Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking Accessories 3-part Roller

The Nik Semenoff 3-Part Roller

"For four color separation lithography, I prefer using the triple roller invented by Nik Semenoff. This roller eliminates lap marks, which is particularly important in printing halftone images."

- Dwight Pogue,

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking Accessories 3-part Roller

Conrad Machine Co. is proud to introduce and be the exclusive manufacturer of the revolutionary Nik Semenoff 3-Part Roller inking system. Invented by Nik Semenoff; world-renowned printmaker, teacher, and inventor; the 3-Part Roller is designed to help overcome tinting in waterless lithography and print traditional gum etch lithography with colored inks. The innovative 3-Part Roller allows printmakers to easily print uniform editions using traditionally difficult colors.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

3-Part Roller Design

After years of research and many prototypes, Nik Semenoff's original design is simple, easy-to-use, and effortless. Before the 3-Part Roller, most printmakers used small diameter brayers for greater lift and to pick up loose ink off their plates, but small brayers couldn't hold enough ink for efficient editions. Semenoff's design combines the utility of a smaller diameter brayer with the capacity of a large roller. The roller consists of two rubber rollers that contact the ink slab and plate.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

How it Works

Ink is transferred from the two rubber rollers to the larger steel tubular roller. The total circumference of all three rollers in the 3-part roller is 17.25", which is 37% more ink-holding surface than the average 4" roller used in most print shops and studios. With a 15" wide 3-Part Roller, large plates can be quickly rolled up and flats can be more even in ink coverage. Printmakers no longer have to choose between small and large rollers.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

3-Part Roller Materials

The rubber rollers are manufactured from the best LHB (HT) Nitrile material available, producing a system that will last for years. The tubular roller is constructed from DOM (Drawn Over Mandrel) steel that is precision machined to produce an even layer of ink on the plate. A central wooden core runs through the tubular roller, providing support for the entire system. It is made from two pieces glued together to prevent warping and roller misalignment. Handles at each end are screwed on a threaded rod to hold the system together.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

Waterless Lithography

Waterless lithography is a new technology that is becoming increasingly important and popular for printmakers in North America and the rest of the world. Many printmakers have trouble using traditional brayers for waterless lithography. The best detail from a waterless plate comes from looser inks that pick up the most delicate tints while preventing ink squash and darkening in the richer areas. The 3-Part Roller performs effortlessly in this situation. The many surfaces on the 3-Part Roller even out overlaps and produce a better image. When used with a proper siliconed subplate, the inking area can be kept clean with less likelihood of getting unwanted ink on your prints.

3-Part Roller Advantages

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

The 3-Part Roller can also be effectively used for traditional lithography, as the ink deposits are better because of the multiple rollers. It is especially useful for the hard to print yellow and red inks. It is being used by a number of printmakers who print in traditional lithography exclusively. Printmakers also love the 3-Part Roller because it will not produce blisters on your hands, as the handles do not turn while the roller is rolled across the plate.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

3-Part Roller Cleaning

Cleaning your 3-Part Roller is easy. Simply take a well-scraped ink slab and apply a solvent free solution. Roll your 3-Part Roller on the slab, and then roll the diluted ink onto old newsprint. Disassembling the roller is seldom necessary for regular cleaning.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

3-Part Roller Specifications:

  • Rubber rollers are 15" x 1.5"
  • Rollers are 40 - 45 durometer LHB (HI) Nitrile rubber.
  • Steel tube roller is 15" x 2.5"
  • Plastic bearings support the roller shafts.
  • Rubber roller shafts are .45" in diameter for greater strength.
  • Roller system weighs about 11 pounds.
  • Roller can come in an optional plywood case that secures it for shipping and future storage.

Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking 3-part Roller

3-Part Roller Box and Pricing

The 3-Part Roller system is exclusively manufactured by Conrad Machine Co. It is precision machined and carefully fitted to run smoothly while rolling up a plate. The 3-Part Roller can be ordered with a optional custom plywood case with a hinged top for long term storage. Please see our printmaking catalog for more pricing information.

Click to Download the Conrad Machine Co. Printmaking Catalog