topic at exactly the moment Rich was about to put this book out, because he’s here to reassure, guide, applaud, and then kick the training wheels off my – and your – wobbly but gonna-be-great first ride toward a vast horizon of possibilities.

Cheap Copies! is THE perfect complement to (if it doesn’t succeed it altogether) the digital philosophizing and electronic archiving that goes on here. It’s a Big Top Tent of printing fun, with a DIY, how-to, and join-the-fun ethos that’s a fine representative of the zine-making and -sharing community at large.

There’s a very particular feeling generated when holding someone’s printed treasure in your hands, something that’s been drawn and written, laid out with care – or even with slapdash devil-may-care haste because the word needs to be gotten out pronto – then copied and stapled or otherwise bound together. It’s the feeling presaging surprises to come, a zine-tingle, if you will. This book delivers it in spades with its marriage of aesthetics and substance: bold line drawings, color reprints of hectograph illustrations, humor, and mix of historical documents (including well-researched biography highlights of duplication’s luminaries), helpful resources, reading list, and do-it-now! tutorials.

If you want to know how to make hectograph gel pads and inks, duplicating fluid for spirit duplicators, DIY mimeograph machines and stencils, as well as what to look for in used machines and basic troubleshooting, this book will get you set to go.

Multiple versions of Cheap Copies! were available for those who donated to the book’s Kickstarter campaign. A completely tech-correct version, made available to those who donated more, included interior pages that were mimeograph- and hectograph-printed, a digitally-printed color section, and a hand-printed cover. The option for mid-scale donations was a digitally-printed version of the same text, also in color, and with the hand-printed cover.

About the production process and the resulting product, Rich’s advice to dive in, embrace your mistakes, and say what you need to say sums it up perfectly:

The project hasn’t been without setbacks, of course. Some design ideas, after being printed, just didn’t work and needed to be re-worked. Geriatric machines have needed some time-consuming TLC.  Conversely, there have been serendipitous moments as well, where experiments have yielded unexpected but beautiful results. In short, thanks to your support, I’ve had the ability to go deeper into these processes than ever before, and the result is, I believe, a book that functions well on several levels… a how-to manual, a history book, a fanzine. It’s my epic love poem to the analog underground.

You can order your own copy, here.

Categories
New additions Updates

November/early December update

It’s been a little slow on the mimeo-front lately – mostly because the snafu with the fax machines took some of the wind out of my sails. A new tattoo-stencil printer has arrived, however, and I’m at the point where I’ve got a few things for which I’m ready to attempt stencil creation. I’m starting with postcards so I can use the Lettergraph Model 60 first. Speaking of the Model 60, I found a pristine and likely-unused machine. Its superb condition helped me figure out how to disassemble my gunked-up one. Pictures coming soon.

While I don’t have much to report on my own duplicating endeavors, a few things have been added to the website. First, two great new documents – both are detailed instructions for creating stencils and running them off on a mimeo-machine – are now available in the digital library, courtesy of Northwestern University Library’s special collections where they were scanned and offered to Mimeograph Revival for sharing with a wider audience. Both are to be found under the A. B. Dick heading in the manuals section.

In addition, several catalogs/advertising brochures were added to the digital library, here. Look for the PDFs under the brands Geha, Gestetner, and Multistamp.

In other mimeo-news, Rich Dana’s Kickstarter-funded book Cheap Copies, has started shipping. It’s a beaut and a must-have for anyone interested in old-timey and hybridized self-pub-printing. Find Rich’s contact info on his site.