Risograph Printing

About the Risograph :Risograph is a print process which combines the best of digital and traditional print: a hand-made look and feel with the speed, low-cost and efficiency of a modern printer. Though it looks on the outside like a copy machine, the Risograph is not a copier. It is a duplicator (think mimeograph) with a process like screen printing. The Riso duplicator internally burns a wax paper stencil (a master) that is laid onto a drum filled with soy-based ink. The drum then spins at high speed, forcing the ink through the stencil onto the paper, where it is absorbed creating a unique look and texture.

Risograph Printing always contains slight imperfections. These include: 

  1. Smudging. Risograph ink is made from a combination of environmentally friendly soy oil, water and pigment, the prints are reminiscent of newspaper ink and it is possible to smudge the ink.
  2. Uneven coverage. Large flat areas of solid ink coverage are likely to show some slight variations, which can include pinholes and flooding.
  3. Registration. Riso is like screen printing in that each ink color is layered on separately. A single piece of paper will run through our machines several times for multi-color projects and the overlap of colors can be irregular.
  4. Tire marks. When a paper is fed through the machine multiple times and it is heavily inked, the paper feeder rollers may leave tire marks on the pages face or end sheets.

 Paper size: The smallest paper the Riso can print on is 3 15/16″ x 5 13/16″ (rounded up to something easier to make sense of thats 4″ x 6″) and the largest paper it can print on is 12 7/32″ x 17″ and anywhere within those dimensions. However the print coverage maxes out at 8.5×14
The thickness of the paper should be between 12 and 116 lbs.

To order prints:

Looky Here is volunteer run, and those trained to use our Risograph Printer are members of the Looky Here Risograph Club. If you are not a club member, you can hire a club member to make your print for you!

We charge:

$3 per master (The wax paper screen that your image is burned onto. A 4 color print will use 4 masters= $12)

25 Cents per color per page (this process is super efficient for large orders)

$20 an hour for set up and print labor. (Even if you set up your own files on Photoshop, a Looky Here member will have to send each of your pages through the machine multiple times, manually switch color drums and trouble shoot.)

If you are interested in joining the club or making a print, please email lookyheregreenfield@gmail.com.

If you are interested in ordering Riso prints, please email lookyheregreenfield@gmail.com and be sure to consider the following information:

The Risograph SF 5130 has a single drum. We manually switch the colors to create color layers, therefore your image must be color separated. This can be done in separate Photoshop files, all set to grayscale. (The machine will deposit the most colored ink on the areas with the heaviest “black” information.) Or images can be printed directly from the scan bed, in solid colors with the opportunity for multiple color overlays.

Please provide high resolution (300-600 dpi) grayscale PDFs – one for each color of your project. The Riso will convert the gray values to halftones, so no need to do that ahead of time. If your project is full-bleed, include at least an 1/8 inch bleed area either embedded in the file or otherwise indicated. For books and booklets, provide your project in reading order.

We are capable of replicating full-color images using a faux-CMYK process using 3 or 4 inks to reproduce a more complete spectrum of color.

We will help you prepare your files at any stage for printing at an hourly rate of $20.

If you are interested in joining the Looky Here Riso Club, please email us at lookyheregreenfield@gmail.com and keep a lookout for Riso Workshops.

Much of this valuable information was written by Risolve Studio in southeastern Pennsylvania! Find more of their resources at risolvestudio.com. Below are some helpful tutorials for troubleshooting Photoshop and the Risograph