Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Third Hand

Bicycle shops use a tool called a “Third Hand” for keeping spring-loaded brake calipers closed while tightening brake cables. Anyone who has ever fought to reposition a plate on a magnetic base may well have wished for a third hand.

Here is my idea for a third hand: a squeegee used for laying down pressure-sensitive sticky-backs such as vinyl.

Pictured is a Bunting Magnetic Cerface™ Base with a four-inch plate mounted on it. A squeegee has been inserted under it, so that only the upper right-hand corner is drawn to the base, and allowing the plate to pivot easily.

Because the squeegee is wedge-shaped it can be used to keep a plate standing in position, while you take a line gauge and measure from the top of the base (carefully) to a baseline on the plate and then reposition the plate with your, suddenly, free hand. The wedge can also be used as a sled for sliding a plate left or right or to “float” it up or down.

Admittedly the squeegee is small and works best with small plates (up to 5x8 inches), but that covers a lot of instances; and in my case, that’s a lot of instances, as I print a lot of small plates.

Also shown is a dull graver used for lifting up the plate edge, and an additional squeegee for the full squeegee effect. I am, of course, violating press protocol, of not putting anything on the press bed higher than type high. So be sure to clear the decks.

And best of all: a squeegee like this can be found at almost any graphics supply shop for about a dollar.

1 comment:

Scottford said...

I use a large plastic putty knife, which works the same as your method only it has a thin handle, so the whole thing can lay down on the base with the plate resting on it. I think it's about four inches and works great on plates large and small. Before I lay my plates down I put a very small crimp in one corner, small enough to make it less than type-high, but big enough to get an easy start on lifting the plate.